College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Communication Studies (COM)

COM 103   Interpersonal Communication 4 credits

Students examine their methods of interpersonal communication in various contexts including dyadic, small group, and mediated communication. Individual activities and group work include both oral and written components. Class discussions and small group activities provide opportunities to practice and refine interpersonal communication skills. Objective exams and quizzes focus on cognitive learning of the principles and concepts in the various communication contexts. (COM 103 is one of the two choices for the communication general education requirement for all students. It is also a prerequisite for all communication majors.)

COM 105   Listening as a Communication Tool 2 credits

An essential skill for administrators is effective listening; too often hearing is confused with listening. Students will discover their personal barriers to effective listening; learn how to mitigate listening barriers to make others feel heard, integrate new listening skills from the telephone to the boardroom, and discover how much better informed they will be about: business, employees, and customer.

COM 109   Introduction to Communication 3 credits

This course introduces the practices and principles of interpersonal communication. This course will require students to gain introductory knowledge of theory as well as apply course concepts through written assignments in addition to individual and group presentations. Emphasis is placed on the communication process. Issues to be addressed include: interpersonal relationships, sending and receiving messages, language, listening, and cultural considerations. Additional emphasis will engage students to think critically about cultural implications regarding interpersonal communication.

COM 205   Small Group Communication 4 credits

Students study and practice communication in small discussion and task groups. Topics include leadership and facilitation of groups as well as group dynamics. Group activities include problem solving discussions and task completion. Course units include goal setting, cohesion and norms, power, leadership, decision-making and problem solving, conflict and facilitating task and interpersonal relations in face-to-face and virtual groups. (Prerequisite: COM 103 or COM 212)

COM 212   Public Speaking 4 credits

Students prepare and deliver various types of public performances including speeches and oral interpretation. The evaluation and criticism of speeches is studied. Videotape helps students adjust to their performance style and improve presentation delivery. Course units include speech construction, presentation and delivery, audience and text analysis, informative, persuasive and special occasion speeches as well as visual aid construction. (COM 212 is one of the two choices for the communication general education requirement for all students. It is also a prerequisite for all communication majors.)

COM 222   Social/Mass Media Communication 4 credits

Students study and critically appraise the history and development of the various traditional mass and contemporary social media with an emphasis on the impact of these communication developments on individuals and society. The content of the course also includes a strong focus on the dominant social media platforms and their role in marketing and public relations. Students will be able to edit video and utilize basic metrics applied to online communication tools. (Prerequisite: COM 103 or COM 212)

COM 309   Intercultural Communication 4 credits

Students explore the principles and processes of communication between cultures. Course topics include intercultural communication models, the impact of different cultural patterns on the communication process, the anthropological concept world view and its impact on intercultural communication, detection of communication problems in intercultural situations, gender and diversity issues in intercultural communication, and constructing valid strategies for communicating interculturally. (Prerequisite: COM 103 or COM 212)

COM 325   Social Media & Public Relations 4 credits

Students develop an understanding of the theory and strategic management of social media especially in the public relations context. By analyzing history, tactics and current trends, students learn how the public relations process and the goal of relationship building with various stakeholders is impacted by various social media applications. Students also become acquainted with social media tactics in various professional settings. (Required prerequisite: COM 103 or COM 212) (Suggested prerequisite: COM 222)

COM 403   Family Communication 4 credits

Students examine communication patterns in functional families and interpersonal relationships. Reading and discussion are combined with experiential activities. Course units include diverse family systems, health communication, communicating with aging family members and those with disabilities, communication patterns, family roles, power, decision-making, conflict, stress and coping, ecology, and improving family communication. (Prerequisites: (COM 103 or COM 212) and COM 205)

COM 441   Communication Research Methods 4 credits

Basic quantitative and qualitative approaches and methods are applied to communication studies. The course includes question construction, survey research and design, experimental design, quantitative content analysis and comparisons, and qualitative analysis of participant observation, interviewing and focus group methodology. Critical studies and approaches in the field of communication will be discussed. This course is a prerequisite for COM 442 because it implements the research proposal. (Prerequisites: COM 103, COM 212, COM 205, and COM 222)

