Communication

A Nichols Communication degree prepares students for dynamic careers in media, journalism, social media, marketing or writing. In this program, you'll be immersed in the hands-on development of communication skills, including video skills through the use of our green screen room and editing suite. And you'll do it while examining the growing role of media and social media in society and business.

Communication majors are valued in a myriad of professions because of their ability to use critical thinking and analytical skills in order to build successful interpersonal relationships and contribute effectively to group dynamics. And, according to a recent American Association of Colleges & Universities survey, more than 80 percent of employers say that effective written and oral communication skills are among the most important skills they look for when making hiring decisions. Communication majors are prepared to make a difference in the workplace and the world.

Courses & Requirements

New Courses

Media Literacy

Given that media informs our daily lives in a multitude of ways, it is important to critically examine and analyze how it affects us on both a cultural and individual level.  We will consider the impact media has on methods of communication, as well as on our personal and societal notions of identity, with special attention to issues of race, class, gender, and sexual orientation. Considering the ethical implications, students will learn to deconstruct a variety of media texts, including, but not limited to: advertisements, television programming, commercials, magazines, newspapers, internet sources, and video games. Through this critical and ethical examination, students will strengthen their analytical skills. Course under development.

Intro to Film

This introductory course will critically examine films as pieces of art, as well as cultural artifacts.  We will analyze film techniques, such as direction, acting, production, and music, to understand the artistic choices made and the tools necessary to enact them.  Importantly, the course will study the cultural meanings created by and reflected in films, with special attention to issues of race, class, gender, and sexual orientation.  Through this study, we will consider the ethics of film making, questioning the purpose of films and to whom filmmakers are responsible. Course under development.

 Social Media in Modern Society

This is a course about the social impact and social meaning of social media.  Social media comes in many different forms: networking sites, forums, chats, sites designed for personal interactions, for business relationships, and a mix of everything in between.  We will focus on the analysis of the social processes and structures which create the networks and which emerge when people use them.  We will look at the problems and the benefits they create.  The course will look at privacy, at the evolution of “friendship,” at the impact of social networks with no geographical boundaries, at harassment and bullying, at self-esteem and self-expression.  Our materials will come from sociology, social psychology, economics, Psychology, as well as literature. Prerequisite BCOM 247. Course under development.

Argument and Communication

This course is designed to introduce students to the art of argument by using formal logic to examine and write arguments that artfully influence others through the medium of reasoned discourse.   It will be focused on learning the rules that govern the behaviors of good arguers via study and practice so they effectively engage in analysis, develop sound research techniques, and can rigorously evaluate data and information.  The focus will be framed by studying argumentative styles such as induction and deduction, as well as logical fallacies which will also help them to discern logical, emotional, and ethical appeals so students emerge from the course as stronger thinkers who engage in socially responsible rhetoric.  The critical thinking and analytical skills they acquire in this class will create the foundation for the approach they will take in the other courses in the major.  Students will write argumentative essays as a means of developing and organizing their ideas as well as learning to express themselves clearly and economically.  They will also be reading classic arguments from Plato, Martin Luther King Jr., and Margaret Mead. Prerequisite BCOM 247. Course under development.

Internship

The Internship in Communications will afford students an opportunity to apply the knowledge acquired in the classroom to practical situations at the internship site. Students will gain an appreciation for the varied nature of the field of communications and will have an opportunity to participate in the field in a meaningful way. Library research and reading assignments will underscore the need for life-long professional development and learning in order to meet new challenges in this rapidly changing field. Prerequisites BCOM 247, BCOM 310, BCOM 311. Course under development.

Communications Capstone

This course will ask senior Communication majors to create culminating writing and presentation projects that theorize about areas of change or trends that may impact the consumption, study, and ethical implications of communication.  The course will emphasize analysis and critical thinking that will drive their research and writing as a means of moving those findings towards meaningful oral presentations.  Ideally, students will focus on incorporating their major and how that intersects with any minor or emphasis area of study they may have chosen along the way.  If the student did not emphasize or minor in an area, the student will work closely with the instructor to identify an area of interest for the class.  At the end of the course, there will be formal presentations of their research and data presented to audiences of their classmates, faculty, staff, and other students.  Many individual course meetings will be used to report their research and writing progress, any obstacles, and to get feedback from their classmates and their instructor about the best way to continue towards their end goals. Prerequisites BCOM 247, BCOM 310, BCOM 311. Course under development.

