The bachelor of arts in communication offers a general degree program as well as three optional concentrations in which students may choose to specialize. These include journalism, rhetoric and media, and leadership and advocacy. This degree focuses on the roles interpersonal and mediated messages play in shaping personal, group, and societal attitudes, values, beliefs, actions, and received realities.
The journalism concentration engages students in the evolving forms and practices of the journalism profession, including print and online journalism. These include developing abilities to gather and assess information from a variety of sources, including interviews, public meetings, databases, and public records; write news stories that are accurate and well-sourced; and apply the standards of the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics in all arenas of professional activity.
Students pursuing a rhetoric and media concentration develop critical understandings about the persuasive roles various forms of media play in shaping our economy, culture, and public, political discourse. This includes developing abilities to deconstruct media messages using rhetorical and media literacy tools, and to recognize and assess the economic underpinnings and performance of mass mediated forms - including journalism (online, print, and broadcast), entertainment media, public relations and advertising - in advancing and inhibiting democratic practice. These students take courses such as broadcast criticism, cinema and society, advertising, and visual communication. Students graduating with a media studies emphasis will find professional careers in advertising, public relations, sales, management, etc.
Learners choosing a leadership and advocacy concentration gain competency in the means by which people influence the direction and outcomes of activities that pursue shared goals within relationships and communities. Learners develop abilities to explain and apply leadership knowledge, skills, and values focused on making a difference within particular contexts and situations, attend to ethical questions attached to leading in particular contexts, and become involved in contemporary dilemmas involving multiple stakeholders embedded in diverse social and historical contexts. These students take courses such as argumentation and advocacy, social media and culture, negotiation and conflict management, and the rhetoric of politics and social change.
Students in all concentrations are encouraged to explore potential callings and occupations via the professional training made available through a plethora of community-based academic internships. This degree prepares students for professional communication work and for graduate study in a variety of fields.