Department of Communication

Department website:

Department Mission:

  1. Create an environment in which the student can study the principles and concepts of Communication within the context of exploring and deepening their Christian faith commitment.
  2. Give the student an understanding of the foundational theoretical principles of Communication that in turn will have professional, social, interpersonal and general pragmatic utility.
  3. Provide the student with a basic understanding of the depth and breadth of the discipline, and ensure they have the necessary intellectually sophisticated skills to think critically, creatively and analytically about the field.
  4. Provide resources such as faculty mentors, guest lecturers, and technology that will deepen the students' appreciation for and knowledge of the discipline as well enriching the academic life of the university as a whole.
  5. Impart the student with the knowledge and ability to find and utilize educational resources within and beyond the University walls to further expand knowledge after graduation.

Communication Major

The Department of Communication offers a B.A. in Communication with the following concentrations: Interpersonal/Intercultural Communication, Film & Visual Storytelling, Public Relations, and Technology & Emerging Media. A minor in Communication and a minor in Public Relations are also offered.

The Department of Communication is a participant in the National Communication Association’s Lambda Pi Eta student honor society, the Public Relations Society of America, National Religious Broadcasters, and the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities. 

Department Policies

More and more students are entering the University with significant knowledge of graphic design applications and camera equipment. Students may want to jump-start their degree progress by enrolling in advanced coursework upon entrance. Students who wish to opt-out of these foundational courses, (Elements of Storytelling, Visual Technology and Intro/Intermediate Filmmaking) must meet with a professor in the department to discuss previous experience and may be required to take and pass online testing or produce a portfolio of work for each course and must take other courses to fill the required units. These students are still required to earn 120 units to graduate.

All Communication majors are expected to make satisfactory academic progress toward graduation. In addition to the requirements established by the university, the Department of Communication requires that all of its majors maintain a minimum GPA of 2.5 in all major coursework as part of their minimum requirement for graduation.

Students are personally responsible to meet the prerequisite requirements of any course in which they are enrolled.

All Communication majors or any student enrolled in select communication courses will be assessed a special fee each semester.

Program Learning Outcomes

The B.A. in Communication has seven program learning outcomes or competencies: (1) Oral Communication Competency, (2) Interpersonal Communication Competency, (3) Intercultural Communication Competency, (4) Critical Analysis Competency, (5) Written Communication Competency, (6) Research Skills Competency, and (7) Technological Literacy Competency.


It is expected that students choosing to major in Communication will be able to demonstrate significant oral communication competencies in all types of public presentations. At a minimum, Communication students are expected to be able to choose a topic, gather information, narrow the focus of the topic, and present a logical, cohesive, well-structured, informative or persuasive oration that is 5-10 minutes in length.


It is expected that students choosing to major in Communication will develop effective interpersonal communication skills that will enable them to become valued members of dyadic or small group interactions. Effective interpersonal skills are just as important as oral communication skills in encouraging students to continue on a path of life-long learning. Additionally, interpersonal competency is an integral part of all workplace teams and students who demonstrate significant interpersonal competence in this area increase their chances for success both socially and professionally. In keeping with the performative nature of our discipline, Communication students must demonstrate their ability to actively interact verbally and nonverbally with fellow classmates in group and individual problem-solving interactions. 


Students choosing to major in Communication are expected to become more competent communicators in an intercultural and culturally diverse environment. Intercultural Communication competence can be defined as “the ability to effectively and appropriately execute communication behaviors to elicit a desired response in a specific environment” (Chen & Starosta, 1998, p. 241). At a minimum, our students will be expected to demonstrate through oral, written, and group communication assignments that they understand the complicated nature of intercultural communication.


Students who choose to major in communication are challenged to develop their critical thinking skills. This competency assumes that students will develop the critical thinking ability to analyze evidence (spoken, written or visual) for its relevance, and be able to draw reasonable conclusions from the information. Critical thinking skills are perhaps the most prolific communication competency in our Department curriculum. Communication students must be able to demonstrate their critical thinking skills through oral and written self-advocacy.


