MaconCatalog : College of Liberal Arts and Sciences : ACADEMIC DEPARTMENTS : COMMUNICATION STUDIES (COM)
Kevin Cummings, Chair/Professor of Communication Studies and Theatre
Frank Macke, Professor
James Stanescu, Assistant Professor
Vasile Stanescu, Associate Professor
The Department of Communication Studies and Theatre invites students to explore the important ways that human communication and theatre performance affect our lives, society, and culture. Central to our pursuit of understanding the complexities of communication in the 21st century is the study of narratives, rhetoric, and human relationships from the interpersonal to the public arena of live performance. Our classes examine the ways that communication impacts the development of self, culture, and society. We focus on theoretical accounts of human interactions and the ways that those approaches to communication inform relationships in applied settings. We explore a communicology of Theatre by addressing the challenges of performance and message in the context of the theatrical experience. Students who wish to deepen their understandings of these issues may do so by pursuing degrees in Communication Studies and in Theatre. The Department’s co-curricular programs, the Mercer Debate Society and the Mercer University Theatre, actively involve students in intercollegiate debate competition and in theatrical performance.
For a description of the Theatre major and minor please see the THEATRE section of this catalog.
Major in Communication Studies
27 semester credit hours minimum
COM 200. Introduction to Communication
COM 400.Communication and Culture
COM 420. Discourse and Power
18 additional COM credit hours, nine of which must be numbered 300 or above.
Minor in Communication Studies
15 semester credit hours minimum
COM 200. Introduction to Communication
One course from:
COM 400. Communication and Culture
COM 420. Discourse and Power
9 additional COM credit hours, three of which must be numbered 300 or above.
Communication Studies also contributes to the Certificate in Political Communication. See the POLITICAL SCIENCE section of this catalog for a description of the certificate.
In order to earn Departmental Honors in Communication Studies, a Communication Studies major must meet the following requirements: (1) a minimum overall grade point average of 3.50 and (2) a grade point average of 3.50 in the Communication Studies major.
COM 198. Special Introductory Topics in Communications Studies: (Subtitle) (3 hours)
Study of an introductory topic in Communication Studies not covered in any of the departmental offerings. This course may be applied to the Communication Studies major or minor. (Occasionally)
COM 200. Introduction to Communication (3 hours)
An introductory examination of the fields of study within the Communication discipline. This course focuses on themes of current interest and on fundamental research, inquiry, ethical standards, critical and creative thinking, and analytical skills. (Every semester)
COM 210. Public Speaking (3 hours)
A study of rhetorical theory with emphasis on the preparation and presentation of public speeches. This course enables the student to compose and defend public advocacies and to discuss and promote ethical standards in public address. (Every semester)
COM 220. Group Communication (3 hours)
A study of theoretical and practical issues arising from human communication within the context of the group. The student will examine the impact of power, leadership, and member participation as manifested in group decision-making, problem solving, and conflict management. (Every other year)
COM 230. Intercultural Communication (3 hours)
An exploration of theories of cultural differences and the ways to build awareness and competence in intercultural exchanges. This course explores social problems such as racism and ethnocentrism and examines the ways individuals can find common ground with people from diverse cultural backgrounds. (Every other year)
COM 250. Interpersonal Communication (3 hours)
A study of the theories of interpersonal communication with emphasis on the application of core principles. Specifically, this course involves the identification of ways that communal systems of meanings shape our interactions and relations with others. (Every other year)
COM 290. Intercollegiate Debate (1 hour)
Prerequisite: consent of instructor.
