• Bruce Dorries, coordinator
    Velma Bryant, Sarah Ludwig, Suzanne Miller, Allan Moyé, Sandi Smith

    This field of study develops communication skills and knowledge, including oral presentation and writing, research, critical thinking, and media and visual literacy. It promotes effective and ethical practice by focusing on how people use messages to create meanings in different contexts, cultures, and media. Communication helps prepare students for work in a wide range of careers, graduate school, and for civic and global engagement.

  • Requirements for the Major in Communication

    42 semester hours
    COMM 100
    COMM 115
    COMM 202
    COMM 212
    COMM 280
    COMM 320
    COMM 387
    COMM 400

    An emphasis in Visual Communication or Public Communication

    Visual Communication Emphasis

    ART 109
    FILM/COMM 119
    Four of the following: ART 115, ART 171/172/173, ART 218, FILM/COMM 229, FILM /COMM 264, or COMM 300

    Public Communication Emphasis

    COMM 221
    INT 251 or INT 268
    Four of the following: REL/COMM 237, COMM 240, COMM 260, FILM/COMM 264, or COMM 300

    Requirements for the Minor in Communication

    18 semester hours
    COMM 100
    COMM 115
    and four of the following
    COMM 202
    COMM 212
    COMM 240
    COMM 260
    COMM 280

  • Civic Engagement and International Experience

    • Internships provide non-profit organizations and governmental offices with public relations, advertising, video production, writing, and editing. Examples: public relations work for LEARN (the local literacy council), special event preparation and media relations work for Riverfest, an environmental teach-in, and Staunton Earth Day.
    • Students conduct internships with local media, including WHSV-TV3, which has a studio on campus, as well as the college’s Communications, Marketing, and Public Affairs department.
    • Class projects require production of materials, including short documentaries, news releases, and integrated marketing communication campaigns, for nonprofit organizations, such as Wild Virginia, the Community Childcare Center and Project Grows.
    • Seniors may choose a civic or global engagement focused thesis, or a project, such as developing the social media plan for the Veterans Administration Hospital in Salem.
  • 100 Public Speaking (3 s.h.) (O)
    The theory and practice of public speaking in a variety of professional and social contexts, focusing on how presentations can transform speakers and audiences by creating an environment for the civil exchange of ideas, experiences, and opinions.

    115 Mass Communication (3 s.h.) (S)
    An exploration of media culture includes the history, economic structures, and special issues associated with various media industries. Enhances media literacy and explores how culture influences and is influenced by media. Students are encouraged to become cultural critics of media.

    119 Introduction to Video Production (3 s.h.)
    For course description, see FILM 119 in the Film listing.

    202 Organizational Behavior and Interpersonal Communication (3 s.h.)
    For course description, see BUAD 202 in the Business listing.

    212 Mass Media Law and Ethics (3 s.h.)
    Students examine the dual judicial system in the U.S. and its effect on media, the protections of speech and press afforded by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and on areas of civil and criminal law. Students practice recognizing and resolving ethical conflicts. Cross listed as POLS 212.

    221 Mass Media Writing (3 s.h.) (W)
    An introduction to the basic principles of media writing, covering a variety of writing styles, including journalism and public relations. Provides practical experience in writing, editing, and meeting deadlines for Campus Comments, the MBC student newspaper.

    225 Culture, Identity, and Communication (3 s.h.) (D)
    In this course we will study relevant and sometimes controversial ideas relating to the  issues of communication, identity, and culture with and among members of various ethnic, racial, social class, ability, and gender identities as well as to other cultural groups within the United States. This course offers an opportunity to learn and apply, in daily life, practical principles of interpersonal communication. Emphasis is placed on psychological, social, cultural, and linguistic factors, which affect person-to-person interaction. This course is designed to help students understand theories and concepts that can improve communication in both personal and professional contexts.

    229 Advanced Video Production (3 s.h.)
    For course description, see FILM 229 in the Film listing.

    237 Mediation: Theory and Practice (3 s.h.) (O)
    For course description, see REL 237 in the Religion listing.

    240 Principles of Advertising (3 s.h.)
    Examines the history, functions, practices, and criticism of advertising. Students learn the creative process of the profession, as well as ways to become more critical consumers of advertising messages. Includes community-service learning and a group project for a nonprofit organization. Cross listed as MKTC 240. Recommended background: COMM 100.

    254 Film Analysis (3 s.h.)
    For course description, see FILM 254 in the Film listing.

    260 Principles of Public Relations (3 s.h.)
    The development and role of public relations and its centrality in democratic societies. Students learn practices of the profession, strategies and tactics, and how to implement a campaign. Includes the important role of research in public relations and related theory. Study of business and media writing and a community service-learning project on behalf of a nonprofit organization. Cross listed as MKTC 260. Recommended background: COMM 100.

    264 Screenwriting (3 s.h.)
    For course description, see FILM 264 in the Film listing.

    280 Intercultural Communication (3 s.h.) (I)
    This course serves as an introduction to the field of intercultural communication by looking at the practical application of theory and research. Intercultural Communication focuses on the importance of culture in our everyday lives, and the ways in which culture interrelates with and influences communication processes. The course will cover several general topics including: identity, perception, communication skills, culture, linguistic differences, ecological influences on culture, common and important dimensions of cultural difference, stereotyping, the challenges presented by intercultural encounters, and the social and personal benefits of intercultural interaction. This course is designed to help us do all these things and become better communicators through intercultural awareness and competencies.

    300 Integrated Campaigns (3 s.h.)
    Course investigates a broad range of communication campaigns, with emphasis on integrated marketing and social media strategies and tactics. In addition to discussions and readings of case studies, class engages in community service learning, creating campaigns on behalf of nonprofit clients.

    320 Research Methods
    For course description, see SOC 320 in Sociology listing.

    332 Special Topics in Communication (3 s.h.)
    Focus on special topics not normally covered in other communication courses, such as Social Media. Individual student projects define or refine an aspect of the topic.

    387 Internship in Communication (3–6 s.h.)
    A communication-based, practical learning experience that bridges the academic and professional worlds. The student identifies the internship and negotiates the nature of her responsibilities with the supervising organization, which works with the supervising professors to evaluate the student’s performance. Internship-agreement contract must be finalized before a student begins working with an organization. The major is required to complete a three-semester-hour internship.

    400 Communication Seminar (3 s.h.) (M)
    Practice in the conduct of an independent research thesis or project demonstrating understanding of communication issues, research, theories, and skills, on a topic of student’s choice in agreement with the instructor. Application of primary and secondary research or project to a selected issue associated with human and/or mass-mediated interaction. Theses or projects are created as a capstone experience in the major, presented in writing and orally . *Prerequisites: junior or senior status and Comm 320.