Department of Communication Arts & Science


The mission of the Department of Communication Arts & Science is to equip students with strong speaking, writing, and listening skills and a clear understanding of communication, relational, and research processes upon which such skills are based. The department seeks to provide an appreciation and understanding of the history, theories, and techniques of human communication while creatively engaging in the practice of multiple communication channels. Students are involved in varied activities to enhance their communication skills through writing, speaking, research, forensics investigation, public relations planning, drama, and community involvement. The faculty is committed to educating, training, advising, and encouraging the students of communication studies to use developed skills as "God's creative and redemptive agents in today's world."


Donna M. Allen (Department Chair), M. Brooke Adamson

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will be able to explain interpersonal, group, persuasion, and organizational communication theories.
  2. Students will be able to produce original work in one of the areas of communication studies.
  3. Students will understand the fundamental role communication processes and skills play in building and maintaining a healthy and vibrant community.
  4. Students will experience and be able to defend the value of employing communication theory, process, and skills in service to others, and to further the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  5. Students will understand listening styles and purposes for listening, as well as demonstrating listening skills.
  6. General education students will effectively speak with clarity, coherence, integrity, and persuasiveness and understand the foundational communication process model.


  • Bachelor of Arts, Communication
  • Bachelor of Science, Communication
  • Bachelor of Arts, Public Relations
  • Bachelor of Science, Health Communication
  • Bachelor of Arts, Pre-Counseling
  • Co-Major, Communication
  • Communication Education
    • See Secondary Education: Communication Second Teaching Field


  • Communication

Degrees and Certificates


COMM1010: Introduction to Communication

Credits 3
An introduction to the foundations of the field of communication and the communication process. Topics will include communication theories, focus on varied areas of communication, and how communication affects society and research in the field.

COMM1050: Nonverbal Communication in Culture

Credits 1
An exploration of the role of nonverbal artifacts such as food, music, dance, costume, and color in reflecting cultural values and practices. This brief course includes mandatory all-day attendance at the Folklife Fair at the Trailing of the Sheep Festival in Hailey, Idaho. In one class period before and one class after the fair, students will discuss the parts of nonverbal communication that are especially highlighted by this cultural event and what makes the profession of sheepherding share behaviors and norms across cultures. Class will be a combination of discussion, class activities, and some lecture. A five-page paper is required to complete the course. Fulfills a General Education Cultural Competency (CC) requirement.

COMM1210: Introduction to Public Speaking

Credits 3

An introduction to verbal communication, listening, and public speaking. Emphasis will be placed on speaking, delivery issues, speech construction, audience connection, and the communication process. Students will write and deliver a variety of speeches and learn to speak with "clarity, coherence, and persuasiveness." This course satisfies the NNU General Education Speech outcome with a grade of C- or higher.

COMM1310: Oral Interpretation

Credits 3
This course is an introduction to the intellectual, emotional, and aesthetic aspects of literature. Emphasis is placed on analysis and presentation of literature as it communicates to the listener. Performances include prose, poetry, and drama.

COMM2010: Small Group Communication

Credits 3
An approach to small group communication theory with emphasis on identifying and developing appropriate communication strategies for various group situations. The course focuses on the principles and processes of small group communication, attitudes and skills for effective participation and leadership in small groups, small group problem solving, and decision-making. The primary goal of this course is to apply concepts learned through reading and discussion to practical situations in a small group setting.

COMM2020: Media Systems and Literacy

Credits 3
A study of the history, structures, technologies, genres, theories and influences of the mass media on individuals and society. Designed to prepare students to be media literate, critical, and responsible producers and consumers of the mass media.

COMM2030: Interpersonal Communication

Credits 3
An introduction to interpersonal communication theories, research and practice. Focus is on influences and effects of interpersonal relationships and ways to improve communication. Interpersonal Communication is the study of theories and practice in verbal and nonverbal communication with a focus on interpersonal relationships. Emphasis is on improving interpersonal skills and increasing communication competence in everyday social exchanges. This course satisfies a General Education Social Science requirement.

COMM2120: Communication Activities

Credits 0 2
Opportunities for Communication majors as well as non-majors to prepare for and participate in a variety of communication activities approved by the department. Class instruction focuses on competitive speech and debate. Students may complete other approved independent work for class participation hours. May be repeated for credit.

COMM2420: Introduction to Public Relations

Credits 3
An introduction to the theory, research, and practical aspects of public relations. Emphasis will be placed on understanding and preparing strategic plans and how public relations function in business, industrial, educational and social organizations.

COMM2950: Internship in Communication

Credits 1 3
The student may select a supervised professional internship, with 50 clock hours per credit required. This activity concludes with a formal written and oral presentation.

COMM3020: Organizational Communication

Credits 3
The study of the nature and function of communication within the organization. Emphasis will be on group process, networks, discussion, decision-making, message creation and organizational climate and culture. The course is designed to enhance your understanding of the role of communication in modern organizations, explore approaches and theories of organizational communication and leadership, identify common organizational communication problems and their solutions, and develop attitudes and analytical abilities that can enhance your ability to navigate modern organizations in a creative, effective and ethical way.

