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Why Communication

About Us

Why Communication

Communication Department Fact Sheet​

Communication is one of the most sought-after skills of the twenty-first century.
Our new information society places a premium on effective speaking, writing and listening. Interpersonal, group, organizational and public communication skills are in high demand. In fact, repeated studies have shown that today's employers routinely seek skills in oral and written communication, teamwork and technology—three of the key components of our curriculum. Given that the average college graduate is expected to change careers approximately seven times over the course of his or her life, studying communication offers a versatile and timely set of knowledge and skills applicable across a variety of fields including advertising, business, health and medicine, international relations, education, government, politics, and public relations.

Our faculty members are passionate about teaching.
One of the hallmarks of our department is its commitment to teaching excellence. From the small seminar setting to the large lecture hall, our faculty members challenge themselves to offer courses that are both academically demanding and intellectually engaging. Moreover, we stress active and engaged learning that invites participation in real world issues. Internships, social justice projects, service learning, independent research and capstone courses provide hands-on experience that prepares students for the challenges of our globalized, mediated and multicultural world. Travel study further broadens opportunities for learning in places such as China and Guatemala. Throughout it all, our faculty members are student-centered and devoted to making their classrooms come alive.

Our faculty members are nationally and internationally recognized for their research, teaching and service.
Our faculty members are not only dedicated to teaching excellence but are also leaders in our areas of expertise. In the last few years, we've won research and service awards from the National Communication Association (NCA), the Northwest Communication Association (NWCA) and the Organization for Women and Communication (ORWAC). Our research appears in the leading journals of our field and in books from top university presses. Funding agencies for our research include FEMA, NIH and NSF. In addition, we serve in leadership roles in the National Communication Association, the Western States Communication Association, and on editorial boards such as Rhetoric & Public Affairs, the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, Health Communication, the Western Journal of Communication, and the Quarterly Journal of Speech. Throughout our research—from the arena of health communication through national security communication, we strive to produce problem-based knowledge that makes a difference to our communities and the broader global society.

Students learn skills that enable them to:

  • Create Community
    Throughout their communication coursework, students will learn to create community and promote collaborative working relationships beyond the university. We stress engagement with the broader communities of which we are a part.
  • Communicate across Diverse Systems
    Students will learn to understand, evaluate, communicate effectively within, and mediate among diverse cultural, social, public, technological and professional systems, and enable change to occur within and among these systems in ways that are civil and respectful of all perspectives. We strive to teach skills of audience adaptation, conflict resolution, teamwork and respect for difference.
  • Analyze Communication
    Students will learn to analyze and evaluate communication in the world around themboth for its causes and consequencesacross face-to-face, mass mediated, public, organizational and international contexts.
  • Produce Communication
    Students will learn to construct effective oral, written, virtual, mediated and technological communication and to develop creative solutions to the complex communication situations that characterize our current world.
  • Advance Professionally
    Students will learn to extend the skills and knowledge from their communication studies in their journey beyond the university—whether it be in the nonprofit, corporate or academic sectors of society.

Career opportunities

Undergraduate and graduate students in Communication qualify for a wide variety of jobs. The following list provides some of the careers for which students might qualify:

  • Advertising
    Advertising account executive
    Media planner
    Advertising marketing specialist
    Public opinion researcher
    Market researcher
    Media sales representative
  • Business
    Communication trainer
    Industrial relations representative
    Human resources manager
    Personnel manager
  • Community Service and Public Affairs
    Policy analyst
    Grassroots activist
    Community liaison
    Campaign designer
  • Education
    Audiovisual specialist
    Educational administrator
    College admissions specialist
    High school speech teacher
    College placement officer
    Student affairs coordinator
  • Government/Politics
    Campaign manager
    Press secretary
    Legislative assistant
    Public information officer
    Lobbyist speech writer
  • Health
    Clinic public relations officer
    Marketing specialist
    Health educator
    Patient representative
    Health facility development officer
    Research analyst
  • International Relations
    Communication trainer
    International sales representative
    Corporate representative
    Marketing specialist
    International relations coordinator
  • Public Relations
    Advertising manager
    Corporate public affairs specialist
    Development officer
    Media analyst