Spring 2016 Courses

View a full list of Communication Studies courses.

Question: Is it true that only CMST 393 counts as an Application Course?

Answer: No, there are many other classes that count as Application courses.

Application courses are advanced courses in which students "apply" communication concepts, theories and research methods to address "real world" issues/problems in concrete contexts. They range in subject matter and conceptual content, yet remain consistent with our departmental mission in social justice, requiring students to apply their knowledge for the purpose of sustaining a more humane and livable world. Application courses are creative and/or theoretical in focus in the critique and/or production of persuasive messages (in oral, written, visual, or electronic form) adapted to target audiences to accomplish ethical and effective change. Students learn to analyze communication messages, understand the relationship between communication, audience, and context, and demonstrate a commitment to cultivating critical thinking skills about the complex role of communication in society locally and globally. Application courses may also offer student opportunities to develop their group and community-oriented communication skills by working in teams or partnering with organizations on and/or off-campus in service learning contexts or internships.

There are many other classes that count as Application courses. Any of the 6 courses below will also meet the graduation requirement.

* Note: CMST 331, CMST 398 and CMST 491 do not count as one of the 6 required Application Courses. However, these are counted as upper division university electives.

  • CMST 330 - Advanced Forensics

    CMST 330 is an advanced course in argumentation and debate in which students apply communication concepts, theories and research methods to address "real world" issues and problems in concrete contexts. In this course, successful students will be expected to analyze and adapt their messages based on specific audiences and contexts, capitalizing on their understanding of the complex and dynamic relationships between communicators, their messages, and their audiences in contexts which are challenging and time-bound. Students will be engaged in study of contemporary social, political, economic, and cultural issues. As debaters, students will be required to develop their group and community-oriented skills by working in teams on and off campus, and travelling to intercollegiate debate competitions as required and possible. Debate by its nature, sharpens student's appreciation of the value of understanding multiple perspectives on issues, the importance of reflection on the underlying premises on which these perspectives are grounded, and the necessity to think critically about one's own value system. Further, debate teaches students to value the learning process, acknowledging that no one can know all there is to know and that all are ignorant of information that will enhance our capacity to understand more fully why someone else has come to a different conclusion about the facts and values being debated.

  • CMST 335 - Gender Communication

    This course provides an examination of the communication styles of males and females in a variety of settings. Course surveys gender similarities and differences in verbal and nonverbal communication with an emphasis on how males and females perceive the world and how these perceptions affect the human communication process.

  • CMST 336 - Intercultural Communication

    This course examines basic concepts, principles and skills for understanding the relationship between persons and culture and for improving communication between persons from different cultural backgrounds.

  • CMST 385 - Political Communication

    The act of deliberation is the act of reflecting carefully on a matter weighing the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions to a problem. It aims to arrive at a decision or judgment based not only on facts and data but also on values, emotions, and other less technical considerations. Though a solitary individual can deliberate, it more commonly means making decisions together, as a small group, an organization, or a nation. This course takes a unique approach to the field of political communication by viewing key concepts and research through the lens of deliberative democracy theory. This course focuses on how communication is central to democratic self-governance primarily because of its potential to facilitate public deliberation. You will also be exposed to how citizens, government officials, elites, think tanks, the media, infotainment, and campaign ads influence public deliberation. This course counts as an applied communication course, which means that you will go beyond reading about deliberation to actually participating in public deliberation. You will participate in four public class debates, attend a city council public deliberation, as well as research and participate in your own moderated debate on a present controversial issue.

  • CMST 386 - Rhetoric of Social Movements

    The purpose of this course is to facilitate a critical and practical awareness of rhetoric's relationship to social change. As such, this class is both theoretical and practical. This class will analyze individual and group rhetorical strategies and tactics, and consider the utility of these strategies in relation to groups that are attempting to create social change.

  • CMST 387 - Communication & Legal Practice

    This course brings the legal trial to the classroom, providing students an opportunity to incorporate an array of communication principles and skills with the experience of trial practice. Students are introduced progressively to key aspects of communication and litigation and participate in exercises that culminate in mock trials before a jury.

  • CMST 393 - Topical Seminars in Communication Studies

    Offerings may vary each semester based on the expertise of individual professors. Students may repeat this course providing the subject matter is not the same.

    Application Courses

    Family Communication

    This course examines aspects of interpersonal and relational communication within the context of the family system. Topics including family identity and the creation of shared family meanings, family intimacy, family roles, family power dynamics, managing family conflict and family stress, and intergenerational family relationships are investigated through the lens of the family communication system.

    Media & Marketing Communication

    This course provides a comprehensive introduction to integrated marketing communications, media selection and campaign execution. Students will learn the elements of a successful strategic communications plan by evaluating advertising, public relations and marketing silos and their impact on motivating target audiences. In this course, students will learn to evaluate audience demographics and apply appropriate communication channels and messages based upon audience needs and the business realities of marketing campaigns. A key course objective is to gain an understanding of how to propose and implement an integrated marketing communications plan from the viewpoints of advertising agencies, businesses and nonprofit entities.

