Department of Communication
Alan Chartock, Ph.D.
New York University
Kathleen E. Kendall, Ph.D.
Anita Pomerantz, Ph.D.
University of California, Irvine
Robert E. Sanders, Ph.D.
University of Iowa
Teresa M. Harrison, Ph.D. (Collins Fellow)
Bowling Green State University
Timothy D. Stephen, Ph.D.
Bowling Green State University
Associate Professor Emeritus
Richard Wilkie, Ph.D.
University of Michigan
Annis G. Golden, Ph.D.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Nicolas Bencherki, Ph.D.
Universitè de Montrèal and Sciences Po Paris
Matthew Matsaganis, Ph.D.
University of Southern California
Alyssa Morey, Ph.D.
Ohio State University
Mihye Seo, Ph.D.
Ohio State University
Alan Zemel, Ph.D.
Michael W. Barberich, Ph.D.
University of Pittsburgh
Barbara Jean Fehr, Ph.D.
University of Delaware
Emilie Gould, Ph.D.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
William G. Husson, Ph.D.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Adjuncts (estimated): 8
Teaching Assistants (estimated): 6
The department specializes in studies of communication in each of four particular social contexts: first, communication on an individual level, involving interpersonal or intercultural relations; second, communication at the societal level involving large scale audiences, especially in regard to political action and democratic processes; third, communication in organizations business, governmental, or grass roots organizations — whether business, governmental, or grass roots organizations — that affects either the organization's internal processes or external relations; and fourth, health communication, the ways that interaction shapes, and is shaped by, people’s health and institutional aspects of health care. All four of these areas have been significantly affected by new communication technologies, the study of which we incorporate into department course work.
The undergraduate program in Communication has two primary goals. One is to educate students, and expose them to significant writings, about communication processes and media and the critical role they play in the conduct of social life and its quality among individuals, in organizations, and in the larger society.
Our second goal grows out of the first; to help students become able to analyze and improve communication practices in particular settings and instances. This involves developing a basis for judging whether or not specific communication processes are meeting the needs of the people involved. It also involves learning about ways to measure the effectiveness of specific communication practices, and gaining experience analyzing and designing solutions to communication problems.
Studies in the major are organized so that students enrolled in 100- and 200-level courses are exposed to foundational ideas and research findings in the field of Communication, as well as provided with research methods and analytic tools. Students are also required to become more practiced as communicators, either through a public speaking or debate course. Course work at the advanced (300 and 400) level is intended to provide students with in-depth knowledge of current research and theory about interpersonal/intercultural communication, organizational communication or public communication.
Careers in Communication
The program in Communication is intended to help students become knowledgeable about communication processes and their influences on the interpersonal, intercultural, organizational, political, and health aspects of our societies. By focusing on development of analytical and critical skills, the program helps students become able to analyze and effectively participate in, and improve communication practices in diverse settings and instances. Having completed their degree in communication, the students will have a basis for judging whether or not specific communication processes are meeting the needs of the people involved. They will also be able to evaluate the effectiveness of specific communication practices, devise ways of improving them, and provide solutions to communication problems. These competencies have recognized value in the workplace as well as in one's personal life.
Graduates of the Communication program have pursued careers in sales, media relations, marketing, training, commercial production, film, editing, media planning, publishing, journalism, financial advisement, budget analysis, legislative assistance, radio programming, advertising, television production, medical care, insurance, and internal communication in not-for-profit, governmental, and business organizations.
Some have college teaching or advisement positions. Others have gone on to law school, or to work on their master's degree or doctoral degrees in Communication and related fields.
Special Programs and Opportunities
The department provides research opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students, an honors program, and an exceptional internship program. The department also provides a combined B.A./M.A. Program in Communication. We encourage all students to become active members of the local student club of the National Communication Association. We invite outstanding communication majors to be inducted into Lambda Pi Eta, the local chapter of the national honor society for communication.
The Communication Internship Practicum, which requires enrollment in both A COM 392 for 9 credits (these credits are general electives and do not apply toward the major or minor) and A COM 393Z for 6 credits, is a full-time internship offered in fall and spring for juniors and seniors who have an overall grade point average of 2.50 or higher. It includes a weekly seminar meeting, and places students in communication related professional settings including, but not limited to, radio, television, public relations, the state legislature, hospitals, and corporate communication. Students accepted in this internship are not allowed to take any other course work during the semester. Acceptance into the program is competitive.
