Course Descriptions

  • Required Courses

    480.600 - Research & Writing Methods

    Communication professionals take on diverse and multiple roles within and across organizations, but they share one role in common as strategic problem solvers. This course will teach you how to find, read, interpret, evaluate, and apply scientific research studies to solve practical problems encountered by communication practitioners. Topics covered include how to effectively use library resources to find research that can be of strategic value; how different research methods, including focus groups, case studies, surveys, and experiments are used in communication research; how to evaluate the quality of research reports; how to interpret qualitative and quantitative findings, including statistics; and how to distill the information found in research reports down to what is most relevant and usable. In addition to learning how to become a competent and critical research consumer, you will also be exposed to current research across different areas of the communication discipline.

    480.800 - Thesis

    This course is designed to guide students though the thesis process. It is the last course students take in finishing their masters’ degrees. Students select a topic for original research and conduct and write up their research in the course of the class. Students are encouraged to select a topic that will be useful in the workplace and that can be part of their professional portfolio. Graduation is subject to approval of the thesis by the thesis committee and completion of a successful defense. Students are encouraged to enter the class with a clear idea of what they would like to research. All core courses must be completed before starting Thesis.

    480.888 - Thesis Continuation

    Students not finishing the thesis during the term in which they enroll in the Thesis course must enroll in Thesis Continuation in every ensuing semester (including summer) until they complete their degrees. It is not possible to take a semester off or a leave of absence while working on the thesis.

  • Core Courses

    480.601 - Introduction to the Digital Age

    The digital age is changing how communication professionals communicate with public groups and how people access, understand, and process information. As a result, digital tools are an increasingly important part of the modern communicator’s tool kit. This course examines empirical research that will help communication professionals in the digital age. Topics include creating usable and credible websites and effective internet advertising. The course also examines blogs, social networking, and digital journalism. The digital age is explored through primary research across a range of subjects including public relations, political communication and health communication. Prerequisite: Research and Writing Methods

    480.602 - Changing Behavior through Communication

    The goal of many communication initiatives is to encourage some type of behavior change. Communication professionals who understand how people change their behavior can create more successful campaigns. This course surveys major theories used to predict when and under what circumstances individuals are most likely to change their behavior. Behavior change includes a variety of actions, such as voting for a candidate, purchasing a product, joining a social networking group, or adopting a new health habit. Individual-level, interpersonal level, and community-level models of change are covered. By becoming familiar with specific theories and the empirical support for those theories, students learn how to use social science based models to guide their communication strategies effectively. Prerequisite: Research and Writing Methods

    480.604 - Media Effects

    This course surveys major theories and perspectives on how mass media can influence individuals, organizations and society, with a focus on content areas that have the most strategic relevance for public relations practice. The course covers readings on the role media plays in shaping what issues people attend to, how they think about those issues and potential outcomes; how public relations practitioners attempt to use media strategically to meet their objectives; and the implications that current media systems, technologies, and practices have for their media relations efforts. Prerequisite: Research and Writing Methods

    480.606 - Persuasion

    This course addresses two questions of vital importance to communication professionals: what aspects of a message make it persuasive (or not), and what attributes of individual people and audiences make them susceptible or resistant to influence. The course examines all varieties of messaging, from individuals communicating one-on-one, to messages communicated via mass media. We study topics such as how the expertise, trustworthiness, and likeability of a spokesperson can enhance or weaken a message’s persuasiveness, and how people’s social groups can affect their willingness to believe. The course draws on both theory and empirical evidence to provide students with a well-rounded understanding of influence and persuasive strategies in today’s world. Prerequisite: Research and Writing Methods

    480.608 - Applied Quantitative Research

    This hands-on course guides students through the various types of quantitative research they may need to perform on the job, such as, analyzing an audience, testing a message, doing a media audit, or demonstrating the effectiveness of a department. Students learn how to develop and design good survey questions, experiments, and content analyses, and how to run basic statistics on their data including the following: chi-square, t-test, ANOVA, and correlation. Students also learn how to write up and present the results of their research. Students should take this course prior to the semester in which they begin their theses. Prerequisite: Research and Writing Methods.