COM 442   Communication Theory 4 credits

Students study and apply theories to human communication including interpersonal and public communication, small groups, mediated communication, persuasion, gender studies, as well as work, friend, and marital relationships. Perspectives on and methods of critical inquiry and research are an integral part of the course content. Research projects are presented to the rest of the class as well as submitted to professional organizations for review. COM 442 implements the research proposal developed in COM 441. COM 442 and COM 443 are intended to be a year-long capstone sequence. (Prerequisites: COM 103, COM 205, COM 212, COM 222, COM 309 and a minimum grade of C- in COM 441)

COM 443   Persuasive Communication 4 credits

Students study and apply persuasive communication theories to the study and analysis of communication events including speeches, posters, films, campaigns, television programs, advertising, social media and other forms of public communication. Students examine the ways in which beliefs, values, attitudes, and behavior are deliberately affected through various forms of human and electronic communication. The major project is an application of theory and research. Research projects may be submitted to professional organizations or an online journal for review. COM 442 and COM 443 are intended to be a year-long capstone sequence. (Prerequisites: COM 103, COM 205, COM 212 AND COM 222)

COM 444   Communication Research Methods 3 credits

Basic quantitative approaches and methods are applied to communication studies. The course includes research question construction, survey research, SPSS, and quantitative comparisons.

COM 478   Organizational Communication 4 credits

Students examine theories of communication systems, processes and assumptions in organization structures. Topics include roles, relationships and responsibilities of individuals within organizations as well as skills in and applications of organizational communication, including communication audits. Interviewing skills in the various demands of organizations will be examined and practiced. Values and ethical communication behaviors are explored through a variety of activities including case studies and self-assessments. Exploration of crisis communication strategies and their effectiveness in organizational image restoration are examined. (Prerequisites: COM 103, COM 212 and COM 205)

COM 488   Independent Study 1-5 credits

Independent study offers the opportunity to pursue advanced study in communication. Independent study is open only to students with substantial preparatory course work in communication. It is not intended to be taken in the place of a regularly offered course. (Prerequisite: permission of communication faculty)

COM 490   Senior Seminar 2 credits

Students finalize their capstone research project in this culminating experience in the discipline. Students will be expected to prepare their research projects for dissemination to professional organizations for review, presentation, or publication. (Prerequisite: Minimum grade of C- in COM 441 and COM 442, Permission of instructor, Senior Standing)

COM 498   Internship 1-12 credits

Students participate in a variety of internship programs in such experiences as editing, publishing, broadcasting, television, human resources, and public relations under the supervision of Communication faculty. Internships are tailored to the needs, interests, and career aspirations of the student. Portfolios, learning logs, and meetings with the internship faculty supervisor are required for all internships. (Prerequisites: COM 103, COM 205, COM 212, COM 222, COM 325, ENG 120 and permission of communication faculty advisor)

COM 500   Strategic Communication Management 3 credits

This course provides an introduction to a broad range of strategic communication management topics, addressing the communication theories, dynamics, research, principles, and practices that are most prevalent in small groups, societies, and in all aspects of organizational life. The course takes time to build group relationships and creates a collaborative learning environment conducive for personal and professional growth that emphasizes problem solving and healthy decision-making throughout the program.

COM 510   Persuasive Communication 3 credits

This course covers the principles and practices of persuasion, advocacy, and marketing. Learners explore theories of motivation, attitude, and behavior that guide how an ethical communicator strives to gain compliance; properly advocate for people, values, and ideals; and change attitudes and behavior. Students learn about how research informs marketing and persuasion tactics, and apply key concepts and conceptual frameworks in marketing such as how to segment, reach target audiences, and influence others in a socially responsible way. Students work with a communications plan that addresses a real issue that draws upon the things you have learned in this course. Students also have an opportunity to develop presentation skills through in-class presentations.

COM 520   Media Strategies 3 credits

This course presents a structured approach to understanding and managing internal and external communications. Students explore media relations, the research and creation of strategic public relations media plans, audience analysis, media characteristics, media and marketing decisions, and how to manage various communication technology functions and budgets. Special attention is given to the role of emerging media formats.

