Department of Communication
Current Graduate Courses

Current Grad Classes - Fall 2015

COMM 6341                                                                                              Interpersonal Communication

Katherine Hendrix

Tuesday/Thursday, 9:40-11:05 am

This course in interpersonal communication emphasizes both communication theory and real life applications of the course content.  Class material will be explored through exercises and discussion designed to develop and/or enhance skills such as: perception, the effective presentation of ideas and emotions, and maintaining healthy relationships.

Practical application within the classroom should increase the likelihood of retention and use of the concepts outside of the classroom as part of a life-long process. This life-long process should include growth and movement toward quality-based, satisfying interaction with others as well as recognizing circumstances where interpersonal behavior is inappropriate.

Tentative Text

Spitzberg, B.H., & Cupach, W.R. (Eds.). (2010). The dark side of close relationships II. Mahwah, NJ: Routledge.

Stewart, J. (2013). U&ME: Communicating in moments that matter. Chagrin Falls, OH: Taos Institute Publications.

COMM 6360                                                                                                    American Eloquence

Sandra Sarkela

Monday/Wednesday, 2:30-3:45 pm

Examination of notable public discourse from the founding of the republic to the present; religious and secular foundations of American rhetoric, with emphasis on the rhetoric of American social movements such as the American revolution and the 20th-century civil rights movement.


Reid, Ronald and Klumpp, James (2004) American Rhetorical Discourse, Third Edition. Waveland Press.

COMM 6375                                                                                                       Intercultural Communication

Katherine Hendrix

Tuesday/Thursday, 1:00-2:25 pm

This course provides an opportunity to explore the various means by which we define what constitutes culture and how we acquire our cultural identities.  Self-perception and the perception of the "other" will be discussed as factors that serve to problematize the communication that occurs between (and within) groups.  This course will focus on communication that occurs among the domestic populations of the United States; however, international relationships will be discussed to a limited degree.  My main goal is to provide a practicum for developing the initial stages of effective interpersonal and intercultural communication competence.  A second goal is to introduce you to various theories (from within as well as outside of the Communication discipline) that attempt to explain intercultural interaction.

Proposed Text

Martin, J., & Nakayama, T. (2013). Experiencing intercultural communication: An introduction (5th ed.). Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill.

Additional class readings as assigned.

COMM 6822                                                                                                          Audio Production for Film and Video

Craig Leake

Tuesday/Thursday, 2:40-5:10 pm

This course is designed primarily for students in the film and video production sequence. Emphasizing practical applications of sound recording techniques, signal processing, structuring and design, the course requires extensive "hands-on" work as well as discussions of various theories concerning the relationship of sound to image.

Proposed Text

Pro Tools 101 An Introductions to Pro Tools 11; ISBN13: 978-1285774848


Class time will be used for demonstrations and lectures. Students also will be required to work outside class time, producing assigned projects on the Pro Tools Digital Audio Workstations in the Department of Communication editing labs.

COMM 6824                                                                                         Cinematography

David Appleby

Wednesday, 1:00 – 4:00 pm

This course is designed to expand the student’s knowledge of cinematography so that she will have a better understanding of the tools and procedures necessary for solving the multitude of problems, aesthetic and technical, that confront the image-maker. While it is impossible to provide for the kind of day-to-day production work that is required in order to become truly skilled, the course includes a number of exercises, and a final project, in which to apply the concepts learned in class.

COMM 6858                                                                                            Contemporary Cinema

Marina Levina

Thursday, 9:40-12:40 pm

This course will examine science fiction and post-apocalyptic styles of international and U.S. narrative film from 1950 to present. The course will ask how contemporary cinema has dealt with uncertainties of modern day life, including, but not limited to, a possibility of extinction. It will argue that science-fiction cinema is singularly important to cultural understanding of humanity.

COMM 6960                                                                                              Documentary Writing

Craig Leake

Tuesday/Thursday, 11:20-12:45 pm

The course will examine the theory, techniques, and ethics of documentary storytelling in film and television, exploring the special nature of documentary writing that distinguishes the form from fictional programs. Students will be expected to develop the skills and standards they need to be effective creators and critical viewers of documentaries and to understand the importance of the form in the functioning of an educated democracy.

Proposed Text

“Documentary Storytelling: Creative Nonfiction on Screen” by Sheila Curran Bernard; Third Edition; ISBN-13: 978-0240812410


The course is about conceiving and planning documentaries­—all the work that must be done before one turns on the camera. Although this is not a production course, students often use the semester to plan films that they go on to produce later. The course also has value for those who have no filmmaking ambitions, because case studies of documentaries and the filmmakers’ decision processes can shed light on many different forms of writing and editing.

