Areas of Emphasis
Faculty members in Communication Studies teach and research in two main areas: Rhetorical and Political Communication and Communication and Relationships. The department offers a wide variety of courses in these areas. Faculty have been very productive scholars in each area. Many faculty members have a national or international reputation for research in these areas.
Rhetorical and Political Communication-Communication Studies faculty study the way that people use communication in public life, in politics, social movements, and all aspects of modern culture. Within the area of public communication, faculty members focus on a number of sub-areas:
- Rhetorical and Political Theory and Criticism. In this area, faculty study study theories describing, explaining and evaluating how humans communicate in public settings and methods for analyzing and evaluating rhetoric and political communication.
- Historical and Contemporary Rhetoric-the study of important works of public communication, including speeches that influenced the development of the United States and social and cultural movements in the United Sates and the world.
- Political communication-the study of political communication processes, including campaign communication, political rhetoric and new technology. In this area, faculty use both social scientific and humanistic methods to analyze political communication.
- Argumentation-the study of how rational forms of communication work (and fail to work).
- Leadership-the study of how to effectively engage in the process of leadership through skillful communication practices.
Communication and Relationships-Faculty members in this area study study the way communication functions in relationships of all types from those present in a romantic or family setting, to those found in a large organization. Within this area, faculty members focus on a number of sub-areas:
- Interpersonal communication-the way that communication functions in relationships and the family. Faculty focus on both unmediated and mediated interpersonal communication, such as on the internet.
- Small group and organizational communication-the study of how communication functions in teams and groups and larger organizations, including a focus on both the macro and micr-organizational contexts.
- Social scientific theories and methods-the study of theories drawn from the social sciences and social science research methods.