Department of Communication

Faculty

Professor Emeritae/i

Donald P. Cushman, Ph.D.
University of Wisconsin

Professors Alan Chartock, Ph.D.
New York University

Robert E. Sanders, Ph.D.
University of Iowa

Associate Professors Emeritae/i

Richard Wilkie, Ph.D.
University of Michigan

Associate Professors

Kathleen E. Kendall, Ph.D.
Indiana University

Assistant Professors

Françoís Cooren, Ph.D.
University of Montreal

David Noller, Ph.D.
University of Colorado at Boulder

Adjuncts (estimated): 3
Teaching Assistants (estimated): 12

The undergraduate program in communication has two primary goals. One is to educate students about the influences that communication has on social life among individuals, in organizations, and in the larger society. In part this involves studying theories and research about what difference it makes how information is controlled, made accessible, and disseminated in specific social contexts. This also involves the study of significant writings about the dependence of cultures, social relationships, and values on the symbolic forms that people create and exchange.

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 perhaps devising solutions to communication problems.

The department specializes in studies of communication in each of three 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; and third, communication in organizations— whether business, governmental, or grass roots organizations—that affects either the organization’s internal processes or external relations.

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 are intended to provide students with in-depth knowledge of current research and theory about interpersonal/intercultural communication, organizational communication or public communication.

Course offerings are listed below in grouping according to the following headings:

  1. General Foundations,

  2. Public Communication,

  3. Interpersonal/Intercultural Communication,

  4. Organizational Communication/Telecommunication, and

  5. Applied Studies.

Courses in General Foundations 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 Communication create a basic understanding of the process of communication in the speaker-audience setting typical of argumentation and persuasion in social and political life, and in the mass setting typical of the mediated communication of governments movements, campaigns, advertising, and propaganda.

Courses in Interpersonal/Intercultural Communication provide for a basic understanding of the process of communication in such settings as face to face interaction and small group discussion. These courses include attention to the impact of culture on such communication, particularly the interaction between different national cultures, or between the varieties of experience within a given national culture.

Courses in Organizational Communication/Telecommunication are about interactions 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.

Admission

Admission to the program in rhetoric and 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 the add-drop period in the fall and spring semesters. Notification of admission or denial will be made within three business days by a posted list outside the department office, and afterwards by mail.

Any student can apply for admission who has completed the following two courses with grades of C- or higher or S in each: (a) A Com 100M, and (b) either a course in statistics (A Mat 108, B Msi 220, A Soc 221, R Crj 281, or A Psy 210), or a course in formal logic (A Phi 210L or equivalent). Students who apply and are not accepted can reapply in subsequent semesters. Note: A Com 100M 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 automatically accepted whose grades in the two entry courses average to B or higher (in A Com 100M, 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 100M 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 the equivalent of the two entry courses before matriculating at Albany will be admitted automatically if they earned grades of C- or S or higher in those two courses. Transfer students who have not completed the entry course before matriculation must complete the course at Albany, and then apply for admission to the major as described above. However, for these students, only grades in courses taken at Albany will be used to decide on automatic admission, or to compute a Composite GPA. Special determinations of admissibility can be made on request for transfer students who have completed before matriculation at Albany the equivalent of A Com 265, or a minimum of 9 credits in other communication courses, with grades of C- or S or higher.

Advisement

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 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 Second Field 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 100M; a computing course (A Cas 200 or B Msi 215 or A Csi 101N or A Csi 201N); a statistics course (A Mat 108 or B Msi 220 or A Soc 221 or R Crj 281 or A Psy 210) or logic (A Phi 210L); A Com 265; one course from either A Com 203 or 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 265 is restricted to A–E grading after matriculation at Albany.

Honors Program

The honors program in rhetoric and communication is designed to provide opportunities for the most talented and well- 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.

Internship Program

Students may apply for the department’s internship program, which offers enrollment in A Com 390 or A Com 392 and A Com 393Z combined with work in the field either at the state legislature or at another host agency. See course descriptions for A Com 390, A Com 392, and A Com 393Z.

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, thesis, comprehensive examination, professional experience, and residency requirements. Up to 12 graduate credits may be applied simultaneously to both the B.A. and M.A. programs.

Students are considered as undergraduates until completion of 120 graduation credits and satisfactory completion of all B.A. requirements. Upon meeting B.A. requirements, students are automatically considered as graduate students.

