Department of Communication Studies
Professor Jim Schnoebelen, PhD, Chair
Professor Leslie Reynard, PhD
Professor and Assistant Dean of CAS Tracy Routsong, PhD
Associate Professor Mary Pilgram, PhD
Director of Debate/Senior Lecturer Kevin O’Leary, PhD
Assistant Director of Debate/Lecturer Steve Doubledee, MA
Lecturer Carson Kay, PhD
Lecturer Kai Xu, MA
The Washburn University Communication Studies Department exists to advance the intellectual growth and development of marketable skills by majors, minors, and general education students. This is achieved through student-centered instruction which relies upon Communication theory and research to develop critical thinking skills in written, oral, and nonverbal communication. Communication Studies faculty teach Communication courses, mentor clubs, and coach activities to foster the development of skills that enhance student success in professional and community settings. Thus, Communication Studies students are able to resolve communication challenges, engage in principled actions as citizens and scholars, and achieve rewarding, productive careers.
Student Learning Outcomes
Communication Studies majors at Washburn University should be able to, upon graduation:
- Describe the purposes of communication in the 21st Century.
- Analyze the needs and expectations of audiences.
- Create messages to achieve specific communication goals.
- Apply communication skills and theory to generate new insights into contemporary communication situations.
- Describe complexities such as race, gender, culture, and interpersonal history, of communication situations.
The Communication Studies major prepares students for professional and personal success. Some fields where communication graduates are building their careers are corporate management, human resources, training and development, advertising, marketing, banking and insurance. The 36 hour major is designed to provide broad general theory and skills for application in many communication arenas. Students who want to pursue graduate or professional school are well prepared to enter the most competitive programs. Students who take communication studies courses develop strong general education skills, as well as in-depth understanding of the theory and practice of human communication. Four courses are specifically identified to meet general education requirements: CN 101 Introduction to Communication Studies, CN 150 Public Speaking, CN 341 Persuasive Speaking, and CN 351 Interpersonal Communication. Alumni find employment as corporate trainers, lobbyists, small business owners, directors of non-profits, consultants, and in a broad range of other careers.
The nationally ranked debate program offers opportunities in competitive forensics with an emphasis on NFA Lincoln-Douglas debate. Scholarships are available.
Washburn University fields a highly competitive mock trial team that competes at tournaments throughout the fall, with regionals and nationals typically in the spring. Students hone their legal presentation and critical thinking skills by acting as witnesses and attorneys in trials. Scholarships are available.
Lambda Pi Eta
This is the honorary society sponsored by the National Communication Association, the professional organization of communication scholars. To be included in Lambda Pi Eta students must attain a minimum of 60 credit hours with a GPA of 3.0, have taken 12 credit hours of communication while maintaining a 3.25 GPA in CN classes and be enrolled in good standing with the department.
CN 101 Introduction to Communication Studies (3)
Examines concepts and skills involved in human communication. Topics include language, nonverbal communication, relationships, perception, and conflict management. Emphasizes the ability to analyze and synthesize information, and to interpret and assess human values. Prerequisite: None.
CN 150 Public Speaking (3)
Focuses on the process of speech preparation and presentations. Emphasizes the development of critical thinking and listening, clear speaking, and the interpretation of human values through the development of public speaking competencies. Prerequisite: None.
CN 154 Debate (1-3)
Preparation for intercollegiate debate. May be repeated up to 3 hours. Prerequisite: Consent.
CN 302 Communication Theory (3)
Explores the theoretical foundations that underlie applications in a variety of communication contexts. Provides broad exposure to contemporary communication theory. Prerequisite: CN 101.
CN 304 Qualitative Communication Research Methods (3)
CN 305 Quantitative Communication Research Methods (3)
CN 306 Health Communication (3)
Explores the concepts and theories of health communication. Examines the demands of health care and health promotion, communication issues and problems in modern health care systems, and identifies communication strategies health care consumers and providers can employ to achieve their health care goals.
CN 307 Communication in Legal Process (3)
Explores the practice of communication in the legal setting, including attorney-client interaction, the trial process, attorney-jury interaction, and legal negotiation.
CN 308 Organizational Communication (3)
Examines organizations from a communication perspective. Emphasizes how organizational variables affect communication patterns. Topics include concepts, skills, theories, and strategies for improving organizational communication.
CN 309 Political Communication (3)
Examines communication concepts in campaigns, presidential addresses, and other political environments.
CN 330 Communication in Conflict and Negotiation (3)
Explores the roles of communication in conflict and negotiation within relationships, groups, and organizations. Examines both theory and practice. Prerequisite: CN 101
CN 340 Interviewing (3)
Examines the key concepts and needed skills to conduct effective interviews in many settings.
CN 341 Persuasive Speaking (3)
Sharpens persuasive speaking skills initiated in Public Speaking. Focuses on preparation, delivery, and analysis of persuasive speeches in a variety of contexts, including political and corporate settings. Prerequisite: CN 150.
