COMM 1125: Science, Communication, and Society

Introduces the major areas of research analyzing the role of communication and the media in shaping debates over science, technology, and the environment. Focuses on what U.S. National Academies calls the “science of science communication” to offer students an opportunity to acquire the knowledge necessary to assess the interplay between science, engineering, and society, including the implications for strategic communication, public engagement, personal decisions, and career choices. Examines the scientific, social, and communication dimensions of debates over climate change, evolution, human genetic engineering, childhood vaccination, food biotechnology, and other case studies. Covers how 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.

COM 3320/6620: Political Communication

Reviews major areas of research related to political communication, journalism, and public opinion. Students connect scholarly work to insights from leading strategists and journalists, and to contemporary trends and issues. Students focus on the varying ways that campaigns, news, technology, social movements, philanthropy, and ideas influence societal decisions, elections, and democracy.

COMM 3500/6500: Environmental Issues, Communication, and the Media

Analyzes major debates over the environment, climate change, and related technologies such as nuclear energy, wind power, natural gas “fracking,” and food biotechnology. Studies 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. Offers students an opportunity to gain an integrated understanding of their different roles as professionals, advocates, and consumers and to improve their ability to find 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 4608: Strategic Communication Capstone

Offers students an opportunity to complete a semester-long, intensive research and writing capstone project related to the field of strategic communication. Research topics can span business, politics, advocacy, entertainment, public health, the environment, and other societal sectors. Building on previous course work, students have an opportunity to gain a deeper scholarly and professional understanding of strategic communication; cultivate professional and academic contacts; and demonstrate mastery of relevant theoretical concepts, professional principles, research methods, and writing approaches. Encourages students to share and translate their findings for relevant academic and professional communities.