The part-time Internship in Communication (A COM 390, for 1-3 lower-level credits) is for undergraduate majors and minors who wish to develop on-site experience in one of the communication professions. This part-time internship may be taken in fall, spring, or summer terms. There is no seminar component in this course, and the minimum number of hours at the host agency is proportionately less than the full-time Internship Practicum.
Admission to the program in Communication is restricted. All students wishing to declare the major must complete an application and be formally admitted by the department. Applications can be made each semester. The deadline for submitting applications is the first day of class in the fall and spring semesters. Notification of admission or denial generally will be made within three business days by a posted list outside the department office, and afterwards by mail.
Any matriculated student can apply for admission who has completed the following two courses with grades of C- or higher or S in each (see the section below for the policy on admission of transfer students to the major):
(a) A COM 100, and (b) either a course in statistics (A MAT 108, B ITM 220, A SOC 221, R CRJ 281, or A PSY 210), or a course in formal logic (A PHI 210 or equivalent). Students who apply and are not accepted can reapply in subsequent semesters.
Note: A COM 100 course required for admission to the major must be taken on the Albany campus if the student does not already have credit for it prior to matriculation.
An applicant will be guaranteed admission to the major whose grades in the two entry courses average to B or higher (in A COM 100, and either a statistics or logic course). Grades of S are counted as the equivalent of C for the purposes of this computation.
Applicants whose grades in the two entry courses average between B and C- will be admitted to the major on a space-available basis. Applications in this group are rank ordered each semester on the basis of a Composite Grade Point Average. This Composite Grade Point Average is computed by adding together the student's overall grade point average and the average of the grades in the two entry courses (A COM 100 and a statistics or logic course). Applicants in this group are accepted in descending rank order until all the spaces for new majors that semester are filled. However, no two applicants with the same Composite Grade Point Average will be treated differently: if one is accepted with that average, all others will be accepted with that average even if the total number accepted exceeds the available spaces that semester.
Transfer students who have completed at least 3 credits in Communication courses, and a total of at least 6 credits in courses that count towards the major in Communication, will be admitted to the major automatically if their GPA in all transfer courses that count towards the major is 2.00 or higher. All other transfer students seeking admission to the major will have to meet the admissions requirements for matriculated students after they begin coursework on the Albany campus.
Transfer students admitted to the major who do not have credit for A COM 100 or an approved statistics or logic course upon matriculation are still required to complete those courses with grades of C- or better. Transfer students whose grades in those two courses fall below that minimum are subject to being withdrawn from the major, pending an appeal and departmental review, but will automatically be readmitted if and when they meet the requirement.
Majors in the Communication Department are encouraged to seek advisement each semester. Advisement is offered by appointment between the end of the add-drop period and the beginning of the advance registration period. Majors who have been advised during that period are given priority for enrollment for the next semester's Communication classes. For students newly admitted to the major, attendance at an orientation meeting for new majors is required in order to get an advisement appointment.
Advisement is under the direction of the Director of the Undergraduate Program. Advisement each semester is generally conducted by an advising staff composed of graduate assistants. However, undergraduate majors are encouraged to seek out a meeting with a faculty member when they begin their studies in the department to discuss their goals, and devise an overall plan of study supportive of those goals in the Department, in their Minor or Second Major, and in their General Education requirement courses and electives.
Degree Requirements for the Major in Rhetoric and Communication
General Program B.A.: A minimum of 36 credits including: A COM 100; a computing course all minors but business: A CAS 200 or B ITM 215 or I CSI 101 or I CSI 201 or I IST/I INF 100 or I IST/I INF 301; business minors: B ITM 215 only; a statistics course (A MAT 108 or B ITM 220 or A SOC 221 or R CRJ 281 or A PSY 210) or logic (A PHI 210); A COM 265X; one course from either A COM 203 or A COM 212; and 15-18 additional credits in the Department of Communication as advised (of which at least 12 credits must be at the 300-level or above); and 3-6 credits of supporting courses (outside the Department of Communication), as advised.
