Department Courses


COM 150 - Introduction to Communication (3)

Introductory survey of the field of communication that includes discussion of the importance of communication in our lives, examination of communication as a uniquely human process of interaction, an overview of the varied contexts in which communication occurs, and investigation of communication as an academic discipline, field of research, and possible career track. This course also provides an introduction to the Communication Studies Department.

COM 160 - Communication Research (3)

This course will focus on the process of inquiry within human communication. Students are introduced to concepts of framing research questions, conducting literature reviews, developing a research design, using qualitative and quantitative research tools, and interpreting results of research in communication.

Prerequisite/co-requisite: COM 150 or permission of instructor.

COM 195 - Special Topics (1-5)

Special topics in the discipline, designed primarily for freshmen. Students may enroll in 195 Special Topics multiple times, as long as the topics differ.

COM 235 - Intergroup Dialogue (1)

This eight-week course is designed to provide an environment that is supportive of self-exploration and understanding through attendance and participation in intergroup dialogue. The goal of intergroup dialogue is to develop comfort with, and skill for, discussion of difficult topics and fostering positive, meaningful, and sustained cross-group relationships. This course engages students in facilitated dialogue about the similarities and differences of experiences that exist within a group and/or between and across groups. In debate, the goal is to listen to gain advantage; in intergroup dialogue, the main goal is to listen to gain understanding. As a result, students develop increased multicultural interaction, increased intergroup awareness and sensitivity, and greater commitment to civic engagement. Each semester there will be a variety of topics addressed by the dialogue sections. The topics and number of sections of the dialogues are flexible and will change from semester to semester. The original set of dialogues includes race, language, LGBT, US/Foreign Born, and Interfaith/secular. Through the intergroup dialogue process, it is our hope that we will better understand our own biases and positioning on the topics, deepen our learning to build bridges and create kinship within the group, and develop skills for discussing difficult topics with people who hold a variety of perspectives.

Prerequisite: Permission of the department chair

COM 270 - Parliamentary Procedure (3)

The rules of parliamentary procedure and their correct application to the management of campus and other organizations.

COM 280 - Group Communication (3)

This course will focus on the process of thinking and problem solving in committees and small groups; methods of leading and participating in discussions and conferences.

Prerequisite: GSR 102 or permission of the instructor.

COM 290 - Public Presentations (3)

The course emphasizes the principles involved in the selection and organization of ideas and their effective presentation to a group.

Prerequisites: GSR 102 and GSR 103

COM 295 - Special Topics (1-5)

Special Topics in the discipline, designed primarily for sophomores. Students may enroll in 295 Special Topics multiple times, as long as the topics differ.

COM 320 - Internship Seminar (1)

The Internship Seminar is required of all Communication Studies majors who anticipate that they will start an internship within the subsequent three academic terms. Typically offered during the spring semester of each year, this course is for students who anticipate that they will begin an internship in the coming summer, or the fall, or during the following spring semester. The primary goal of the course is to help prepare students for the internship and to provide them with the knowledge and insights to make the most of this learning experience.

Prerequisite: Permission of the department chair

COM 321 - Internship (1-3)

Students who major in Communication Studies are required to complete an internship for career exploration, job experience, and the opportunity to apply knowledge and skills gained in the major. Students can earn up to three credits toward the major requirements through an internship.

Prerequisite: COM 320 and permission of the department chair.

COM 324 - Interpersonal Communication (3)

This course will provide for the experiential learning of the elements of effective interpersonal communication. Students will observe, record, and analyze interpersonal transactions; opportunities for improving interpersonal skills will be provided.

Prerequisites: COM 150 or permission of the instructor; Personal Training majors are required to take COM 290

COM 330 - Interpersonal and Group Conflict Management (3)

In everyday life, we are interdependent with others and face many challenges in interpersonal and group situations. The difference or disagreements in perceptions, goals, needs, or interests can lead to conflicts. These conflicts can develop into positive situations that encourage creativity and new dimensions or they can devolve into negative situations that develop destructive and hurtful behaviors. Because such conflicts occur in daily life, it is important to understand the dynamics of conflict, use effective management techniques, and establish and maintain collaborative relationships. In this course we will use theoretical perspectives, case studies, personal experiences, journals, and class activities to examine the roots and nature of conflict, the styles and tactics used to deal with conflict, and the personal and group stakes in conflict. In addition, we will explore methods for analyzing and handling conflict, techniques for creating constructive conflict, uses of third-party interventions, and possibilities for forgiveness, reconciliation, and thinking of "conflict as magic".

Prerequisites: COM 280 and COM 324

COM 335 - Mediation, Deliberation, and Dialogue (3)

For many years, programs in mediation, dialogue, and deliberation have been invaluable in helping people change their communicative patterns in order to improve their situations at home, work, and in the community. In this course we will examine these three well-established types of programs, learn how and why they work, and experience using and participating in these methods through role plays, simulations, and actual events. We will use a communication perspective within a systemic approach to examine the complex factors involved in conflict and to learn how a change in communication can shift interaction dynamics.

