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A smiling female student drips a chemical into a vial.A smiling female student drips a chemical into a vial.

Communication Studies

Faculty

 Spicer (chair), Carter, Cumings, Foil, Jasko, Kale, McGukin, Milford, Yochum

Purpose

Communication studies is the academic discipline that focuses on human communicative behavior and its influence on our personal, professional, social and cultural lives. The faculty in communication studies believes that human communication is fundamental to an individual’s capacity to function as an effective and ethical participant in a free society. The department offers courses and activities designed to help students deal with the demands of varied communication situations and prepare for work in a variety of communication professions.

Programs

Students majoring in communication studies have three academic program options:

  • The speech communication concentration focuses on developing skill in the invention, arrangement, style and delivery of messages. Students also gain a keen appreciation of the process of persuasion and how attitudes and beliefs are formed, sustained and challenged. Students in this concentration are well prepared for careers in law, politics, public relations, corporate and organizational communication, customer relations, travel, tourism, hospitality, and a host of other professional paths that require skill at persuasion and sensitivity to image.
  • The radio and television concentration emphasizes the application of mass communication theory to the production of messages, particularly in audio and video formats. Students are given solid instruction in basic skills in production and postproduction work. Other courses emphasize professional preparation in media writing in various forms (commercial, drama and news writing), methods of media criticism and film analysis, broadcast management, and sports and media relations. The department houses an on-campus television studio and radio station, which provides students with hands-on production experience in the electronic media.
  • The public relations concentration seeks to create graduates who understand how public opinion emerges and changes and the role that effective public relations plays in this process. Courses are designed to create professionals with a strong academic background as well as specific career preparation. Students learn the fundamentals of public relations, cultivate skill in writing, grow to understand the role of research, learn to create messages to target particular audiences and practice presentational skills to “pitch” PR campaigns to clients.

In addition to the three options identified above, students majoring in any other program on campus may choose the communication studies minor.

Honor Societies

Lambda Pi Eta is the national communication honor society that recognizes outstanding achievement by undergraduates majoring in communication studies. Pi Kappa Delta is the honor society for intercollegiate debaters, individual events competitors and teachers of communication. Our department has a long and storied history with successful competition in speech and debate.

Careers

Aside from the obvious careers in broadcast journalism or public relations, an undergraduate major or minor in communication studies is an asset for careers in law, religion, education, labor relations, politics, marketing and human resource development.

Employers continue to rank communication skills at the very top of desirable traits for employees.