    480.609 - Applied Qualitative Research

    Communication professionals use qualitative methods to craft messages that resonate with audiences. This hands-on class exposes students to qualitative research methods that can be used on the job to guide communication efforts more strategically. Students learn how to design and conduct studies to gain insight into audience perceptions on a variety of issues. Specific techniques covered include in-depth interviews, focus groups, and rhetorical analysis. Through applied activities, students learn how to collect, analyze, and present qualitative research data. Students should take this course prior to the semester in which they begin their theses. Prerequisite: Research and Writing Methods.

    480.610 - Applied Research

    Communication employers require not only researchers but also practitioners to conduct primary research that guides planning and refinement. For example, professionals need to understand target audience perceptions and information-seeking habits, audit news media messages, obtain reactions to advertisements, and test the effectiveness of a campaign in order to develop and refine strategies, materials, and media plans. By the start of the course, students must identify a problem and develop research questions that will yield findings that will guide the formulation of solutions. They also must choose a research pathway and method. Those on the qualitative pathway may pilot one of the following methods: the qualitative content analysis, indepth interviews, focus groups or case study. Students on the quantitative pathway may use one of the following methods: the quantitative content analysis, survey or experiment. Throughout the course, students must design, implement, and analyze the data from their study. They also write a report with their research questions, method and results. Students on the qualitative pathway will need Google+ Hangout and possibly Screencast-O-Matic, and students on the quantitative pathway will need Excel with the Data Analysis ToolPak and possibly SurveyMonkey, which may require a nominal fee. It is recommended that if students plan to complete a thesis, they take this course the semester before enrolling in Thesis. Prerequisite: Research and Writing Methods

    480.804 - Practicum

    Strategic-planning students complete the Practicum course during their last semester in the MA in Communication program. This optional core course offers a culminating experience that helps students integrate new or enhanced capabilities into a significant evidence-based project relevant to their profession. Each student can identify an organization or individual in need of support for a communication-related project and how to fulfill that need. In addition, the student must prepare (a) a proposal that outlines objectives, scope of work, any deliverables, timeline, and method for evaluating achievement of objectives; and (b) any final deliverables. The student must complete the Practicum course in one semester.

  • Elective Courses

    480.603 - Communication in Practice

    Communication is a fast-changing field that requires practitioners to keep current with trends in technology, audience segmentation, needs of stakeholders, message techniques, evaluation methods, and much more. Equally important, practitioners must master new ways of branding themselves in a competitive job environment. This course covers up-to-date perspectives in communication practice so that students gain a concrete understanding of the practice environment. The content includes strategic management, presentation styles, ethics, branding, campaigns, evaluation, cultural diversity, client tactics, and professional networking. Experts in practice will lecture and lead class activities. Students will create deliverables throughout the semester that will form a personal brand portfolio designed to showcase their talents and skills in communication. This course is designed for students who are provisional or have obtained advisor approval.

    480.605 - Organizational Communication

    This course explores the complexities and strategies of internal and external communication in public, private, and non-profit organizations. As a leadership tool, communication serves a political, informational, symbolic and influential function. Organizational theory and research are core components of this course. Specifically, this course equips students to critique and develop the fundamentals of: vision and mission statements, strategic plans, white papers, annual reports, crisis communication, and marketing and promotional communication.

    480.623 - Political Communication Campaigns

    This course will cover the final few months of the 2012 campaign for President of the United States. As much as possible, the class will use actual events in the campaign as the basis for assignments and class discussions. Students will react to actual situations as if they were working for one of the candidates to prepare such campaign communication tools as news releases, talking points, op-eds, candidate or surrogate speeches and radio or television commercials. Students will also learn about campaign strategic planning and message development. The final weeks of the class will focus on analysis, such as the role played by the news media in the result, if any, and any other external factors that might have affected the outcome. The class will expose students to the practical applications of the communication process as used in contemporary political campaigns, including the use of new technologies and social media. Students will also learn about the operation of a political press office and the duties of a political press secretary, media advisor or communication director, and the news media professionals who cover them.

