Communication | Course Catalogue

2020-2021 Catalogue

Communication scholarship seeks to understand the ways human beings use constructions such as texts, technology, relationships, and institutions to create meaning, share knowledge, develop power dynamics, and forge our understandings of reality. Our approach is to develop analytical, critical, and creative abilities in students within the context of the larger social, historical, and cultural dynamics that shape and influence collective human norms, values, and practices. 

The minor emphasizes communication theory and criticism. While a few courses do deal with communication skills, for the most part communication is not a skills-based discipline, but a discipline that focuses on the study of how human beings use symbols of various types (language, sounds, images, etc.) to create and share meaning in the process of the social construction of reality. Therefore, the communication minor focuses on theoretical, critical, and cultural studies of human symbolic practices in various contexts such as rhetorical studies, media and film studies, intercultural communication, and gender studies. Students pursuing a minor in communication will acquire a broad and deep understanding of communication theory, the ability to engage in informed criticism and analysis of communication acts and artifacts, develop critical thinking skills, and learn to practice effective communication. Students will study communication in multiple contexts and become effective evaluators of oral, written, and mediated texts. 

Minor Program. The department offers an 18 hour minor designed to supplement a variety of major fields of study across the liberal arts.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completing this program, a student will:

  1. appreciate differences of communicative norms, performances, and expectations in a variety of cultural situations & texts.
  2. be confident in their public speaking ability.
  3. understand symbol creation, meaning, and use in the process of the social construction of reality and cultural practices and dynamics. 
  4. learn how to successfully engage in the scholarship of the communication discipline at a scholarly level.
  5. be able use a theoretical lens to critically analyze an issue, process, or text in communication.

 

Minor Requirements: Communication. 18 semester hours are required for a minor in communication, distributed as follows:

  • Required courses (9 hours):
    • COM 202 Public Speaking 3 hours
    • One course from the following:
      • COM 214 Relational Communication 3 hours
      • COM 215 Introduction to Media Studies 3 hours
      • COM 216 Intercultural Communication 3 hours
    • One course from the following:
      • COM 305 Mediating Genders 3 hours
      • COM 338 Identity, Power, & Culture 3 hours
      • COM 340 Persuasion 3 hours
      • COM 355 Seminar in Cultural Texts 3 hours
  • Electives (9 hours):
    3 hours must be in COM
    3 hours must be at the 300 level
    • COM 214 Relational Communication 3 hours
    • COM 215 Introduction to Media Studies 3 hours
    • COM 216 Intercultural Communication 3 hours
    • POL 222 Comparative Politics 3 hours
    • PHI 224 Logic 3 hours
    • POL 230 International Relations 3 hours
    • PSY 235 Nature & Manifestation of Prejudice 3 hours
    • HUM 250 Technology & Society 3 hours
    • WGS 250 Global Feminisms 3 hours
    • ENG 300 Literature & Film 3 hours
    • ENG 302 Digital Culture 3 hours
    • COM/WGS 305 Mediating Genders 3 hours
    • PHI/REL 309 Modernism to Postmodernism 3 hours
    • COM/WGS 338 Identity, Power, & Culture  3 hours
    • COM 340 Persuasion 3 hours
    • COM 355 Seminar in Cultural Texts 3 hours
    • COM 396 Special Topics 3 hours
    • COM 451 Independent Study 3 hours
    • COM 199 or 452 Internship 1–3 hours
 
 

Communication (COM) Course Descriptions

COM 202: Public Speaking.
Goal: To provide students with the theory and practice of public address through a wide variety of experiences.
Content: Study of the principles of speaking from classical rhetoric to modern, cultural perspectives. Application of the principles and strategies for informative and persuasive processes and special-occasion events. Critical understandings and practice of evaluative analysis of presentations and ethics in speech situations.
Taught: Fall, Spring.
Gen. Ed. Category: Foundation Building; Speaking.
Credit: 3 hours.
 
COM 214: Relational Communication.
Goal: To explore and analyze diverse, strategic communication choices, and how they impact our self-concept, personal style, and effectiveness in a variety of situations.
Content: This course will focus on intrapersonal & interpersonal theories of self & relationships. It will center on personal identity & communicative style in a variety of situations such as friendship, family, romantic, group, & work contexts. Theoretical analysis will focus on relational development & dynamics, strategic choices & effectiveness, perceptions by & negotiation with others, intercultural differences, & the impact & use of in person & mediated networks.
Taught: Alternate years.
Gen. Ed. Category: Exploring; Individuals & Communities; (HUM).
Credit: 3 hours.
 
COM 215: Introduction to Media Studies.
Goal: To introduce students to the major theoretical, critical, and methodological approaches to media studies.
Content: Readings, discussion, and analysis of media texts and artifacts. Understanding the impact and influence of media in our lives as individuals, in society, and as a major cultural institution. Critical methodologies studied will include semiotics, structuralism and poststructuralism, cultural studies, ideological criticism, Marxist analysis, psychoanalytic criticism, sociological analysis, and feminist criticism.
Taught: Alternate years.
Gen. Ed. Category: Exploring; Individuals & Communities; (HUM).
Credit: 3 hours.

