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Undergraduate Curriculum

Courses in Communication & Rhetorical Studies

101.  Debate (Practicum). 0-6 cr.
The course develops competency in critical thinking, writing, speaking, and synthesizing information quickly and clearly for the purpose of communicating well with others. The end goal is to demonstrate intellectual agility and a commitment to ethical and moral discussion in a complex world. The focus is on formal argument with undergraduate students from other universities.

102.  Public Speaking (meets TAFR requirement). 3 cr.
Develops communicative skills necessary to analyze verbal discourse and to perform effectively in public speaking situations that confront the educated person. Emphasizes the importance of standpoint and worldview in understanding, developing, and articulating positions. This course meets the requirements for the Faith and Reason Theme Area Core Requirement (TAFR).

102C.  Public Speaing. 3 cr.
Develops communicative skills necessary to analyze verbal discourse and to perform effectively in public speaking situations that confront the educated person. Emphasizes the importance of standpoint and worldview in understanding, developing, and articulating positions.

103.  Exploring Interpersonal Communication (meets TASJ requirement). 3 cr.
Introduces interpersonal communication praxis (theory-informed action) in personal and professional relationships. The course develops communication skills in a variety of personal and professional relationships, including friendships, romantic relationships, work relationships, and family relationships and  explores how interpersonal justice, a requirement for social justice, both stemming from and contributing to its action, requires reflection and care. This course meets the requirements for the Social Justice Theme Area Core Requirement (TASJ).

103C.  Exploring Interpersonal Communication. 3 cr.
Introduces interpersonal communication praxis (theory-informed action) in personal and professional relationships. The course develops communication skills in a variety of personal and professional relationships, including friendships, romantic relationships, work relationships, and family relationships and explores how interpersonal justice, a requirement for social justice, both stemming from and contributing to its action, requires reflection and care.

114.  Exploring Intercultural Communication (meets TAGD requirement). 3 cr.
Provides a foundation for improved intercultural communication.  Exploring Intercultural Communication studies the influence of cultural diversity on interpersonal (one on one) interactions, but resists the temptation to trivialize intercultural communication by reducing it to a set of “do’s and don’ts” of another culture. Instead, this course fosters understanding and respect for disparate worldviews.  Second, the course transcends a limited “skills” approach and looks instead toward theory that grounds understanding of differences in belief, cultural practices, values, and ethics and their influence on intercultural engagement in interpersonal settings. This course meets the requirements for the Global Diversity Theme Area Core Requirement (TAGD).

201. Human Communication in a Technological Age (Departmental Elective Core). 3 cr.
Engages ethical and practical implications of an increasingly mediated society in which people create, use, and are influenced by technological change in every sphere of human communication. Students explore theoretical questions concerning new communication technologies and applications—learning to ask not “can it be done?”, but “should it be done?” Students learn to build communicative practices in which technology assists rather than controls human communication.

202.  Business & Professional Communication. 3 cr.
Focuses on multiple modes of communication in business, government, industrial, and not-for-profit or service organizations ranging from routine messages, memos, and e-mail to letters and professional presentations. Course highlights persuasion as a key component of all business & professional messages.

203W.  Communication & Professional Civility. 3 cr.
Develops communication skills in group and organizational relationships.  Course emphasizes the role of professional civility as a communicative ethic in interaction with all organizational stakeholders, with a special emphasis on the health care context engaged by physician assistants.

204.  Professional Communication in Integrated Marketing (Departmental Elective Core). 3 cr.
Integrates basic oral and written communication skills, and presentational technology skills within a professional communication context.  Professional assignments with case studies guide instruction.

205.  Argument in the Global Public Sphere. 3 cr.
Explores structure and content of arguments focused on issues of global concern emerging in the international public sphere. Students conduct research and prepare and present arguments from multiple aspects of these issues. May involve public performance.

206.  Communication in the Marketplace (Departmental Elective Core). 3 cr.
Provides an introduction to communication in marketplace contexts, with particular attention to professional discourse with internal and external audiences.  Topics may include an introduction to advertising and public relations/integrated marketing communication, professional communication in the workplace, and sales and service communication.

