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Graduate Courses

Core Courses (18 hours)

COMM 601 Communication Fluency
This introductory course exposes students to communication as a discipline and begins the process of improving each student's communication literacy.  Communication literacy is the ability to access information, analyze and evaluate messages and texts, create content, reflect on social and ethical considerations, and engage in the community across all communication platforms with a variety of audiences (Hobbs, 2010).  In this course, students gain an understanding of the paradigms of knowledge from a communication perspective as well as essential communication theory.  The course demonstrates how to develop original inquiry into a communication topic.  Students will identify and articulate a communication problem, strategy, or initiative to be analyzed and evaluated, aggregate and apply credible research, and compose and support arguments using a theoretical framework.  In addition, students will begin to create and evaluate content on a digital platform related to a specific communication initiative and audience using an appropriate citation style.

Students completing the course will walk away with skills to succeed in the program:  how to locate credible research, analyze and evaluate a variety of texts, ask good questions, create content on digital platforms, and generally participate in the conversation within the communication discipline.  3 hrs.

COMM 610 The Social Creation of Organizing
This course demonstrates the ways social interaction shapes and is shaped by organizing processes. Students will see how communication becomes the means by which we come to make sense of organizational life and develop strategies, structures, and practices for coordinating action and meeting goals.  Students explore how contemporary organizations transform individuals participating in society by examining essential topics such as identity construction, motives, motivation, effectiveness, socialization, leadership, and career. Forms of analysis include organizational values, narratives, artifacts, messages, practices, and structures.  3 hrs.

COMM 613 Constructing Messages and Audiences
This course explores ways by which we construct and disseminate messages to a variety of audiences for a variety of purposes, including to lead, motivate, persuade, inform and advocate.  Whether targeting consumers, employees, media professionals, investors, friends, family, or like-minded individuals, students will learn effective tools for creating messages that advance goals, and build and engage community.  Students will explore how best to analyze audiences, craft messages, design information, choose among communication media, shape user experience, and evaluate success.  The course gives special attention to how digital technology impacts effective communication including how to best consume, filter, create, and critically analyze messages. Students also explore the implications of evolving communication channels on society, especially with regard to opportunities for conversation, engagement, advocacy, and experimentation.  3 hrs.

COMM 616 Communicating Mindfully
This course examines communication ethics in individual, organizational, and societal contexts.  Students will learn theoretical and practical applications of communicating mindfully in a society where interactions and messages are complex, shifting, and often mediated.  The course increases understanding of how critical self-awareness and emotional intelligence contribute to communicating consciously and productively.  Dialogue, narrative, reflection, and identification are explored as tools for ethical communication in a rapidly changing world. 3 hrs.

COMM 680 Expanding Communication Boundaries
(COMM 680 must be taken in the Fall Term immediately prior to COMM 681 in the Spring term of graduation)

This course kicks off a year-long process during which students reflect and integrate program learning into an articulated specialty area.  First, students will reflect on the knowledge and skills gained from the program by creating a digital portfolio that showcases course projects and articulates key learning and personal and professional goals.  Then, in a comprehensive exam, students will demonstrate competency and confidence in composing specific arguments related to a communication topic that solves a specific problem or meets a specific need.  Finally, students will begin to integrate learning with personal interests and passions by creating a proposal for an original communication inquiry project that expands existing communication boundaries.  The project will be completed in COMM 681.  3 hrs.

COMM 681 Launching Passion into Practice
(Prerequisite:  COMM 680)

In this course, students complete the communication inquiry project proposed and approved in COMM 680.  Students will continue to harness their curiosity, program learning, and passion to create an original project related to a specific communication topic.  Students will aggregate theoretical, research, and digital and media literacy with new ways of thinking to develop an innovative project that showcases their mastery of a particular area of communication.  3 hrs.

Electives (18 hours)

COMM 624 Communication and Culture in a Networked Society
This course addresses how digital connectivity in a networked society has changed and transformed culture. In particular, this course critically investigates how networking (i.e. blogs, video blogs, podcasts, streaming, tweeting, etc.) affects traditional conceptions of knowledge and information creation, production, transmission, and censorship. In addition, this course focuses on how traditional conceptions of organizational boundaries and influence, civic engagement, and organizational participation are evolving amidst an information technology revolution.  3 hrs.

COMM 629 Leadership, Empowerment, and the Management of Meaning
This course surveys the essential relationship between leadership and communication.  Examining leadership from a communication perspective, this course focuses on leadership as meaning management; namely how to create, frame, and communicate one's own "realities" to others.  Moreover, this class examines leadership as encompassing symbolic acts of creation and interpretation by drawing on communication theories (i.e., social construction of reality and coordinated management of meaning) that illustrate the symbolic capacities, limitations, and ethics of meaning making. Finally, the course focuses on practicing the skills of meaning making as it pertains to creating, using, interpreting, and critically evaluating moments of leadership in "everyday" acts of communication.  3 hrs.

COMM 634 Organizations, Technology and the Changing Nature of Work
This course explores how organizational technology necessitates a cultural reexamination of traditional definitions of "work," organizational boundaries, and employee-employer relationships.  Specifically, this class addresses the relationship between technology and organizational communication from both macro and micro perspectives of analysis. From a macro perspective, this course investigates how organizational technologies shape employer and employee expectations and creates "new" ways of interpreting, acting, and responding to information and others.  Finally, from a micro perspective, this course addresses particular workplace technologies, with special attention given to aesthetics, user-interface design, efficacy, and critical and ethical implications.  3 hrs.

