Each year the Department of Communications Outcomes Assessment Committee (OAC) conducts an evaluation of a sample of students' work from its 4000-level courses as well as from its graduate students. As is the case with all other academic programs on the UC Denver campus, this evaluation enables the department to gauge how well it is meeting its learning goals. For undergraduate students, a primary tool in this process is an 18-item scoring rubric that OAC members use to evaluate independently such student products as research papers, recorded oral presentations, and new media communications that were completed during the year. The rubric items are divided into four groups, with each group representing a major learning goal for communication majors: Creation of Community; Communication within Systems; Analysis of Communication; and Production of Communication. For graduate students, the OAC uses a 10-item scoring rubric divided into three groups, with each group representing a major learning goal for graduate students: Knowledge of Perspectives in Communication Theory and Research; Competence in the Interpretation and Evaluation of Published Research; Competence in Oral Interpretation and Interaction.
The Department of Communication's educational mission is to create a learning environment in which students develop the skills, knowledge and abilities necessary to use communication to create a more civil and humane world. By civil and humane the department means a way of communicating that is rooted in an acceptance and appreciation of others and that involves communicating in ways that express respect for and acknowledgment of others regardless of their station in life, wealth or lack of it, politics, religion, ethnicity, race, or any other quality.
The department assesses its success in achieving this mission and its learning outcomes in terms of five broad goals, which are applicable to both its BA and MA degrees:
- Creation of Community: Through their communication, students must demonstrate the ability to create community and collaborative working relationships beyond the university.
- Communication Within and Across Systems: Students must demonstrate the ability to understand, evaluate, communicate effectively within, and mediate among diverse cultural, social, public, and professional systems and enable change to occur within and among these systems in ways that are civil and respectful of all perspectives.
- Analysis of Communication: Students must demonstrate the ability to analyze and evaluate communication both for its causes and consequences and do so by critically engaging with multiple scholarly paradigms for inquiry, theory and research within the communication discipline.
- Production of Communication: Students must demonstrate the ability to produce effective oral, written, virtual and mediated communication and to develop solutions to complex communication exigencies that show a comprehensive and coherent integration of diverse communication media and processes.
- Professional Advancement: Students must demonstrate the extension and appreciation of the skills and knowledge acquired during their communication studies in their careers beyond the university or in the continuation of their education.