207.  Exploring Leadership Communication. 3 cr.
Introduces students to the theory and ethical practice of communicative leadership in the marketplace, the community, and public life. Covers the vocabulary, contexts, and disciplines of leadership in a complex, globalizing society. Valuable for students in any field of study.

208.  Advanced Public Speaking. 3 cr.
Engages advanced theory and practice of public speaking, with an emphasis on persuasive speech.

209. Speech Composition. 3 cr.
Improves your skills of writing effective public speeches, with minimal emphasis on presentation. Special attention will be given to informative (expository) and persuasive (argumentative) discourse, as well as ceremonial (epideictic) rhetoric.

218. Oral Interpretation of Texts. 3 cr.
Involves theory and practice of reading and performing print texts, selecting and interpreting portions from various forms of rhetorical and literary material, including speech texts, poetry, prose, essays, novels, short stories, and scenes from dramatic literature.  A phenomenological approach will be the primary theoretical framework for text engagement.

220.  Approaches to Rhetoric, Religion, and Society (meets TAFR requirement). 3 cr.
Explores intersections between religion and public life in civic contexts through rhetorical principles and practices. The course focuses on the context of American society, history, and practice. This course meets the requirements for the Faith and Reason Theme Area Core Requirement (TAFR).

246.  Forensics: Public Performance. 3 cr.
Students learn formal elements of forensic performance as an artistic event, understanding how these elements work together to create a coherent whole, applying elements, skills, techniques, and processes appropriate for the performing art of forensic performance. Students study theory and practice of categories of oral interpretation, public address/oratory, storytelling, and other communicative performances, prepare performances for presentation, and execute performances.

301W.  History of Communication  (Departmental Core Requirement). 3 cr.
Surveys rhetoric and public communication from the ancient tradition of rhetoric to the rise of mediated and mass delivery systems.

303.  Presentational Communication Skills. 3 cr.
Provides an orientation to corporate presentation and platform skills. Students are coached and drilled through their corporate presentation on current issues in industry and finance.

304W. Persuasion. 3 cr.
Examines theory and practice of the influence of beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors.

305.  Undergraduate Research and Development I. 3 cr.
Provides opportunity for undergraduate students to conduct research on topics in the field of applied communication, evaluate evidence, construct white papers, and deliver information to clients. The course centers upon delivery of integrated marketing communication (public relations, advertising, and marketing) and corporate communication research in cooperation with clients in the for-profit and not-for-profit marketplace.

306.  Undergraduate Research and Development II. 3 cr.
Offers additional experience in communication research and development. Provides opportunity for undergraduate students to conduct research on topics in the field of applied communication, evaluate evidence, construct white papers, and deliver information to clients. The course centers upon delivery of integrated marketing communication (public relations, advertising, and marketing) and corporate communication research in cooperation with clients in the for-profit and not-for-profit marketplace.

309.  Visual Communication. 3 cr.
Visual Communication explores principles of rhetorical design and analysis of visual messages for professional communication contexts, including integrated marketing and corporate communication.

311.  Rhetoric of Digital Communication. 3 cr.
Examines the communication implications of the digital revolution. Students study the narrative of the digital revolution, beginning in the 1960's, as an entry point for considering digitally-mediated human communication today.

312. Corporate & Integrated Marketing Communication Systems. 3 cr.
Examines the philosophical and pragmatic implications of communication technologies, including the effects of social networking and other technologies on marketing and corporate communication processes. Students explore the digital and technological revolution through examination of prior technological revolutions in communication, e.g. writing, the printing press, and the telegraph.

320.  Family Communication. 3 cr.
Examines the role of communication in the construction and maintenance of family (i.e., primary human relationships and groups).  Students will encounter ways of viewing family interactions from both the traditional and new approaches to the family unit, describe the major theoretical perspectives underlying family communication, and explore cultural differences in family formation, communication, and expectations. The course will identify how families communicate rules, roles, and stories that are essential to the process of meaning-making in the family and its development.

322. Corporate Communication: Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Communication. 3 cr.
Explores the role of strategic corporate communication in positioning an organization’s mission and identity for internal and external publics/stakeholders with regard to environmental concerns.

323.  Communication Ethics & Professional Civility. 3 cr.
Provides a theory-informed, applied understanding of communication ethics in professional and personal contexts, with a special focus on civility in the workplace and professional life.

