ku-xlarge

COMM 4981: Environmental Issues, Communication, and the Media

Course Web Site

In this intensive writing seminar for advanced undergraduates, students analyze major debates over the environment, climate change, and related technologies such as nuclear energy, wind power, natural gas “fracking” and food biotechnology. Students will learn about the relevant scientific, political, and ethical dimensions of each case; the generalizable theories, frameworks, and methods that scholars use to analyze them; and the implications for effective public communication, policymaker engagement, and personal decision-making. Students will gain an integrated understanding of the different roles they can play as professionals, advocates, and consumers. In doing so, they will have improved their ability to find, discuss, evaluate, and use expert sources of information; assess competing media claims and narratives; write persuasive essays, analyses, and commentaries; and author evidence-based research papers.

COMM 2001: Science, Communication, and Society

Course Web Site

This course introduces undergraduates to major areas of research analyzing the role of communication and the media in shaping debates over science, technology, and the environment. In studying what the U.S National Academies calls the “science of science communication,” students acquire the integrated knowledge necessary to critically assess the complicated interplay between science, engineering, and society including the implications for strategic communication, public engagement, personal decisions, and career choices. Students examine the scientific, social, and communication dimensions of debates over climate change, evolution, human genetic engineering, childhood vaccination, food biotechnology, and other leading case studies. In doing so, students improve their ability to find, discuss, evaluate, and use expert sources of information; to formulate research questions and expectations; to think effectively about professional situations and choices; and to write evidence-based, persuasive papers, and essays.

COMM 3201: Health Communication

Course Web Site

In this intensive writing seminar, analyzing several major public health debates, students will learn about the relevant scientific, political, and ethical dimensions of each case; the generalizable theories, frameworks, and methods that scholars use to analyze them; and the implications for effective public communication, policymaker engagement, and personal decision-making. Assignments include facilitating class discussion, short analysis papers, an annotated bibliography, and a research paper on a relevant topic of the student’s choosing. By the end of the course, students will have gained an integrated understanding of the different roles they can play in public health debates as professionals, advocates, and consumers. In doing so, they will have improved their ability to find, discuss, evaluate, and use expert sources of information; assess competing media claims and narratives; write persuasive essays, analyses, and commentaries; and author evidence-based research papers.

COMM 4601: Strategic Communication Capstone

Course Web Site

In this capstone seminar, advanced undergraduate students complete a intensive research and writing project focused on a topic related to the field of strategic communication. Topics can span business, politics, advocacy, entertainment, public health, the environment, and other societal sectors. Building on previous course work, students gain a deeper scholarly and professional understanding of strategic communication, forge professional and academic contacts, and demonstrate a mastery of relevant theoretical concepts, professional principles, research methods, and writing approaches. Students conduct a review of the relevant scholarly and professional literature, carry out research on the topic using selected methodological approaches, and write a substantial research paper that articulates and supports a thesis. It is a unique chance for a student to become an expert in an aspect of strategic communication, deepening their understanding of an area that they are passionate about and that aligns with their career goals.

COMM 750: Advanced Media Theory*

Course Web Site

In this advanced seminar, each week focuses on a specific process, challenge, or topic relevant to the many intersections among the media, technology and society. The goal is for students to acquire an integrated understanding and expertise that enables them to build upon multiple disciplines in their investigation of communication processes and effects and their relationship to public problems and policy debates. The course features research from communication, psychology, sociology, political science, and related fields and provides students with a foundational theoretical understanding that can inform their work on major thesis projects. By the end of the course, students will have improved their ability to find, discuss, evaluate, and use expert sources of information; assess competing media claims and narratives; write persuasive essays, analyses, and commentaries; design and conduct research; and author evidence-based research papers.

*Previously taught at American University.