Communication Studies refers both to a practice and an intellectual inquiry into the ways communication constitutes our relationships to and our interpretation of the world. As a discipline, communication studies focuses on how political, cultural, and social discourses create meaning, distribute resources, and organize behavior. Along with other departments in the School of Social Research and Justice Studies, our department is committed to cultivating critical thinking skills, speaking and writing competencies, and the ability of our students to work effectively with others in their personal lives, careers, and communities. We recognize effective communicators seek solutions to conflict through dialogic encounters, thus we cultivate listening, negotiation, and conflict resolution competencies in our students. In the spirit of the liberal arts, the study of communication cultivates the qualities necessary to be effective citizens by developing problem-solving and advocacy skills as well as an understanding and appreciation for the multiple perspectives, cultures, and individuals that constitute our democracy. Combined, we promote discourse production for ethical ends and for just social relationships. Students with communication competency can find success in a variety of careers and more enriching personal lives, thus our focus in communication studies aims to connect the classroom to the real world.
Communication Studies is a discipline that addresses communication processes at work in virtually all human activities. The UNR program focuses on these processes as they occur in: a) public advocacy and civic engagement, and b) relational dynamics.
A balance of contemporary social science and critical-cultural perspectives on human communication guide our teaching and research efforts. Accordingly, we emphasize a breadth of research methodologies. Our mission embraces the importance of contributing new knowledge while maintaining high standards of teaching and advising. We see research, teaching, and professional service activities as mutually reinforcing.
We view the refinement of communication skills as central to achieving civility and effectiveness in personal and professional activities. The power of communication inspires our commitment to students and the greater Nevada community.
Our dynamic faculty specializes in the areas of communication research and teaching related to Relational Dynamics (RD) and Public Advocacy and Civic Engagement (PACE).
This focus emphasizes the role of communication in the development and maintenance of relationships, and centers on the ways communication creates, defines, influences, and reflects the nature and quality of relationships (friendship, family, personal, romantic, organizational, workplace, intercultural and community). The ability to effectively convey one’s intentions, interpret and perceive other’s intentions, and develop a repertoire of skills to manage relational interactions is integral to competent communication. In this focus, analysis of communication events pertinent to relational interactions focuses students’ knowledge and skills in listening, conversational management, conflict management, and social influence. Students will apply theory and analysis to an array of situations to foster understanding of ethical, inclusive, outcome-oriented, healthy relational communication patterns.
This focus emphasizes the role of communication and agency in social and political contexts as a means of exerting influence through speaking, argument, and forms of dissent. A major area in the study of communication relates to understanding how communication affects public and political processes, how reasoned civic public discourse and deliberation is cultivated (or impeded), in an effort to revitalize the political system through building political literacy and renewing civic responsibility. Analysis of contemporary events and speaking situations in this track will focus on persuasive strategies as well as ethical and philosophical issues underpinning rhetorical action. Students will apply theory and analysis in creating and understanding how advocacy campaigns, policy, speeches, and mediated communication shape and influence the public.
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