Communication Studies

Communication skills — speaking, writing and listening — are key to success in any career.  A communication degree from St. Catherine University prepares students for successful careers in fields as diverse as broadcasting, business, education, government, journalism, law, ministry, publishing and teaching.

The communication studies department helps students develop powers of clear explanation and persuasion. This curriculum combines theoretical analysis, research, ethics, practical application and personal assessment.

COMM 1000W Introduction to Communication: Women and Social Change — 4 credits

This course teaches key concepts in communication studies through the lens of women’s suffrage. Students will explore concepts within major areas of the discipline of communication studies including, gender identity, small group theory, rhetorical analysis, critical theory and media criticism. After developing a skill set in this area, students will apply learned concepts to develop a richer understanding of the role played by communication practices in women’s history. Also offered as WOST 1000W. Writing intensive. Offered in the College for Women and the College for Adults.

COMM 1020 Interpersonal Communication — 4 credits

Relationships are fundamental to achieving a good quality of life. This course explores the development of personal identity and highlights key communication factors like listening, language, and nonverbal behaviors to examine how communication impacts our relationships with other people. The influence of gender and culture is always present in relationships, and students will learn to think critically about how gender and culture shape interactions. Students will gain and demonstrate an advanced understanding of the dynamics that are fundamental to communication as they apply what they learn in class to approach their communication interactions in new and original ways. Offered in the College for Women and the College for Adults.

COMM 1030 Speaking to Lead and Influence — 4 credits

How is writing a speech different from writing a paper? Why does public speaking seem to come naturally to some, but not to others – or does it? Why are you so nervous? How do gendered norms impact your credibility as a female speaker? Undoubtedly, the ability to speak eloquently in a variety of settings is a vital component of contemporary leadership. This course is designed to introduce students to the skills needed to communicate effectively in a variety of public settings – from interview situations and boardroom meetings to public speeches and social contexts. The course will focus on the practical application of rhetorical concepts, while maintaining an emphasis on self-empowerment and civic engagement. Readings and assignments are designed to foster the following skills: choosing effective speech topics, writing, outlining, and editing speech text, delivery and eloquence, audience analysis, ethics, language and structure, evaluation and criticism of speech texts. Offered in the College for Women and the College for Adults.

COMM 2000 Foundations in Leadership — 4 credits

Grounded in the St. Catherine University Leadership Statement, this course explores historical and philosophical discussions of leadership as well as leadership theory as an interdisciplinary area of study. Students will be expected to comprehend and apply leadership theories and approaches through class exercises, case studies, and through working with a local organization. Self-reflection is a critical aspect of the course and as such students will complete multiple inventories as well as a series of reflections that will be compiled into personal portfolio. Finally, students will also compose a professional portfolio of their previous curricular and co-curricular leadership experience, their plan for continued leadership development, as well as the prospective challenges and/or opportunities. This is the introductory course to the minor in Leadership. Offered in the College for Women.
Prerequisite: CORE 1000W.

COMM 2050 Media, Culture and Society — 4 credits

Why does the Daily Show matter? How does the medium of the cell phone increase the quantity of communication while decreasing the quality? Why do we design our living rooms around the television? What is the responsibility of a media critic? How does cultural context impact meaning? How are issues of gender, race, sexuality and class negotiated in contemporary media? In what ways do media impact identity? Why study the media, anyway? These are some of the key questions guiding our exploration of media, culture and society. This class introduces some key concepts and theories for the study of media, provides a historical backdrop for the emergence of cultural critique, and surveys some of the current trends in media and cultural studies, promoting a critical consumption of the cultural texts that infiltrate our increasingly mediated lives. Also offered as WOST 2051. Offered in the College for Women and the College for Adults.

COMM 2090 Small Group Communication — 4 credits

Life is one long group project. Learning how to work effectively in a small group is fundamental to communicating well in work, community, and personal contexts. In this course, students will gain skills to effectively work with peers, combining talents and ideas to produce outcomes that are better than those created through individual efforts. As they both consider the theories of small group communication and experience the day-to-day interactions of working on a group project, students will apply course concepts to refine their own communication and behaviors as they interact skillfully with others. The class focuses on topics such as role emergence, decision-making, conflict resolution, and group culture. Offered in the College for Women.
Prerequisite: COMM 1030.