COMM 638 Strategic Communication for Global Audiences
This course explores various strategic communication issues and challenges with a diverse, global audience.  The increased global climate necessitates new thinking habits and strategies to best craft targeted, integrated messages to a particular audience, whether it be global, national, or local.  This course investigates strategies for successful audience analysis, community development and dialogue, image and branding, innovation, marketing, public relations, and risk and crisis management for global and multinational audiences.  3 hrs.

COMM 642 Interactive Media and Storytelling
Even in the digital age, the stories we tell about ourselves and the stories that are told about us are narratively (re)constructed and evaluated.  This class draws upon media theory (e.g., Marshall McLuhan) and narrative theory (e.g., Walter Fisher's narrative paradigm) as it pertains to creating, interpreting, and evaluating stories in the digital age.  In particular, this course addresses the opportunities and challenges of creating stories for different media, the requisite skill sets needed for telling stories in different media, and an understanding of how audiences interpret and evaluate stories across different media platforms. 3 hrs.

COMM 646 Engaging Community in the Digital Age
Society today faces many unanticipated, unexplored problems and challenges, and communities can come together to develop innovative solutions for a better tomorrow.  As part of the Knight School of Communication mission to enhance digital and media literacy in Charlotte, in this course, students work together or in small groups to develop a digital community engagement project that aims to foster community and produce a solution to a particular social, civic, fiscal, or environmental problem or issue.  The group nature of the course allows students to also explore group and team communication principles and practices, such as roles, norms, power, leadership, decision-making and problem-solving processes, and conflict.  3 hrs.

COMM 655 The Mediated Self and Changing Relationships
This class investigates how specific digital and mediated platforms affect our understanding of essential interpersonal constructs such as relationship development and engagement, image management, the inevitable dialectical tensions of work-life balance, and the challenges and opportunities of creating private and public identities in a mediated landscape.  In this class, students will study issues of identity by addressing how we compose our multiple and sometimes conflicting digital and media selves and how the presentation of our "work" self affects conceptions of our "private" self.  This class seeks to address  these essential questions by exploring the creation, development and negotiation of our multiple selves (i.e., identities) across a multitude of digital platforms.  3 hrs.

COMM 658 Creativity and Networks
This course explores both traditional and cutting-edge approaches to innovation.  Creativity, collaboration, and design are still essential, yet contemporary organizations are realizing the potential of new ways of thinking, such as right-brain approaches to organizing and open innovation using digital and mediated tools.  By building an authentic, collaborative relationship among a community, organizations can tap into the creative potential of the crowd and harness the distributed knowledge of many.  This course investigates how shifting communication practices have shaped knowledge, networks, and innovation.  The course also explores how creativity and innovation can be fostered through curiosity, play, passion, connection, dialogue, experience, storytelling, and failure.  3 hrs.

COMM 662 Mediated Constructions of the Life Cycle
The goal of this course is to help students become better critical "readers" (i.e., consumers) of mediated texts by employing a variety of techniques of critical and cultural analysis. Much of what we know and understand about our world is symbolically re-presented in mediated texts. This class explores mediated constructions of critical life experiences (e.g., work-related milestones such as hiring, promotion, unemployment, and retirement, health diagnoses, birth, dying and death, relationship milestones) to highlight how and in what ways these mediated life experiences  shape our conception of what is good, bad, desirable, and undesirable.  3 hrs.

COMM 664 Organizational Identity and Brand
This course explores the ways organizations today craft and communicate an authentic brand identity.  As the marketplace has changed, organizations have had to find ways to differentiate and gain the competitive edge.  Connecting with stakeholders through a clear and consistent identity that aligns with organizational values and mission can increase profits as well as customer and employee loyalty.  This course highlights the most effective ways to craft brand identity through authentic, strategic messages and visual presentation disseminated through both traditional and mediated platforms.  The course also investigates how social networks have changed and challenged efforts to craft organizational identity and brand, as well as the ways employees' personal identities are ultimately interdependent with organizational identity.  3 hrs.

COMM 674 Social Entrepreneurship
This course explores social entrepreneurship as a new model of corporate and civic social responsibility.  While the corporation-society relationship has been debated for more than a century-with some arguing that asking organizations to be socially responsive is against capitalist notions of free enterprise-most today realize the organizational and societal benefits to a business model that aims to benefit the triple bottom line-profit, people, and planet.  This course investigates how entrepreneurial business principles, such as new ventures, risk, initiative, team building, and social networking can be leveraged to achieve social and environmental change while still creating financial gain.  Programs such as micro or peer-to-peer lending and philosophies such as "paying it forward" and leveraging the social capital of the Internet are considered as viable means to evoke change.  3 hrs.

COMM 676 Visual Rhetoric and the Influence of Aesthetics
This course explores the ways visual aesthetics shape the consumption of messages and the interaction experience.  With the variety of platforms available for disseminating messages today, it is vital to explore the role visual design plays in user/consumer experience and the ways information is processed and meaning is created and shared.  The course investigates the ways visual attributes such as composition, color, images, information design, video, and user generated content influence the subjective consumption of messaging, including attention, feelings, and behaviors.  Whether it be website design, graphic design, signs, art, cultural objects, or architecture, the course explores how best to create a positive interaction experience between the message creator and consumer.  3 hrs.

COMM 668 Special Topics in Communication  
This course intensively considers a single topic related to communication. Topics and prerequisites vary depending on the topic and instructor.  Repeatable. 3 hrs.

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