2022-2023 Graduate Bulletin

Communication (COMN)


COMN 3130 Organizational Communication (4 Credits)

This is an applied course, service learning course, based on a consulting model. While the course will extend and enrich the topical and theoretical knowledge developed in COMN 1550 and COMN 2130, the primary purpose of this course will be to help students explore how they can put such knowledge into practice by collectively working with a local non-profit organization to first diagnose and then propose (and, in some cases implement) solutions to an organizational communication problem faced by that organization.

COMN 3230 Principles of Leadership (4 Credits)

Roles, functions, behaviors that influence and direct; emphasis on interpersonal effectiveness; theories and methods.

COMN 3270 Health Communication (4 Credits)

This course examines the role of health communication in our everyday lives. We will focus on communication strategies that inform and influence individuals, families and communities in decisions that enhance health. We will also explore the dynamics and impact of health communication between individuals and the health care system such as doctor-patient communication, dissemination of health related information, and the role of mediated communication in examining health communication.

COMN 3280 Family Communication (4 Credits)

The purpose of this course is to enhance understanding about communication patterns within families. In this course, we will examine theory/research on the role of communication in creating and maintaining healthy marriages and families. Specifically, we will study communication and the family life cycle, different family forms, family race/ethnicity, power in families, conflict in families, communication and stress in families, and communication in the aging family. The course format includes lectures, discussions, analysis of case studies, and in class applications.

COMN 3285 Advanced Relational Communication (4 Credits)

Advanced Relational Communication is intended to increase understanding of relationships from diverse perspectives. The three main perspectives we will investigate show how relationships affect and are affected by their context, the individuals involved, and the relational system. The goals of this course are for students to increase their skill in (1) explaining how knowledge about context, individuals, and relational systems increases understanding of communication processes in a variety of relationships; (2) evaluating critically the information about relationships that we encounter in our everyday lives; (3) asking and investigating questions about real-life relationships.

COMN 3290 Communication and Aging (4 Credits)

In this course, we will focus on the communication processes associated with aging. We will explore the implications of aging and how aging affects the process and outcomes social and relational interactions. We will examine communication and aging through interactional processes (intrapersonal, interpersonal and relational) and through context (organization, family, health, and culture). Emphasis will be placed on the theoretical and applied research in communication and aging.

COMN 3300 Principles of Persuasion (4 Credits)

This course involves a social scientific approach to persuasion and social influence. Some of the topics included in this approach are the relationship between attitude and behavior; characteristics of the source, message, and receiver of a persuasive appeal; and models and theories that explain the effects of persuasive communication. By the end of the course, students should be able to think more critically about the persuasive messages they encounter in everyday life, to apply theoretical models of persuasion, and to construct persuasive messages.

COMN 3315 Public Deliberation (4 Credits)

During the last two decades public deliberation has emerged as the centerpiece of theoretical and practical accounts of liberal democracy. This course begins by setting out the nature and functions of public deliberation. We will then track how deliberative democrats respect the traditional accounts of inclusion, equality and reason in an attempt to meet the demands of the deep cultural diversity that marks social life in advanced industrial societies. Specifically we will ask if public deliberation as portrayed in these accounts is sufficient to meet these demands or do we need to expand our understanding of political argument to include a diversity of rhetorical practices? And, once we do expand our account of deliberation how does this transform the traditional problematics of both democratic and rhetorical theory?.

COMN 3425 Rhetoric and Governance (4 Credits)

An introduction to the works of Michel Foucault and his influence on contemporary rhetorical theory. Permission of instructor is required.

COMN 3435 Rhetoric and Public Life (4 Credits)

An introduction to the conceptual and political history of the public sphere. The course pays particular attention to how the normative assumptions of public communication are affected by the demands of cultural pluralism. Permission from instructor is required.