A COM 265X is restricted to A-E grading after matriculation at Albany.Course offerings are listed below in groupings according to the following headings:
- General Foundation
- Public and Mass Communication
- Interpersonal Interaction/Cultural Practices
- Organizational Communication
- Applied Studies
General Foundation courses offer students an introduction to the practice and social consequences of communication in a variety of settings, and an overview of traditional and contemporary thought on human communication.
Courses in Public and Mass Communication create a basic understanding of the process of communication in the political process, and public life more generally. This includes attention to communication and media issues in political participation, legislative processes, social movements, and election campaigns. This also includes attention to the speaker-audience setting typical of argumentation and persuasion in social and political life.
Courses in Interpersonal Interaction/Cultural Practices provide for a basic understanding of the process of communication in face to face interaction. These include attention to language use and strategy in personal relationships, health care, and work relationships of various kinds. Other courses include attention to cultural differences in face to face and group communication practices, and the role of communication in everyday life.
Courses in Organizational Communication address communication processes within and between organizations that affect their internal operations, development, climate, productivity, and social acceptance. These courses include a concern for the effect of new information technologies on organizational communication.
Applied Studies courses provide an opportunity for students who have achieved a grounding in the appropriate theoretical and research literature of the field, to apply this knowledge in independent projects or internships.
The Honors Program in Communication is designed to provide opportunities for the most talented and motivated students to work closely with each other and with the faculty.
Students may apply for admission at any point during a semester and may reapply if rejected after the close of that semester or thereafter. Decisions of the Honors Committee on admission are final and not subject to review or appeal.
Applications for admission will be approved if the student meets the following criteria: the applicant is a major in the department, with a 3.50 average in the required courses for admission to the major; the applicant has completed at least two full-time semesters of college study at Albany, with an overall average of at least 3.50, or the equivalent in the case of transfer students.
Admission to the program will be on a provisional basis for any student with fewer than 12 credits in Communication. Upon completion of 12 credits, admission will be finalized.
Students in the honors program are required to complete a minimum of 36 credits, meeting all requirements of the major, except for a special requirement among courses at the 300 level or above as follows: instead of 6 credits of electives at the 300 level or above, students in the honors program must complete either an honors project for 6 credits (A COM 499), or a senior honors project for 3 credits (A COM 499) plus 3 credits in a graduate course in Communication (for undergraduate credit) with approval of the undergraduate director.
Students will be put on program probation by the Honors Committee at the end of any semester in which their cumulative average in the major falls below 3.50 or their term average that semester is below 3.30.
Students will be dismissed from the program if they are placed on program probation in two consecutive semesters, or if they receive a grade below B in A COM 499. Students dismissed from the program cannot be readmitted unless the grades on which dismissal is based were in error and are officially changed. After completion of the requirements above, the records of candidates will be reviewed by the Departmental Honors Committee, who shall recommend to the department candidates for the degree with honors in Rhetoric and Communication.
Combined B.A./M.A. Program
The combined B.A./M.A. program in Rhetoric and Communication provides an opportunity for students of recognized academic ability and educational maturity to fulfill integrated requirements of undergraduate and master's degree programs from the beginning of the junior year. The program provides an integrated and focused curriculum in Communication that allows the upper-level student exposure to advanced knowledge in theory and substantive areas and opportunities for participation in research. A carefully designed program can permit a student to earn the B.A. and M.A. degrees within nine semesters.
The combined program requires a minimum of 141 credits, of which at least 33 must be graduate credits. In qualifying for the B.A., students must meet all University and college requirements, including the requirements of the undergraduate major described previously, the minor requirement, the minimum 90-credit liberal arts and sciences requirement, general education requirements, and residency requirements. In qualifying for the M.A., students must meet all University and college requirements as outlined in the Graduate Bulletin, including completion of a minimum of 33 graduate credits and any other conditions such as a research seminar or guided research project, professional experience, and residency requirements. Up to 12 graduate credits may be applied simultaneously to both the B.A. and M.A. programs.
Students who have completed a minimum of 6 credits of course work in Rhetoric and Communication may apply for admission to the combined degree program in Rhetoric and Communication at the beginning of their junior year or after the successful completion of 56 credits. A cumulative grade point average of 3.20 or higher and three supportive letters of recommendation from faculty are required for consideration.