330.  Integrated Marketing Communication Functions I:  PR (some sections carry Service Learning designation). 3 cr.
Introduces students to public relations functions in Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC).  Public relations functions are engaged through case studies and an historical orientation to IMC. Students develop literacy and fluency in public relations practices necessary for internships and entry-level positions in integrated marketing communication.

333.  Integrated Marketing Communication Functions II: AD. 3 cr.
Introduces students to Advertising functions in Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC).  Advertising functions are engaged through case studies and an historical orientation to IMC.  Students develop literacy and fluency in advertising practices necessary for internship and entry-level positions in integrated marketing communication.

334.  Corporate/Integrated Marketing Communication: International Experience. 3 cr.
This course focuses on the Scottish Enlightenment and its international influence on the theory and practice of corporate and integrated marketing communication. Two countries, Scotland and England, provide the physical and philosophical points of departure for a praxis study of the origins and development of both fields. You will read Enlightenment philosophers while studying marketplace developments related to corporate and integrated marketing communication. Each day will consist of philosophical discussions and experiential learning. Lectures from resident scholars in each country, faculty-led discussions, company visits, and cultural experiences will inform this two-fold approach, enabling dynamic, textured learning about the relationship between the Scottish Enlightenment and corporate and integrated marketing communication.

340.  Technical Communication.  3 cr.
Technical communication presents expert information to non-expert audiences. Explaining information well is essential in explaining products and services, promoting understanding, cultivating trust, and promoting participation in public or organizational initiatives. This course exposes students to technical communication and offers them the opportunity to apply technical communication principles through a number of portfolio-building projects.

342. Environmental Communication. 3 cr.
Explores the communicative practices of activists, advocates, consumers, corporations, governmental organizations, and the public about the impact of human behavior on the Earth. Concern with changes in the environment caused by human behavior has permeated all layers of human society.  Grounded in a strategic communication/rhetorical approach to environmentalism, the course engages praxis—theory-informed action—to examine construction of strategic persuasive messages about the environment designed to bring about behavioral change.

343. Communication Theory. 3 cr.
Introduces various theories of communication in and across contexts, including theories of language, meaning, and human interaction and relationships, highlighting major theoretical perspectives that inform communication scholarship . Emphasis is placed on understanding human communication as a symbolic process that creates, maintains, and alters personal, social, and cultural identities.

350.  Communication & Community Relations. 3 cr.
Explores community relations efforts as they are implemented by Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC)/public relations professionals in nonprofit, corporate, agency, and governmental organizations. Community relations is a vital part of corporate communication’s management function to lead, motivate, persuade, and inform its various publics. Hence, it is an important fact of the public relations function of integrated marketing communication.

387.  Event Planning: Communication Architecture. 3 cr.
Focuses on designing integrated communication approaches for implementation in specific contexts such as conferences, professional meetings, celebratory events, and programs for community outreach.  Working from a theory-informed action (praxis) approach, students engage the professional, interpersonal, and organizational coordination of information, people and budget(s).

388. Corporate and Integrated Marketing Communication Research. 3 cr.
Examines the role of research within corporate and integrated marketing communication activities. Qualitative and quantitative methods, such as processes for structuring and conducting focus groups, sampling, measurement, research design, and basic data analysis, will be addressed.

401.  Rhetoric & Philosophy of Technology. 3 cr.
Examines the communication dynamics of technological developments in historical periods. Students analyze the effects of technologized symbolic communication upon individuals and the societies in which they are situated.

402.  Argumentation. 3 cr.
Applies the methods and principles of argumentation theory and practices, including deliberative rhetoric. Emphasizes creating, advocating, defending, and refuting social propositions and claims.

404.  Intercultural Communication Perspectives. 3 cr.
This course provides a foundation for the understanding and practice of intercultural communication from a variety of theoretical and methodological perspectives.

406.  Political Communication. 3 cr.
Examines the gamut of public political debate in the light of historical origins and development in the context of rhetorical and political theory.

407.  Intercultural Communication (Departmental Elective Core). 3 cr.
Exposes the student to the importance of communication among and between politically, culturally, and ethnically diverse people as a bridge to understanding in an increasingly multi-cultural world.  This course explores the role of interpersonal perception in communicating with persons from varied cultures, and allows the student to apply these understandings in their own lives.