Students who choose to major in Communication are challenged to develop their writing skills. Writing and speaking are symbiotic competencies that enable individuals to communicate with mass audiences.  The ability to write in a clear concise fashion is one of the most important skills students will need upon graduation.  This competency requires graduating students to show proficiency in standard English expression, by demonstrating to the satisfaction of their individual Department professors that they can write both professionally and academically. Specifically, graduating communication students must be able to personally demonstrate abilities in writing content, grammar, spelling, style and form.


Students who choose to major in Communication are challenged to develop their critical research skills.  It is not enough for these students to have effective oral communication or writing skills; they must have evidence to support the propositions they are advocating. Students must also know how to conduct effective research in order to effectively prepare, screenplays, films and advertising proposals.


The technological literacy competency deals with fluency—a place for those with different personalities, backgrounds, and thresholds to get in the same “conversation.”  Learning and demonstrating personal competency in the industry-standard hardware and software that students will utilize in future endeavors and career paths creates technological fluency. Students must possess the eye-hand coordination and motor skills necessary to properly operate and utilize computer hardware, software and specialized equipment specific to their area of concentration and coursework. Students become fluent at sending and receiving messages in order to create shorthand for future experience. This fluency is a tool to support and enhance other competencies in a qualitative manner. 

NOTE: Some of the courses listed below may be applicable to general education requirements within the Professional Studies/Non-Traditional Education program (e.g. COMM-201 Speech Composition and Presentation).  Questions, contact the Department of Communication or the Registrar's Office.

Communication Courses

COMM-125  Introduction to Filmmaking  1 Credit  

An introduction to basic filmmaking terminology, processes, equipment, and roles. This course will largely take place online through guided reading, videos and interactive assignments. The course will also include an in-person, hands-on workshop that will introduce students to the facilities, resources and guidelines for making films at Vanguard.

COMM-130  Introduction to Communication  3 Credits  

Provides students with a general survey of the discipline of communication. Students will engage with various aspects of the discipline including: intrapersonal, interpersonal, small group, organizational, cultural, rhetorical, visual, and technologically-mediated communication.

COMM-201  Speech Composition and Presentation  3 Credits  

This course is designed to provide the student with a general working knowledge of the fundamentals of speech communication. General requirements for speech preparation, composition and presentation will be covered. A foundation will be established upon which further speech development may transpire. Lab fee.

COMM-201C  Speech Composition and Presentation  3 Credits  

This course is designed to provide the student with a general working knowledge of the fundamentals of speech communication. General requirements for speech preparation, composition and presentation will be covered. A foundation will be established upon which further speech development may transpire. Lab fee.

Terms Typically Offered: Fall and Spring.

COMM-212  History of Communication Studies  3 Credits  

A historical and interdisciplinary analysis of the development of communication and arts theories, concepts and practices from the classical rhetorical tradition to the present.

COMM-220  Elements of Storytelling  3 Credits  

An introduction to story structure, this course focuses on envisioning story ideas and developing those ideas into written formats for the screen and other mediums.

COMM-222  Photography  3 Credits  

Students will gain an understanding of composition and aesthetics as well as technical aspects of photography in the digital world. Lab Fee.

COMM-229  Intermediate Filmmaking Production Production  3 Credits  

A hands-on engagement with the filmmaking porcess, including pre-production, single camera operation, basic non-linear editing, field recording, and post-production sound. This class includes lectures, screenings, and technical exercises. (Formerly Foundations of Audio & Video Production, 2018)

Prerequisite: COMM-125

COMM-230  Ethics in Film  3 Credits  

Through in-class screenings, intensive class discussion and related readings, this course will examine films whose themes strongly concern the depiction of ethical and moral choice. This course will discuss the ways in which filmmakers create meaningful ethical dilemmas; how the characters' choices are portrayed; and how these portrayals may influence our own formulation of value systems and ethical choices. (meets a Humanities/Fine Arts requirement)

COMM-235  Introduction to Journalism  3 Credits  

Fundamentals of news reporting, including interviewing, quoting, paraphrasing, inverted triangle, and sourcing stories. Students are introduced to multiple journalism genres, including: news stories, opinions, features, profiles, and reviews.

