Current Course Descriptions

Rhetoric Department Course Descriptions

COM-125 Fundamentals of Public Speaking 
Explores the basic processes of speech making: audience analysis and adaptation, idea and organizational development, use of effective supporting material and reasoning, and presentation. Critical thinking and listening skills developed by analysis of public speeches. Speaking and writing skills developed through introductory, informative, persuasive, and ceremonial speeches.

COM-151 Introduction to New Media Studies 
This course is meant to explore the role of media and culture in the creation and transformation of a technical society. We will consider media's social, economic, and political significance as we examine its various ways of production, form, reception, and influence. We will also develop an awareness of how human communication is impacted as digital media and cybercultures evolve. In the process, students will create their own new media projects. Writing Emphasis

COM COM-161 Visual Rhetoric 
This course provides students with the opportunity to explore how visual images are used to persuade and make meaning through multiple contexts. We will engage with visual rhetoric theory while learning how to analyze and use images rhetorically through various methodological frameworks. In doing so, we will analyze and critique a variety of images and research various rhetorical concepts.

COM 236-Intercultural Communication 
Exploration of the role of communication in constructing, navigating, and challenging various markers of similarity and difference.

COM-237 Interpersonal Communication 
A theoretical, practical, and experiential study of the selective, systemic, and individual transactions that allow people to reflect and build personal knowledge of one another and create shared meaning. Readings, discussions, and exercises focus on connecting concepts and models to everyday interactions. Included are issues of diversity, personal identity, human perceptions, language use, mindful listening, conflict management, and nonverbal communication. Writing Emphasis.

COM-241 Introduction to Multimedia Journalism 
This course studies the theory, ethics, and practice of journalism using a variety of multimedia storytelling techniques. During this course students will create an online news blog, where they will create news stories using a combination of audio and visual tools to tell those stories. Students will also get a chance to practice other reporting skills, such as conducting journalistic research and interviews. Writing Emphasis.

RHE 312 Writing Center Theory and Practice 
Focuses on pedagogy, tutoring techniques, research, presentation strategies, and the conventions and strategies in composition and communication. Designed for Writing Center personnel, instruction takes place in weekly group meetings and individual conferences. May be taken more than once for credit for a maximum of 1.2 credits. Writing Emphasis

COM-357 Sex, Race, and Gender in the Media
What is the relationship between identity, culture, power, and the media? How can we understand race, gender, class, and sexuality as constructed by the media? What is the role of representation, and why isn't it enough? This course will examine "the media" from many angles, and will investigate how industrial structures, representational and textual practices, audience reception, and fan behaviors all construct and are constructed by race, class, gender, sexuality, and other identity categories. We will study a variety of media objects, including film, television, music videos, magazines, digital media, and social media. We will approach the study of identity and the media from a variety of theoretical perspectives, including cultural studies, media industry studies, film studies, digital media theory, feminist theory, queer studies, and women of color critique. Through readings, discussions, class activities, and written assignments, students will sharpen their skills of critical media analysis. Writing Emphasis.

COM 361- Communication and Social Change
Study of the role of communication as a vehicle for social change. Analysis of the discourse used in social movements from the 1960s to the present. Course combines an emphasis on discourse analysis with opportunities for contemporary application. Prerequisite: junior standing or consent of instructor.

COM-362 U.S. Public Address 
How is the nation defined? How is citizenship conceptualized? How are "public" and "private" defined? What does "American identity" mean? Throughout the nation's history, these questions have been answered in distinct ways. Thus, we will consider the wide range of influential speeches that have attempted to shape thoughts about community, public life, and the identity of the United States. Students will read and respond to different pieces of U.S. oratory as we track shifts in these concepts over time. Writing Emphasis.

COM-381 Research Methods in Communication Studies 
This course will introduce students to the process of doing critical research in Communication Studies. This course's primary objective is to strengthen students' abilities to explain, interrogate, and challenge symbol use. Students will explore multiple theoretical lenses used to illuminate the power of discourse and its ability to shape worldviews. In this writing-intensive course, students will gain experience conducting research in the discipline, honing their analytical skills, and improving the communication competencies. Writing Emphasis. Prerequisites: Rhetorical Theory & Practice (RHE-200)

COM 435-Special Topics in Relational Communication
CourseworkExploration of a topic within the field of relational communication. Course work includes a substantive research project and oral presentations. May be taken more than once for credit with the consent of the department chair. Can satisfy the DCP requirement when the topic is appropriate.

COM-445 Special Topics in Media Production (Dr. Shawn Harmsen)
TR 12:30-1:50

During this course students will work as a team to produce a weekly podcast on a topic of social importance or relevance, and then share those podcasts via online tools and a website created by the students for this purpose. As with professional jobs in the media industry, this course emphasizes a combination of individual initiative, using a variety of technical tools to accomplish tasks, and working with others to create useful, ethical, and compelling communications. Each student will get the chance to fulfill each role in the creative process at least onece in the semester. Writing Emphasis.

COM-465: Special Topics in Public Discourse 
Exploration of a topic within the field of public discourse. Course work includes a substantive research project, and oral presentations. May be taken more than once for credit with consent of department chair. Can satisfy the DCP requirement when topic is appropriate. Prerequisites: Rhetorical Theory and Practice (RHE-200) and either Research Methods in Communication Studies (COM-381) or Research Methods: Rhetorical/Critical (COM-382).