CN 342 Communication-Teams and Groups (3)
Provides an in-depth look at group dynamics and communication. Focuses on communication and decision making, relationships, conflict, leadership, and group development.
CN 343 Debate (1-3)
Preparation for intercollegiate debate. May be repeated up to 4 hours. Prerequisite: Consent
CN 350 Persuasion (3)
Examines theory and research on the role of communication in influencing attitudes, beliefs, values, and behaviors.
CN 351 Interpersonal Communication (3)
Examines critical factors in interpersonal communication. Analyzes and applies various interpersonal theories and concepts to a variety of relationships.
CN 352 Truth and Deception (3)
This course examines a particularly human activity (or skill?): Lying and deception. Study of these topics draws from recent scholarship in the disciplines of Communication Studies, Psychology, Philosophy, Public Policy, and Marketing. Theoretical concepts will be brought down to earth as we consider them at work in applications to current events and breaking news. Prerequisite: None.
CN 353 Environmental Communication (3)
This course looks at ways human symbols define, construct, and impact "the environment." Focuses include understanding and creating environmental messages, examining constructs of wilderness and civilization, and analyzing strategies designed to meet environmental challenges, to build communication campaigns, and to engage in environmental advocacy. Topics include eco-tourism, "green" schemes, and representations in social and mass media, visual media, and popular culture. Prerequisite: None.
CN 354 Reputation Management (3)
This course examines the role strategic communication with publics plays within corporate and institutional settings, specifically its effectiveness in developing and maintaining external and internal relationships. Methods combine close reading, current event applications, case analyses and focused discussion. Special attention is paid to strategies of crisis planning and management, apologia, and rhetorical reputation management techniques. Prerequisites: None.
CN 361 Communication in Social Movements (3)
Assesses theories, models, practice, and criticism of protest communication related to a variety of sociocultural movements.
CN 363 Intercultural Communication (3)
Explores speech communication in and between different cultures and communities.
CN 364 Gender Communication (3)
Focuses on how gender influences communication patterns between and among men and women. Communication influences the creation of gender roles and identity.
CN 365 Business/Professional Presentation (3)
Focuses on principles and practices of public speaking in corporate and professional settings such as reports, proposals, and meetings. Emphasizes clear speaking and information processing in terms of synthesis and analysis.
CN 366 Nonverbal Communication (3)
Explores nonverbal communication by individuals and society.
CN 367 Crisis Communication (3)
Crises are best managed through sound communication practices. This class will help you to develop understanding of the crisis life-cycle, along with effective strategies you can use to foresee, prepare for, and manage crises in professional and personal dimensions of life. Prerequisite: None.
CN 368 The Rhetoric of Hip Hop and Rock n Roll (3)
This course explores the rhetorical dimensions of rock ‘n’ roll and hip hop by examining four interconnected themes and their relation to communication: fandom, stardom, criticism, and failure. In addition, concepts such as identity, anti-heroism, appropriation, place, production, improvisation, tone, and flow are explored and discussed. With the benefit of open access content as well as short readings, we will focus on some of the key figures in rock 'n' roll and hip hop (e.g., AC/DC, Jimi Hendrix, Beyoncé, Drake, Kendrick Lamar) along with their motivations and messages. Prerequisites: None.
CN 369 Critical Studies (3)
Examines cultural practices and their relation to communication as both the object of study and the location of political criticism and action.
CN 370 Communication Training & Development (3)
CN 380 Strategic Management Communication (3)
Strategic Management Communication links current theories of business communication to applications and practices that build on these within professional settings. The course provides essential information as to expectations for form and content of a variety of message types that apply to all business situations. Using the case method as a tactic for understanding applications of this material in current business settings, students develop theory-based and strategy-driven skills in production of written and oral document types used in business, corporate, and management communication. Prerequisites: CN 101 required; preferred CN 308 Organizational Communication.
CN 395 Special Topics/Communication (1-3)
Focuses on a topic not regularly offered, but that enhances the curriculum because of specialized faculty or student interest.
CN 490 Directed Research (1-3)
Selected research on communication topics not provided in the curriculum.
CN 491 Senior Capstone Internship (3)
Experience and training in professional settings related to communication careers. Second semester junior or senior status. Majors only. Prerequisites: 27 hrs of communication courses completed including: CN 101, CN 150, CN 302, CN 304 or CN 305, EN 300, and instructor approval. Note: Students can choose either CN 491 or CN 498 to meet their Capstone requirement.
CN 498 Senior Capstone (3)
Students design and execute an appropriate project which provides a culminating experience for the undergraduate academic career and is presented in a departmental forum. Prerequisites: 27 hrs of communication courses completed, including CN 101, CN 150, CN 302, CN 304 or CN 305, EN 300 and Instructor approval. Note: Students can choose either CN 498 or CN 491 to meet their Capstone requirement.