408.  Rhetoric, Society, and the Marketplace. 3 cr.
Examines the marketplace as historically situated and rhetorically constructed – specifically critiquing modern understanding of the marketplace and marketplace behavior as built on a non-ethical, physical science foundation in contrast to an ethical, Aristotelian foundation.

411W.  Rhetorical Criticism. 3 cr.
Examines critical methods and approaches to the study and analysis of rhetorical acts, movements, and speeches.

414.  Rhetoric, Religion, & Society. 3 cr.
Seeks to understand religion, not as a psychological experience, nor even as a set of doctrine or beliefs, but as a rhetorical symbolizing of experience.  The aim of this course is to introduce how the rhetoric of religious symbols influence and enrich our daily living.  The centrality of rhetorical symbolism to religion is evident whenever we think about the activities most often associated with religious practice.

417.  Multinational Corporate Communication. 3 cr.
Focuses on the similarities and differences in the way people from different nations think, act, and communicate.

418W.  Conflict Management in Organizations. 3 cr.
Examines the role of communication in managing and regulating interpersonal and organizational conflict.  Application to conflict in everyday interpersonal and professional communicative interaction is explored.

421.  Communication and Gender . 3 cr.
Examines research addressing differences and similarities in male and female communication styles in a variety of contexts, ranging from personal to social to work relationships, with attention given to philosophical and narrative understandings of what it means to be male and female persons.

422.  Communication Research Methods. 3 cr.
Prepares students to interpret and design qualitative and quantitative research in the field of communication. Attention is given to experimental design, surveys/questionnaires, and qualitative methods of research within the context of asking and answering questions about communication processes and preparing research reports. Course may include design of a study and interpretation of results.

423. Communication and Evidence. 3 cr.
Prepares students to be users of evidence through a process that includes gaining awareness of access to evidence, deliberating over the quality of evidence, applying evidence to create effective arguments, and evaluating the use of evidence in the creation of arguments.  Teaches students exposition, discussion, persuasion, and argumentation to support assertions with evidence and defend judgments with probable cause in the many arenas of public communication. Guides students in answering a series of questions: 1) What constitutes evidence in various contexts? 2) How do scholars and practitioners treat evidence in building an argument? 3) What does the nature of evidence and argumentation suggest about a postmodern age? 4) How is evidence assessed? 5) How may evidence be presented persuasively and ethically in varied public communicative contexts? Students will engage in analytic and performative assignments to demonstrate their mastery of course content.

426.  Free Speech & Responsibility (meets TASJ requirement). 3 cr.
Explores the rhetorical interplay between free speech and communicative responsibility.  Historical cases and contemporary issues in free speech are examined from a standpoint of communicative responsibility. This course meets the requirements for the Social Justice Theme Area Core Requirement (TASJ).

427.  Communication Management. 3 cr.
Introduces the communication professional to the principles of managerial communication.  Theory and application of managerial best practices are discussed.  Students focus on scholarship of managerial communication and discuss differing managerial styles in relation to different corporate structures.

430.  Integrated Marketing Communication Strategies I: PR. 3 cr.
Instructs students in the principles of Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) for Public Relations contexts.  Interpersonal, organizational and managerial strategies are integrated through theories of persuasion.  Students learn rhetorical versatility and responsiveness in managing dialogue with diverse publics.  This versatility is based on principles of persuasion, intercultural communication and crisis communication management for organizations.  This course prepares students for advanced internships and employment in integrated marketing communication contexts.

432.  IMC: Brand, Identity, Reputation. 3 cr.
In corporate and integrated marketing communication contexts, leveraging a company's name, core values, and visual representation in all communication and business-related matters both internally and externally requires careful consideration of a three-fold relationship: identity, brand and reputation. This course explores these three facets of organizational development by looking to the philosophy of communication and to the industry commentary for insight into their complex yet essential relationship. The goal of this class is to consider the way in which identity, brand, and reputation work together to build dynamic and sustainable organizations.