    480.624 - Press Secretary:Theory & Practice

    This class uses current events and interactive discussions to focus on the skills required to be an effective press secretary and communications advisor. It examines the roles, duties and responsibilities of press secretaries in a variety of settings: on Capitol Hill, in federal agencies, the White House, industry associations, non-profits, advocacy organizations, and political campaigns. The course includes engaging guest lectures that share insight from journalists, press secretaries, and communications professionals in the field about effective techniques and lessons learned. Students engage in real-time exercises that deal with typical situations that a press secretary faces in the course of a day, and participate in discussions on the complex environments in which a press secretary works. By the end of the course, students will be able to draft and distribute materials such as media strategy memos, press releases, talking points, and to plan a press conference.

    480.629 - Public Relations in the Age of Digital Influence

    Marketing and communication are changing. The levers that we have pulled for years to sell products and services, change behaviors, and advocate for causes no longer work the way they did. As trust in media and marketing plummets, trust in our peers, friends, family, and colleagues rises. Today we recognize new influencers in the people sitting next to us. Now, creating a conversation is just as important as driving media, forming partnerships and crafting messages. Call it influencer marketing or brand stewardship in the network age. It’s all public relations. This class covers how to create comprehensive digital-influence strategies and ultimately how to be an effective public relations professional in this new digital age.

    480.630 - Multimedia Authoring

    This course is an introduction to techniques for reading, writing, analyzing, producing and publishing integrated forms of digital multimedia. Students will be assigned projects that explore the aesthetic, technological and communications concerns inherent in new media production for the online medium. The course emphasizes the understanding of key paradigms of the multimedia experience, including: integration, interactivity, hypermedia, and immersion essential to the construction of narrative forms specific to digital media. Production techniques and design strategies will be introduced for incorporating text, imagery, sound, and video into Web 2.0 applications such as blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. Readings will explore key issues in contemporary media and communications impacted by new and emerging digital technologies. The objective of the course is for students to learn the practical and critical skills necessary to achieve digital fluency for their professional work in the field of communication. This course was formerly called Essential Skills in Digital Media Literacy.

    480.631 - Effective Web Design and Strategy

    Having a website in the 21st century is a no-brainer, but developing a website that really works is no small task. This class prepares students to analyze the critical communication considerations that drive the strategy of successful websites, and provides them with the knowledge and vocabulary to structure, define and lead the development of sophisticated and effective web-based communications platforms. From audience definition and content strategy, through usability testing, information architecture, technologies, design and search engine optimization, students will learn how to define, design, and deploy smart sites that succeed—communicate—across divergent audiences, brands and businesses.

    480.632 - Digital Political Strategy

    No president will ever be elected again without an internet strategy. Mobile phones and Facebook are being used to organize mass protests. Thanks to YouTube, two Senators lost elections, and bloggers took down former CBS anchor Dan Rather and former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott. Clearly, the world of political and issue campaigns has changed in the digital age. In this course students explore new strategies possible in a networked world and learn what it takes to be a digital political strategist.

    480.633 - Interactive Marketing and Advertising

    This is a hands-on course that focuses on the creative process, design and development of interactive marketing and advertising campaigns for online and mobile environments. Defining the audience, understanding the user experience and empowering the consumer are key to creating effective campaigns in this constantly changing environment. Standards, guidelines and best practices for creating display advertising and rich media will be taught, along with viral, word-of-mouth and emerging technologies. Practical skills will be taught as well, and by the end of the course students will produce an integrated interactive campaign.

    480.634 - Journalism & Publishing in the Digital Age

    Publishing and journalism were once separate domains, but the internet and new media have radically changed that. The rise of so-called civic journalism and the ease of “publishing to the ‘net” raise pressing questions such as who is a journalist, and what does it mean nowadays to “publish” something. Is print dead? Is Google making us stupid? Will the iPad save publishing? Through lectures, readings, discussions and individual projects, this research seminar will attempt to answer such questions. We’ll also examine recent or ongoing controversies such as Wikileaks and the Google book project. We’ll explore the impact of new media (e.g. citizen journalism, social networking sites, online video, and mobile technologies) on both the publishing industry and the practice of journalism, and what the new media environment implies for communications professionals.