COMM-246  American Cinema History  3 Credits  

This foundational course in Cinema Arts follows the journey of American cinema from its beginning to present day while highlighting major events in the history of American cinema.

COMM-258  Christianity and Artistic Culture  3 Credits  

Combines film screening, critical analysis and theory to enable students to examine morality, ethics and screen portrayals pertaining to Christianity, gender, and ethnicity. The aim is to motivate students toward personal accountability and responsibility, as well as creative refinement and sophistication when producing media content.

COMM-273  Visual Technology  3 Credits  

An introduction to the technological necessities of the Communication major. This course equips the student for future communication classes regardless of concentration or emphasis. Lab Fee.

COMM-290  Intro to Interpersonal Communication  3 Credits  

The primary elements of the communication process as it occurs between two persons in everyday settings. Among the topics considered are: language and meaning, nonverbal communication, person perception, and self-concept. This course does not fulfill a core curriculum requirement.

Terms Typically Offered: Fall and Spring.

COMM-291  Special Topic:  1 Credit  

Study of a special topic in communication. May be repeated for credit.

COMM-292  Special Topic:  2 Credits  

Study of a special topic in communication. May be repeated for credit.

COMM-293  Special Topic:  3 Credits  

Study of a special topic in communication. May be repeated for credit.

COMM-305  Communication Theory and Research  3 Credits  

Survey of classical and contemporary theories of communication. Special emphasis is placed upon reading, understanding, and conducting communication research.

Prerequisite: MATH-265C, SOC-265C, or PSYC-265C

COMM-306  Writing for Film and New Media  3 Credits  

The course will serve as an introduction to the art and craft of screenwriting. Students will learn proper screenplay format, story structure, plot, characterization and other important elements of narrative storytelling. The course focuses on the short form and students will be required to write three, complete and polished short screenplays, utilizing the above skills.

COMM-309  Graphic Design  3 Credits  

This course will serve as an introductionto the theory and practice of graphic design. Students will learn to incorporate research, illustrations, and other grapics neccessary to complete visuals, and then present results individually and as a group. Provides practical experience in essential studio techniques and technology, with an emphasis on Adobe CC applications, color theory and psychology, and typography. This course is helpful in building visual literacy, expanding conceptual and technical skills, and improving creative problem solving.

Prerequisite: COMM-273

COMM-314  Mythology in Film  3 Credits  

Students will gain an understanding of how ancient mythology from the Greeks and Romans provides a vast set of stories, themes, and symbols encountered time and time again in film.

COMM-317  Creative Process-Theory and Practice  3 Credits  

This course will consider the theory and practice of creative communication. It will focus on creative problem-solving strategies and on sharpening communication skills to stimulate higher levels of creativity.

COMM-318  Nonverbal Communication  3 Credits  

This course will serve as an introduction to nonverbal communication in everyday interaction. That includes the scholarship and research supporting our understanding of nonverbal communication to improve the student's knowledge as a communication expert. Aspects of body movement, facial expressions, eye behavior, physical appearance, voice, touch, space, smell, time and environmental features will be examined. Emphasis will also be placed on the intercultural dimension of nonverbal communication.

COMM-319  Publications: Newspaper  1 Credit  

Members of the class constitute the editorial staff of the college newspaper. Class meets weekly for critique on news reporting, writing, editing, makeup, and production of the campus newspaper. May be repeated for a maximum of six units.

Prerequisite: ENGL-235;

COMM-333  Small Group Leadership  3 Credits  

Study of the research into and theory of small group dynamics, particularly leadership. Exercises in problem solving in small groups. Study of conflict management.

COMM-339  Producing for Television and Film  3 Credits  

Exploration of the role of the independent producer and how a concept is taken through the steps of development, financing, scheduling, production, marketing, and distribution.

COMM-345  Intercultural Communication  3 Credits  

The process of communication as it applies to cross-cultural situations, i.e., where the respective participants in the process are members of distinctly separate cultural groups and situations specific to such communicative settings and proposed solutions to those problems.