433.  Integrated Marketing Communication Strategies II: AD. 3 cr. Instructs students in the principles of integrated marketing communication for advertising contexts.  Advertising is explored as a persuasive, rhetorical activity.  Students learn rhetorical versatility and responsiveness in constructing messages for diverse audiences through principles of intercultural communication in the global marketplace.  Prepares students for advanced internships and employment in integrated marketing communication contexts.

435.  Integrated Marketing Communication: Social Modalities. 3 cr.
Integrated Marketing Communication: Social Modalities examines how social technologies influence communication practices in the for-profit and non-profit sectors. This course takes a philosophical and applied approach to understanding how social modalities "story" our engagement with the marketplace.

436.  Integrated Marketing Communication: Coordinating AD/PR. 3 cr.
Covers the principles and practices of marketing communication.  Emphasizes a comprehensive, integrated approach to the total coordinated integrated marketing communication mix including advertising, public relations, sales, promotion, personal selling, and interactive strategies.

437.  Corporate Communications Marketplace. 3 cr.
Students build business literacy through researching key business and economic issues related to the Pittsburgh regions and presenting their findings to working professionals from throughout the area. Vocational discernment exercises enable students to approach graduate studies more purposefully and direct their professional preparation.

438.  Integrated Marketing Communication: Interactive Strategies. 3 cr.
Examines theoretical and practical communicative strategies behind interactive marketing.  This course will challenge students to apply communication theory in order to support and articulate the role of online strategies in integrated campaign planning.  In addition, students will gain a comprehensive understanding of how to think about and implement strategic interactive tactics through hands-on projects.

439.  Integrated Marketing Communication RFP’s: AD/PR. 3 cr.
Examines a crucial stage of the persuasive communication in IMC: responding to RFPs, or “Requests for Proposals.”  Teaches students to apply strategies of analysis, persuasion, and public speaking/presentations in diverse interpersonal and public contexts.  Students plan integrated advertising and/or public relations campaigns, learning the importance of audience analysis, principles of intercultural communication, and interpretation of institutional/organizational discourse as the learn to “pitch” proposals to potential clients.

440.  Communication Ethics & Technology. 3 cr.
Examines the implications of technology for communication ethics.  Technology’s impact on interpersonal, organizational, and public communication is addressed.

443.  Corporate Communications Marketplace: National. 3 cr.
Students build marketplace literacy through researching key national business and economic issues and presenting their finding to workplace professionals from throughout the area. Students also report on networking activities to build connections and develop their knowledge in their field of interest.

444.  Integrated Marketing Communication: International Perspectives. 3 cr.
Instructs students in the theories and applications of integrated marketing communication in the global marketplace. Different cultural perspectives and contexts are explored through praxis exemplars. Students learn about the opportunities and challenges of international marketing and develop literacy and fluency necessary for internships and entry-level positions in integrated marketing communication contexts that involve an international dimension.

445.  Non-Profit Development & Philanthropy Communication. 3 cr.
Identifies the components of a strategic plan, comprehensive development initiatives, incoming-producing initiatives, and non-profit organizational structure, history, and ethics from the perspective of theory-informed action, or praxis. Students will develop grant-writing skills and learn to analyze the stakeholder context of non-profit organizations from a corporate communication perspective.

446.  Corporate Communications Marketplace: Global. 3 cr.
Students build marketplace literacy through researching key business and economic issues in the global marketplace and presenting their findings to working professionals from throughout the area. Students also report on networking activities to build connections and develop their knowledge in their field of interest.

452.  Corporate Communication: Economic and Financial Literacy. 3 cr.
Examines core economics and finances concepts that are essential in understanding the environment of business and making communication management decisions, including financial statement analysis and budgeting.

454W.  Interpersonal Communication. 3 cr.
Examines communication between persons in the context of a variety of public and private human relationships from philosophical and theoretical standpoints.

455.  Small Group & Team Communication. 3 cr.
Examines communication processes in small groups.  Includes discussion of group formation, structure, decision-making, errors in decision-making, interaction models, conflict, and methods of doing research in and about small groups and teams.

456W.  Organizational Communication. 3 cr.
Examines current research in organizational communication.  Topics including organizational socialization, decision-making, leadership, functionalist, interpretive, and cultural perspectives, systems and information processing approaches, communication networks, structure and environment, and other classic and contemporary issues.

