Communication Studies, in the College of Liberal Arts, with 13 faculty members and over 600 undergraduate majors, examines human communication using both humanistic and social scientific approaches. Fields of study include rhetoric (e.g., public speaking, public address, rhetorical criticism, & ethics); interpersonal communication (e.g., small group, organizational, intercultural, & family communication); critical media studies (e.g., reality TV, environmental communication, & digital literacy); and media production.
In its first-edition Writing Plan, Communication Studies developed a comprehensive map of the curriculum and assignments to identify and better understand students’ pathways to graduation. The mapping project provided insights on how to better integrate and sequence writing-intensive assignments. For its second-edition Writing Plan, Communication Studies began the redesign of COMM 1313W, its gateway course to the major. A cohort of teaching faculty and graduate instructors reviewed the course syllabus, key assignments, and grading criteria in an effort to emphasize five core writing abilities.
During its third-edition Writing Plan—approved by the Campus Writing Board in November 2019—Communication Studies will continue to refine its 1313W gateway course by developing a signature assignment along with rubrics that give instructors a degree of uniformity and standardization with both their teaching and evaluating of student writing. Building on the Community of Practice (CoP) model developed for 1313 instructors, the department will also establish a CoP for faculty teaching 3000-level courses. Ultimately, the department’s focus on its 1313W and 3000-level courses will inform its development of a Canvas-based resource for all faculty that includes pedagogical activities and writing assignments.
In its current implementation phase, Communication Studies will also update the capstone resources and guidelines on its undergraduate website to make them more user friendly, easier to find and navigate, and even better aligned with the abilities and criteria the department has developed through its work with the Writing-Enriched Curriculum Program.