COM 216: Intercultural Communication.
Goal: To understand the similarities and differences in cultures' communication understandings, performances, and privileging.
Content: Focus on the social construction of positionality, power dynamics, and expectations of cultural identity: race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, social economic status, sex, gender, sexuality, (dis)ability, age, etc. Explore the transitioning, negotiating, and managing in the process of intercultural communication in relationships, groups, societies, media, and institutions.
Taught: Alternate Years.
Gen. Ed. Category: Synthesizing Perspectives; Diverse & Interdependent World; (HUM).
Credit: 3 hours.
 
HUM 250: Technology & Society.
Goal: To explore and analyze how technology is used and influences a culture. Topics may vary.
Content: Representational topics include social media, video gaming, religion and technology, media use/texts in a particular country, digital communities, etc. Students may take up to 6 credit hours if topics vary.
Taught: Offered occasionally.
Gen. Ed. Category: Synthesizing Perspectives; Diverse and Interdependent World; (HUM).
Credit: 3 hours.
 
COM 305: Mediating Genders.
Goal: To analyze mediated representations of gender from critical cultural and feminist theoretical perspectives.
Content: An advanced focus on media representations, this course will take an intersectional approach to understand the cross-influence & perception of gender expectations that intersect with other identities. Topics would include representations of race, queer identities, ages, (dis)abilities, nationalities, etc., violence in the media, stereotypes & tropes, etc. in a variety of media platforms.
Taught: Alternate years.
Gen. Ed. Category: Synthesizing Perspectives; Women’s Experiences; (HUM).
Credit: 3 hours; cross-listed as WGS 305.
 
COM 338: Identity, Power, & Culture.
Goal: To analyze societal position, ideology and dynamics from critical cultural and feminist theoretical perspectives.
Content: This course will focus on cultural, rhetorical discourses in the United States with a feminist, intersectional approach. Working through contemporary conversations & controversies with an eye to past positionality & knowledge creation, topics will include critical theory, the social construction of reality, race, class, queer, & citizen/immigrant identities as historical sites of oppression, & US ideology, narratives, & social change.
Taught: Alternate years.
Prerequisites: COM 214, COM 215, COM 216, WGS 200, or WGS 250. Or permission of instructor.
Credit: 3 hours; cross-listed as WGS 338.

COM 340: Persuasion.
Goal: To study the processes of persuasion and identification surrounding source, message, and audience through rhetorical and psychological lenses.
Content: Deconstruction of the strategies and choices available in communication situations in relational, societal, and textual contexts to become cognizant and ethical in our own (ab)use of persuasion. Intensive analysis and reconstruction of advertising, political, and social movements campaigns through a persuasive theoretical lens.
Taught: Alternate years.
Prerequisite: COM 103, COM 202, COM 214, COM 215, or COM 216 or permission of instructor.
Credit: 3 hours.
 
COM 355: Seminar in Cultural Texts.
Goal: To study a topic in communication focused on cultural texts. Topics will vary.
Content: Representative topics might include rhetorical criticism, reality television, social media, female action heroes in film, the cultural history of American popular music, media portrayals of sexuality, feminist rhetoricians, or the study of a rhetorical scholar or school of thought. Can be taken for up to 6 credits if different topics.
Taught: Offered occasionally.
Prerequisite: One COM course or permission of instructor.
Credit: 3 hours.

COM 396: Special Topics in Communication.
Goal: To offer courses on a communication topic not available in the curriculum.
Content: Dependent upon the subject matter.
Taught: Offered occasionally.
Prerequisite: One COM course or permission of instructor.
Credit: 3 hours.

COM 402: Senior Seminar in Communication.
Goal: To provide a capstone course in which students will develop a senior integrative project. To enable communication majors to apply their accumulated knowledge of communication and engage in critical analysis of a communication topic.
Content: Development of a comprehensive paper, portfolio, or project. All students will meet regularly as a group with communication faculty to assess, discuss, and critique their projects. Students will give an oral presentation of their projects at the end of the semester.
Taught: Annually.
Prerequisite: Senior status as declared communication major or permission of instructor.
Credit: 3 hours.

COM 451: Directed Independent Study.
Goal: To enable an intensive exploration of a topic in communication of special interest.
Content: Directed independent work of a on a topic in communication
Taught: Upon request of student, with approval of sponsoring faculty.
Prerequisite: Permission of program director.
Credit: 1-6 hours.

COM 452/199: Field Study.
Goal: To provide the student with intensive work experience in the field of communication.
Content: Observation and participation in the work of communication professionals.
Taught: Offered occasionally.
Prerequisites: Permission of advisor, program director, faculty sponsor, and the Director of Career Development.
Credit: 1-12 hours.

COM 499: Honors Thesis. (Fee required).

Calendar of Events

Wesleyan College is privileged to steward many arts and cultural events and share them with the community. Most are free and open to the public. Wesleyan art galleries are open M-F 1:30 – 5:00 PM and on Wesleyan Market Saturdays from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM.

View More

Visit our Campus

Tour our beautiful 200-acre campus featuring Georgian architecture, lush green spaces, recreational facilities, residence halls, and worship center.

View More

NCAA Division III Athletics

Wesleyan College is home to five NCAA Division III sports: soccer, basketball, volleyball, tennis, and softball. In addition, we offer an award-winning Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) Equestrian program.

View More

Join our email list