The Craft of Professional Writing
This course introduces students to genres and styles of professional writing across organizations and industries. Considering the planning, process, and production of communication texts in professional and creative settings, topics include the variety of written professional texts, audience analysis, message purpose, selection of medium and channel, the editing/revision process, and collaborative writing. This course gives students creative and conceptual tools to develop theoretical and strategic approaches to professional writing.
Text, Image, and Sound
In contemporary culture, we are surrounded by media and artifacts that attempt to persuade us to buy, believe or behave in certain ways. This course provides students with the analytical tools to understand the ways that text, image and sound work together to create persuasive objects. Using concepts from a wide range of theoretical frameworks related to communication, this course focuses on the design and use of media and messages in contemporary culture and the ways that text, image, and sound interact to create meaningful experiences.
Language and Power
Powerful texts such as influential news stories, government policies and legal decisions help shape our lives. Using concepts from critical discourse analysis, this course introduces students to the basic analytical vocabulary and tools to understand ways that powerful texts work. Students will learn to identify the linguistic techniques that characterize the important documents that affect our social worlds. They will have opportunities to respond to these texts.
Messages, Modalities, and Media
The ability to interpret messages across modalities and media critically is fundamental to the transformation of information into meaningful knowledge. Using principles of discourse analysis and incorporating a range of examples and exercises, students will learn to identify, select, evaluate, and synthesize written and oral messages in ways that recognize the embeddedness of the interpretive process within its larger ethical, social, political and technological dimensions.
Both old and new communication technologies, through “revolutions” or epochs of advancement, have transformed modern culture. From the origins of language to the invention of communication technologies, such as writing, the printing press and the Internet, this course explores the origins, reception and uses of new forms of communication in their historical contexts with attention to their social, political, cognitive and technological impacts.
Digital Discourse and Design
Through a combination of writing and design assignments, lectures and discussions, this course explores the practical and theoretical consequences of the creation, delivery, and reception of texts in digital spaces and discusses effective digital writing principles and techniques. The implications of visual and interaction design are examined as they affect digital communication. Students will have the opportunity to work with digital technologies and to critique a range of online texts.
Communication in Place
Where does communication happen? This course examines how place and environment shape the communicative practice. Using concepts from rhetoric, cultural studies and various communication theories, students will develop an understanding of the “communication environment,” and how to consider environmental constraints and factors when constructing meaningful messages for audiences. The course uses examples from popular culture, economics, politics, architecture, science, and technology to help students understand the importance of place in the process of communication.
Trans Studies and Communication
This course introduces students to trans issues through an intersectional approach to media analysis and gender studies. Intersectionality provides a theoretical framework to investigate the overlapping experiences of multiple forms of oppression, as well as ongoing resistance to state violence through decolonization and anti-racist activism. Students uncover how trans media production influences health communication and medical access narratives. Students will analyze trans communication in the workplace, in visual culture, and in emerging media creation.
This course examines the complex relationships between conventional and countercultural communication practices. Investigating countercultural forms, spaces, and acts such as graffiti, comix, memes, zines, culture jamming, body modification, viral videos, and others, the course considers how novel and often subversive communication practices influence and alter conventional forms. Countercultural communication can drive innovation; its original voices, forms, practices and idioms can be adapted and applied to bring new life and power to conventional contexts and forms.
Communication and Social Media
Social media provides new opportunities for organizations to build relationships and engage audiences as co-creators through strategic use of relevant platforms to achieve persuasive and participatory communication goals. Students will study communication theory, promotional genres, and social media to understand the principles, benefits and ethics of these interactive, mobile, and immediate communication forms. This course integrates theory and practice; students will demonstrate their understanding of course content through their engagement with social media.
Career Advancement Communication
This course aims to develop the communication skills and strategies necessary to meet the challenges of the current workplace. With particular focus on the job search and career development, course content covers such topics as research and interviewing, persuasive writing and speaking, developing a professional image and making effective communication decisions.
Strategic Public Relations in Professional Communication
This course examines the principles and application of effective public relations. Students will study the concepts underlying public relations and how to employ them in strategic planning, image management, advocacy, and media interaction. Pedagogy will be case-based and include simulation activities.