COMM-362  Contemporary Issues in Public Discourse  3 Credits  

Critical analysis of the rhetorical nature of various forms of religious political and social issues communication found in contemporary American society. Topics include: Current evangelistic movements, religious personalities, political communication in modern presidential administrations, political personalities, abortion, and euthanasia rhetoric.

COMM-364  Organizational Communication  3 Credits  

This course examines the inter-relationships between management and communication theories. The microsystems and macrosystems within an organization are emphasized in terms of intrapersonal, interpersonal, small group and organizational communication theories.

COMM-369  Short Film Production  4 Credits  

This course provides student experience with the entirety of the filmmaking process through short exercises in the field, culminating with an individually directed short film. Lab Fee.

COMM-373  Documentary Film Production  4 Credits  

Students will learn fundamentals in the art of documentary film production including camera frame choices, the interview process, and choosing subjects wisely. Students will take projects through production and into post-production adding lower thirds and learning documentary editing technique. Lab Fee.

COMM-374  Gender Communication  3 Credits  

This course examines the connections between language use and gender. Current research will be studied and topics may include: Conversational interactions, power, inequality and public versus private language use.

COMM-375  Television Studio Production  4 Credits  

Students will learn the history of televised media. Using concepts from this foundational knowledge, students will work together to produce a 30 minute studio drama or news program for broadcast. Lab Fee.

COMM-376  Interracial Communication  3 Credits  

Surveys how race influences the communication process. This course deals with major issues of race and ethnic relations and how each affects interracial communication are considered. Major theories of interracial communication, the universal human processes which contribute to racial differences, and the practical approaches to communicating more effectively with persons from the other and same races.

COMM-378  PR: Corp Comm, Information, and Mgmt  3 Credits  

This course examines the management and control of information within a corporate body. Students will deal with single concepts, such as shaping and producing highly focused advertisement, press releases, fact sheets, backgrounders, etc. Students will be expected to create and present detailed approximations of final, printed projects sufficiently clear and detailed as to convince a client of the viability of the various solutions.

COMM-380  PR: Corp Comm, Projects, and Campaigns  3 Credits  

This course examines corporate projects and campaigns. Students will deal with complex issues and the development of crisis management responses, delta management, downsizing, marketing strategies, new product roll-outs, and customer-employee communication.

COMM-381  Photojournalism  3 Credits  

This course is designed as an introduction to photo journalism and its basic principles. Students will be introduced to concepts, practice and techniques used to communicate and story tell through photography. Areas of photojournalism explored will include new features, sports, portraits and documentary photo stories. Personal ethics consideration will also be discussed. Emphasis will be placed on photography as a means of communication and personal expression including: composition, aesthetics, lighting (natural and artificial), conceptual content, critical evaluation, and historical perspectives.

COMM-382  Cinema Technology Series  1-2 Credits  

This course focuses on specific technical skills for filmmaking. Students may ask their advisor for the topic of the course during registration for each semester it is offered. May be repeated for a maximum of 4 units. Lab Fee.

COMM-384  Digital Storytelling  3 Credits  
COMM-385  New Media Production  3 Credits  

The course will examine the field of new media production and platforms, from YouTube to Apple to Glitch. Students will gain experience with emerging storytelling formats, such as webisodes, podcasts, and content for mobile applications. Students will collaboratively produce an audio podcast and a narrative or documentary webisode.

COMM-386  Music Video Production  3 Credits  

This course focuses on the exciting craft of creating music videos with an artist/band. Indivdiually and within a group setting, students will create three music videos that add artistry and flavor to a song/music. The class will push the boundaries of creative filmmaking and learn to collaborate with others to utilize narrative, documentary and experimental film techniques to tell a story. Students will also explore the social and historical aspects of the music video as an art form.

COMM-387  Postproduction  3 Credits  

This course will explore the post-production process for film and video, with an emphasis on specific skill sets and roles in this ever-evolving landscape. Topics include: post-production workflows, non-linear editing; the impact of sound-from music to effects; and color correction.

