2012-2013 Undergraduate Catalog


Chairperson: Dr. Peter Jorgensen
Office: Memorial Hall 302
Telephone: (309) 298-1507; Fax: (309) 298-2369
E-mail: PF-Jorgensen@wiu.edu
Website: wiu.edu/comm

Faculty: Bailey, Bochantin, Carpenter, Dallinger, Hawkinson, Hill, Hogg, Jorgensen, Lauer, Macchi, Mathison, McEwan, Menken, L. Miczo, N. Miczo, Miller, Pfafman, Ridle, Young, Zanolla.

Academic Adviser: Grimm.

Communication is a dynamic and varied discipline, offering majors a broad range of career opportunities and pursuits. The major focuses on the primary areas of organizational communication, persuasive communication, interpersonal communication, and rhetorical communication to ground students in theoretical and applied knowledge of the key role that communication plays in all aspects of human interaction. The discipline routinely prepares students to enter any number of diverse professions from event planner to sales, college recruiter to business management, training and development to politics. Students of communication receive fundamental training in and exposure to the infinite number of contexts in which humans interact with and influence one another. This knowledge base then provides them with an understanding of message processes that will serve them on an ongoing basis, both professionally and personally.

The Department of Communication offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication. Students select two areas of emphases from course sequences in interpersonal communication, organizational communication, persuasion, and rhetoric. A Minor in Communication is also available. A full-time academic adviser assists students in planning their programs of study.

GradTrac is available to Communication majors. See more information about GradTrac.

Honors Curriculum—Academically qualified students in this department are welcome to complete an honors curriculum in University Honors, Upper Division Honors, or Lower Division Honors. All Honors students must complete the one-hour honors colloquium (G H 299). Lower Division Honors includes General Honors coursework. Upper Division Honors includes honors work in the major. University Honors combines Upper and Lower Division Honors. For more information about honors curricula see the Centennial Honors College page of the catalog or visit the Centennial Honors College website at wiu.edu/Honors.

Degree Programs

Bachelor of Arts—Communication

All students seeking the Bachelor of Arts in Communication must complete I, II, III, IV, V, and VI below, and the foreign language/global issues requirement for the major#. The minimum semester hour requirement for the baccalaureate degree is 120 s.h. Current WIU students must be in good standing (2.0 GPA or higher) to declare a major in Communication.

  1. University General Education Curriculum Requirements: 43 s.h.
  2. Core Courses: 15 s.h.
    COMM 130, 247, 309, 310, 311
  3. Directed Electives
    1. Students must choose two emphases (a, b, c, d): 12 s.h.
      1. Organizational Communication: COMM 343 and 413†
      2. Interpersonal Communication: COMM 344 and 410†
      3. Persuasion: COMM 356 and 456†
      4. Rhetoric: COMM 312 and 441†
    2. Communication Electives: 9 s.h.
      To be selected from Communication courses with a minimum of 6 s.h. at the upper division level.
  4. Directed Electives in University General Education Humanities: 6 s.h.
  5. Any Approved Minor: 16–20 s.h.
  6. Open Electives: 15–18 s.h.

#The foreign language/global issues graduation requirement may be fulfilled by successfully completing one of the following: 1)an intermediate foreign language requirement; 2) a General Education global issues course; 3) a Communication (COMM) global issues course; or 4) an approved study abroad program.

†Completion of two of the following courses fulfills the Writing Instruction in the Discipline (WID) graduation requirement: COMM 410, 413, 441, 456.


Minor in Communication: 18 s.h.
  1. COMM 130 and 247: 6 s.h.
  2. Select three of the following: COMM 312, 343, 344, 356: 9 s.h.
  3. COMM Electives from courses numbered 300 or higher: 3 s.h.

Course Descriptions


130 Introduction to Human Communication. (3) (General Education/Humanities) Introduction to the various approaches and sub-fields which comprise speech communication, with focus on theoretical foundations of contemporary human communication theory.

170 Fundamentals of Oral Interpretation. (3) Study of basic oral interpretation techniques which develop sensitivity and responsiveness to literature, enabling the student to communicate the re-creation of this literary experience to an audience.

