COMMUNICATION STUDIES | A versatile degree

When it comes to skills employers look for in their employees, strong communication skills consistently rank high on the list, year after year. Baker’s communication program helps you develop the ability to communicate both orally and in writing, work in groups, lead, manage conflicts, and navigate cross-cultural contexts. Students develop tools and the flexibility to apply them in a variety of situations. The communication program is the perfect place to start when looking for a versatile and worthwhile degree.

BU SPEECH CHOIR | PRACTICE YOUR SKILLS

Students in the communication program are strongly encouraged to join the BU Speech Choir, a campus group that prepares, perfects, and performs programs drawn from literature, rhetoric, and media. Participation awards are available for those interested.

LEARN HANDS ON

Baker encourages internships in a variety of fields, including public relations, human relations, and political campaign activities. Students can also be involved in theatre performances, speak at regional and national conferences, and conduct research for publication.

PREPARE FOR GRADUATE SCHOOL

The communication program at Baker is the perfect stepping stone to graduate school. Recent graduates have pursued master’s degrees at Arizona State University, University of Kansas, and Southern Methodist University. Other students have attended law school.

ACT IT OUT

One possible fulfillment of the workshop requirement for communication studies students is Stage Performance – TH 123 and TH 423, credit awarded for performing in a theatre production. For communication studies majors, a theatrical performance is one of several ways to enhance the speaker–audience experience.

MICHAELA | Communication Studies & History Major, Class of 2016

Michaela is a double major in history and communication studies and the aspiring president of the United States. She found her niche on campus, where she is the dance team captain, Student Activities Council vice president, president of her sorority and of Politics Club. She plans to attend law school after graduation.

CAREERS

Our communication studies majors work in these fields:

  • Writing, Grant Writing, and Technical Writing
  • Advertising
  • Foreign Relations
  • Journalism
  • Social Media

%

of Baker graduates are employed full time or enrolled in graduate school within six months of receiving their diploma.

Minor in Conflict Management

Baker University is one of the few universities in the region to offer this field at the undergraduate level. Students who minor in conflict management will develop skills in working in diverse groups, critical thinking and analytical reasoning, creativity and innovation, ethics and values, and complex problem solving. Don’t wait for graduate school — gain the skills that employers seek now.

  • Advanced listening skills
  • Ways to speak clearly and calmly when in conflict
  • Respect for other disputants
  • Third-party conflict management assistance strategies
  • Ethics in personal relationships
  • Tools for expanding the number of options for solutions
  • Communication across cultural differences
  • Effective group communication

This interdisciplinary minor offers course options in counseling psychology, criminal justice, and game theory as part of the requirements.

Students say . . .

This class combined historical information in a way that opened my mind to current issues. My personal value of being more aware nationally and globally has increased. —Nonviolence and Social Movements student

This class makes it easier to critically analyze conflict problems outside of class. In these situations, I find myself thinking about what I have learned. This makes me realize the amount of information I have actually learned. —Pathways to Dispute Resolution student

I am a business major and this class has been more beneficial to me than any other class I’ve taken in college! Thank you!! —Interpersonal Conflict Management student

I think this course will benefit my personal life just as much as my future career. I learned a lot. —Pathways to Dispute Resolution student

Course Descriptions

R: course can be repeated for credit; P/NC: course graded on a pass/no credit basis

Courses required for these programs are listed in the current catalog.

CO 115 – Introduction to Communication Studies 3 hrs.

This course serves as an introduction to the principles of public speaking and interpersonal communication. Topics covered include models of communication, perception, listening, language, non-verbals, small groups, and relationships. Speaking performances are a central activity of the course.

CO 230 – Communication Workshop 1 hr.

Students participate in the speech choir performance group and in communication presentation activities. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor. R

CO 237 – Introduction to Intercultural Communication 3 hrs.

This course deals with the management of messages for the purpose of creating meaning across cultures. The course focuses on such concepts as ethnocentrism, values and beliefs, cultural perceptions, language and meaning, and nonverbal behaviors. Specifically, the course will aim to have students develop an understanding of the intercultural communication process, enhance appreciation of diverse ways of communicating, develop analytical skills in examining intercultural interactions, and increase understanding of factors that influence cross-cultural communication effectiveness.

CO 242 – Interpersonal Communication 3 hrs.

This course is a study of communication in one-to-one situations. Class sessions include exercises, role playing, and simulations. The goal of the course is improvement of communication and deepened self-awareness.

CO 245 – Advanced Public Speaking 3 hrs.