Prerequisite: COMM-229

COMM-388  Visual Storytelling: Narrative  3 Credits  

Students will learn fundamentals in the art of narrative film production. This course provides students experience with the entirety of the filmmaking process from story/script development through postproduction, culminating in a short film project.

Prerequisite: COMM-229

COMM-389  Visual Storytelling: Documentary  3 Credits  

Students will learn fundamentals in the art of documentary film production including camera frame choices, the interview process, and choosing subjects wisely. Students will take projects through production and into post-production adding lower thirds and learning documentary editing technique. Lab fee.

COMM-393  History of Communication  3 Credits  

This course will be a comprehensive review of the developement and evolution of human communication technology from stone age symbols to social media. The impact and influence of communication technology on human civilization will also be discussed.

COMM-401  Graphic Design II  3 Credits  

This course is a continuation of Graphic Design I and provide hands-on exposure to a variety of complex visual design problems. Students will be exposed to advanced design tools and techniques within Adobe CC Photoshop and Illustrator. In addition, students will incorporate their designs into Adobe CC In Design to create multi-page latouts in order to solve client needs. Students develop strengths in conceptual thinking and formal experimentation. students are encouraged to develop langauges of design that reflect their own artiostic and cultural identities while communicating to various audiences.

COMM-402  Family Communication  3 Credits  

This course is designed to provide the student with an upper division, theoretically founded knowledge of family communication. Through the use of the text, lecture, library research and occasional film viewings we will undertake the study of the hows and the ways of family communication. Must have junior or senior standing to register for this course.

COMM-404  Social Media  2 Credits  

A hands-on primer to current trends in social technology. Students will experiment with a variety of popular and emerging social technologies and learn how to communicate through these tools to changing and diverse audiences.

COMM-411  Mobile and Web Development  2 Credits  

A practical introduction to mobile and web development. Students will learn fundamental terminology and processes, how to create basic websites and apps through existing tools and how to tailor communication for this visual medium.

COMM-412  Computer Mediated Communication  2 Credits  

A practical introduction to current methods of computer-mediated communication in professional contexts. Students will learn how to use tools that create webinars, videoconferencing events, live-streaming, augmented reality experiences, virtual reality experiences and other technologies used in marketing, public relations and related fields.

COMM-413  Preparing for Post Graduation  1 Credit  

This course enables students in any undergraduate major to determine actionable and measurable goals to achieve success after graduation. Topics include: networking, job hunting, personal finances, and long-term planning. The course is a hybrid of self-guided online workshops and face-to-face small group discussion.

COMM-417  Professional Communication  2 Credits  

This class will examine how to write and speak as a professional to professionals, with a focus on business settings, meetings, interviews and presentations. Must have achieved a "C" or better in COMM-201C

COMM-418  Knowledge Management and Data Interpretation  2 Credits  

This course provides students with a general background in strategic communication research. Students will be introduced to methods such as interviewing, focus groups, and survey writing. In addition, students will learn how to use industry research tools, find and interpret existing studies and data, and use data effectively to achieve communication goals.

COMM-443  Crisis Communication  3 Credits  

In a world of instant news and social media, organizations must be prepared to respond to crises quickly and strategically. This course focuses on crisis communication and ÿmanagement, emphasing practical application of theories, strategies, and tactics from a public relations perspective.

Terms Typically Offered: Fall, odd years.

COMM-444  Argumentation & Debate  3 Credits  

Study of the theory and principles of argumentation and debate. Analysis of lines of argumentation found in the contemporary social, political, and religious scenes. Study of techniques of debating.

COMM-445  Persuasion  3 Credits  

Study of the research and theory of persuasion. Presentation of several persuasive speeches.

COMM-448  Ethnography of Communication  3 Credits  

This course is designed to introduce students to the techniques, theories, and debates concerning ethnographic fieldwork and its application to the field of communication studies.

COMM-450  Internship  1-6 Credits  

Must have consent of instructor and Department chair. Must be a communication major. Students may seek a position which relates to their major with a cooperating business in the communication industry. Students are required to work fifty hours for each academic unit hour received. A weekly report to the supervising professor is required. May be repeated for a maximum of six units.