Academic credit for those who actively participate in competitive intercollegiate debate. May be repeated for up to 3 hours. (Every semester)
COM 315. Gender and Communication (3 hours)
(Same as WGS 315)
A study of gender in relation to the public sphere. The primary focus is on feminist approaches to rhetoric and rhetorical theory. Students will also examine how gender intersects with the study of human relationships. (Every other year)
COM 320. Classical Foundations of Rhetorical Theory (3 hours)
An introduction to classical approaches to the study of rhetoric. The course may be taught as a history of the conflict between rhetoric and philosophy, or as an examination of key figures in classical rhetorical theory including Protagoras, Gorgias, Aristotle, Isocrates, Cicero, and Quintilian. (Every other year)
COM 340. Organizational Communication (3 hours)
A study of organizational theory and its application to professional situations. The course entails a study of the ways corporations are involved in public decision-making processes, and an examination of organizations as systems of human interaction. (Every other year)
COM 360. Persuasion in Campaigns and Social Movements (3 hours)
This course examines the importance of persuasion in social and cultural interactions. The course will be contextualized in either the study of campaigns or social movements. The focus is on developing critical thinking skills in response to persuasive messages. (Every other year)
COM 370. Communication and Family Systems (3 hours)
An exploration of families as systems with emphasis placed on the how the kinship sphere is situated within the signification order. Primary focus will be on the family as a site where identity and a sense of belonging emerge from human relations. Students will also explore descent and lineage in the context of communal activities. (Every other year)
COM 380. Argumentation (3 hours)
A study of theories of argumentation and their application to contemporary public dilemmas. Focus is on the ability to create and defend a reasoned argument. Students will engage in public advocacy concerning contemporary public controversies. (Every other year)
COM 390. Environmental Communication (3 hours)
An overview of theoretical approaches, research literature, and practical applications for environmental change. Course topics include the social construction of nature, and human relationships with nature, examined through discourse, rhetoric, and communication practices. (Every other year)
COM 397. Preceptorship (1-2 hours)
Prerequisite: permission of department chair.
Selected students will serve as learning facilitators in a class typically at the 100-200 level. Preceptors commonly attend all classes, read assigned texts, participate in class discussions, and take on other duties as assigned, but are not allowed to grade the work of students enrolled in the course. Each preceptor will reflect on the preceptorship experience in accordance with departmental practices, usually by keeping a journal during the semester. At least three hours of work per week are required for every hour of credit. Successful completion of the course meets the EXP requirement (EXP 408). Graded S/U. May not be counted toward the major or minor. May be repeated once for a maximum of four credit hours. (As needed)
COM 398. Internship in Communication Studies (1-3 hours)
Prerequisites: junior or senior status and departmental approval.
An intensive practicum experience at an approved business, organization, or academic institution. Students, under the direction of a faculty member and an on-site supervisor, must engage in projects or assignments requiring at least three on-site hours per week for every hour of credit. Students will learn through observation, regular discussions with the on-site supervisor and Mercer faculty member, and written reflection. In addition, students may be required to attend training events, workshops or weekly seminars. This course may be repeated for a total of 9 hours; six hours may count toward a major or minor in Communication Studies. Graded S/U. (Every year)
COM 400. Communication and Culture (3 hours)
Prerequisite: COM 200 or consent of instructor.
An examination of the significance of power and culture in the formation of communication patterns, in the performance of communication roles, in the representation of concepts, and in the interpretation of symbols and signs. The course focuses on how communication creates and builds culture, and then is in turn created by culture. (Every year)
COM 420. Discourse and Power (3 hours)
Prerequisite: COM 200 or consent of instructor.
A study of the interconnections between discourse and power. The course will entail an examination of the ways discourse shapes ideology and how power relations are socially and politically constituted. (Every year)
COM 490. Special Topics in Communication: (Subtitle) (3 hours)
Prerequisite: junior or senior status or consent of instructor.
A study of some significant topic in communication not covered in the regular department offerings. The specific topics will be chosen according to needs and interests. Students must engage in projects or assignments requiring at least one contact hour, or equivalent, per week for every hour of credit. May be repeated with different projects/topics for a maximum of 9 hours credit. (Occasionally)
COM 495. Directed Independent Study (1-3 hours)
Prerequisite: junior or senior status or consent of instructor.
An advanced course in theory and research in communication. Students must submit a proposal for research during the semester prior to enrolling in the course. Students must engage in projects or assignments requiring at least one contact hour, or equivalent, per week for every hour of credit May be repeated with different projects/topics, but total credit may not exceed 6 hours. (Occasionally)