Risk and Crisis Communication
All organizations must manage risk and crisis in order to avoid damage or ruin. This course investigates the components of risk and crisis management and the channels and media available to communicate related messages to an organization’s audiences. Using case studies and practical applications, students will understand and analyze the process of perceiving, handling, and communicating about risk and crisis and gain experience in these areas through simulation.
Organizational Report Writing
Organizational report writing focuses on the selection, treatment and solution of a complex problem in an organization, through the development and preparation of a formal, analytical report. Students learn to propose solutions to an identifiable problem, customize a message for multiple audiences, create a work plan, apply primary and secondary research methods, and structure an argument logically and persuasively. Students will strengthen their critical thinking skills as they evaluate findings and formulate conclusions and recommendations.
Successful professionals achieve their objectives by consistently designing and delivering meaningful presentations to diverse, demanding audiences. Students learn to structure content coherently, develop poise and confidence, and employ technology in a sophisticated way to connect with their listeners.
Issues in Organizational Communication
Effective communication has always been an essential component of business. It is particularly important today, when business people communicate in increasingly complex and diverse workplaces. They must deal with ethical dilemmas, intensifying organizational change, global and multicultural partners, increased specialization, and constant technological developments. Using practical examples and case studies, this course both explores communication challenges that business professionals face today and helps them develop strategies and practices designed for the contemporary workplace.
The course examines how political and professional agendas shape the collection and reporting of numerical data and the techniques for assessing the validity of quantitative research. Students will learn to think critically about the use of data in both professional settings and daily life and to develop numerical literacy and research skills necessary to understand and craft messages that communicate the results of quantitative research to public and professional audiences.
Information, Technology, and Control
The shift from industrial to information society is characterized by the integration of information and information technologies into the political process, the economy, health, and other areas. While information technologies open up possibilities for citizens to engage in public life, they also offer regulatory institutions modes of monitoring and controlling citizens. This course examines the relationship between information technologies and governance, and develops students’ capacity to engage critically with competing notions of the information society.
Creating and communicating knowledge are central processes in contemporary organizations. Working with other subject matter experts, knowledge translation specialists are charged with assisting in developing new knowledge (digital, medical, scientific etc.) but also with sharing that knowledge with other often non-technical audiences. Using strategic, creative and critical approaches, this advanced course offers students the opportunity to investigate, practice and critique the genres and practices associated with knowledge translation.
Introduction to Professional Practice
This course introduces students to the practice of professional communication within and between organizations. Students will examine the variety of forms that professional communication takes and explore the role of communication professionals in organizations. Focusing on the needs of specific organizations, students will consult with clients, conduct a stakeholder/audience analysis, and produce a formal report and presentation.
Strategic Storytelling in Industry
Stories are vibrant forms of expression that can engage others, promote values, encourage creativity, and inspire action. Students will learn the power and craft of storytelling as a professional communication strategy. Students will analyze basic concepts of narratology, examine case studies that illustrate a range of storytelling principles and practices, master a set of techniques for successful storytelling, and consider how new technologies suggest new ways of telling stories.
Communication and the Digital Enterprise
To be successful in today’s workplace requires an understanding of how to effectively identify, communicate, and mobilize data as information and knowledge in the operations of an organization. This course provides students with an opportunity to explore the effects of digital data on changing organizational knowledge and social structures. Students will learn to apply the fundamentals of oral, visual and written communication within digital media environments of text, audio, video, database, and virtual worlds.
In the internship Professional Communication students have the opportunity to gain insight into professional practice. The internship will be 240 to 320 hours and scheduled during the spring/summer term between second and fourth year. The internship is optional with admission at the discretion of the internship committee. Minimum GPA of 3.0 (B) required for consideration. This course is graded on a pass/fail basis.
This foundational course introduces students to the main schools of thought that comprise communication theory. Its objectives are to understand the interdisciplinary complexity that constitutes communication studies, to appreciate how theories allow scholars to build a body of knowledge in an organized and synthesized way, and to explore how the theories presented have implications and applications in our own lives as communicators.
