Student Learning Outcomes

Students who succeed in communication studies can expect to meet the following outcomes:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of the communication studies discipline including its theories, concepts, and how the study of communication is applied to academic and non-academic settings. This includes:
    • Evaluation and application of theories to specific communication events.
    • Mastery of theories specific to specialized track of study chosen (relational or public advocacy).
  2. Demonstrate competency in systematic inquiry and research methods including asking questions, finding appropriate resources and/or conducting independent data gathering and analysis, while understanding the limits of research methodologies. This includes:
    • Critical thinking and analytic skills as part of the systematic inquiry process.
    • Ability to use research resources (library, academic databases, Internet, etc.).
    • Ability to synthesize information from a variety of sources and to evaluate that information including the credibility of sources, research methods, evidence, perspective of researcher(s), and communicative context.
    • Understanding of multiple research traditions in the discipline of communication studies. Understanding the ethical dimensions of conducting and reporting academic research.
  3. Demonstrate competency and confidence in oral message development and delivery including determining and focusing message purpose, organizing appropriate information, and effectively presenting a message appropriate to specific audiences and contexts. This includes:
    • Understanding of different speech types (impromptu, extemporaneous, manuscript, memorized, group), interactional goals (inform, persuade, entertain, special occasions), and audiences (including demographics, psychographics and orientation to topic).
    • Organization and presentation of content of speech using clear thesis, organizational patterns and citation of supporting materials.
    • The ability to use language skills in delivery including vocal variety, articulation, language choice, and nonverbals.
    • The ability to use technology and visual/presentation aids appropriate to presentational contexts.
  4. Demonstrate competency and confidence in written message development including adapting messages to specific contexts, mediums, and audiences. This includes:
    • The ability to choose appropriate written format(s) and message content based on communication goals, audience needs, and context.
    • The ability to format manuscripts using APA style.
    • The ability to construct and edit written work using appropriate academic writing style, grammar and punctuation.
    • The ability to write and sustain coherent argument supported by clear, accurate evidence.
  5. Demonstrate competency in communication in relational settings (interpersonal, intercultural, group and organizational environments). This includes:
    • Communication skills including listening, conversational management, appropriate expression, assertiveness and appreciation of diverse communication styles.
    • Ability to manage difficult conversations competently, including those that require the management of multiple goals, such as negotiation, misunderstandings, and conflict resolution.
    • Ability to successfully work on collaborative projects with others, understand different methods for building consensus and group cohesion, and understand the role of communication in building relationships within a variety of social systems.
    • Ability to adapt across a variety of contexts, such as interpersonal, intercultural, small group, organizational, family and mediated settings.
  6. Demonstrate competency in communication for public advocacy contexts. This includes:
    • Ability to design, implement, and evaluate messages for public advocacy in a variety of contexts (i.e. political, social movement, or business campaigns), for a variety of audiences, and through a variety of mediated channels.
    • Ability to employ and/or evaluate persuasive message strategies including reasoned argument, visual imagery, strategic language (i.e. narrative, framing, etc.), or forms of dissent.
    • Understanding public advocacy contexts including how communication enables and excludes participation in the public sphere; creates social change; constitutes subjectivities; and drives dominant social institutions (i.e. legal, government, education systems).
  7. Demonstrate competency in ethical communicator in an increasingly diverse and globalized world. This includes:
    • Demonstrate self-awareness of one's own language choices and behaviors as a means to produce messages without intention to manipulate or mislead audiences/receivers.
    • Recognize the ways communication influences subjectivities, creates systems of power and oppression, and can challenge dominant meaning systems.
    • Recognize and appreciate diversity of language and cultures including the ability to adapt communication to specific contexts (international, intercultural, between genders, etc.).
    • Ability to recognize, appreciate, and honor multiple communication preferences and identify how social categories such as gender, ethnicity, race, sexuality, (dis)ability, class, and other underrepresented groups influence communicative practice.
    • Ability to engage with others as a competent listener and engaged audience member.