COMN 3470 Seminar in Free Speech (4 Credits)

This course will survey some of the major conceptual innovations in the justifications of freedom of speech. We will begin with an exploration of the traditional defenses of free speech and then move to a reexamination of those defenses in light of modern communication theory and the challenges of pluralism. In particular we will ask if the justifications of free speech need to be rethought given our understanding of speech as a social force that constitutes identities and values rather than merely expressing private opinions. Moreover, given our understanding of the social force of speech, should we regulate speech that is racist, sexist and seems to erode the foundations of a public culture based on mutual respect and public deliberation over social goods? Can we devise a robust defense of free speech based on its social force that both protects those that may be harmed by antidemocratic discourses and still provides the resources for democratic dissent?.

COMN 3680 Gender and Communication (4 Credits)

This course focuses on the interactive relationships between gender and communication in contemporary U.S. society. This implies three priorities for the class. First, the course explores the multiple ways communication creates and perpetuates gender roles in families, media, and society in general. Second, the course considers how we enact socially created gender differences in public and private settings and how this affects success, satisfaction, and self-esteem. Third, the course connects theory and research to our personal lives. Throughout the quarter, the course considers not only what IS in terms of gender roles, but also what might be and how we, as change agents, may act to improve our individual and collective lives. Cross listed with GWST 3680, HCOM 3680.

COMN 3700 Topics in Communication (1-4 Credits)

COMN 3701 Topics in Communication (1-4 Credits)

COMN 3702 Topics in Communication (1-4 Credits)

COMN 3703 Topics in Communication (1-4 Credits)

COMN 3704 Topics in Communication (1-4 Credits)

COMN 3705 Topics in Communication (1-4 Credits)

COMN 3770 Mediated Communication and Relationships (4 Credits)

This course examines how people develop, define, maintain, and manage interpersonal relationships through their use of mediated communication. We will examine communication in relationships that occur through the internet, text-messaging, cell phones, chat rooms, gaming, and virtual communities. This is a seminar type course where students guide and are guided through their own study of mediated relationships.

COMN 3800 Philosophies of Dialogue (4 Credits)

This course explores the philosophies of dialogue of Martin Buber, Mikhail Bakhtin and others in the context of contemporary communication scholarship on ethics, culture, and relationship. Prerequisite: permission of instructor.

COMN 3850 Communication Ethics (4 Credits)

This class is not just about how to be ethical communicators but it is also about how to discover ethics--the good life and care for others, answerability and responsibility--deep within the structures of human communication itself. The course is committed to a mixture of theory and practice but practice is at the heart of the matter. Half of our sessions will be devoted to dialogue or conversation about ethics in life. There we will try to work as close as we can with ethics in our own lived experience. In the other half, we will explore theory: the ethical/philosophical/communicative ground of ethics.

COMN 3991 Independent Study (1-5 Credits)

COMN 3995 Independent Research (1-10 Credits)

Topics and quarter hours vary. Prerequisite: instructor's permission.

COMN 4020 Communication Studies: Relational (4 Credits)

Recent social science literature in interpersonal communication; emphasis on pragmatics, meta-level perspectives, relational concerns affecting intimacies, friendships, families.

COMN 4120 Comparative Theories in Human Communication (4 Credits)

Selected efforts to construct theories of human communication; lectures, discussions, student presentations of analysis of readings.

COMN 4232 Critical Sexuality Studies (4 Credits)

This course takes a critical approach to the study of sexualities by challenging our assumptions and everyday knowledges about identities, gender, sexuality, race, and ethnicity. This course is organized around important and recent publications in the fields of Communication Studies and Sexuality Studies. Rather than simply reiterating the canonical voices such as Foucault and Butler, the course focuses on the voices of queer people of color.

COMN 4310 Communication and Collaboration (4 Credits)

A survey of contemporary theories and applications.

COMN 4520 Rhetoric and Social Movement (4 Credits)

This course is designed to survey the range of humanistic/critical scholarship on social movement in Communication Studies. Whether it has approached “social movements” from a rhetorical perspective, or analyzed the rhetoric within and surrounding social change, social movement rhetoric scholarship is characterized by major theoretical debates. These debates will help focus the seminar’s inquiry, and are summarized by the following questions: Are the received tools of rhetorical theory capable of making sense of the (often) non-normative, un-institutionalized expressions of dissent associated with social change? How are scholars to evaluate the ethics and impacts of social movement rhetoric, given its “inherent” nature as challenging to the status quo? What is a social movement, and what is rhetoric’s proper relationship to it? Is the figure of the “social movement” the most insightful means of understanding social change? What is at stake in retaining or abandoning the “social movement” in rhetorical criticism that seeks to understand and evaluate social change?.