COMM 2994 Topics: — 4 credits

The subject matter of the course is announced in the annual schedule of classes. Content varies from year to year but does not duplicate existing courses.

COMM 3030 Rhetoric, Civic Participation and Social Justice — 4 credits

What does it mean to be a citizen? What are your duties and responsibilities as citizens? How should you seek to actively engage the world around you? How can citizens participate in society in order to change society? This class answers these questions by examining the role of public discourse in constituting public decisions and public life. Students will examine how rhetorical practices contribute to the construction, maintenance and destruction of community. By the end of class students will have learned to become a more active and effective participant in our democratic culture through rhetorical action, and thereby to contribute to the improvement of civic discourse in our society. To achieve this overarching goal, class assignments will require students to research controversial public issues, develop their opinions in relation to those issues, and create strategic plans through which they can initiate social change. Offered in the College for Women.
Prerequisite: Junior standing.

COMM 3070W Gender and Rhetoric — 4 credits

This course takes a critical approach the study of gender and sex and, as such, explores not only the social construction of gender but also how these constructions are constructed, maintained, and/or transformed. Gender will be explored as it is constituted and functions in the institutions of education, religion, the workplace, and media. This course aims to develop the student’s awareness of gender so as to be a more critical consumer of messages about gender and sex as well as conscientious of how one’s own performances of gender intersect with and/or challenge cultural norms. Throughout, students are encouraged to also be a mindful of the role of social justice in the context of gender studies and gender equality. Students will engage in small and large-group discussion, informal writing, as well as a research paper. Also offered as WOST 3070W. Offered in the College for Women.
Prerequisites: COMM 1030 and 2090 for COMM majors. For non-majors, instructor approval.

COMM 3090 Communication in Organizations — 4 credits

This course examines organizational communication as a liberal art and as a useful body of knowledge and practice. Students will gain a competent understanding of relevant foundational theory within the discipline regarding historical approaches to organizing, organizational culture, leadership communication, and identity in organizations. Students will apply both social scientific and interpretive/critical approaches in exercises and communication analyses to create and implement a vision for organizational change. This course strives to balance attention to descriptive knowledge—understanding and articulating why things work the way they do—and prescriptive knowledge—understanding how to improve communication and, ultimately, the organization. Offered in the College for Women.
Prerequisites: COMM 1030 and COMM 2090.

COMM 3100 Communicating across Cultures, Identities and Differences — 4 credits

In the 21st century, individuals continue to be marginalized because of their differences. The existence of racism, sexism, homophobia and religious discrimination indicate that the categories separating individuals from one another fuel acts of hatred, oppression and degradation. This class studies how communication plays a significant role in the construction of cultures, identities and differences. Through such an inquiry students will learn how social, political, economic, racial, sexual, cultural and geographic differences impact the process of communication and consequently, cause conflict between groups and individuals that belong to different social categories. Through studying how cultures, identities and differences impact communication, students will develop strategies for effectively and ethically participating in an increasingly diverse cultural landscape. Also offered as WOST 3101 and CRST 3101. Prerequisite: Junior standing or higher.
Prerequisite: Junior standing or higher. Offered in the College for Women and the College for Adults.

COMM 3110 Communication Training and Development — 4 credits

This class will be of interest to anyone who wants to better understand how to assist individuals in organizations in communicating with others more effectively. In the first part of the class, students will learn how to design communication workshops for a variety of audiences. The second part of the course is designed to teach students how to assess communication problems in organizations. Finally, students learn how to intervene in situations to resolve communication-related problems.
Prerequisites: COMM 1030, COMM 2090 or consent of instructor.