241 Introduction to Public Speaking. (3) (General Education/Communication Skills) Preparation and delivery of informative and persuasive speeches. Students apply concepts of critical listening, audience adaptation, organization/support of ideas, appropriate style, and effective delivery. Not open to students with credit for COMM 242. Accelerated section available. IAI: C2 900.

242 Fundamentals of Public Speaking. (3) (General Education/Communication Skills) Preparation and delivery of informative and persuasive speeches. Students apply concepts of critical listening, audience adaptation, organization/support of ideas, appropriate style, and effective delivery completed in an online format. Not open to students with credit for COMM 241.

247 Argumentation. (3) A theoretical and practical course investigating source, structure, and nature of argument, reasoning, critical thinking, and validation of evidence. Prerequisite: COMM 241 or consent of instructor.

254 Great Speeches. (3) (General Education/ Humanities) An analysis of representative speeches that have significantly influenced the course of human events.

305 Interviewing. (3) Theory of interviewing and its purposes in various communication settings. Practical applications of the principles of interviewing.

309 (formerly COMM 230) Communication Theory. (3) A survey of communication theories. This course will also address the process of theory building and the role of communication theory across major paradigms guiding communication research. Prerequisite: COMM 130 with a grade of C or higher.

310 Qualitative Research Methods in Communication. (3) A survey of the qualitative research methods used in communication studies. Qualitative research design, data collection, analysis, and interpretation are addressed. Prerequisites: COMM 130 with a grade of C or higher; ENG 180 and 280.

311 Quantitative Research Methods in Communication. (3) An introduction to designing and evaluating communication research. Prerequisites: COMM 130 with a grade of C or higher; ENG 180 and 280.

312 Rhetorical Criticism. (3) This course introduces students to theories and methods of rhetorical criticism that enable them to function as effective consumers of public discourse. Case studies of significant rhetorical acts from political speeches, movies, advertisements, visuals, and music are used to introduce important concepts. Students will develop an understanding of how rhetoric functions to influence attitudes, values, and behaviors in our public culture. Prerequisite: COMM 130.

315 (cross-listed with WS 316) Gender and Communication. (3) This course examines gender and gender-role differences and similarities in verbal and nonverbal communication and surveys several contexts in which sex differences in human communication occur. Not open to students with credit in WS 316. Prerequisite: COMM 130.

330 Language and Communication. (3) This survey course explores the historical and contemporary functions of language in communication. The course will examine theories of language, meaning and communication, with emphasis on contemporary language research and controversies surrounding language and meaning in society. Prerequisite: COMM 130.

341 Small Group Communication. (3) Examination of significant factors which affect the behavior and effectiveness of social and task groups. Study of group behavior research.

343 Organizational Communication. (3) Survey of the major communication functions in organizations and their relationship to personnel, administrative, technological, and social factors. Prerequisites: COMM 130; ENG 180 and 280.

344 Interpersonal Communication. (3) Theory and concepts relevant to face-to-face interaction. Focus on the content of communication in relationships and the role of communication in creating and defining relationships. Prerequisites: COMM 130; ENG 180 and 280.

345 Computer-Mediated Communication. (3) Exploration of communication technology. Focus on an examination of competent communication technology use in a variety of contexts. Analysis of problematic issues of CMC including accuracy, trust, privacy, and identity. Prerequisite: COMM 130.

356 Persuasion. (3) Examination of the elements affecting people’s opinions and decisions. Focuses on three general categories of variables: source, message, and audience characteristics. Prerequisite: COMM 130.

360 Communication Practicum. (1–8, repeatable to 8) Provides practicum experience for the student in communication. Prerequisites: consent of instructor and department chairperson.

377 Nonverbal Communication. (3) Introduces basic codes, properties, and principles of nonverbal communication. Multidisciplinary content approached from scientific perspective rather than intuitive and experiential judgments. Designed to improve communication effectiveness and understanding of the communication process. Prerequisite: COMM 130.

381 Intercultural Communication. (3) (Global Issues) An introduction to the study of intercultural communication, with an emphasis on the application of communication approaches that increase intercultural understanding. Topics include interpersonal/ intercultural theory and applications, globalization, cultural differences and contemporary issues in language across cultures. Prerequisite: COMM 130.