457.  Communication, Science & Revolution. 3 cr.
Examines the relationship between the rhetoric of science and the rhetoric of revolution in the context of the modern worldview arising out of the Enlightenment.

458.  Rhetoric of Popular Culture. 3 cr.
Examines documents of popular culture that reinforce through rhetorical means modern and postmodern worldviews as experienced in popular consciousness.  Covers the rhetorical-communication theories of the Sophists, Plato, Aristotle, Bacon, Ramus, Burke, Perlman, Ong and Hudson.

459.  Philosophy of Communication. 3 cr.
Explores the assumptions and presuppositions about communication found in philosophical studies of communication.  Addresses topics such as meaning, interpretation, representation, and speech acts.

460.  Seminar: Mission & Identity. 3 cr.
Consists of revolving topics and authors interested in the interplay of communication and religion within culture, society and community.  This seminar examines topics and authors supportive of the Catholic mission of the Spiritan Fathers.

461.  Rhetorical Theory. 3 cr.
Provides a theoretical introduction to classical through contemporary rhetorical theory and action. Examines primary and secondary texts.

462. Rhetoric, Society, and the Marketplace. 3 cr.
Examines social and cultural implications of historical and current marketing practices from a humanities perspective.

463. Strategic Corporate Communication. 3 cr.
Examines theoretical and applied strategic management of communication in profit and not-for-profit corporate settings critical for organizational success at all levels. Topics include strategic message production for internal and external audiences, including employees, investors, and other stakeholders.

467. Rhetoric of Religion and Nonviolence. 3 cr.
This course examines the connection between religious narrative and nonviolence. Key metaphors of respect, responsibility, discipline and faith guide examination of authors such as Martin Luther King Jr., Thomas Merton, Dorothy Day and Mahatma Gandhi. This course applies religious nonviolence to multiple rhetorical settings.

479.  Rhetoric of Social Movements. 3 cr.
Examines rhetorical strategies of social movements, including civil rights, feminist, and men’s movements.  Attention will be given to the historical moment in which these movements arose and the persuasive means by which adherents and movement leaders engaged the larger society and each other in response to the historical moment.

484.  Health Communication. 3 cr.
Examines communication theory and research in a variety of health care contexts, including interpersonal, small group, team, organizational, and public communication.

486.  Organizational Consulting. 3 cr.
Provides an introduction to organizational intervention through communication-based training and development programs.  Specific topics covered may include organizational audit techniques and adult learning theory, as well as designing, conducting, and evaluating several different types of training efforts.

490.  Special Topics -- Communication. 3 cr.
Check semester class offerings for special classes offered.

494W.  Communication Ethics  (Departmental Core requirement) . 3 cr.
Explores theoretical and applied issues surrounding ethical decisions in relational, organizational, and public communication contexts. Emphasis is placed on identifying “the good” that underlies various approaches to communication ethics and that emerge in narratives that guide personal and professional life.

495W.  Capstone Project in Communcation. 3 cr.
Integrates knowledge obtained in previous coursework and builds on that conceptual foundation through communicative praxis, employing integrative analysis, narrative-driven thinking, application, and ethical reflection. Students assemble and analyze a portfolio showcasing outcomes of their coursework in the major. Grade is based on critical analysis and reflective engagement of segments of the portfolio representing various elements of communicative praxis and of the portfolio as a whole. Students receive formative feedback on each segment of their writing project for purposes of revision. Students must have completed the bulk of their coursework before enrolling in this class. Concurrent enrollment in 6 credits of communication coursework is permitted.

496.  Directed Readings. 1-6 cr.
Offers the opportunity for students and faculty to conduct in-depth study of a topic not covered, or covered only briefly, in other departmental courses.

497.  Special Projects. 1-6 cr.
Offers the opportunity for students to practice communication applications commissioned by University or community organizations.

498.  Internship. 1-6 cr.
Provides a supervised observation/experience program of study (assignment and performance) in areas such as integrated marketing communication, public relations and advertising, human resources, promotions, event planning, and other related areas of applied communication.

499.  Directed Studies. 1-6 cr.
Offers the opportunity for students and faculty to conduct in-depth study of a topic not covered, or covered only briefly, in other departmental courses.