    The Rhetoric of Women

    This course provides the opportunity to explore and analyze rhetorical texts created by women in a variety of contexts and for a range of purposes. The overall goal of the course is to examine the ways in which women develop and use rhetoric to function in, challenge, and change the world. Various texts including writing, speaking, visual and performing arts, as well as media forms will be sued to understand rhetorical situations, concerns and goals of women. Students will gain an understanding of feminist perspectives on communication as a foundation for critically questioning, evaluating and re-envision the nature of communication in our socially constructed world. In this course, gender is viewed as a lens, platform, and position that significantly affects and can radically transform our personal, local, and global lives. Particular attention will be given to the ways in which gender and gender issues intersect with race, class, and sexuality.

    Sexualities & Organizational Communication

    This course develops and facilitates learners' critical knowledge of the intersections between sexualities, organizations, and communication. Over the course of the semester, we will build a queer understanding of sexuality and organizational communication that is guided by the question, "what would it mean to embody a sexual ethics of organizing?" Building upon theoretical approaches to organizational communication, this course lays an anti-foundational understanding of sexuality, or rather we will come to know sexualities as strange, plural achievements that are lived and embodied within a contested terrain of history, culture, power, and labor. Our anti-foundation will serve as a basis and locomotion for our collective development of a queer theory of organizational communication, allowing us to explore and challenge this asexual myth of organizing, the dangers and damages of sexual harassment, as well as the pathology of particular passions in organizations.

    Culture, Crime & Punishment

    This course examines cultural constructions of crime and punishment. Although the course focuses primarily on the U.S. criminal justice system, we will attend to the prison industrial complex's global reach. Indeed, the "war on terror" has given rhetoric of "law and order" renewed traction. Consequently, the course gives students the opportunity to examine one of the most pressing social issues of our time. Although relevant to students interested in studying law, the course argues that a purely legal response to the era of mass incarceration is inadequate. Instead, what is necessary is a more nuanced public debate, one that is in dialogue with the moral critiques of society hailing from prisoners, along with a willingness to advocate on behalf of a population many, including human and civil rights advocates, consider undeserving of basic rights: prisoners. We will focus our study of cultural constructions of crime and punishment in three different rhetorical cultures: public discourse, prisoners' discourse, and prison activism discourse.

    These three arenas map onto the three units of the course:

    1. Crime & Punishment in the Cultural Imagination
    2. Crime & Punishment in the Prisoners' Imagination
    3. From Criminal Justice to Transformative Justice

    Pro-Social Communication

    This course will identify pro-social behavior and communication, contrast it with anti-social norms, and focus on the values inherent in the caring, sharing, and ways of building relationships and communities with an emphasis on the possibilities for both individual and collective growth and well-being. Emphasis will be on the understanding of both individual and group behaviors that promote effective and cooperative pro-social communication.

    Spiritualism & Loving Relationships

    In this course, students will learn the complicated dimensions of communication in loving relationships from a spiritual perspective. Exploring the nature of communication in any kind of loving relationship from a spiritual perspective, whether with parents and children, between siblings, or between romantic partners, will help bring about spiritual enrichment and transformation in our relationships with our family friends and lovers. The aim of this course is to explore ways to become better communicators by being grounded in spiritualism. It will seek to broaden the horizons of our minds and enrich our spiritual lives in our daily encounters with our loved ones. It is hoped that this course will not only lead us to a deeper experience and understanding of ourselves but also enable each one to be enriched and be inspired to search for more meaningful ways to communicate with our loved ones that will involve introspection, contemplation and action.

    Mediation & Communication

    When thinking about the legal profession, many people think about the courtroom as the primary focus of action. But the reality is that far more cases settle out of court, often by resorting to mediation or other alternative dispute resolution (ADR) practices. Mediation is a process that depends on a great deal of communication savvy; whether you are participating as the mediator, a lawyer, or as a client, understanding the communication principles that are at work in the give-and-take of mediation can help you achieve more satisfying results. In this class we will focus on principles of negotiation, based on a communicative understanding of conflict, persuasion, and situation analysis. We will then apply those principles to a mediation context—which will sharpen the general negotiation skills with an eye toward the legal issues (discovery, authority, agency, confidentiality, etc.) that sometimes complicate the mediation process. This class will rely heavily on a learning- by-doing approach. You will be asked to prepare for and participate in simulation exercises that push you to enact the principles you are learning about. You will take turns "playing" the part of the lawyer, the client, and the mediator. You will experience what it is like not to have "all the information" about the players and to have "secrets" that you are trying to protect from discovery. You will be asked to negotiate deals that involve financial, familial/personal, and professional concerns. Preparation for these simulations is essential, as is regular attendance at all class meetings!

