COM (Communication Studies)

COM 101 Theories of Communication and Rhetoric (4 hours)
This gateway course to the major is designed to establish a broad understanding of various theories used in communication and rhetoric studies. Students will learn theories about messages themselves as well as the various contexts in which they occur, including interpersonal communication, public communication, mass communication, intercultural and gendered communication. The ethical implications of these theories will also be considered. Offered fall semesters.

COM 105 Introduction to Communication Research Methods (4 hours)
The primary goal of this course is to develop an understanding of the different communication research techniques used by communication professionals – what they are, how they are used, what they mean – as well as the major theoretical concepts of the discipline. The course is designed to provide students with the critical skills needed to become better informed and effective researchers and consumers. Offered every spring semester.

COM 110 Public Speaking (4 hours)
This course is designed to develop and enhance students’ ability to communicate effectively to any audience. Students will deliver both prepared and impromptu speeches. They will give humorous and inspirational speeches as well as informational speeches focusing on organization and the use of visual aids. Students develop all the tools necessary to effectively communicate – their voice, their gestures, their body language and their eye contact. They will receive timely written and oral feedback from the instructor. Speeches will be videotaped and critiqued. The goal is to become a more polished and confident speaker. Prerequisite: Students who speak English as a second language must have permission of the instructor. Offered every semester.

COM 120 Introduction to Media Studies (4 hours)
In this course students will study the historical development of the media and interrelationships between them in order to understand the impact of these cultural industries on our lives and our culture. Through their examination of the products and processes of the media, students will learn will develop critical media literacy. Offered every semester.

COM 125 History of the Motion Pictures (4 hours)
This course provides a broad historical perspective on some of the aesthetic, cultural, economic, political, ideological, and technological trends impacting motion pictures from their origins in the late 19th century through the present. In this course, students will examine the social consequences and political implications of mass-mediated entertainment. Our goal is to develop the theoretical tools and critical perspective to interrogate the films that saturate our lives. Films play a significant role in the social construction of identity (race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, etc.) and the creation of culture at large. Ultimately, this course is designed to teach you the history of the medium and to encourage you to think critically about the media texts you consume while simultaneously recognizing the ideological structures that attempt to shape our experiences of these texts. Prerequisites: None. Offered every fall semester. Cross-listed as FMS 125.

COM 200 Independent Study in Communication Studies (1-4 hours)
This course provides the opportunity for an intense study of diverse topics under the direct supervision of the instructor. The student and instructor will collaborate to develop the content of the course, which must be approved as outlined by the Independent Study Policy. (Sec. 6.15.)

COM 220 Intercultural Communication (4 hours)
This course will help students learn how to communicate more effectively in a multicultural world by exploring the ways people from different cultural backgrounds think, communicate, and behave based on the value systems, worldviews, and narratives that shape them. Students will develop an understanding of the factors that shape culture, examine key theoretical frameworks that explain cultural differences, and apply this knowledge to real world situations.

COM 240 Introduction to Newswriting (4 hours)
This course teaches the fundamentals of journalistic news writing and reporting. Using a range of techniques from interviews to internet research, students will learn how to gather information from a variety of sources and write stories using different types of leads, endings and structures. They will also engage in a critique of today’s journalistic practices. Offered Fall semesters.

COM 250 Digital Storytelling (4 hours)
This class will introduce students to basic digital storytelling techniques. Students will explore the interactivity and narrative abilities of digital media through the creation of audio and video projects by analyzing various forms of transmedia storytelling, looking at how “texts” exist within specific cultural contexts, and engaging in social critique. Prerequisites: COM 120 or any 100-level ART class. Offered every semester.

COM 260 Writing for Business and the Professions (4 hours)
This course is for students who have mastered the basic skills and insights of writing and who wish to improve their ability to write clear, concise, persuasive prose designed for audiences in business and the professions. Students are required to write a variety of texts, such as letters, proposals, progress reports and recommendation reports. Other elements of the course may include oral presentations. Prerequisites: COR 101 and COR 102. Offered alternate spring semesters.

COM 270 Principles of Public Relations (4 hours)
This course provides students with an introduction to Public Relations. Students will learn what Public Relations is, what a Public Relations job entails, and explore trends in Public Relations through a critical lens. It is the foundation course in public relations and a supplemental course for students majoring in other fields. Prerequisites: COM 120 and one writing course (as defined in the COM Public Relations track, Section 2).

COM 280 Gender, Culture, and Communication (4 hours)
This course investigates the relationships among gender, culture, and communication. Students will explore theoretical approaches to gender; the cultural histories of women’s, men’s and transgender movements; cultural views of gendered interaction, including discourse and relational styles as well as other performances; and the practices of gendered communication and identity in a variety of cultural and institutional contexts. Offered every spring semester. Cross-listed as WGS 280.