This course is designed to develop the student’s skills beyond the introductory experience in CO 115 and QS 111/112. Multiple speaking assignments provide a variety of speaking occasions and purposes. Students are encouraged to explore presentation formats beyond the two-to-five main points standard. This course will use the master class teaching format and produce a learning resume for the student.

CO 257 – Pathways to Conflict Management 3 hrs.

This course will introduce students to a comparison of the broad range of dispute resolution processes available in the U.S. today. Negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and litigation will be explained and analyzed for strengths and limitations in a variety of conflict situations. Additionally, students will discuss in detail the elements of conflict diagnosis in order to select the most appropriate resolution option for any particular situation.

CO 267 – Communication Research Methods 3 hrs.

This course deals with the logic, theory, methods, and practice of the study of communication research. It covers the fundamental processes and principals necessary for conducting and consuming research in communication, with a primary focus on quantitative and qualitative methods. No prior methodological or statistical knowledge is required. Prerequisite: CO 115.

CO 335 – Speech Center Consulting 1 hr.

This course in pedagogy will address the philosophical, theoretical, and practical issues faced by beginning Speech Center Consultants. Consultants will learn to critically evaluate speeches based on communication theory as well as learn how to apply constructive feedback and guidance to fellow students.  Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor. R

CO 337 – Interpersonal Conflict Management 3 hrs.

Conflict is a part of daily life, but the costs of ignoring it or responding to it aggressively are especially high. This course seeks to introduce students to the nature of conflict, to an understanding of individual styles and tactics, and to a variety of alternative responses to conflict situations (both interpersonal and between groups). Negotiation and mediation principles will be examined.

CO 342 – Ethical Choices in Interpersonal Relationships 3 hrs.

Students will be introduced to the theories and practices of ethics in interpersonal relationships. The focus of the course is discussion of case studies and ethical readings in order to analyze and evaluate ethical choices in personal relationship dilemmas.

CO 350 – Organizational Communication 3 hrs.

This course examines how organizations communicate with their internal and external audiences. Methods of conducting communication audits and of enhancing effective communication for organizations are explored. Models of leadership and responses to those styles will also be discussed.

CO 355 – Group and Team Communication 3 hrs.

Whether you are a manager on a highway project or a coordinator of volunteer services at a hospital, you will need to enlist others’ cooperation to assist in the accomplishment of strategic plans and goals. In part, communication serves to enable people to deal with the task and interpersonal barriers that naturally arise as part of joint action. Hence, this course is designed to provide students with the knowledge and leadership skills to understand the dynamics of small groups and teams, manage conflict, overcome barriers, and accomplish goals.

CO 376 – Communication Theory 3 hrs.

This course introduces students to key communication theories in an effort to understand how communication works and affects audiences and societies. The second half of the course introduces students to the methodologies used to study communication. Each student will be required to compose a research prospectus outlining an original idea for study. Prerequisites: Two upper-level communication courses and junior or senior status.

CO 401 – Communication Studies Salon: Life After College 1 hr.

In this salon, students will reflect upon the knowledge, skills, and abilities they have acquired during their undergraduate careers and use those experiences to formulate their post-graduate plans. This course will help students decide what they would like to do after graduation and prepare the materials necessary to achieve their goals. We will focus specifically on developing the types of skills employers say they look for most in successful employees. Support will also be provided if students are interested in obtaining admission into graduate school and/or applying and interviewing for jobs that will capitalize on their experiences as students of Baker University and as Communication Studies majors. Prerequisites: Junior or senior status and Communication Studies major.

CO 420 – Communicating the Feminine in Ancient World Religions 3 hrs.

This course is designed to survey the role of gender-specific symbols used in religions of the world. Primary texts will be examined in search of answers to the following: what gender-specific symbols are used; how closely is the symbol identified with the reality to which it points; and what implications does such symbol use have for the perception, status, and roles of men and women? Each student will lead a class discussion, write papers, and take exams. Prerequisite: Junior or senior status. (Cross-listed as RE 420.)

CO 467 – Nonviolence and Social Movements 3 hrs.

This is a study of communication as a vehicle of social change. Movement criticism is used to study the stages of development and the content of particular communicative acts in a variety of social events in U.S. history.