    480.635 - Communication.org:Not-for-Profits in the Digital Age

    Students examine the primary reasons non-profit organizations exist, and the unique communication challenges they face in reaching their audiences and motivating their desired behaviors. They will examine leading trends in 21st century communication, and assess how non-profit communicators can capitalize on these trends for the benefit of their organizations. Finally, they will devise practical solutions to one or more of a non-profit “client’s” challenges, using one or more of a wide variety of communication tools offered in the current media landscape.

    480.636 - Web Writing and Content Strategy

    You have 3.5 seconds to capture a web visitor’s attention. How do you make sure your website entices them to stick around and learn more? This course examines how compelling web content is essential to engaging visitors and driving their behavior. We’ll explore writing styles appropriate for B2B and B2C websites and blogs, and work with a variety of content formats, such as videos, infographics, contests, polls, and more. Using the website as the hub for content, we’ll cover techniques for driving web visitors to your site with inbound and outbound content marketing strategies. We’ll discuss the intersection of search engine optimization, social media and content marketing and the importance of an integrated approach to content creation and distribution. Lectures and exercises draw on real-world examples from a variety of industries. By the end of the semester, students will be able to create and execute a comprehensive content marketing program.

    480.637 - Using Social and Digital Media

    In this class students learn about 12 useful social media tools, including blogging, Twitter, social networking, podcasting, online video and Digg. More importantly, students apply what they learn by developing a social media plan for a company or organization that they choose. They will be the student’s “Client.” Each week, students learn how to use a different social media tool to engage in conversations that help to tell their client’s story. Students also learn the theories behind why social and digital media is fundamentally changing the way that customers, advocates and engaged consumers are interacting with brands. By the end of semester, students will be able to not just answer, but inspire, the inevitable questions being raised in every organization today: Why should we care about social media? How is it changing the way individuals and organizations communicate? Where should we begin? Note: Prior to fall 2009 this course was taught under the title Introduction to the Digital Age. Students who took that course may not register for this class as the content is the same.

    480.638 - Utilizing Images: Media Literacy In Practice

    This course will teach you how to critically evaluate media, create effective visual communication by identifying key elements of a visual message, and apply relevant theory as it relates to visual message design. This course provides an overview of the approaches and strategies communication practitioners use to incorporate media literacy in their practices. This course will address the following questions: What is media literacy and how does it relate to visual communication? How can visual media be used effectively to promote strategic messages or positive change? How can we critically evaluate the quality of visual messages and create effective and ethical visual communication?

    480.642 - Corporate Social Responsibility Campaigns

    The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) movement is a world-wide phenomenon, and corporations, trade associations and nonprofits are being asked to step up and be accountable. Public relations and communication professionals need to develop the skills to prepare strategic communication plans that reflect their organization's commitment to CSR in order to protect and enhance their employer's reputation in the marketplace. This course examines the global CSR movement, explores the communication challenges it presents and offers practical suggestions and tactics to respond to this trend. The class features in-class activities, outside research and guest speakers from NGOs, communication firms, and major corporations with practical advice on meeting this challenge in the global marketplace.

    480.643 - Branding and Advertising

    Branding and advertising are major components of any business or non-profit organization. Showcasing products and services in creative ways increases visibility and improves sales. This course teaches students how to develop brands, create concepts and develop advertising campaigns. Students also learn practical tips including how to organize a creative department, write a creative brief, create budgets and time-lines, research and purchase visual imagery, and how to determine appropriate media for particular branding and advertising campaigns.

    480.645 - Health Literacy, Language and Culture

    This course offers a skills-oriented approach to addressing literacy, language and culture within a health care context. Understanding the relationship between literacy, language and culture will benefit those in heath communication, as well as professionals in areas such as public and media relations, digital communication, political communication, and corporate and non-profit communication. Students will explore how low literacy and poor health literacy affect quality and outcomes at the individual and systems level and consider the integration of health literacy, cultural competency and language assistance strategies to reduce disparities in health and well being. Overall, this 13-week course aims to improve the cultural and health literacy competency of professionals and the systems in which they work.

    480.646 - Managerial Communication

    Writer and historian James Humes said, “The art of communication is the language of leadership.” It is that simple comment that forms the foundation of this course. Here students explore the role of communication with stakeholders including subordinates, superiors, internal and external customers, suppliers and the community. Students examine effective communication in hiring and promoting, in conflict, in community interaction and in the internal communication of an organization. The class is built around three precepts or questions: With whom does one communicate, what does one communicate and how does one communicate effectively?