COMM 7/8013                                                                                                         Sem Political Comm

Leroy Dorsey

Tuesday, 5:30-8:30 pm

In this course, you will examine selected case studies involving the great presidential and political advocates, the pivotal issues of particular time periods, and special topics of interest to students of political rhetoric, public affairs, and history.  Specifically, the course will allow you to develop and to enhance your abilities as a critical scholar by giving you the opportunity to analyze various forms of significant, political discourse—rhetoric that is important historically, theoretically, conceptually, etc. 

Understanding the nature of political discourse depends on having both theoretical and practical experiences.  Thus, we will be reading a lot and writing a lot.  Theories and descriptions of political discourse will be developed through the readings, lectures, and class discussions.  The practical component will be developed through in-class assignments and research papers. 

You are expected to read thoroughly each week’s assignments.  You need to come to class prepared to ask and to answer provocative questions, prepared to discuss the readings in a meaningful way and, most important, prepared to exhibit rhetorical sensitivity to the classroom community.  Failure to read, to participate, and to treat your colleagues professionally limits the discussion potential and the construction of knowledge you need to do well in the class. 

COMM 7/8345                                                                                                     Health Literacy

Joy Goldsmith

Monday, 5:30-8:30 pm

This class focuses on applying literacy principles to real life health phenomenon, in clinical encounters, as well as in community and public health contexts with an emphasis on underserved and vulnerable populations.

Students will:

-Describe the relationship between health literacy, health communication, and health outcomes.

-Identify and explain theories, models, and concepts of health literacy that influence health communication.

-Differentiate theoretical domains of health literacy (e.g., fundamental, media, e-health/m-health, scientific, cultural) as they apply to specific health contexts and health behaviors.

-Appraise data to determine relationships between health factors (e.g., health behavior, outcomes, healthcare quality/access) and health literacy for targeted populations.

-Identify and evaluate the effectiveness of health literacy strategies, research methods, and measurement tools to determine the optimal approach for health literacy interventions.

-Examine a health literacy intervention that integrates and utilizes health literacy strategies, research data and methods, and measurement tools to address health literacy barriers for targeted populations.

Proposed Texts

-Oral Health Literacy: Workshop Summary (2013)

-Informed Consent and Health Literacy: Workshop Summary (2015)

-Health Literacy and Numeracy: Workshop Summary (2014)

-And additional readings as assigned by instructor


The course will be organized in seminar style. Students will carry responsibilities of researching and sharing topics throughout the term, and will also participate centrally in two research projects.

COMM 7/8331                                                                                                  Seminar in Communication Theory: Bodies and Technologies

Marina Levina

Wednesday, 5:30-8:30 pm

This course examines current theoretical approaches to the study of the interface between bodies and technologies. Using feminist theory, posthumanism, and affect theory, we will examine a variety of technologies, including imaging technologies (x-rays, MRIs, etc), biotechnologies (genetics, cloning), reproductive technologies (in-vitro, test tube babies), surveillance technologies (body scans, face recognition), information technologies (internet, binary data codes), and new technologies (iPad, social networks, mobile and touch technologies). We will specifically complicate a divide between human and non-human animals and between the boundaries of bodies and technologies. The course will examine technologies as assemblages which bodies as useful, normal, diseased, or pathological.

Proposed Texts

Hayles, N. Katherine. How we became posthuman: Virtual bodies in cybernetics, literature, and informatics. University of Chicago Press, 2008.

Haraway, Donna Jeanne. Modest− Witness@ Second− Millennium. FemaleMan− Meets− OncoMouse: Feminism and Technoscience. Routledge, 1997.

Treichler, Paula A., Lisa Cartwright, and Constance Penley, eds. The visible woman: Imaging technologies, gender, and science. NYU Press, 1998.

COMM / ENGL 7/8815                                                                                       Seminar in the History of Rhetoric

Brad McAdon

Monday, 5:30-8:30 pm

In this cross-listed seminar we are going to trace the developments of rhetoric and the teaching and practice of writing and speaking from the Renaissance to the beginning of the 20th century. The course is equally divided into three units: The Renaissance, British-Scottish, and early American.