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, but no later than the accumulation of 100 credits. A cumulative grade point average of 3.20 or higher and three supportive letters of recommendation from faculty are required for consideration.

General Foundations Courses

A Com 100M Human Communication: Language and Social Action (3)
Meets General Education: SS
Introduction to human communication in terms of an examination of the communication needs, processes, and results that typically occur in different social settings. Corequisite(s): A Com 100Z.

A Com 100G Human Communication: Language and Social Action (4)
Meets General Education: SS, WI
A Com 100G is the writing intensive version of A Com 100M; only one may be taken for credit. May not be offered during 1998-99.

A Com 265 Introduction to Communication Theory (3)
Approaches to the study of human communication. Consideration of major research findings, methods and conceptualizations in such areas as persuasion, interpersonal communication, group communication, organizational communication, and mass communication. For rhetoric and communication majors completing their major requirements as outlined in this bulletin or subsequent editions, A Com 265 is restricted to A– E grading after matriculation at Albany. Prerequisite(s): A Com 100M.

Courses in Public Communication

A Com 203 Speech Composition and Presentation (3)
Introduction to the composition and presentation of speeches. Course includes guided practice in topic development, organization, and the oral presentation of various kinds of speeches.

A Com 212 Argumentation and Debate (3)
Study of and practice in the methods of argument. Special emphasis upon skills needed in oral argumentation.

A Com 238 Introduction to Mass Communication (3)
Survey of electronic and print media with emphasis on structural analysis, content analysis, and research.

A Com 345 Argumentative Methods (3)
Composition and criticism of argumentative discourse stressing the nature of issue, proposition, evidence, and form. Theory of rhetorical and scientific argument is also included. A Com 345Z is the writing intensive version of A Com 345; only one may be taken for credit.

A Com 345Z Argumentative Methods (3)
Meets General Education: WI
A Com 345Z is the writing intensive version of A Com 345; only one may be taken for credit.

A Com 355 Introduction to Rhetorical Theory (3)
The writings of major theorists, from Aristotle to figures of the 20th century. A Com 355Z is the writing intensive version of A Com 355; only one may be taken for credit. Prerequisite(s): junior or senior class standing, or permission of instructor.

A Com 355Z Introduction to Rhetorical Theory (3)
Meets General Education: WI
A Com 355Z is the writing intensive version of A Com 355; only one may be taken for credit. Prerequisite(s): junior or senior class standing, or permission of instructor.

A Com 370 Theories of Mass Media (3)
The theories, research methods, and empirical research findings related to the effects of mass communication on individuals and society. Prerequisite(s): A Com 238 and A Com 265, or permission of instructor.

A Com 376 Empirical Studies of Persuasion (3)
Empirical approaches to attitude and behavior change brought about by communication. Prerequisite(s): A Com 265 or permission of instructor.

A Com 378 Studies in Public Persuasion (3)
Application of the student’s critical skills to the rhetoric of a particular public figure or movement; or to the rhetorical practice of a particular historical period or genre of public persuasion, such as television advertising, propaganda in mass movements, American campaign rhetoric. A Com 378Z is the writing intensive version of A Com 378. May be repeated for a total of 9 credits with changes in topic. Prerequisite(s): junior or senior class standing, or permission of instructor.

A Com 378Z Studies in Public Persuasion (3)
Meets General Education: WI
A Com 378Z is the writing intensive version of A Com 378; may be repeated for a total of 9 credits when topic differs. Prerequisite(s): junior or senior class standing, or permission of instructor.

A Com 380 Political Campaign Communication (3)
This course examines from both a theoretical and a practical standpoint the planning, execution, and evaluation of campaign communication strategies. It focuses mainly on modern presidential campaigns—the organization, the candidate, the audience, and the media. Forms examined include speeches, debates, television commercials, polling, news stories, and interpersonal contact. This course often has a co-requirement of A Com 297 for 1 credit. Prerequisite(s): junior or senior class standing or permission of instructor.

A Com 465 Studies in Communication Theory (3)
Study of a selected topic in communication theory; e.g., nonverbal communication, consistency theory, or mass communication. May be repeated for a total of 9 credits with changes in topic. Prerequisite(s): A Com 265, and junior or senior class standing.

Courses in Interpersonal/Intercultural Communication

A Com 201 Interpersonal Communication (3)
Introduction to those aspects of communication which typify interpersonal relationships. Included are experientially acquired insights into, and theoretical considerations of, interpersonal communication.

