Aug 03, 2020  
2015-16 Catalog 
2015-16 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]



Britt 240
Alena Ruggerio, Chair

Professor Associate Professor Assistant Professor Adjunct Faculty Emeritus Faculty
Alena Ruggerio  Garth Pittman  Andrew Kenneth Gay Julie Akins Mark Chilcoat
Susan Walsh Jody Waters Erik Palmer Stuart Corns Ernest Ettlich
    Precious Yamaguchi George Dohrmann Jonathan Lange
      Liz Eckhart Thomas Pyle
      Michael Gantenbein  Howard Schreiber
      Gary Lundgren  Karen Shafer
      Terrie Martin Paul Steinle
      Bob Pennell  
      Jodie Ruggiero  
      Brent Streeper  



The Communication program provides students opportunities to develop verbal, nonverbal and visual communication knowledge and skills through the exploration of communication studies, film, television and video, journalism, and convergent media. Students may select from one of three concentrations for the Communication degree: (a) Communication Studies, (b) Digital Cinema, or (c) 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; and conflict resolution, mediation, and negotiation.

The Digital Cinema concentration provides students with the benefits of both a traditional film school curriculum and a forward-looking education in visual storytelling and innovation for the 21st century. Students study the history of visual storytelling and apply their conceptual learning to traditional production settings with hands-on creation of film, television and video content. Meanwhile, students also gain practical skills and competencies in mobile content production, content strategy, and new media entrepreneurship.

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.


Academic Credit Policies

Activities, Practica, and Internships

The Communication program has adopted the following policies regarding academic credit for Communication activities, internships, and practica. Students should also view additional policies in the information packet available from the course administrators. No more than 12 credits of COMM 377 , COMM 409A , COMM 409B , COMM 409C   and COMM 410A , COMM 410B  , COMM 410C  may be applied to a Communication concentration. Credits accrued in COMM 377 , COMM 409A , COMM 409B , COMM 409C  and COMM 410A , COMM 410B , COMM 410C  beyond the first 12 will apply toward the 180 credits required for graduation, but not toward the major. No more than 20 credits of COMM 199 , COMM 377 , COMM 401 , COMM 405 COMM 409A , COMM 409B , COMM 409C  and COMM 410A , COMM 410B  , and COMM 410C  may be applied to the 68-credit minimum for the major. The remaining 48 credits must be earned through completion of formal classroom courses.

Activity Courses

Activity courses involve an on-campus communication activity approved by the Communication Department chair. Such activities include, but are not limited to, working for the University’s student newspaper or radio station, aiding a departmental faculty member as a teaching or research assistant, judging high school or SOU forensics tournaments, working on departmental and University publications or productions. Activity credits may be earned under COMM 377 .Students may:

  1. register for no more than 4 credits of COMM 377 per term but repeat it in subsequent terms for credit;
  2. apply no more than 6 credits of COMM 377 to their major; and
  3. register for no more than a total of 12 credits of COMM 377.

COMM 377 credits count toward the 68 communication credits required for the Communication major, but not toward the 28 upper division communication credits required for the major. Activity courses may not be taken for a letter grade without instructor consent.

Practica and Internships

Practicum credits are earned for off-campus communication internships. Students may earn practicum credits 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 /COMM 509 . Students may:

  1. register for no more than 4 credits of COMM 409 per term, but repeat it in subsequent terms for credit;
  2. apply no more than 6 credits of COMM 409 to the Communication major; and
  3. register for no more than a total of 15 credits of COMM 409.

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 new 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  .

Program Requirements