COMM3050: Nonverbal Communication

Credits 3
The study of the types and effects of nonverbal communication in our lives including: touch, space, physical appearance, movement, facial expression, vocalics, and artifacts. Emphasis will be placed on nonverbal theories and research on nonverbal communication in interpersonal interaction.

COMM3120: Advanced Communication Activities

Credits 1 2
Advanced opportunities for students majoring in areas of communication arts & science, as well as non-majors, to participate in a variety of communication activities approved by the department. Class instruction focuses on competitive speech and debate. Students may complete approved independent work for class participation hours. May be repeated for credit.

COMM3200: Intercultural Communication

Credits 3
This course introduces students to the complex field of intercultural communication by looking at the practical applications of theory and research from critical, cultural, and social scientific perspectives. The course explores challenges of intercultural interaction and relationships in a number of contexts. Topics include individual perceptions, communication and culture, the role of linguistic differences, dimensions of culture, stereotyping and prejudice, adaptation to new cultures, and culture shock. A combination of theory, application, and experience will be included. Successful completion of the course requires students to engage in at least 15 hours of contact with individuals who are from international cultures other than their own. Fulfills a General Education Cultural Experience (CE) requirement.

COMM3210: Advanced Public Speaking

Credits 3
A course designed to enable students to improve their public speaking techniques beyond basic skills. Emphasis will be placed both on skill development and speaking outside of the classroom.

COMM3211: Technical Communication for Scientists & Engineers

Credits 3
An introduction to verbal communication in groups, listening, and public speaking focused on the unique challenges of public speaking for those in technical and scientific fields. Emphasis will be placed on speaking, delivery issues, speech construction, audience connection, and the communication process. Recommended for students who have completed at least 12 credits in their major field.

COMM3240: Public Relations Writing

Credits 3
Designed for Public Relations (PR) majors to meet the expectations of the Public Relations Society of America for PR education, this course engages students in a variety of PR-specific writing skills. Includes study, critique, and editing of both student and professional work.

COMM3420: Persuasion

Credits 3
A practical and theoretical approach to the study of psychological and rhetorical principles vital to influencing human behavior. Topics include major social science theoretical perspectives, expertise, trustworthiness, likability, use of emotions, and sequencing of messages.

COMM3500: Argumentation and Debate

Credits 3

Theory and practice of argumentation and debate including research, analysis, reasoning, evidence, preparation of briefs, organization, and delivery. Intercollegiate tournament participation is encouraged, but not required.

COMM3600: Broadcast Communication

Credits 3
A skills-based class designed to help the student learn and perfect the skills required for communicating through the broadcast media. Emphasis will be placed on diction, presentation, poise, and organization in press conferences, reporting, online media, and newsroom situations.

COMM4420: Advanced Public Relations

Credits 3
An in-depth study of the theory and practice of public relations in the U.S. Emphasis will be placed on analyzing and assessing case studies in public relations problems and in designing and executing a professional public relations campaign. Students will engage in reading, criticism, analysis, and design activities.

COMM4440: Rhetorical Theory and Criticism

Credits 3
Explores classical and modern perspectives of rhetoric. Includes a study of classical and modern rhetoricians and their contributions to the art of rhetoric.

COMM4610: Communication Research and Theory

Credits 3
Study of communication theories and the influence of communication on individuals and society. This course includes a survey of selected topics, research designs and methods in communication. The course culminates with a mix of original student papers and group research projects.

COMM4630: Communication Ethics

Credits 3
An ethics course designed specifically for the unique challenges and situations faced by communication experts in the fields of public relations, health communication, broadcasting, communication research, and other related fields. Students will encounter multiple scenarios, case studies of actual situations, and practice responding to ethically difficult situations.

COMM4640: Health Communication

Credits 3
A study of the field of health communication. The course will employ case studies, lecture, discussion, and experiential learning. Relevant theory, research, and skills associated with communicating in various care contexts will be addressed. This will include communication among providers, family caregivers, patients, healthcare organizations, and in mediated messages. Issues related to marketing and promotion of health information and the politics of health care will be covered.

COMM4950: Internship in Communication

Credits 1 3
Supervised internship or research in communication. A student may select (1) a professional internship with 50 clock hours per credit required; or, (2) a major research project. Either activity concludes with a formal written and oral presentation. May be repeated for credit upon approval by the advisor.

COMM4970: Senior Project

Credits 1 2
This course is designed to allow students in the Department of Communication Arts & Science to conduct a self-directed project resulting in an original work related to their specific areas of study. This outcome could include (but is not limited to) conducting a full research study, preparing a public relations plan for an outside client, designing a health campaign, and/or writing a major paper. This process culminates with a public senior defense of the work produced. Required of all majors in the department with the exception of co-majors and pre-counseling majors. This course may be repeated for credit.

COMM4980: Senior Capstone Seminar in Communication

Credits 1
A senior level course that reviews the university outcomes and major theories and research methods of the field of communication and prepares the student for a future in communication professions. Other topics include a review of the student's senior project, resume building, interviewing techniques, development of student portfolio, and preparation for graduate school. Satisfies the General Education Capstone requirement.