COM 530   Interactive Media Mgmt 3 credits

This course explores how emerging interactive communication technologies affect interpersonal and organizational communication. Students are introduced to different types of interactive media, while also researching and discussing issues related to cyberspace, virtual communities, collaborative teams, business on global networks, search engine optimization, search engine marketing, digital brand integration, Web analytics, blogs and podcasts, and wireless marketing.

COM 540   Communication Inquiry & Measurement 3 credits

This course introduces communication research strategies like a communications audit and the role of marketing research, but especially focuses on the Action Research Project (ARP) that each student will complete through the remainder of the program. Students will identify an organizational challenge (problem) that provides a learning content for applying research and change management techniques in two contextual change management cycles. The first three of the five chapters of the ARP are completed in draft form during the course (the remainder of the project is completed independently and presented in COM 695). The course teacher continues to coach the student's independent work after the course is completed and is part of the final project presentation. The ARP becomes a lifelong tool for process improvement for a strategic communication manager.

COM 545   Interactive Project Management 3 credits

This course increases student effectiveness in a variety of strategic communication management roles and functions by exploring resources and tools (software) that help manage major projects, analytic evaluations, information from a cross-platform interactive social media projects, or site-appropriate tools for monitoring metrics that project tracking systems for use in social media organizational applications.

COM 550   Communication Strategies for Conflict Management 3 credits

This course provides an overview of the nature and functions of perspectives, viewpoints, and values on conflict, as well as the difficult elements and role of communication in human conflict. Students develop communication skills, such as listening and collaboration, which are necessary for managing conflict productively in interpersonal, organizational, and intercultural contexts. Professionals will gain an understanding of patterns, research strategies, and processes associated with conflict management styles with civility. This course addresses how language, perception, gender communication, generational differences, and context influence the conflict process.

COM 560   Intercultural Communication 3 credits

This course provides an overview of the major concepts, research, theories, and models that explore intercultural communication, with an emphasis on using these ideas in applied contexts. Important topics include: worldviews, communication styles, skills development in intercultural arenas, societal influences on stereotyping, ethnocentrism and racism, cultural value orientations, nonverbal dimensions of communication, language interaction, gender communication, intra-cultural issues, stereotypes, intercultural transitions, and adaptation.

COM 570   Leadership Communication 3 credits

This course emphasizes the way leadership depends on healthy communication skills that nurture a healthy organizational culture. Critical management techniques also rely on understanding those leadership skills that are essential to work with people in a dynamic interactive culture. Course elements include a focus on the research behind successful leadership and management strategies as part of human interaction, decision making, problem solving, mentoring, collaboration, team building, change management, facilitation, and core management skills.

COM 590   Crisis Communication Management 3 credits

This course addresses the basic types and elements of crises, and the importance of providing effective leadership and management in those times. Effective strategies include procedures for developing a crisis communication plan and identifying ways of reacting to crises when crises occur. Students develop tools for dealing with the media in less-than-optimal situations, learn how to develop plans for different critical audiences (both internal and external), and discover ways to utilize effective strategies for communicating the organizational message during a crisis.

COM 610   Corporate Responsibility & Ethical Communication 3 credits

This course explores foundations in personal values and mission statements, decision trees in ethical decision-making, and ethical theories and moral philosophies that relate ethics to organizational, mediated, mass media, and interpersonal communication contexts. The course examines the communication components and hindrances to good ethical decision-making. Students learn how to think critically, gain sensitivity in using appropriate language, express clear ethical reasoning in both written and verbal communication, and research the role of communication in the creation of an ethical corporate culture. Through case studies, readings, and other activities, students are exposed to ethical issues that arise in communication and are required to argue and analyze the ethical dilemmas they will encounter in the working world. Learners will gain skills in assessing ethical risk to organizations in the public sphere and develop insights into their personal philosophies.

COM 695   Capstone 3 credits

The final course provides an opportunity for students to review and reflect upon the courses and experiences in the program. Additional activities add self-confidence in strategic communication management and leadership skills. Students present the completed Action Research Project they have worked on with the project coordinator, and polish their ARP report in an error-free and thorough submission. Students also continue reading and reflection on their course work and experiences as life skill builders. Students receive feedback from their Action Research Project coordinator and share learning with other students in the final presentation.