Communications Department

Learning Goals:

  • Students will be able to identify, explain and apply theory.
  • Students will demonstrate communication skills (oral, visual, written, research).
  • Students will recognize ethical implications and relate them to various contexts.
  • Students will develop and practice critical thinking.

Required of All Communications Majors

COMM-100 Grammar for Communicators

A review of American English grammar and punctuation, with emphasis on parts of speech, sentence structure, agreement, case and commas. 2 SH.

COMM-101 Essentials of Digital Media

This course includes basic operating concepts of computers and a hands-on introduction to word processing, email, spreadsheets, presentations, search, website creation and other uses. Students will be introduced to the design and production requirements for documents and content for Web distribution (Photoshop and Adobe Acrobat specifically). Media convergence and issues of audience consideration and usage will also be addressed. 4 SH. CC: Team Intensive.

COMM-190 Communication/Media Theory

An introductory exploration of the underlying theories that allow us to understand both person-to-person communication and communication media events and processes. Systems, sign theory, cognitive and behavioral, cultural and social, and critical perspectives are examined as they apply to interpersonal, group, organizational and media contexts. 4 SH. CC: Writing Intensive.

COMM-192 Public Speaking

Basic principles of effective extemporaneous speaking to inform and persuade an audience. Emphasizes audience analysis, idea development, organization and delivery skills. Students deliver, listen to and criticize classroom speeches. 4 SH. CC: Oral Intensive.

COMM-201 Ethics and Leadership

Uses case studies to examine the types of ethical challenges that face professional communicators across a variety of contexts, while requiring students to analyze those situations critically. The role of leadership in navigating ethical dilemmas is highlighted, as are several case studies where ethical questions intersect with diversity-related issues. 4 SH. CC: Diversity Intensive, Ethics Intensive.

COMM-481 Media Law

Examines legal aspects of print and electronic communications. Emphasizes First Amendment, freedom of the press, the right to know, copyright, libel and privacy. Prerequisite: Senior standing. 4 SH. CC: Interdisciplinary.

COMM-501 Practicum

Applied projects in broadcasting, print journalism and public relations. All department majors successfully complete the required number of semester hours required in the student's emphasis, but no more than six semester hours of practicum work. All projects require department approval, are graded, must be completed and include a minimum of five hours of project work per week. Students may complete only one project per semester and may not use practicum projects to fulfill simultaneously requirements of other courses. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing. 1 SH.

Digital Multimedia

COMM-131 Introduction to Journalism

An introduction to journalism. Topics include American newspaper history, elements of libel, copyediting symbols, Associated Press style, news leads, inverted pyramid format, interviewing, attributing quotations, writing stories on speeches and meetings, and reading print and online newspapers critically. 4 SH. CC: Writing Intensive.

COMM-141 Sports Journalism

The foundational course in the sports media program. The course instructs students on the basics of writing sports stories, primarily game summaries for print media, such as newspapers and websites. Other topics include feature stories, column writing, interviewing technique, and Associated Press style. Attention is also given to writing game stories for broadcast media, such as television and radio, as well as writing for blogs and other New Media platforms. 2 SH.

COMM-171 Introduction to Media

Survey of electronic media: history, evaluation, organization, convergence and function. Includes economic and cultural influences on society and legal, educational and artistic aspects. 4 SH.

COMM-182 Writing for New Media

Introduces students to basic media writing skills for broadcast and the Web. Students will engage in the production of Web writing and design, with an emphasis on interactive writing in script form, flowcharts and digital media environments. Prerequisite: COMM-101. 2 SH.

COMM-231 Newswriting and Reporting

The theory and practice of covering local government, police and courts and of writing obituaries. Topics include news sources, news selection, covering beats, basic photojournalism and ethical reporting. Prerequisite: COMM-101 and COMM-131. 4 SH.

COMM-241 Sports Media Relations and Promotion

Introduces students to the public relations function within the sports industry, especially the media relations position common to professional teams, leagues, and university athletic programs. Students learn how to write news releases and arrange news conferences, in addition to learning about media guide assembly, press box management, and promotion of sports and athletes via social media. 2 SH.

COMM-277 Audio Production and Media Performance

Examines the theory and practice of audio production and broadcast operations, including sound and broadcast wave theory, console operation, microphone techniques, commercial production, digital editing and on-air procedures. Students will produce broadcast-quality audio projects in addition to developing a working knowledge and appreciation for high-quality sound and video production. Includes an examination and study of basic announcing techniques for audio and video, such as voice and diction, pronunciation and oral interpretation of American speech for broadcast and online distribution. Prerequisite: COMM-101. 4 SH.

COMM-282 Fundamentals of Digital Video Production

An introduction to small to medium format video production. Covers basic equipment, terminology, personnel and video production techniques in the studio and field. Includes writing, producing and editing of assigned short projects such as commercials or brief interview segments. Prerequisite: COMM-101. 4 SH.