Prerequisite: COM 330

COM 340 - Business and Professional Communication (3)

This course prepares students to be effective communicators in the workplace and includes interviewing, professional presentations at staff meetings, business writing, and interaction with a variety of professionals.

Prerequisites: COM 150, COM 280, and COM 290

COM 350 - Introduction to Mass Communication (3)

This course involves a critical study of the development, scope, influence, and theories of mass communication in America.

Prerequisites: COM 150, COM 280, and COM 290

COM 360 - Introduction to Public Relations (3)

This course provides a broad overview of components of public relations in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. Students will examine the concept of public relations as an ongoing process. Students will be exposed to the basic knowledge, skills, strategies, and tools used by practitioners.

Prerequisite: COM 350

COM 380 - Theories of Human Communication (3)

This is a survey course that covers conceptual approaches to the study of human communication. There will be a emphasis on theories that focus on speaker and message aspects, and the use of communication strategies in the forming, building, and dissolution of relationships through interdisciplinary perspectives.

Prerequisites: COM 150, COM 280, and 290; or permission of the instructor.

COM 390 - Communication Accessibility (3)

The ability to have access to communications is an important foundation for empowerment of people who are deaf and hard of hearing. This course explores how communication accessibility is achieved through study of current and emerging technology, trends in industry, public policies, and the government agencies that enforce these policies. Access to telecommunications (including Internet and wireless communications, relay services, etc.), information, video media, emergency services, public accommodations, employment, education, and other contexts are included.

Prerequisite: COM 150 or permission of the instructor

COM 395 - Special Topics (1-5)

Special topics in the discipline, designed primarily for juniors. Students may enroll in 395 Special Topics multiple times, as long as the topics differ.

COM 400 - Persuasion (3)

Students will study the ways in which beliefs, attitudes, and behavior are affected by communication in this course. The findings of behavioral research and contemporary theories will be employed to demonstrate the workings of persuasion in political campaigns, advertising, and everyday life.

Prerequisites: COM 280 or 290 and junior or senior standing or permission of the instructor.

COM 410 - Advanced Public Presentations (3)

Students in this course will approach public speeches and speech-making based on theory, performance and criticism. Students will both write and deliver their own addresses and learn principles for rhetorical criticism of others' speeches.

Prerequisite: COM 290

COM 420 - Nonverbal Communication (3)

A study of the theories and research on the influence of artifacts, appearance, facial expression, gestures, paralanguage, posture, movement, space, time, and touch on human interaction. Opportunities for analysis and application of learned principles through in-class exercises, simulations, videotaped sessions, and original field research.

Prerequisite: COM 150 or permission of the instructor

COM 430 - Gender and Communication (3)

This course is an examination of communication and gender, including sex role stereotypes. The course provides a survey of how communication of and about gender interacts with various contexts, including biology, culture, family, mass media, education, religion, and the workplace.

Prerequisites: junior or senior standing; and permission of the instructor

COM 440 - Intercultural Communication (3)

An examination of the role played by communication in the bridging and separating of cultures. How norms, values, and expectations concerning the communication act itself differ from culture to culture, and how these differences affect intercultural encounters.

Prerequisite: COM 150 or permission of the instructor

COM 450 - Political Communication (3)

An examination of the persuasive strategies used by mainstream politicians, social activists, and propagandists. Special emphasis is on the rituals and implicit rules of conducting public information campaigns and electoral campaigns, and the relationship among politicians, the voting public, and the mass media that link them.

Prerequisite: COM 150 or permission of the instructor

COM 460 - Organizational Communication (3)

The role of communication in complex organizations. Emphasis upon the role of communication styles of managers and employees in the creation of corporate culture. Dissemination of messages within and among divisions of organizations. Use of such diagnostic tools as the ICA Communication Audit to identify dysfunctional communication patterns.

Prerequisite: COM 150 or permission of the instructor

COM 470 - Family Communication (3)

Examination of the communication concepts that are fundamental to understanding interaction in the family. Exploration of how communication affects the development, maintenance, and enhancement of family relations.

Prerequisite: COM 150 or permission of the instructor

COM 480 - Argumentation and Debate (3)

Students will study the process of arriving at reasons and conclusions; practice in debate; projects in analysis, research, ordering of arguments, and refutation.

Prerequisite: COM 290

COM 493 - Senior Seminar: Communication Ethics (1)

This required course is designed for Communication Studies majors. The course assignments and discussions will focus on communication ethics in interpersonal, group, family, public and professional settings. One of the important functions of this course is to provide a structured environment for completion of the COM senior assessment project.

Prerequisites: Good standing in the program and a minimum of 30 credits in the Communication Studies major.

COM 495 - Special Topics (1-5)

Special topics in the discipline, designed primarily for seniors who are majors or minors. Students may enroll in 495 Special Topics multiple times, as long as the topics differ.

Prerequisites: COM 150; and permission of the department

COM 499 - Independent Study (1-3)

Reading, research, discussion, or laboratory work, according to the interests of the student. Title indicating the content must be available at registration.

Prerequisite: Permission of the department chair