COMM-452  Relational Communication  3 Credits  

This course focuses on defining the nature of the communication processes that occur within the context of close relationships. It is designed to help students communicate confidently and competently in all of their interpersonal relations (e.g. romantic partners, friends, families, and coworkers). It is organized around three general topic areas: (1) developing relationships; (2) maintaining satisfying relationship; and (3) coping with relational challenges over time. Learning about how communication functions in close relationships, such as those between friends, romantic partners, and family members, can be an exciting and beneficial enterprise to improve the quality of relationships throughout one's life. (formerly titled Advanced Interpersonal Communication; see 2019 Academic Catalog)

Prerequisite: COMM-290

Terms Typically Offered: Spring.

COMM-455  Communication Teaching Internship  1-6 Credits  

Regular hours each week for classes and/or meetings are established at the beginning of the semester. The teaching intern helps an instructor in planning and conducting a course and/or research session. This course may be taken for 1-3 units per semester. May be repeated for a maximum of six units.

COMM-458  Alternative Storytelling Techniques  3 Credits  

The course will explore alternative methods of visual storytelling through current and emerging technology. Topics include: sequential art and 2D animation, mobile and web-based content, and immersive and interactive storytelling. Students will create a documentary or narrative project utilizing one of the techniques introduced.

Terms Typically Offered: Fall, even years.

COMM-460  Advanced Filmmaking  3 Credits  

This course focuses on furthering/advancing skills learned in the Introduction to Filmmaking and Intermediate Filmmaking classes. The course will cover advanced practices of cinematography, sound, set management, directing actors and producing. Special emphasis will be placed on achieving a sense of professionalism in learning these advanced disciplines in preparation for a career in filmmaking.

COMM-464C  Media Criticism  3 Credits  

This course is designed to provide students with a basic understanding of the nature and function of media criticism; survey of approaches, theories, and the systems of rhetorical analysis from classical to contemporary models. Practice in critical appraisal of various types of media communication.

Prerequisite: COMM-305 and permission of intructor

COMM-467  Culture, Rhetoric, and Pentecostalism  3 Credits  

This course will look at the evolution of Pentecostal rhetoric from its inception to the present day along with its various forms and themes. Several key Pentecostal rhetorics throughout the history of the movement will be discussed and studied in depth. It will also consider Pentecostalism as a cultural phenomenon, and survey the various cultural manifestations and expressions of the movement both in the United States and around the world.

COMM-470  Special Topic:  1-4 Credits  

Study of a special topic in the areas of Communication Studies and TV and Film. May be repeated for credit. May include a lab requirement and lab fee.

COMM-478  Film Studies Series  1-3 Credits  

A forum and lecture series focusing on topics in film studies, such as the work of important directors, producers, and screenwriters, genre studies, critical ideas in film theory, and world cinema. May be repeated for a maximum of six units.

COMM-480  Independent Studies:  1-3 Credits  

May be repeated for credit.

COMM-495A  Senior Project: Film  3 Credits  

The student writes, directs, or serves in a production role (cinematographer, editor, production sound, sound designer), on a faculty approved film, video, documentary animation, or commercial project bringing it to final form for festival distribution. Lab fee.

COMM-495D  Senior Project: Script/Publctn  3 Credits  

Senior standing and approval of professor. The student creates a three-act polished screenplay or publication for distribution. Lab fee.

COMM-496  Senior Project: Development/Planning  2 Credits  

This course is designed to integrate the student's faith with their profession, culminating in a project that combines critical and practical skill sets representative of the student's particular course of study and interests. This fall semester course helps students thoughtfully develop their creative ideas into a tangible form, such as a short film, feature-length screenplay, multimedia work, or research project. Preproduction, research, and/or resourcing stages will be completed. COMM-497 Senior Project: Implementation is also required.

COMM-497  Senior Project: Implementation  1 Credit  

This course is designed to integrate the student's faith with their profession, culminating in a project that combines critical and practical skill sets representative of the student's particular course of study and interests. Students will complete the project devised in COMM-496 Senior Project: Development and Planning.