COM 290 Special Topics in Communication Studies (1-4 hours)
Courses of selected topics will be offered periodically as determined by the needs of the curriculum. Prerequisites can vary based on the topic selected. See individual course listings for each semester for the specific topic and any prerequisites.

COM 310 Public Relations Writing (4 hours)
Public Relations Writing is designed to teach students the fundamentals of public relations writing and media techniques. The course will provide students with opportunities to develop effective writing skills for the public relations profession with an emphasis on different approaches required to communicate with audiences and media. Students will focus on the practical application of tools and techniques used by public relations practitioners, while gaining an understanding of how specific public relations tactics fit into the broader context of a public relations communications program. Prerequisites: COM 120 and COM 270. Offered every spring semester.

COM 320 Persuasive Writing (4 hours)
This course is designed to develop sophisticated strategies of persuasion for analyzing and generating arguments responsive to targeted audiences in a variety of contexts, including civic, professional and academic. Students will learn both classical and contemporary strategies of persuasion. Emphasis will be on presenting clear, coherent and logical arguments. Students will be asked to define their own projects within assigned contexts. Students will evaluate their own and others’ writing to enable the revision process. This course is open to sophomores, juniors and seniors only. Prerequisites: COR 101 and COR 102. Offered alternate spring semesters.

COM 325 Television Analysis (4 hours)
This course is an overview and analysis of contemporary television structures, meaning systems, genres, and modes of production. Many media scholars and cultural critics have labeled television as the most powerful and important form of communication of the last 70 years, shaping our opinions and outlook on the world while also bringing us together with shared knowledge and experiences. This course explores the medium of television, including what makes it distinct from other media, its role in American democracy, and its role in our everyday lives. We will look at how the structure of the industry dictates what programs are produced, who produces them, and how they relate to and illustrate current tensions within culture and society. Through the exploration of the critical perspectives of television studies, this course will prepare students for further studies in media criticism and aid in students’ development as sophisticated and critical media consumers and producers. The overarching goal of the class is to enable students to think critically about how they watch television, how what they watch affects their lives, and why certain characters/messages are created and become popular in our culture. Prerequisites: COM 120 or FMS 125 or COM 125. Offered alternate fall semesters. Cross-listed as FMS 325.

COM 330 Social Media Theories and Impact
This class is designed to enable students to analyze the role of social media in society. We will look at the social consequences and political implications of social media, as well as its/their role in the broader media landscape. The overarching goal is to develop the theoretical tools and critical perspective to interrogate the social media that saturate our lives. Prerequisites: COM 105 and COM 120. Offered alternate spring semesters.

COM 350 Just Food? The Cultural Rhetorics and Politics of Consumption (4 hours)
This course investigates how we constitute and communicate our identities through the food we consume and importantly the food we do not consume. As critical consumers and citizens, students learn to analyze and assess the public issues on the table: food choices and health, food labeling and safety, food insecurity and hunger, unequal access to healthy food, and food as a human right. Prerequisites: COM 101 and sophomore status.

COM 360 Social Media Strategy and Analytics (4 hours)
In this course students will learn the science behind social sharing, and the technical aspects of how to use and analyze social media. Using real campaigns as an example, this course will help you understand how to be successful on social media whether branding yourself or an organization. Prerequisite: Sophomore status.

COM 380 Feminist Media Studies (4 hours)
This course examines the portrayal of gender in the media, focusing specifically on radio, television, and film, and aims to encourage an understanding of the diversity of groups in society in relationship to identity and selfhood. Class will be conducted in lecture format with some in-class screenings and class discussion. Prerequisites: COM 105 and COM 120; or WGS 101. Offered alternate spring semesters. Cross-listed with WGS 380.

COM 400 Advanced Independent Study in Communication Studies (1-4 hours)
This course provides the opportunity for an advanced, intense study of diverse topics under the direct supervision of the instructor. These offerings are generally suited for junior or senior students. The student and instructor will collaborate to develop the content of the course, which must be approved as outlined by the Independent Study Policy. (Sec. 6.15.)

 COM 410 Public Relations Theory and Research (4 hours)
In this class, students will be exposed to Public Relations (PR) theories and how they apply to practice. The focus will be on understanding primary PR and persuasion theories and application of theory to research and practice. Students will design a PR study using the theories explored in class. Prerequisites: COM 105 and COM 270.

COM 420 Media, Culture and Society (4 hours)
Using various approaches from cultural studies to political economy, students examine how meaning is created by the media. This course focuses on media texts, media institutions and media audiences and the way they intersect to shape culture. Topics covered include media representations of gender, race and class. Prerequisites: COM 105 and COM 120. Offered alternate fall semesters.