COMM 4000 Leadership Capstone — 2 credits

This is the capstone course to the minor in Leadership. As such, it requires students to organize and reflect on their leadership experiences in and outside of the classroom. Working with either CWL or the internship office, facilitated by the professor, students will participate in a leadership project outside of class in which they will be expected to apply and reflect on the leadership tools they have acquired. The leadership project will serve as the capstone project in the professional and personal portfolios. Students will also complete the Kouzes and Posner Leadership Assessment and compare and reflect on the assessments from the Foundations course (COMM 2000) as well as personal reflections completed as part of the course.
Prerequisite: COMM 2000 and junior or senior status.

COMM 4600 Leadership and the Art of Persuasion — 4 credits

This course studies the practice of leadership communication from within the framework of persuasive, effective, ethical and enduring leadership. By studying the communication practices of female leaders in the cultural, political, business and intellectual sectors of society and by focusing on the unique challenges faced by these leaders as women in particular, this course provides practical examples of different forms of effective leadership particularly well-suited to the St. Kate's student. To provide students with a foundation through which they can begin to act as leaders in their daily lives, these practical examples are discussed in conjunction with theories of leadership, persuasion and argumentation. Also offered as CRST 4600 and WOST 4600. Offered in the College for Women and the College for Adults.
Prerequisites: for majors: COMM 3070W, COMM 3090. For nonmajors: instructor permission. Senior standing for all students.

COMM 4602 Internship — 2 credits

This structured out-of-class learning experience takes place on or off campus and includes a substantial work component. An internship involves students in a particular profession in an exploratory way to test career interests and potential. To initiate an internship experience, meet with the internship coordinator in the Career Development Office.
Prerequisites: Faculty sponsorship and approval by department chair; COMM 1030, COMM 2090.

COMM 4604 Internship — 4 credits

This structured out-of-class learning experience takes place on or off campus and includes a substantial work component. An internship involves students in a particular profession in an exploratory way to test career interests and potential. To initiate an internship experience, meet with the internship coordinator in the Career Development Office.
Prerequisites: Faculty sponsorship and approval by department chair; COMM 1030, COMM 2090.

COMM 4682 Directed Study — 2 credits

COMM 4684 Directed Study — 4 credits

Directed study is provided for students whose unusual circumstances prohibit taking a regularly scheduled course but who need the material of that course to satisfy a requirement. Availability of this faculty-directed learning experience depends on faculty time and may be limited in any given term and restricted to certain courses.
Prerequisites: Faculty, department chair and dean approval.

COMM 4850 Senior Seminar — 2 credits

Senior seminar invites students to explore the communication studies major, examining how their work has changed them personally and prepared them for professional life. Discussion and sharing among the participants of the seminar are stressed. A central goal of the course is for students to document how they meet departmental outcome goals. Students combine elements from previous portfolios (COMM 1030, COMM 4600, CORE 1000W and CORE 3990W) with new work (reflective essay, career development assessments, career plans, cover letters, resumes, etc.) in a culminating document that demonstrates competency in oral and written communication and information and technology proficiency. This senior seminar is required for communication studies majors. Offered in the College for Women and the College for Adults.
Prerequisites: COMM 3070W and COMM 3090, Senior standing.

COMM 4952 Independent Study — 2 credits

Project may build upon experience gained in any course in the department.
Prerequisites: Instructor and department chair permission; COMM 1030, COMM 2090.

COMM 4954 Independent Study — 4 credits

Project may build upon experience gained in any course in the department.
Prerequisites: Instructor and department chair permission; COMM 1030, COMM 2090.

COMM 4992 Topics — 2 credits

The subject matter of the course is announced in the annual schedule of classes. Content varies from year to year but does not duplicate existing courses.

COMM 4994 Topics — 4 credits

Seminars invite students to explore a particular issue in depth. Students undertake a major research project under the supervision of the instructor. Discussion and sharing among the participants of the seminar is stressed. When offered, the specialized content area is highlighted in a subtitle, and the relevant prerequisites are listed in the course schedule. The subject matter of the course is announced in the annual schedule of classes. Content varies from year to year but does not duplicate existing courses. Offered in the College for Women and the College for Adults.