    Entertainment Management & Communication

    A "product" of the entertainment business can be a combination of many elements not simply film, television, music etc. Exploiting a product's potential in licensing, retail, theme parks, games etc. are all part of measuring its success. Along with our awareness of these "traditional" media, the relatively new world of digital media as a source of original entertainment, new marketing concepts and a whole host of capabilities facilitated by the internet has opened a "world" of opportunities that can even be under an individual's control. Entertainment Management will begin by focusing on the traditional organizational "models" in order to describe various structures and the functions of typical executives/managers within their organizations and within the industry. As we move forward we will also focus on the digital media world and how each of these media compliment themselves and stand-alone. We will accomplish this in a variety of ways: through lecture; inviting industry professionals to our classroom; by readings and observation of today's entertainment world; with a series of assignments to emphasize and underscore what we have learned from the foregoing.

    Media Criticism

    Noting the importance to "decode" and respond to the connections between media, culture and politics, this class features "films," documentaries and movies, that touch on the most important political, moral, and social issues of our time.

    New Media & Globalization

    In this course, students will first be introduced to key international communication theories and will then be asked to consider whether the introduction of Web 2.0, inexpensive mobile technology and other recent digital media advances are reinforcing or disrupting existing patterns of globalization.

    Communication & Work Life Balance

    This course examines the paradox of work-life balance in the lives of workers who are parents, adult caregivers of aging parents, spouses, significant others, and friends who juggle work and their personal lives. With the boundaries between work and home becoming more and more permeable, work and personal relationships and responsibilities become more complex. In this course we examine the discourses of work-life management in regards to everyday practices as well as organizational policies, the relational level and the organizational level. As employees experience the sometimes difficult juggling act, organizations experience decreases in workers' effectiveness and increases tardiness, absenteeism, and stress levels. The balancing act is a complex negotiation of multiple needs at work and at home. One of the balancing tools we will discuss is the use of technology to accommodate workers need to telecommute. Mobile phones, tablets, and laptops make working from home possible in simultaneously beneficial and disadvantageous ways.

  • CMST 398 - Upper Division Elective Courses

    These courses are not Application courses. These are Upper Division Electives only.

    Popular Culture & the Law

    This course will examine the relationship between varying forms of modern and historical media, and American Jurisprudence. We will explore the depiction and role of lawyers, jurors and litigants, as well differing genders, ethnic and socio-economic groups in the law. Students will study texts, film and other productions, and participate in interactive lectures and written analysis of ethical issues, the legal process and social justice.

    Mediation & Communication

    When thinking about the legal profession, many people think about the courtroom as the primary focus of action. But the reality is that far more cases settle out of court, often by resorting to mediation or other alternative dispute resolution (ADR) practices. Mediation is a process that depends on a great deal of communication savvy; whether you are participating as the mediator, a lawyer, or as a client, understanding the communication principles that are at work in the give-and-take of mediation can help you achieve more satisfying results. In this class we will focus on principles of negotiation, based on a communicative understanding of conflict, persuasion, and situation analysis. We will then apply those principles to a mediation context which will sharpen the general negotiation skills with an eye toward the legal issues (discovery, authority, agency, confidentiality, etc.) that sometimes complicate the mediation process. This class will rely heavily on a learning-by-doing approach. You will be asked to prepare for and participate in simulation exercises that push you to enact the principles you are learning about. You will take turns "playing" the part of the lawyer, the client, and the mediator. You will experience what it is like not to have "all the information" about the players and to have "secrets" that you are trying to protect from discovery. You will be asked to negotiate deals that involve financial, familial/personal, and professional concerns. Preparation for these simulations is essential, as is regular attendance at all class meetings!

  • CMST 490 - Communication Practicum I

    Note: This course can no longer be repeated. Students who are interested in applied internship may consider 491 as an "upper division elective."

    Communication Practicum is a hybrid CMST application class that provides students with an opportunity to gain practical experience in a communication related field in preparation for obtaining a position after graduation. This course provides an opportunity for directed experiences in applying the principles and skills of communication theory while performing specific tasks in the workplace. Students will engage in self- exploration, career search, goal and objectives development, resume and cover letter construction, employment and informational interview methods, and interpersonal skills development. Students will be able to continue to explore and develop career interests and talents while participating in the internship setting, experience networking, and learn transferable workplace skills. Students will understand the value of learning in the internship setting further through reflective writing throughout the semester.

    As a hybrid class students meet once a week for 75 minutes, participate virtually in an online discussion board, and intern for a minimum of 80 hours during the semester. Internships are subject to instructor approval. This class may be taken once as an application and is a prerequisite for CMST 491. Flags: Engaged Learning and Oral Skills.

  • CMST 491 - Communication Practicum II: Strategic Communication in the Workplace

    (Prerequisite: CMST 490)

    Building on students' knowledge of how to conduct information- gathering interviews and to interview effectively for a job, the student will learn to structure and conduct job and appraisal interviews. Other topic areas will include leading at work, giving and receiving constructive criticism, mentoring relationships, group communication strategies, planning and running meetings, negotiation, conflict resolution, time management, PowerPoint and Prezi presentations, effective writing for business, and seminar facilitation. Students will develop their interests, hone their talents, and practice transferable workplace skills while participating in the internship setting.

  • CMST 495 - Senior Thesis

    The student must obtain the written approval of the faculty member directing the thesis project and the Department Chairperson the semester prior to writing the thesis.