Communication (COM)

The Communication Department offers a BA degree in Communication and a minor in Communication.

Learning Outcomes for Students Earning the BA in Communication

Students who complete a BA in Communication will have developed the following skills and abilities:

The Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Communication prepares students for many fields including, but not limited to, public relations, marketing, health and political communication campaigns, organizational communication, journalism, media production, research on communication effectiveness, as well as graduate studies in various academic and professional fields.

In section 1, we include the goals of the Department of Communication. In order to assess our effectiveness in achieving these goals, we use various assessment tools.

Although these tools are routinely used to assess individual students on a given assignment, the Department as a whole might examine our success in achieving specific goals. In section 2, we offer two examples of assessment tools that we use to address critical thinking skills and application of skills such as public speaking. The items bolded in Section 1 are the ones we measure with the assessment tools in section 2.

We are also attaching a chart that outlines specifically how the assessment tools help us in determining which goals are being met. The two assessment tools in Section 2 address, respectively, speech/presentation skills and debate skills.

These two specific instruments allow us to measure the way students learn to give effective oral presentations (one of our ‘Applications’ criteria). Specific aspects of the assessment tool, including ‘Support arguments with evidence’; ‘Anticipate counter arguments and answer them’; and ‘Summarize your thesis/main argument and main points’ allow us to test critical thinking skills. In particular, they help us assess what we identify as the ability to:

  • determine the degree to which an explanation is supported by reasoning and evidence
  • perceive alternative explanations and to determine what evidence is needed to support these explanations
  • gather evidence in support of an argument, synthesize evidence and present it logically, particularly as it pertains to problems of communication

The debate assessment tool also allows us to evaluate the students’ ability to achieve the goals listed above, both for critical thinking and the ability to apply the theories they learn to both sides of an argument.
SECTION 1
Intellectual Formation

Students should:

  • understand media, including its form, function and effects
  • be able to discuss ideas freely and to defend points logically
  • understand the importance of communication in all aspects of life from the intimate, interpersonal context, to the public sphere

Content

Students should know and understand:

  • core questions in communication
  • major theoretical approaches in communication
  • various approaches to communication, both in terms of substance and methods, such as critical, rhetorical, and empirical
    core communication concepts

Critical Thinking

Students should be able to:

  • identify and formulate communication problems or questions
  • determine the degree to which an explanation is supported by reasoning and evidence
  • erceive alternative explanations and to determine what evidence is needed to support these explanations
  • gather evidence in support of an argument, synthesize evidence and present it logically, particularly as it pertains to problems of communication
  • apply communication theory to various communication problems
  • identify communication problems and make connections between them and specific communication theory

Research Skills (approved 1/31/11)

Students should be able to:

  • identify a communication question
  • locate extant literature pertaining to the problem
  • understand, explain and critique communication empirical data found in popular media

Application

Students should be able to:

  • give effective oral presentations
  • write effectively
  • recognize personal, social, organizational, political and cultural situations as communication situations and apply appropriate knowledge to those.
  • apply theoretical understanding to real communication situations in order to improve their conduct
  • coordinate and work with others on a project

Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes

Assessment Instrument examples

COM 225 Presentation Guidelines

COM assessment matrix 2012