A Com 204 Group Communication (3)
The theory and practice of small group interaction. Examination of both group dynamics and cognitive processes, as they relate to group deliberation. May not be offered during 1998-99.

A Com 304 Conference and Group Leadership (3)
Advanced study of small group deliberation, with special emphasis upon theories of group leadership as they apply in business and professional group communication settings. Prerequisite(s): A Com 204 or permission of instructor. May not be offered during 1998-99.

A Com 367 Theories of Interpersonal Communication (3)
The theories, research methods, and representative research findings related to experimental and observational studies of interpersonal communication. Prerequisite(s): A Com 201 and 265, or permission of instructor.

A Com 371 Theories of Intercultural Communication (3)
Meets General Education: HD Communication between people from different cultures and/or subcultures, including racial and ethnic groups. Focus is upon appropriate theories, concepts, research findings, and practice in intercultural settings. Prerequisite(s): A Com 265, or permission of instructor.

A Com 373 Communication Codes (3 or 6)
The patterns of communication behavior in everyday life. Emphasizes both language and nonlanguage behavior, and the various social contexts in which interaction occurs. Topics include social and cultural rules for structuring messages and the basis for interpreting behaviors. Course includes major components in both theory and research on this topic, including a research paper. Course will be scheduled intensively during the semester to reflect the number of credits to be earned. Prerequisite(s): junior or senior class standing. May not be offered during 1998-99.

A Com 465 Studies in Communication Theory (3)
Study of a selected topic in communication theory; e.g., nonverbal communication, consistency theory, or mass communication. May be repeated for a total of 9 credits when topic differs. Prerequisite(s): A Com 265, and junior or senior class standing.

Courses in Organizational Communication/Telecommunication

A Com 369 Theories of Organizational Communication (3)
Theoretical models and empirical studies of communication within complex organizations. In- depth case study of one or more organizations. Prerequisite(s): A Com 265 or permission of instructor.

A Com 465 Studies in Communication Theory (3)
Study of a selected topic in communication theory; e.g., nonverbal communication, consistency theory, or mass communication. May be repeated for a total of 9 credits with changes in topic. Prerequisite(s): A Com 265, and junior or senior class standing.

Courses in Applied Studies

A Com 297 Research Practicum (1–3)
Supervised participation in established research projects. Course may be repeated for a total of 6 credits, but only a maximum of 3 credits may be applied toward major requirements. Prerequisite(s): permission of instructor. S/U graded.

A Com 390 Internship in Communication (1–3)
Supervised participation in rhetorical or communicative practices. May be repeated for a total of 3 credits. This course is meant to provide practical experience and cannot be counted among the 12 additional credits in “A Com” courses at the 300 level required for majors. Open only to majors and minors in their junior or senior years with cumulative averages of at least 2.50. Prerequisite(s): A Com 265, and permission of undergraduate director. S/U graded.

A Com 392 Internship in Operational and Applied Communication Theory (9)
Supervised field placement in an approved setting. Cumulative average of at least 2.50 required. (Open only to rhetoric and communication majors and minors, except with permission of instructor.) Student attends a weekly seminar (A Com 393) and prepares a major project and weekly reports in conjunction with that seminar. Does not satisfy major or minor requirements. Corequisite(s): A Com 393 or 393Z and permission of instructor. S/U graded.

A Com 393Z Seminar in Operational and Applied Communication Theory (6)
Meets General Education: WI
Advanced applications of rhetoric and communication theory. Participants will complete a major project describing in detail each segment of their work. Each participant will also complete five ten-page analytical papers in addition to a series of weekly seminar papers. (Open only to rhetoric and communication majors and minors, except with permission of instructor.) Yields credit toward rhetoric and communication major or minor. Corequisites: A Com 392 and permission of instructor.

A Com 397 Independent Study and Research in Communication (1–3)
Directed reading and conferences on selected topics. Course may be repeated for a total of 6 credits. Prerequisite(s): A Com 265, and permission of instructor and department chair.

A Com 499 Senior Honors Project (3–6)
Design and implementation of an investigation of some clearly defined problem in rhetoric and communication, under faculty supervision. Students may repeat this course once, for a maximum of 6 credits, for those projects requiring two consecutive semesters of study. Prerequisite(s): admission to the honors program in communication; enrollment by permission of the director of undergraduate studies.


Undergraduate Bulletin — Table of Contents
University at Albany
State University of New York