400 Senior Honors Thesis Research. (3) Bibliographic and other preliminary work in preparation for a senior honors thesis (see COMM 401). Students will produce a final, graded project for this course. This course may not be taken concurrently with COMM 401. Prerequisites: ENG 180 and 280; COMM 310 or 311; students must be in good standing in the Centennial Honors College and must be juniors or firstsemester seniors majoring in communication.

401 Honors Thesis. (3) Students will write a senior honors thesis. This course may not be taken concurrently with COMM 400. Prerequisites: COMM 400; ENG 180 and 280; students must be in good standing in the Centennial Honors College and must be seniors majoring in communication.

409 Communication and Conflict Management. (3) Study of the role of communication in conflict. Consideration of major theories of conflict management. Prerequisites: COMM 311; ENG 180 and 280.

410 Advanced Interpersonal Communication. (3) Study of theory, concepts, and methodology relevant to communication in close relationships. Examination of the dynamics and management of interaction within these contexts. Writing Instruction in the Discipline (WID) course. Prerequisites: COMM 130 with a grade of C or higher; COMM 311 with a grade of C or higher; COMM 344; ENG 180 and 280.

413 Advanced Organizational Communication. (3) Study of communication in small groups and organizational settings. Examination of field, survey, and experimental studies contributing to the understanding and improvement of group and organizational communication. Writing Instruction in the Discipline (WID) course. Prerequisites: COMM 130 with a grade of C or higher; COMM 311 with a grade of C or higher; COMM 343; ENG 180 and 280.

414 Communication Technologies in Professional Speaking. (3) Preparation and delivery of speeches and presentations in professional settings utilizing advanced rhetorical principles and advanced communication technologies. Prerequisites: ENG 180 and 280; COMM 241.

418 Independent Research in Communication. (1–6, repeatable to 6) Individual reading or research under supervision of the faculty. Open to juniors and seniors who have demonstrated competence in broadcasting, communication, rhetoric, public address, or the speech-language-hearing sciences. Prerequisites: ENG 180 and 280; consent of instructor and department chairperson.

425 Health Communication. (3) This course will survey a number of topics relevant to both the institutional settings of medicine (e.g., doctorpatient interaction, media campaigns) as well as the interpersonal ramifications of illness (e.g., social support). Prerequisite: COMM 130 or permission of instructor.

428 Family Communication. (3) This course will investigate communication processes in the context of the family environment. Specifically, it will examine communication’s role in and its influence on family relational processes. Prerequisite: COMM 130 or permission of instructor.

430 Communication Training and Development. (3) This course explores the knowledge and skills necessary to engage in effective communication training and development in organizations and/or consulting in the field of communication. Prerequisite: COMM 311.

441 Rhetoric and Public Culture. (3) The study of rhetoric’s power to shape and sustain public culture. Students learn how rhetoric influences civic and cultural life and execute an independent project examining the rhetorical strategies, argumentative approaches, and cultural significance of an influential rhetorical text. Writing Instruction in the Discipline (WID) course. Prerequisite: COMM 241 and 312; ENG 180 and 280.

456 Persuasive Campaigns. (3) Study of the design and execution of persuasive campaigns. Writing Instruction in the Discipline (WID) course. Prerequisites: COMM 130 with a grade of C or higher; COMM 311 with a grade of C or higher; COMM 241 and 356; ENG 180 and 280.

480 Special Topics in Communication. (1–3, repeatable to 6, for different topics, with permission of department chair) This course deals with selected topics of interest in communication such as nonverbal communication, intercultural communication, and family communication. Prerequisites: ENG 180 and 280; completion of at least 12 s.h. in communication.

496 Communication Internship. (1–12, repeatable to 12) Directed work assignments in private or public sectors in communication areas. Students may count up to 3 s.h. of COMM 496 toward the communication major. Prerequisites: ENG 180 and 280; permission of internship coordinator and department chairperson; a GPA of 2.50 in major courses taken as well as an overall GPA of 2.25 required. Graded S/U only.