COMN 4700 Topics in Communication (1-4 Credits)

COMN 4701 Topics in Communication (1-4 Credits)

COMN 4702 Topics in Communication (1-4 Credits)

COMN 4703 Topics in Communication (1-4 Credits)

COMN 4704 Topics in Communication (1-4 Credits)

COMN 4705 Topics in Communication (1-4 Credits)

COMN 4800 Philosophies of Dialogue (4 Credits)

This course explores the philosophies of dialogue of Martin Buber, Mikhail Bakhtin and others in the context of contemporary communication scholarship on ethics, culture, and relationship.

COMN 4900 Quantitative Methods I (4 Credits)

Lectures, readings, written assignments that facilitate growth and development of the research scholar.

COMN 4913 Rhetorical Criticism (4 Credits)

Like other research methods in communication studies, rhetorical criticism is a means: It is a pathway through which you may reach a desired end, as well as a set of tools with which you may shape your final work. However, following Nothstine, Blair, and Copeland (1994), “criticism is a process”—a pathway which “rarely travels a straight line to its end” (p. 343), and a toolkit which arrives with ambiguous instructions (at best) for how to make use of its contents to assemble a research project. In the humanistic tradition, rhetorical criticism is an art motivated by the critic’s vision and guided by her or his deftness, ingenuity, and perseverance. Moreover, rhetorical criticism is a practical endeavor inspired by important public events of the day and the critic’s desire to persuade. The significance of rhetorical criticism is born in public dialogue or debate. In the wake of the “critical turn,” rhetorical criticism not only inspires academic colloquia. Through it, critics pursue democracy and social justice. In conversation with performance studies and ethnography, rhetorical critics have started to embrace self-reflexivity, and writing as a method of inquiry (not simply the “reporting on” inquiry once it is “done”). Given its rich scholarly history, and its fluidity as a research method, one could imagine several different ways to approach a seminar in rhetorical criticism. Such a course might use hermeneutics (or the art of interpretation) as its guide, encouraging participants to engage a text and arrive at its deeper meanings. It might take a skills-based approach, cultivating the necessary techniques of the critic, including the abilities to: locate interesting and important rhetorical acts; closely analyze a rhetorical act’s symbolic action and richly describe it to readers; contextualize a rhetorical act to invite a deeper understanding of its significance; and place a rhetorical act in conversation with relevant theory to generate productive insights into the human condition. A seminar in rhetorical criticism might also take a historical approach, attending to the ways rhetorical theory has shaped criticism as a method—such an approach would introduce the range of theoretical “tools” available to critics as they approach different rhetorical acts. At the risk (and with the benefits) of complexity, we will draw upon each of these possibilities, enacting an “inventional” approach to rhetorical criticism.

COMN 4930 Speech and Communication Research - Qualitative Methods (4 Credits)

Grounded theory, phenomenology and other non-numerical approaches to research in human interaction.

COMN 4990 Graduate Tutorial in Communication Studies (2 Credits)

In this course, students will closely engage in scholarly work with a faculty member, with the intention to foster collaboration on mutually beneficial topics. This close collaboration can take many forms, and much like an independent study, it will be designed by faculty and students together. Such collaboration may include: deeper reading of the literature in a particular communicative context; advancing a research project toward presentation and publication (through data collection, data analysis, or/and manuscript revision); pedagogical development (through the development of syllabi, assignments, teaching materials, and educational philosophy). Students will deepen their knowledge base on a topic of significance in the field, advancing scholarly, pedagogical, and/or creative work.

COMN 4991 Independent Study (1-10 Credits)

COMN 4995 Independent Research (1-10 Credits)

COMN 5991 Independent Study (1-10 Credits)

COMN 5995 Independent Research (1-22 Credits)

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