Department of Communication

Department website:

Naomi Kasa, M.A., Chair

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: Film & Visual Storytelling, Health Communication, Public Relations, and Technology & Emerging Media. The department also offers three minors: a general minor in Communication, a minor in Public Relations and an interdisciplinary minor in Sports Media.

The Department of Communication houses the MediaHub, a student support center for digital skill development.

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 digital content creation software 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.

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. (Professional Education Course).

Terms Typically Offered: Fall and Spring.

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-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.

Terms Typically Offered: Fall.

COMM-229  Intermediate Filmmaking  3 Credits  

A hands-on engagement with the filmmaking process, including pre-production, single camera operation, basic non-linear editing, field recording, and post-production sound. This class includes lectures, screenings, and technical exercises.

Prerequisite: COMM-125

Terms Typically Offered: Spring.

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. (School for Professional Studies Course).

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.

Prerequisite: ENGL-120C

Terms Typically Offered: Fall and Spring.

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.

Terms Typically Offered: Fall and Spring.

COMM-273  Visual Technology  3 Credits  

This course provides students with foundational technological knowledge and digital skills applicable to a wide variety of careers. Students learn industry-standard software, develop visual communication competencies, practice articulating their process and giving feedback, and work with a team to create a visual branding project. Lab Fee.

Terms Typically Offered: Fall and Spring.

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.(School for Professional Studies Course).

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-293  Special Topic:  3 Credits  

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

COMM-297  Comm. Research Methods  3 Credits  

This class will provide an overview of the concepts, methods, and tools bywhich communication research is designed, conducted, interpreted, and critically evaluated. In this course students will learn to become knowledgeable consumers and producers of communicationresearch through developing skills in gathering, organizing, interpreting and presenting research information.

COMM-305  Communication Theory  3 Credits  

Theories help us to make sense of the world around us. Some theories are "grand" (think ideologies or schools of thought) while others are narrower in focus (think particular economic or scientific theories - like the theory of relativity). But regardless of their scope, all theories shape how we make judgments about reality, relationships, circumstances, and decisions in our lives. This course int roduces you to theories of communication, both large and small, with the goal of applying them to your life and better equipping you to make sense of the communicative aspects of your world.This course serves an introduction to theories in communication. It provides you with a broad overview of various theories and theoretical approaches employed in the study of communication. Emphasis will be placed on theoretical schools of thought within the discipline, and on many levels of interaction from interpersonal and intercultural to mass and mediated communication. The course also explores how and why communication theories are developed, how they can be evaluated, and how they are applicable in our daily lives.

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

Terms Typically Offered: Fall.

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.

Prerequisite: COMM-220

Terms Typically Offered: Spring.

COMM-309  Graphic Design  3 Credits  

This course will serve as an introduction to the theory and practice of graphic design. Students will learn to incorporate research, illustrations, and other graphics necessary 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

Terms Typically Offered: Fall.

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.

Terms Typically Offered: Fall.

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.

Terms Typically Offered: Spring.

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.

Terms Typically Offered: Spring.

COMM-319  Publications: Newspaper  1-3 Credits  

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;

Terms Typically Offered: Fall and Spring.

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.

Terms Typically Offered: Fall.

COMM-345  Communication Across Cultures  3 Credits  

This course is designed to develop an understanding of the process of communication across global cultural boundaries. Students will be introduced to the concepts, characteristics, and elements of culture along with the "deep structures" of culture which includes cultural views on family, religion (worldview), history, values, and identity. Special attention will also be paid to applying intercultural communication skills within the contexts of business, education, healthcare, and the Church. Overall, emphasis will be on developing students' intercultural communication competency through in-class instruction and real-world experiential learning opportunities.

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.

Terms Typically Offered: Fall.

COMM-374  Communication, Gender and Culture  3 Credits  

This course aims to examine the intersection of communication, gender and culture in our everyday lives. It will provide students with an understanding of how gender is a socially constructed and cultural phenomenon that impacts the way we communicate. The course will also explore the complex relationships among men, women and communication from theoretical and practical perspectives. Differences in the communication patterns of men and women will be studied in a variety of practical contexts such as in business, education and relationships.

COMM-375  Television Studio Production  3 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.

Prerequisite: COMM-229

Terms Typically Offered: Spring.