COMM-331 Editing

The process of editing news for print and online outlets. Includes developing assignments, editorial judgment and ethical considerations, copy-editing, type styles and sizes, headline writing, graphic and photo design, and page layout. Prerequisite: COMM-131. 4 SH.

COMM-341 Sports Media I: Contemporary Issues

Students will critically examine contemporary issues in professional and/or amateur sports as presented through the mass media. The course will demonstrate how sports media covers and frames these issues with likely perspectives, including cultural, political, economic, and/or feminist perspectives. 2 SH.

COMM-342 Sports Media II: Historical/Critical Analysis

This course provides students with an informative background of selected persons and events that have made an historical impact on sports and sports media. Historical examinations will start with a biographical approach by providing necessary information and background. Students will also analyze past and contemporary media coverage of the persons and events through the critical lenses of cultural, economic, political, and feminist perspectives. 2 SH.

COMM-363 Advanced Digital Media

This course focuses on media creation and performance metrics for strategic communication distribution on the Internet. Students will examine contemporary issues concerning the Internet as a sharing economy and develop media creation and distribution strategies within this environment. Students create web-based media for a client, optimize it for search engines, and set achievable metrics goals for assessment through industry standard web analytics tools. Prerequisite: COMM-101. 4 SH. CC: Analytical Thought.

COMM-379 Interactive and Gaming Media

This course engages students in the art and practice of contemporary media criticism with a focused attention on the industries that produce interactive digital media products such as video games and simulation technologies. Students will gain familiarity with various approaches of contemporary criticism and apply these approaches in the study, exploration and analysis of current and emerging interactive and gaming media. Students will gain a deeper understanding of the movement and interconnection that exists between these media technologies and their potential social, economic, cultural and political impacts and effects. The historical development, structure, organization, function and effects of interactive and gaming media will be incorporated into the analysis. The course also considers related products for educational use, medical applications, military applications and other virtual environments. 4 SH. CC: Writing Intensive.

COMM-382 Intermediate Digital Multimedia Production

An emphasis on advanced video editing techniques and special effects utilizing Adobe Premiere Pro editing software. Students edit and produce complete programs and projects from field-recorded video and student-recorded productions. Emphasis will be on both the technical operation of sophisticated editing systems and the aesthetics of program editing. Students will be required to engage the Web as a system for distribution of content and will be expected to produce and create their own personal Web pages and portfolio blogs. Prerequisites: COMM-277 and COMM-282. 4 SH.

COMM-435 Feature Writing

The process of determining a medium's audience, developing story ideas, writing query letters, and researching and writing feature articles. How-tos, profiles, and travel and human interest articles are among the assignments. Students prepare and print online portfolios. Prerequisites: Junior or senior standing and COMM-131. Capstone for Journalism or Communications Studies. SH. 

COMM-482 Professional Digital Multimedia Production

Engages students in the advanced methods of digital multimedia production. Students will produce a variety of projects that demonstrate their understanding of production skills, including audio and video production for broadcast and the Web. Students will be required to maintain personal portfolio blogs that showcase content produced in this course and others. Students will gain an understanding of the ethical and theoretical frameworks of video broadcasting. Prerequisites: Senior standing and COMM-382. Capstone for Broadcasting or Communications Studies. 4 SH. 

Strategic Communications

COMM-211 Public Relations

Survey of the history, development, principles and practices of public relations. Investigates public relations ethics, relationships and roles of mass media in a convergent society. Includes case studies in public relations practices. 4 SH.

COMM-217 Principles of Advertising

Students evaluate how advertisers select the appropriate media to reach their targeted audiences. They will be able to compare and contrast the advantages and disadvantages of various advertising options. 4 SH.

COMM-221 Corporate Communications

Overview of the development, principles and practices of corporate communications and principles of message design. Includes case studies and corporate simulations. 4 SH.

COMM-223 Corporate Communications Writing

Introduction to message content and style for corporate writing. Emphasizes memos, letters, advertisements and brochures. 2 SH.

COMM-314 Public Relations Writing and Campaigns

Emphasizes writing styles and techniques for brochures, publicity, news releases, fact sheets, backgrounders and biographies. Discussion of convergent media. Students produce creative work on actual public relations problems, as well as an overall plan to handle a simulated problem. Prerequisites: COMM-131 and COMM-211. 4 SH.

COMM-317 Print and Web Advertising

Students apply the principles and techniques of advertisements found in various print media and online. They use hands-on skills to design and create camera-ready ads in such media for products, services and nonprofit organizations. Prerequisites: COMM-217 and either COMM-323 or ARTG-251. 4 SH.

COMM-321 Crisis Management

In today's world crises are inevitable. Crisis management recognizes and deals with systems and system failures. This course introduces students to a management approach for working with crises before, during and after they occur. Communications-related elements and challenges are especially emphasized. 4 SH.

COMM-323 Computer Design Skills

A study of design principles and computer software for the online content of newsletters, brochures and advertisements. Topics include fonts and typography, proportion, graphics, photographs, contrast and color. Prerequisite: COMM-131 or COMM-101. 2 SH.