 CO 472 – Teaching Speech Communication and Theatre Arts 3 hrs. (Fall semester only)

This course prepares the student to develop materials and strategies for teaching secondary school speech and theatre. The course is team-taught by Communication and Theatre Arts faculty. CO 472 is designed to develop instructional skills required of secondary teachers. The course will involve many activities related to teaching, including developing a) instructional strategies that will enhance the learning at all levels, b) lesson plans and delivering lessons, c) meaningful classroom learning activities, d) technology applications, e) student outcomes and assessments, f) teaching techniques for diverse learners, and g) effective communication with parents. Candidates will create a list of and use effective teaching strategies and develop technology applications and problem-solving skills for the classroom. In addition, candidates will develop student assessments and rubrics and create student behavior plans and learning modifications for the secondary Speech and Theatre classroom. Prerequisites: ED 100, 243, and 244; junior status recommended.

Scholarships

The Department of History, Culture, and Society gives these awards with financial prizes to be applied to the following year’s tuition:

  • Mildred Hunt Riddle Departmental Recognition Scholarship for Social Sciences
  • Mildred Hunt Riddle Departmental Recognition Scholarship for Philosophy and Religion
  • Mildred Hunt Riddle Departmental Recognition Scholarship for History
  • Dorothy J. and James F. Hilgenberg Scholarship
  • Gilbert and Martha Jane Lewis Ferguson Scholarship
  • Brune Memorial Scholarship
  • Paul Dick Scholarship
  • Warren E. and Marion Rhodes DeSpain Scholarship in Church Leadership
  • Thomas G. Manson and Frances B. Manson Scholarship

STUDENT LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES

DIALOGOS RESEARCH SYMPOSIUM
Dialogos creates opportunities for the free exchange of ideas among scholars. Students from every part of the academy present original works, in a variety of forms and mediums, and engage with an interdisciplinary community of peers, staff and faculty. The symposium also features a keynote address from a prominent Baker alum. Through open and critical discussion, participants learn from and contribute to the betterment of the whole. At Dialogos, to quote John Wesley, we "think and let think."
Dialogos creates opportunities for the free exchange of ideas among scholars. Students from every part of the academy present original works, in a variety of forms and mediums, and engage with an interdisciplinary community of peers, staff and faculty. The symposium also features a keynote address from a prominent Baker alum. Through open and critical discussion, participants learn from and contribute to the betterment of the whole. At Dialogos, to quote John Wesley, we "think and let think."
BOOK Program
Students are encouraged to participate in the BOOK Program (Baker Organizational Observation for Knowledge) to enhance their internship experiences. The program encourages students to look deeper into organizations by researching the history, mission, structure, products and services, finances and management of the company. At the conclusion of the program, presentations are given in front of a panel of judges who choose the winner of a cash prize.
BOOK Program
Students are encouraged to participate in the BOOK Program (Baker Organizational Observation for Knowledge) to enhance their internship experiences. The program encourages students to look deeper into organizations by researching the history, mission, structure, products and services, finances and management of the company. At the conclusion of the program, presentations are given in front of a panel of judges who choose the winner of a cash prize.

FACULTY

Dr. Susan Emel

 

Dr. Susan Emel

Professor of Communication Studies, Ernestine Susannah Buckley Chair, Director of BU Speech Choir  | susan.emel@bakerU.edu
Dr. Susan Emel’s passion is studying meaning and how people uniquely express it—and there are plenty of one-of-a-kind expressions in college. “My favorite thing in the world is interacting with students about my field of study. But I also enjoy just getting to know students and what life is like in their ‘world.’ It turns out that college students change over time, and I am honored to get to witness that first-hand.”

B.S. Kansas State University, M. Div. St. Paul School of Theology, Ph.D. University of Kansas
Expertise: interpersonal communication, conflict resolution, communication theory, rhetorical studies
Office: Parmenter Hall 15 | 785.594.8457

Kimberly Schaefer

 

Dr. Kimberly Schaefer

Associate Professor of Communication Studieskimberly.schaefer@bakerU.edu

B.A. University of Richmond; M.A., Ph.D. University of Texas at Austin
Expertise: interpersonal communication, communication technology, personal relationships
Office: Parmenter Hall 18 | 785.594.4539

Philip Schiffelbein

Instructor of Communication Studies | philip.schiffelbein@bakerU.edu

Expertise: interpersonal communication, communication technology, personal relationships
Office: Parmenter Hall, Ground floor | 785.594.8457

Russell Taylor

Instructor of Communication Studies | russell.taylor@bakerU.edu

Expertise: interpersonal communication, communication technology, personal relationships
Office: Parmenter Hall, Ground floor | 785.594.8457

CONTACT US

Kris Oehlert
Department Assistant
History, Culture, and Society
Office: Parmenter 21A
785.594.7867
kris.oehlert@bakerU.edu