COM 425 Critical History of Radio, TV, and New Media (4 hours)
This course introduces students to the study of the history of radio, television, and new media. Throughout the course of the semester, students will examine the development of electronic media from the invention of radio through the height of the network era up to the contemporary multi-channel media environment. Although we will touch on media throughout the world, our primary emphasis will be on the evolution of broadcasting and cable in the United States. We will explore the complex ways in which technological, social, political, industrial and cultural factors have interacted to shape the form and content of electronic media from the early 20th century to the present. The course will conclude with a consideration of the potential implications of convergence on contemporary American—and global—media culture. Prerequisites: COM 120 or FMS 125 or COM 125. Offered alternate fall semesters. Cross-listed as FMS 425.

COM 430 Race and Representation in the Media (4 hours)
In this course students will examine the portrayal of race in the media, focusing specifically on radio, television, and film. At the end of the semester, students will be able to:  identify and critically examine the use and functions of racial images in the media; understand and analyze the uniqueness of each medium and the advantages and/or challenges that it poses to the representation of race; and recognize and explore the larger cultural and societal implications of these mediated representations. Prerequisites: COM 105 and
COM 120. Offered alternate fall semesters.

COM 435 Media Industries (4 hours)
Three main objectives will guide us throughout the semester: First, we will survey the history of the media industries and of media industries-related scholarship. Using Hollywood’s film and television operations as our primary objects of analysis, but referring to other contexts throughout, we will consider key ways that regulatory and technological shifts, along with growing impulses toward globalization, have intersected with industrial changes. Second, we will look at the range of qualitative methods that have been employed to research the media industries. In the process, we will read several case studies that provide applications of each of these approaches. Third, we will explore the evolving field of media industry studies. This field, which incorporates work in film, media, communication, sociology, anthropology, and cultural studies, argues for the importance of integrating analysis of media structures with consideration of cultural and textual matters. Although our readings will focus most heavily on filmed entertainment from Hollywood, students are encouraged to research such areas as video games, music, comic books, publishing, and radio in their final projects. Further, students are encouraged to apply the theoretical and methodological frameworks surveyed in class to other local, regional, and national contexts. Prerequisites: COM 120 or FMS 125 or COM 125. Offered alternate spring semesters. Cross-listed as FMS 435.

COM 440 Public Relations Campaigns (4 hours)
In this course, students will function as a Public Relations (PR) agency, creating a complete campaign for a client. Students will create multiple deliverables including press releases, backgrounders, media kits, as well as strategically develop an entire PR campaign.   Prerequisites: COM270 and one writing course (see list under COM Public Relations track, section 2).

COM 450 Crisis Communication (4 hours)
In this course, students will be exposed to strategies to avoid crises situations, as well as steps to take to effectively manage crises when they do occur. From planning to holding press conferences, to coaching CEOs and crafting copy, crisis communication tests the PR professional as it tries the organization. Students will learn how to plan for, communicate during, and recover from organizational crisis situations. Prerequisite: COM 270.

COM 460 Rhetorical Theories of Emotion and Affect (4 hours)
This course explores the sociality of emotion and affect shaping public life and discourse. From the study of Aristotle’s pathos to recent cross-disciplinary theories of affect, students re-examine cultural assumptions that emotions are primarily private, individual, and irrational. Students investigate shame, fear, hate, and love through rhetoric and cultural studies. Prerequisites: COM 101 and junior standing.

COM 470 Globalization and the Media (4 hours)
The rapid evolution of communication technologies has increased the ability of global media corporations to reach audiences around the world. This course examines the political, economic and cultural dimensions of media globalization. Topics covered include cultural imperialism, global news, international trade organizations and regulatory bodies, global advertising and cultural protectionism. Offered alternate fall semesters. Prerequisites: COM 105 and COM 120.

COM 480 Rhetoric of Human Rights (4 hours)
This course investigates the theories and rhetorical strategies used to practice human rights as “universal” and the critical challenges of this universality. The rhetoric of universal human rights as it is actually used in texts by competing interests in an increasingly globalized and culturally diverse world communally will be evaluated. Prerequisites: COM 101 and junior standing.

COM 490 Advanced Special Topics in Communication Studies (1-4 hours)
Advanced courses of selected topics will be offered periodically as determined by the needs of the curriculum. These offerings are generally suited for junior or senior students. Prerequisites can vary based on the topic selected. See individual course listings for each semester for the specific topic and any prerequisites.

Specifically, this advanced course will examine topics in communication studies or rhetoric, such as civic literacy, global culture and rhetoric, or political rhetoric. This course may be taken more than once, provided the topic is different.

COM 495 Internship in Communication Studies (1-12 hours)
An internship designed to provide a formalized experiential learning opportunity to qualified students. The internship generally requires the student to have an application (which satisfies all internship requirements developed by the academic program that oversees the internship) and to obtain a faculty supervisor in the relevant field of study. All internships are graded on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis. Prerequisites are determined by the academic program overseeing the internship course.