Psychology of Advertising

This course offers an exploration of human behavior through the prism of advertising and promotion. Each day, consumers are presented with a series of decisions (what to wear, what to eat, what to do for entertainment). These decisions are influenced by a variety of factors including but not limited to: learning, reference groups, first-hand experience, attitudes, exposure to stimuli and perception. This team-taught seminar course will delve into the Psychology supporting the strategies organizations use to influence purchase decisions and solidify brand preference. Students will investigate, analyze and present their findings using a variety of analysis/discussion/application methods. Prerequisite: Successful completion of MGMT 100 or PSY 151. Course under development.

Required Courses

BCOM 247 Business Communication Survey

This course includes a survey of basic theories of the human communication process, and an examination of communication theory in five business-related contexts: (1) group communication, (2) inter/intra cultural communication, (3) interpersonal communication, (4) mass communication, and (5) organizational communication.

BCOM 310 Intercultural Communication

In this course, students will gain awareness of cultural differences as they affect the conduct of business, and will develop methods to bridge those differences. Globalization, the effect of social conventions on the business environment, and the impact of cultural norms on information gathering and decision making will be studied. Differences in legal, regulatory, and organizational structures will be considered. Each student will participate in a group research project examining the challenges of conducting business and communicating on an intercultural basis.

BCOM 311 Visual Communication

This course will explore the psychological and cultural aspects of visual communication, and will introduce students to visual techniques for analyzing, displaying and explaining numerical and statistical data. The cultural and commercial impact of advertising, film, and electronically manipulated data will be studied. Working with photographs, tables, graphs, and templates, students will learn to select appropriate visual formats for presentation of various types of data. Ethical issues related to choice, use and distortion of visual information will be considered. Software programs for computer-assisted design will be reviewed and applied.

Prerequisites: MIS-109, and ITM-123.

Electives

PSY 308 Psychology of Temperament

In this course, students will examine various theories underlying the development of human temperament. We will start with early theories and trace them through to the modern era. In this course, we will look at the profound effect temperament has on perception, communication, and relationships. Knowledge of human temperament is fundamentally pragmatic and will help students relate to the social world around them.

Prerequisite: PSY-151.

BCOM 316 Mass Media & Public Relations

A study of communication that is mediated through technology, including traditional mass media (books, newspapers, radio, film, and television) and new media (cable, satellite, computer, and digital telecommunications). We will consider the nature and practice of public relations, corporate interface with press organizations, and the role of advertising. The ethical and legal repercussions of mass communications will also be considered.

Prerequisite: MKTG-202.

ENGL 321 Professional Writing

Intensive practice in a variety of approaches to professional writing tasks: memoranda, correspondence, proposals, and both brief and longer reports.

Prerequisite: ENGL-105.

Faculty

  • Mauri Pelto

    Mauri Pelto
    Vice President for Academic Affairs

  • Jean Beaupre

    Jean Beaupre
    Assistant Professor of Marketing and Business Communication & Faculty Advisor-Institute for Women's Leadership

  • Cathy Temple

    Cathy Temple
    Visiting Assistant Professor of Communication

  • Mary Robins

    Mary Robins
    Adjunct Professor

  • Luanne Westerling

    Luanne Westerling
    Associate Dean for Business / Associate Professor of Business Communication / Emerging Leaders Program Chair

  • Robert Russo

    Robert Russo
    Adjunct Professor

  • Jeffrey Halprin

    Jeffrey Halprin
    Professor of English / English Program Chair

  • Kellie Deys

    Kellie Deys
    Assistant Professor of English / Administrative Director of the Honors Scholar Program