    480.653 - Communicating for Social Change

    This course is what Social Marketing is all about – using techniques and proven theory from the field of Marketing to address social issues mainly through attempting to change behavior in ways that benefit an individual, community or society. Students in this skills-based course will study and work in teams to apply the health communications step-by-step model to create a Social Marketing Campaign for a real world situation.

    480.654 - Strategic Communication Program Management

    This course covers strategic leadership and communication program development, management and evaluation. It emphasizes basic communication research, strategic communication objectives and message design, selection of media, development of materials, management of teams and impact evaluation. Crisis and issues management as well as the use of new communication technologies are also covered. The course focuses on a step-by-step design of a communication program using the highly acclaimed SCOPE (Strategic Communication Planning and Evaluation) Web learning and planning software. Students develop two strategic communication programs, one as individual work and another as part of a team. Lectures and discussions utilize case studies to illustrate key points and desired learning. This course combines reality-based and conceptual approaches to provide students with the intellectual tools needed to assume senior management or outside counsel roles in developing and implementing fully integrated communication programs.

    480.657 - Introduction to Public Relations

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists public relations as one of the fastest growing professions in the United States. This introductory course, designed for career changers and those new to public relations, details the ideas, skills, and principles that underlie the public relations craft. Students in this class study the role and contributions of public relations practitioners in contemporary society, learn about potential legal and ethical aspects of the practice of public relations, study the communication process and how persuasion is used with various audiences, and learn how to develop a strategic communication plan to achieve specific goals and objectives. The class will also introduce students to specialized practice areas within the public relations field such as business and industry, government, nonprofit and associations, and health care.

    480.658 - Public Relations Writing

    The primary goal of this course is for students to develop the professional-level persuasive writing skills expected of the best PR practitioners. Students are given weekly writing assignments outside of class and write on deadline during many class periods. The course covers various forms of public relations writing including press releases, op-ed essays, crisis communications and internal communications. Written work is judged using 10 tenets of good writing: organization, persuasion, clarity, focus, flow, tone, proper usage, timeliness, accuracy and relevance.

    480.659 - Crisis Communication

    This course provides students with a fundamental understanding of crisis management, risk communication, media relations, and public-opinion research techniques in multiple contexts. It introduces students to crisis management principles, strategies, tactics and communication methods. Course participants work as a team to develop a crisis management plan for analysis and discussion. Successful students are able to transfer to the workplace the knowledge and skills developed in this course. Students learn to predict, manage, and control real-world controversies that they may confront as they pursue their careers. Moreover, students are able to manage effectively, participate in, and control volatile situations involving the news media.

    480.660 - Media Relations

    Media outreach is a critical piece of any strategic communication effort. This course prepares students to build, implement, and measure earned media programs that achieve policy, business and philanthropic objectives. Class lectures, guest speakers, readings and assignments give students an understanding of the priorities and expectations of various types of contemporary media, and how to successfully engage them through research-based strategies and tactics designed to reach key audiences.

    480.661 - International Public Relations and Public Diplomacy

    In today’s global world, reaching international audiences is a key function of U.S. government-funded public diplomacy programs, corporate public relations, and non-governmental organizations involved in relief and development. Through readings, lectures, discussions and exercises, this course examines the differences between domestic and international media environments. Students develop communication skills needed to deliver messages and craft outreach strategies and programs for non-American audiences. Special attention is paid to communicating with audiences in Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia, including Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. Topics include a historical overview of international public relations and public diplomacy, opportunities and challenges for today’s public diplomacy practitioner, using research to understand international audiences, writing effectively for international audiences, health and development communication, and communication in international conflict resolution. Students emerge with skills to work overseas in the fast-growing areas of public diplomacy and international public relations.

