Electronic Media Studies Course Descriptions

See the major details for full requirements. Courses are listed in numerical order.


How is writing a speech different from writing a paper? Why does public speaking seem to come naturally to some, but not to others - or does it? Why are you so nervous? How do gendered norms impact your credibility as a female speaker? Undoubtedly, the ability to speak eloquently in a variety of settings is a vital component of contemporary leadership. This course is designed to introduce you to the skills needed to communicate effectively in a variety of public settings - from interview situations and boardroom meetings to public speeches and social contexts. We will focus on the practical application of rhetorical concepts, while maintaining an emphasis on self-empowerment and civic engagement. Readings and assignments are designed to foster the following skills: choosing effective speech topics, writing, outlining, and editing speech text, delivery and eloquence, audience analysis, ethics, language and structure, evaluation and criticism of speech texts.


Why does the Daily Show matter? How does the medium of the cell phone increase the quantity of communication while decreasing the quality? Why do we design our living rooms around the television? What is the responsibility of a media critic? How does cultural context impact meaning? How are issues of gender, race, sexuality and class negotiated in contemporary media? In what ways do media impact identity? Why study the media, anyway? These are some of the key questions guiding our exploration of media, culture and society. This class introduces some key concepts and theories for the study of media, provides a historical backdrop for the emergence of cultural critique, and surveys some of the current trends in media and cultural studies, promoting a critical consumption of the cultural texts that infiltrate our increasingly mediated lives.


What does it mean to be a citizen? What are your duties and responsibilities as citizens? How should you seek to actively engage the world around you? How can citizens participate in society in order to change society? This class answers these questions by examining the role of public discourse in constituting public decisions and public life. You will examine how rhetorical practices contribute to the construction, maintenance and destruction of community. By the end of class you will have learned to become a more active and effective participant in our democratic culture through rhetorical action, and thereby to contribute to the improvement of civic discourse in our society. To achieve this overarching goal, class assignments will require you to research controversial public issues, develop your opinions in relation to those issues, and create strategic plans through which you can initiate social change. Prerequisites: COMM 1030.

COMM 3070: GENDER AND RHETORIC (4 credits)

If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, how on earth are they supposed to communicate with one another? What are the implications of this "different planets" metaphor? Why do we talk about Hilary Clinton’s fashion, but not Bill’s? Where do we get our ideas about what it means to be female or male, feminine or masculine? How do various rhetoric influence us to adopt and perform particular gender identities? In what ways are conceptions of gender related to ideas about sexuality? What rhetorical strategies have individuals and social movements used to challenge gender/sexual norms? This course examines how sex and gender and our identities as women, men, and sexual beings are influenced by and contested in the rhetorical culture around us. We will focus on communicating identity in interpersonal relationships, the impact of mass media on gender performances, key legislative debates and social movement strategies. Also offered as WOST.


This course studies the practice of leadership communication from within the framework of persuasive, effective, ethical and enduring leadership. By studying the communication practices of female leaders in the cultural, political, business and intellectual sectors of society and by focusing on the unique challenges faced by these leaders as women in particular, this course provides practical examples of different forms of effective leadership particularly well-suited to the St. Kate’s student. To provide you with a foundation through which you can begin to act as a leader in your daily life, these practical examples are discussed in conjunction with theories of leadership, persuasion and argumentation. Class assignments—a personal leadership plan, a persuasive cover letter, a persuasive speech—provide you with practical opportunities for incorporating theory into practice. Also offered as CRST and WOST.

COMM 4602 or 4604: INTERNSHIP ( 2 OR 4 credits)

This structured out-of-class learning experience takes place on or off campus and includes a substantial work component. An internship involves you in a particular profession in an exploratory way to test career interests and potential. To initiate an internship experience, you must meet with the internship coordinator in the Career Development Office. Prerequisites: Faculty sponsorship and approval by department chair.

COMM 4952 or 4954: INDEPENDENT STUDY ( 2 OR 4 credits)

Project may build upon experience gained in any course in the department. Prerequisites: Instructor and department chair permission.