COM 589 SUSTAINABILITY COMMUNICATION
This course reviews research, principles, and issues relevant to engaging the public and policy-makers on climate change, energy, technological innovation, and related sustainability issues. The course is intended to:
- Familiarize students with different traditions, schools of thought, modes of practice, and areas of research relevant to understanding the connections between science, policy, and communication.
- Provide an integrated understanding of the institutions, organizations, and actors involved in public communication and policymaker engagement; as well as the different types of professional careers and opportunities.
- Train students how to find, read, understand, evaluate, discuss, write about, explain, apply, and build on the findings and implications of research from the social sciences, communication, policy studies and related disciplines.
- Train students to research and write a policy-relevant paper.
- Train students to apply theory and research to the design, implementation, and evaluation of public engagement initiatives.
COM 750 ADVANCED MEDIA THEORY
In this introductory seminar for Doctoral students, readings and discussion focus on theories and research that are relevant to understanding how technological innovation, social trends, political forces and industry realignment have altered the news, entertainment, advertising, and public relations industries. These changes have far-reaching impact on politics, government, business, the environment, health, the workplace, and almost all other aspects of contemporary society. They create extraordinary challenges and opportunities for scholars, professionals and policymakers.
Consider just a few of these challenges:
- Journalism is undergoing a remarkable crisis and rebirth as blogs, cell phones, and other digital media transform an entire industry. Whether these new forms of discourse will preserve the essential values of a democratic society remains unclear.
- Government agencies, nonprofit institutions, and media companies are engaged in major debates over a host of interrelated public policy issues – including intellectual property, privacy, media ownership, and network neutrality – whose outcome will determine the nature of the emerging digital media environment and have profound implications for citizens and consumers.
- Digital media are also reshaping many aspects of civil society, public discourse, and the democratic process, fostering new forms of civic engagement and political activism. Every major institution in our society – from newspapers to nonprofit organizations to businesses to government – is developing new strategies to navigate the rapidly changing political and media landscape, some successful and but others limited or even backfiring in ways that might seed polarization, contribute to social dysfunction, and undermine an organization or movement’s goals.
These questions and many others are addressed throughout the semester. Different from traditional doctoral seminars, each week is not organized around a specific theoretical area but rather around a process, challenge, or topic related to media, technology and democracy. Each week, an interdisciplinary mix of theories and strands of scholarship are included as part of the reading. The goal is for students to start to acquire an integrated understanding and expertise that enables them to build upon multiple disciplines in their investigation of how communication relates to the causes and solutions to public problems and policy debates. The course features research not only from the discipline of communication, but also from psychology, sociology and political science.
COM 533 ETHICAL PERSUASION
This course is an advanced overview of persuasion and strategic communication as applied in politics, advocacy, public relations, marketing, and advertising, with a focus on the major ethical, normative, and legal questions that are relevant to these fields. By the end of this course, students think about communication and persuasion differently. They have an integrated understanding of how various industries, organizations, and professions influence what we think, believe, and do as a society and as individuals. As future professionals, their assumptions of what is right, ethical, a best practice, or “good” for society are challenged. As citizens and consumers, you they are better prepared to make more effective and wiser decisions.