For the first unit, we will read Peter Mack’s Renaissance Rhetoric: 1380-1620 as our guide while also reading excerpts from Desiderius Erasmus (De Copia and Ciceronianus) and Peter Ramus (Arguments Against Quintilian), and conclude the unit with Don Paul Abbot’s “Reading, Writing, and Rhetoric in the Renaissance”. We will then move on to the Scots and Brits beginning with John Ward’s System of Oratory (1759) and Thomas Sheridan’s A Course of Lectures on Elocution (1762), followed by George Campbell’s Elements of Rhetoric (1776), Hugh Blair’s Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres (1783), Richard Whately’s Elements of Rhetoric (1826), and we will conclude this unit with Linda Ferreira-Buckley’s “Writing Instruction in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Great Britain: Continuity and Change, Transitions and Shifts”. We will begin the third unit with a rhetorical analysis of the Declaration of Independence, informed by excerpts from, among others, Wilbur S. Howell’s Eighteenth Century British Logic and Rhetoric. Next is John Q. Adams’s Lectures on Rhetoric and Oratory (1810), which we will read along with Ronald Reid’s “The Boylston Professorship of Rhetoric and Oratory, 1806-1904.” We will also read and analyze excerpts from Adams’s Amistad defense before the Supreme Court. After Sarah Grimke’s Letters on the Equality of the Sexes and the Condition of Woman (1837), we will engage rhetorics that more specifically concern themselves with the teaching of composition, including selected readings from Alexander Bain’s English Composition and Rhetoric (1866), Henry Day’s Art of Discourse (1867), David J. Hill’s The Science of Rhetoric (1877), and Adams Sherman Hill’s The Principles of Rhetoric (1895). We will conclude the semester with Herbert Wicheln’s “The Literary Criticism of Oratory” and Thomas P. Miller’s The Evolution of College English: Literacy Studies from the Puritans to the Postmoderns.

As for assignments, students will write a 4-5 page summary / response for each unit, offer a class presentation on one of the texts / authors (or on a topic relevant to one of the units), and write a substantial semester research paper (that includes an annotated bibliography) on a topic that is relevant to one of the units.


Desiderius Erasmus, On Copia of Words and Ideas, Marquette UP, 1963 (978-0874622126)

Lynn Gaillet, ed., Scottish Rhetoric and Its Influences, Routledge, 1997 (978-1880393277)

Golden and Corbett, eds., The Rhetoric of Blair, Campbell, and Whately, SIUP, 1990 (978-0809316021)

Peter Mack, Renaissance Rhetoric 1380-1620, Oxford UP, 2013 (978-0199679997)

Thomas P. Miller, The Evolution of College English: Literacy Studies from the Puritans to the Postmoderns,U of Pittsburgh Press, 2011 (978-0822956235)

Walter Ong, Ramus, Method, and Decay of Dialogue, U of Chicago Press, 2005 (978-0226629766)

Peter Ramus, Arguments in Rhetoric Against Quintilian, James Muprhy, ed., SIUP, 2010 (978-0809330140)

COMM 7/8820                                                                                                      Topics in Rhetoric: The African American Prophetic Tradition

Andre E. Johnson

Thursday, 5:30-8:30 pm

Students in this survey class will examine the prophetic rhetorical tradition of African Americans. By engaging in a careful reading of texts that make up the African American oratorical and literary canons, students will examine how the African American prophetic tradition builds, forms, and transforms its audiences and communities. Moreover, students will also study how this rhetoric critiques, challenges and charges all of society to live up to the ideals which it espouses and finally how speakers adopt a “prophetic persona” in the delivery of these messages. In addition, the class will place emphasis on the rhetorical strategies used and how these strategies changed and/or remained the same over time.

Required Texts

Foner, Phillip. Lift Every Voice: African American Oratory 1787-1900 (University of Alabama Press, 1998)

Houck, Davis W. and David E. Dixon: Rhetoric, Religion, and the Civil Rights Movement (Baylor University Press, 2006)

Johnson, Andre E. The Forgotten Prophet: Bishop Henry McNeal Turner and the African American Prophetic Tradition (Lexington Books, 2012)

Logan, Shirley Wilson. With Pen and Voice: A Critical Anthology of Nineteenth-Century African American Women (Southern Illinois, 1995)

Simmons, Martha and Frank Thomas. Preaching with Sacred Fire: An Anthology of African American Preaching (W.W. Norton, 2010)

West, Cornel and Christa Buschendorf. Black Prophetic Fire. (Beacon Press, 2014)


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