Communication affects our lives at multiple levels. At one level, it can be thought of as the way we construct knowledge and information through human interaction — whether face to face or mediated. At another level, it is the process through which we continually negotiate the meaning and purpose of our lives. At no level is this process transparent or innocent. Rather, it is influenced by the various ways in which we identify ourselves as individuals and as groups. The Communication Department believes that a theoretical understanding of these processes as well as the ability to apply that understanding in real-life situations is essential.
The communication major and minors prepare students to succeed in the 21st century. We live in a dynamic time shaped by new technologies, digital media, cultural convergence, a global economy, and a rich diversity of racial and ethnic cultures, encompassing nationality, religion, language, gender, sexual orientation, social class, physical conditions, and age. The Communication Department is structured around communities of practice with emphasis on four areas: media studies, human interaction, organizational communication, and public relations. The Communication Department’s faculty and staff welcome working with students to develop individualized and integrated courses of study to meet their professional and personal interests.
Studies indicate that, in the future, students will have jobs that currently do not exist. What is important for students to learn, then, is how to remain nimble and flexible in an everchanging global society. The Communication Department prepares students for a complex and uncertain future by developing skills and competencies that apply to multiple life and work situations. These communication skills include writing, speaking, listening, resolving conflicts, and interacting across and within different cultures whether face to face or mediated. Inherent in these skills are analyzing, problemsolving, and self-reflecting.
By the end of their programs of study, communication majors and minors are expected to be able to demonstrate two levels of cultural competence: professional and theoretical. Six learning objectives state the assumptions common to courses in the major and its various course concentrations. Although not a requirement, students are strongly encouraged to seek an internship to gain experience in a chosen field of interest. Student understanding of the learning objectives is demonstrated through a portfolio of their work assembled during a capstone course in the last semester of study.
The Communication Department curriculum is grounded in the assumption that the 21st-century lifestyle calls for a broad range of communication skills, often used in combination with one another. Therefore we expect our graduates to be practiced readers, writers, speakers, listeners, producers, observers, and performers. Each course taken toward the B.A. in Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside will emphasize one or more of the six learning objectives listed below:
Identity: Analyzing and critiquing how human identity is constructed, reinforced, and transformed through the ways we communicate.
Social justice: Promoting social justice in ways that acknowledge and celebrate a diverse global culture.
Knowledge: Understanding how knowledge is constructed within systemic and historically situated processes.
Messages: Creating and critiquing messages in ways that reflect both professional competence and ethical decision-making.
Texts: Interpreting and explaining a range of texts in ways that question cultural assumptions.
Contexts: Identifying and practicing multiple roles within groups and organizations.
Demonstrating successful completion of the Communication major as a whole is the goal of the Senior Seminar capstone course (COMM 495), taken in a student’s final semester.
It is the student’s responsibility to be aware of the requirements of the major at the time it is declared, as well as any changes in the major instituted by the faculty. It is also the student’s responsibility to consult regularly with his/her adviser regarding the program of study.