Communication in an Indigenous Context
This course studies the nature and function of communication by, for, and about Indigenous peoples in both historical and contemporary settings. Students will take an expansive view of both text and textual analysis as they explore material culture (rock art, birchbark scrolls, wampum belts), historical documents and narratives (oral histories), policies and legal documents (treaties, statutes), and popular media representations. Indigenous theory will be the guiding framework for the course, but students will also be exposed to a range of other theoretical perspectives.
Proposal and Grant Writing
This course provides an introduction to the multidimensional processes of grant-seeking and the strategic principles of writing proposals for venture support. From the perspective of both grant seekers and multidisciplinary peer-review audiences, students will learn how to identify and target funding sources/opportunities, translate project goals and problem statements into clear objectives and hypotheses, and coordinate activities to plan, develop, structure, and articulate feasible and conceptually innovative proposals.
How does a company communicate its reputation and image and manage these intangible features when damaged? Through examining high-level communication strategies and products, students develop sensitivity to the language, formats, and images organizations use to manage their concerns. Students also practice skills corporate communication professionals employ to communicate with a variety of audiences.
In this course, students will learn interpersonal communication theories and participate in a variety of individual and group exercises designed to develop the skills necessary for effective interpersonal communication. Students will learn how member diversity and communication medium affect group processes such as problem solving, decision making, resolving conflict, and negotiating.
Contemporary Intercultural Communication
In today’s global environment, the success of almost any venture requires an understanding of intercultural issues. In this course various communication strategies and theories are analyzed in cultural context. Students learn how to overcome cultural barriers and engage in cross-cultural situations.
Communication and Law
Communication practitioners must understand how law matters in every day communication and be cognizant of the principles, institutions, and practices that regulate communication in a range of media and contexts. In this case and theory-based course, students explore the intersections of communication and law through the study of semiotics and legal discourse; the social and technological contexts of communication that provoke and challenge legal regulation; freedom of expression; and the legal frameworks for the protection of consumers, individual privacy, and intellectual property in the digital age.
Introduction to Visual Communication
This course introduces students to the study of visual communication. Students will examine the ways visual images persuade us to act, think, and feel, and will also learn vocabulary, concepts, and histories related to visual meaning-making. Students will focus on the ways images, seeing, and being seen influence the ways we experience the world within professional and social contexts and how visual images and image-making manipulate and become manipulated by a surrounding visual culture.
Participatory Media and Communication
Students will investigate theoretical and technological facets of participatory culture. Internet users have the ability to take part in digital conversations on topics ranging from entertainment to politics. Skills in the composition of text, image, and audio are developed through the production of digital media. These compositional and technical skills will develop strategies that move consumers of media to become media producers participating in digital dialogues. Students will also explore ethical aspects of participatory culture.
Communication and Social Change
This course provides students with an opportunity to pursue advanced studies of the construction of social differences such as race, gender, sexuality, class and disability in professional communication through a range of theoretical lenses and in a variety of institutional contexts (e.g., media, education, law, health). Students also engage with communication in activist, advocacy and social justice contexts, including the theories and philosophies that inform communication practices in these contexts.
Applied Research Methods I
As part of their careers, graduates in Professional Communication will be asked to conduct research projects in their workplaces. The objective of this capstone course is to provide students with the experience of designing such projects. The course will focus on research design and on data-gathering techniques such as interviewing, document collection, observation, and surveys. Students will develop research projects related to a specific organization or workplace.
Applied Research Methods II
In this course, students in groups will conduct and complete their research projects proposed in CMN480. Attention will be devoted to data analysis techniques. The course will build on students’ previous course work in terms of theoretical perspectives and identification of issues related to professional communication. The course will conclude with students presenting the results of their research to the School and to their industry partners.
Science, Communication and Society
This course examines how critical scientific issues are communicated to science’s major stakeholders, the public and government, and within the scientific community itself. What works, what doesn’t, and why? In today’s multi-channel, electronic and media-dominated society, which communication strategies work best to ensure that complex issues of vital importance are communicated in a clear and engaging way? The course challenges students to theorize how science is, and should be, communicated in diverse social contexts.