COMM-371 Broadcast Advertising: Writing and Practices

Theory and technique of writing commercial scripts for radio and television. Covers broadcast ratings analysis and interpretation, time sales, personnel and client relationships. 2 SH.

COMM-411 Public Relations Management

Modules include management, strategy, government affairs and corporate advertising. Self-managed teams simulate agency communications consulting. Prerequisites: Second-semester junior or senior standing, COMM-211 and COMM-314, or COMM-221 and COMM-223. Capstone for Public Relations. 4 SH. CC: Team Intensive.

COMM-418 Integrated Marketing Communications

Reflects the growing practice of effectively combining an organization's communication tools in a united effort for goal accomplishment. Topics include advertising, public relations, sales promotions, marketing, social media, e-commerce and sponsorships. Legal and ethical considerations are also discussed. Same as MGMT-318. Prerequisite: Junior standing. Capstone for Advertising and Marketing Communications. 4 SH. CC: Interdisciplinary.

Communication Arts

COMM-191 Interpersonal Communication

An introductory course on competent interpersonal communication skills. Topics include setting specific communication goals; ways we perceive, talk and listen to others; gender communication; how we use verbal and nonverbal communication; skills in relationships; and ethical considerations within the contexts of friendships, families, intimate partnerships and the workplace. 4 SH. CC: Social Interactions.

COMM-194 Intercultural Communication

An introduction to contemporary and foundational concepts, practices and processes of intercultural communication. Topics include the complex nature of social and cultural identities; privilege, power and oppression in historical and contemporary society; representations of cultures and identities in popular media; nonverbal codes and cultural space; and the relationship between language and culture. Special emphasis will be on ethical and mindful intercultural communication and social justice. 4 SH. CC: Diversity.

COMM-295 Effective Listening

Listening is almost a lost art. Effective listening is a person's willingness and ability to hear and understand, whether in a large meeting or in face-to-face encounters. This course helps improve listening knowledge, attitudes and skills in all aspects of listeners' personal, academic and professional lives. 2 SH.

COMM-296 Dynamic Presentational Speaking

Development of advanced skill in the construction and delivery of various types of presentations, including informative, persuasive, impromptu, briefings/reports, team and special occasions. Special emphasis on the solid use of PowerPoint visuals. 4 SH. CC: Oral Intensive.

COMM-491 Team Communication

Theory and principles of effective team membership and leadership in the small group setting. Focuses on functional roles, verbal and nonverbal behaviors, decision making, problem solving, conflict resolution, ethics and diversity, and group dynamics through the observations of teams. Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing. Capstone for Speech Communication or Communications Studies. 4 SH. CC: Team Intensive.

Craig A. Stark, Ph.D.

Department: Communications
Associate Professor of Communications

Email Address
Phone Number 570-372-4358

Kate Hastings, Ph.D.

Department: Communications
Associate Professor of Communications

David C. Kaszuba, Ph.D.

Department: Communications
Associate Professor of Communications

Email Address
Phone Number 570-372-4724

Michele Welliver

Department: Communications
Assistant Professor of Communications

Debrah D. Baxter

Department: Communications
Adjunct Faculty in Communications

Email Address

Dawn Benfer

Department: Communications
WQSU General Manager

Karen DeFrancesco

Department: Communications
Adjunct Faculty in Communications

Email Address
Phone Number 570-372-4742

Gary Heller

Department: Communications
Adjunct Faculty in Communications

Chad Hershberger

Department: Communications
Adjunct Faculty in Communications

Email Address
Phone Number 570-372-4423

Michael Rash

Department: English & Creative Writing
Adjunct Faculty in English and Creative Writing

Samuel Sauls

Department: Communications
Adjunct Faculty in Communications

Email Address
Phone Number 570-372-4079

William Swanger

Department: Communications
Adjunct Faculty in Communications

Linda Burkley

Department: Communications
Lecturer Communications

Email Address
Phone Number 570-372-4094

John Foltz

Department: Communications
Lecturer Communications

Honors. The departmental honors program encourages and recognizes outstanding performance in communications. To graduate with department honors, candidates must do the following:

  • Complete major requirements under guidance of a Communications Department faculty adviser, who agrees to serve as a sponsor at the student's request,
  • Petition the honors coordinator with a written honors proposal no later than the second to last week of the end of the junior year. The submission must be approved as honors quality by departmental faculty,
  • Maintain a 3.70 cumulative GPA in department courses,
  • Produce an acceptable written or production thesis based on one year of senior research/production work (COMM-503 Honors Study) beyond the required major track semester hours,
  • Submit the thesis at least two weeks before graduation, and
  • Successfully complete an oral defense of the honors thesis.

Honors work not meeting the required standards will be applied as a university elective course.

Departmental honors may be taken separately from or in conjunction with the university Honors Program.

Honor Societies. Students who meet the requisite national and local standards are eligible to join the national honorary society Lamda Pi Eta (communications).