    480.662 - Opinion Writing

    The world of Washington revolves around opinion, and access to the nation’s editorial and op-ed pages is key to making sure your opinions (or those of your employer) are successfully shared with the policy makers and opinion leaders who shape public policy. Opinion pieces carry far more impact than news; consequently, the editorial and op-ed pages are much more difficult markets to crack than the news pages. The editorial and op-ed pages have their own writing style and standards of news judgment; once a writer knows them, though, opinion writing is some of the most rewarding journalism, personally and professionally. Students in this class learn to understand the anatomy of good editorial writing; how to write for opinion sections of newspapers, magazines, and other news outlets; how to pitch op-ed and opinion pieces; and how to sell ideas to editorial boards.

    480.663 - Integrated Marketing Communication

    Integrated marketing communication breaks down the traditional advertising, public relations and marketing silos by challenging practitioners to apply the optimum mix of media and message to motivate the target audience to act. The rise of the internet and now Web 2.0 support the need to embrace integrated marketing communication as a comprehensive approach to reach target audiences. In this course students learn to evaluate audience demographics and apply the appropriate communication channels and messages based upon the audiences’ needs and the business realities of marketing campaigns. During the semester, students develop a tool kit of steps to follow to attain marketing success. Through simulation exercises, case study analysis and self-directed reading, students develop a results-oriented and measurable marketing campaign proposal.

    480.665 - Speech Writing

    Speech writing is one of the most important but least instructed skills for Washington professionals. Through hands-on practice, students learn to write speeches for diverse clients, occasions and contexts including corporate and political speeches, keynote addresses, Congressional testimony, as well as informal remarks such as eulogies and toasts and how to coach speakers for more effective delivery. The course integrates speech writing with public relations skills in areas such as campaign messaging, investor relations and crisis management.

    480.668 - Understanding Markets and Audiences

    This course demonstrates the important role market research—and the use of existing data to better understand audience and environment—plays in the overall campaign process. This course will focus on the integral steps that facilitate target audience definition and how to extract a keen understanding of this audience and its interactions within its environment to develop effective campaign strategy. The course’s structure and various assignments will often mimic a client/consultant relationship to ensure a real-world experience. To that end, the instructors will play the role of “client” in many instances, asking students to articulate how an assignment or deliverable contributes to the overall goals of the campaign.

    480.669 - Emergency & Risk Communication

    Emergency and risk communication are an emerging set of practices that convey credible, accurate and real-time information about adverse events and the degree of risk they pose. In a post-Katrina, post-9/11 environment, communication professionals must be familiar with best practices in emergency and risk communication to effectively work with government, industry, the media, and the general public during crises and longer-term threats involving health, safety, security, and the environment. In this course, students become familiar with the core principles of emergency and risk communications and risk perception and have an opportunity to apply strategic communication approaches to real-world risk scenarios. Students learn to apply strategic communication approaches used in emergency preparedness, environmental health, food security, national security and financial security.

    480.670 - Law for Communication Professionals

    Communication professionals encounter the law in many ways. They need to know what they can put on a website, what they can say about private citizens and public figures, what they have to say in political commercials, and what claims they can make about products they advertise. This course explores the laws communication professionals need to know about to do their job effectively. Students will learn how to evaluate slander, libel and defamation issues. Copyright, trademark and privacy law will be addressed, including the “fair use” right to excerpt materials on and off the Internet. First Amendment issues to be covered include regulation of advertising and other government regulation of speech, as well as its impact on the rights of parents and children. Campaign finance issues will also be considered, including “equal time”, independent expenditures and candidates’ speech rights. The course also covers issues raised by broadband deployment, including spectrum management and “open internet” issues.

    480.671 - Government Relations and Lobbying

    This course introduces students to the practical applications of federal lobbying and governmental relations. Through discussion, reading, guest lectures and actual site visits, students gain valuable applied knowledge in the communication tactics of this influential business. The course is designed to teach the students a “how to” approach, with specific focus on successfully communicating with governmental officials, designing lobbying campaigns and reviewing the foundations of governmental representation. This class conducts a detailed study of the structure of our government, ethical standards, influence methods, cultural appreciation, and the specific communication skills necessary for all advocacy professionals. The class explores various political and applied principals that are needed in practicing governmental representation. The course also gives students a practical understanding and unusual knowledge of the art of lobbying.

