May 24, 2024  
2020-21 Catalog 
2020-21 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]



Britt 240
Erik Palmer, Chair

Professor Associate Professor Instructor Emeritus Faculty
Alena Ruggerio  Andrew Kenneth Gay Erica Knotts Mark Chilcoat
Susan Walsh Erik Palmer Chris Lucas Ernest Ettlich
  Jody Waters   Jonathan Lange
  Precious Yamaguchi   Garth Pittman
      Thomas Pyle
  Assistant Professor   Howard Schreiber
  Kristin Hocevar   Karen Shafer
    . Paul Steinle

The Communication program provides students opportunities to develop verbal, nonverbal, and visual communication knowledge and skills through the exploration of communication studies, journalism, and convergent media. Students may select from one of two concentrations for the Communication degree: (a) Communication Studies, or (b) Social Media and Public Engagement.

The Communication Studies Concentration focuses on the understanding and skill acquisition related to the communication practices that occur in the everyday interactions of social actors in a variety of contexts. Our research and teaching focuses on interpersonal communication; small group, organizational and cross-cultural communication; analysis of public rhetoric and discourse; health communication and conflict management, mediation, and negotiation.

The Social Media and Public Engagement concentration provides students with the practical and conceptual competencies required to live and work productively in a 21st-century media landscape. Whether seeking meaningful employment, maintaining healthy online relationships, or practicing thoughtful citizenship, students emerge from the SMPE concentration with skills and dispositions in personal reputation management, content strategy, online journalism, visual storytelling, design thinking and new media entrepreneurship.

The Communication program emphasizes connections between conceptual understanding, critical thinking, communication behaviors, and message construction.  Faculty bring a broad range of academic and professional training and accomplishments to the classroom, and the department’s student-centered program emphasizes skill-building, critical thinking, research and writing.

Students may earn credit for on-campus practical experiences with University media outlets, public relations and marketing, as well as teaching and research assistance to faculty. Communication majors intern throughout and beyond the local community at newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations, social service organizations, government agencies, advertising and public relations firms, and many businesses and non-profit organizations.

The courses in the Communication curriculum address the following learning objectives:

Proficient Communication Students will communicate effectively in diverse social settings, including interpersonal, group, online, and institutional. They will be able to express messages, adapt the content and style of messages to social contexts, and engage in dialogue about a topic with respect to all participants.
Critical Thinking and Inquiry Students will analyze problems in communication and develop solutions to those problems, contribute new knowledge to the field of communication, and apply disciplinary history and theory through research methods and analysis of evidence.
Ethical Practice Students will know how diverse models of ethics relate to communication practices and be able to communicate ethically.
Engagement Students will participate proactively in public life and engage in active citizenship. They will have the skills to promote rich dialogue among diverse audiences and across multiple modes of communication.
Cultural Competence Students will apply multiple worldviews, experiences, and knowledge of power structures into everyday issues. They will also initiate meaningful interactions with other cultures and articulate insights into one’s own cultural roles and biases, with an awareness of how their own experiences shape these roles, biases, and perspectives.
Professional Preparation Students will make concrete connections between their studies of communication and their career aspirations. They will learn how to use relevant tools and technologies, acquire practical experience through internships and practica, and prepare and present portfolios of work suitable for gaining professional employment.
Media and Visual Literacy Students will access, analyze, evaluate, and create media messages.

Practica and Internships

Practicum credits are earned for advanced, individual projects or for off-campus communication internships. Students may earn practicum credits through individual research or creative activity; by working at radio and television stations, newspapers, or advertising and public relations agencies; volunteering at a variety of social service agencies; or working with youth organizations, health care facilities, charitable organizations, political campaigns, governmental offices, magazines, chambers of commerce, or arts organizations. Practicum credits may be earned under COMM 409A , DCIN 409 , or COMM 409C  / COMM 509 .

In order to enroll in Practica, students should meet with their major advisor or the faculty member assigned to supervise COMM 409A, DCIN 409, or COMM 409C, to discuss their proposed project or internship and determine whether Practica credit would be appropriate for the proposed activity.  Students may:

  1. apply no more than 12 credits of COMM 409 to the Communication Studies concentration and no more than 8 credits to the Social Media and Public Engagement concentration; and
  2. register for no more than a total of 15 credits of COMM 409A or 409C.

COMM 409 credits count toward the 68 communication credits required for the Communication major and also toward the 28 upper division credits required for the major. Practicum courses may not be taken for letter grade without prior instructor approval.

Graduate Study

Graduate students may choose communication as the secondary emphasis in the school area degree (see Graduate Programs). This requires students to have previously finished three of the following courses: COMM 125 , COMM 210 , COMM 225 , COMM 324 . Graduate work must include COMM 560 - Topics in Communication  and two additional graduate courses in communication. Exceptions may be made on rare occasions with the approval of the student’s advisor.

Emerging Media & Digital Arts

Through collaboration with the departments of Art, Computer Science,and Communication, Emerging Media & Digital Arts provides interdisciplinary instruction in visual narrative, design, and creation of visuals in a digital age. Students develop fundamental analytical and practical skills in constructing, composing, and evaluating digital media. Emphasis in this area reflects the increasing digitalization of society, as well as the dispersion of multi-mediated, non-linear forms of knowledge in the twenty-first century.  See EMDA for course descriptions.

Bachelor of Science in Innovation and Leadership

This interdisciplinary B.S. degree is designed for working professionals who have one to two years of previous college experience, at least five years of work experience beyond entry level, and a desire to lead, innovate, collaborate, and think creatively.  For more information on requirements go to Innovation and Leadership, Bachelor of Science .

Civic Engagement Interdisciplinary Concentration

The Program in Civic Engagement at Southern Oregon University is an interdisciplinary collaboration of scholarship, teaching, and learning designed to prepare students for careers in journalism, civic organizing, diplomacy, and related professions. Combining the concepts, theories, and practical applications of Communication and Political Science with the breadth and depth of History, the program offers a challenging interdisciplinary curriculum which students will value both for its intellectual stimulation and its career-oriented preparation. Graduates of the program will acquire deeper insights into the complex processes of media literacy, information production and dissemination, civic activism, negotiation, and diplomacy. This program would prepare students to be responsive and thoughtful participants in civic life and advocates of responsible public discourse and debate, taking the best lessons from history and applying them to the modern challenges of civic life, both in the US and globally.  For more information on requirements, see the Political Science, BA or BS .

Healthcare Administration

The Healthcare Administration program prepares students for occupations in healthcare administrative and support services which require a competitive education level of a bachelor’s degree.  The curriculum provides students a foundation in healthcare systems, terminology, ethics and safety, data management and basic statistics, plus the communication and cultural competence skills necessary to succeed in today’s healthcare environment.  Beyond completing an interdisciplinary core, students must choose a concentration in either community public health, data analytics, or personnel management. For more information on requirements, see the Healthcare Administration, BA or BS .

Program Requirements









Digital Cinema

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