    480.672 - Polling for Strategic Communication

    Polling is more than a snapshot of who is winning and who is losing. Effective analysis is important for any campaign whether one’s object is to elect a candidate for office, position a company or product or advance an issue. This class concentrates on teaching students the best practices for designing, writing and conducting polls, and how to use the results to formulate a successful communication strategy. Students critique existing opinion surveys and learn how to read and interpret polls, including those used in political and health campaigns and by corporations and other issue organizations.

    480.675 - Public Policy Management & Advocacy

    Washington D.C. is home to thousands of organizations attempting to influence public policy. Associations, foundations, think tanks and private lobbying firms are all competing for the attention of policymakers and the public. These groups invariably need competent communicators who can help them cut through jargon, crystallize their messages and strategically communicate with the key audiences imperative to advancing their policy goals. This course introduces students to the deliberate process organizations undertake to speak out on issues and exert influence over the policies that have the potential to impact them and the way they do business. The class will cover how organizations conduct advocacy efforts and how communication is used as a tool to advance policy change. Students will gain a practical understanding of how policy groups and communications professionals operate in the field.

    480.677 - Grassroots Communications

    Grassroots communication is critical for candidates and for causes. This course explores how grassroots political communication differs from other types of communication, when and where it’s effective, and how to build an effective strategy and plan. Students discuss how grassroots communication links to the rest of the communication plan, which messages are best suited to it, and how it can be leveraged to benefit other activities. The data are rich, the anecdotes are informative, and the potential of grassroots political organizing is immense.

    480.678 - Spokesperson Development & Training

    This course provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary to perform effectively as spokespersons in news media interviews and other high-stakes situations requiring public testimony. Students learn what motivates news media and how journalists cover stories. They learn to recognize the numerous interview techniques used by reporters, and the major differences between broadcast and print interviews. Course participants also learn successful spokesperson strategies, tactics and techniques designed to enhance their performance and reduce the risks inherent in today’s volatile media environment. Students develop effective messages and the other tools needed to prepare for interviews and public testimony. Students use on-camera training throughout the course to sharpen interview skills and to critique student performance. Successful students are able to transfer the knowledge and skills acquired in this course to the workplace. They are prepared to serve as spokespersons in a wide array of situations ranging from routine news interviews to potentially volatile confrontations.

    480.681 - Communication Evaluation

    This course will prepare communication researchers to gather evidence that guides the planning, implementation, and refinement of communication campaigns. Throughout the semester, students will practice using evaluation to inform the various stages of a communication effort based on real world conditions. They will draw from behavior theory; and formative (including pretesting), process, and summative evaluation. They also will learn how to ensure the protection of the rights of human research participants.

    480.682 - Health Psychology & Behavior Change

    This course provides an overview of health psychology: the scientific study of behaviors and cognitive processes related to health states. It addresses the mind/body connection, the influence of social and physical environments on our health, cognitive processing of health information, health belief models, and the link between personality traits and health. Understanding the interactions between these biological, psychological, and social influences on individuals’ health states is a key element in developing effective health communication and intervention programs. Students approach all course topics from both theory-driven and applied perspectives.

    480.686 - Behavior Change and Education through Entertainment

    This course explores the various ways communication professionals can use entertainment to educate people and encourage them to adopt and enjoy improved life styles. Throughout history, stories, drama, poetry, music, dance, and other entertainment formats have been used to enlighten and educate both adults and children. In today’s society, the channels of communication are ever increasing. This course investigates ways in which education can be subtly but effectively worked into both new and time-honored genres of entertainment to foster positive behavior change.

    480.687 - Intercultural Communication

    This course examines the meaning and importance of intercultural communication as it applies to individuals, groups, organizations and nations. Students examine the meaning of “culture” and how “culture” can affect personal, national and international understanding and communication, beliefs and behaviors. The course examines the difficulties and dangers that can result from cultural misunderstanding. In a modern world with diverse communication methods, there is an ever-increasing need for intercultural understanding and communication. The course investigates the various ways in which cultures differ and the necessity of understanding and respecting other cultures. The course assists communication professionals to be more effective with external communication campaigns in other countries and internal communication within a diverse workplace. The course emphasizes clear and logical spoken and written expression to enhance individual ability to interact effectively with people of different cultures.