COMM-376  Communication, Race and Ethnicity  3 Credits  

This course explores the complicated and multidimensional relationship between race, ethnicity, culture, and communication in American society. Specific attention will be placed on understanding one's own racial/ethnic identity, as well as those of other groups. The course will cover various foundations of interracial communication including topics such as language, identity, history, cultural influences, and theories and will draw on this foundation to discuss interracial communication in several contexts (i.e., interpersonal relationships, organizations/business, religion/the Church, healthcare, mass and social media, etc.). Emphasis will be placed on engaging students in experiential learning opportunities.

Terms Typically Offered: Spring.

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.

Terms Typically Offered: Fall.

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.

Prerequisite: COMM-378

Terms Typically Offered: Spring.

COMM-381  Photojournalism  3 Credits  

This course is designed as an introduction to photojournalism 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.

Prerequisite: COMM-222 or permission of instructor

Terms Typically Offered: Spring.

COMM-382  Cinema Technology Series  1 Credit  

This course focuses on specific technical skills for filmmaking. May be repeated for a maximum of 4 units.

Prerequisite: COMM-125

Terms Typically Offered: Fall and Spring.

COMM-385  New Media Production  3 Credits  

The course will examine the field of new media production and platforms, from YouTube vlogging and shorts to podcasting and vodcasting, to webinars, and finally to the impact of artificial intelligence and virtual and augmented reality on production. Students will gain experience with emerging storytelling formats and content for web and mobile applications by working collaboratively to produce a variety of projects.

Prerequisite: COMM-229

Terms Typically Offered: Spring, odd years.

COMM-386  Music Video Production  3 Credits  

This course focuses on the exciting craft of creating music videos with an artist/band. Individually 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.

Prerequisite: COMM-229

Terms Typically Offered: Fall.

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

Terms Typically Offered: Spring.

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.

Terms Typically Offered: Spring.

COMM-393  History of Communication  3 Credits  

This course will be a comprehensive review of the development 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-394  Health Communication  3 Credits  

The purpose of this course is to develop a greater understanding of health communication concepts, theories, research methods, cases, and other practices and their application to real-world health issues and problems. In this course, students will gain an understanding of the field of health communication; learn about health communication approaches across a wide variety of contexts-interpersonal (patient-caregiver), organizational (patient advocacy, hospital education, HR, hospital administration, public policy), mediated (PR, marketing, social media, public health campaigns); and explore the various career opportunities in health communication. Students will develop an area of interest for research and further application in their major.

Terms Typically Offered: Fall.

COMM-395  Sports Media  3 Credits  

This course introduces students to a range of professional settings and opportunities related to sports media. Students will learn the fundamentals of gathering, organizing, evaluating and creating sports information in accepted professional style across a wide range of forms of sports media content platforms; these may include but not be limited to print, broadcast, video, interviews and social media. This course will also provide student with a conceptual, strategic, and technical understanding of the operation and business of sports communications at all levels of sports.

Prerequisite: Take ENGL-235 COMM-125

Terms Typically Offered: Spring.

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 InDesign to create multi-page layouts in order to solve client needs. Students develop strengths in conceptual thinking and formal experimentation. students are encouraged to develop languages of design that reflect their own artistic and cultural identities while communicating to various audiences.

Prerequisite: Take COMM-309

Terms Typically Offered: Spring.

COMM-404  Social Media  3 Credits  

This course takes a hands-on approach to current trends in social technology including the implications of AI, VR and AR technology. Students will understand the evolving social media landscape and learn how to approach it strategically. Students will also experiment with a variety of popular and emerging social technologies and learn how to communicate through these tools to changing and diverse audiences using a variety of content creation formats. Students will learn best practices and metrics for creating an engaged audience that helps to champion goals, objectives and strategies of a company, organization or high profile individual. This course culminates with a certification in Google Analytics.

Prerequisite: COMM-273;

Terms Typically Offered: Spring, odd years.

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.

Prerequisite: COMM-273

COMM-412  Computer Mediated Communication  2 Credits  

A hands-on course examining the benefits of using CMC technologies for the workplace, with a focus on Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) tools and team collaboration and project management tools. This course will introduce you to the overall CRM process, including the use of data analytics to revise strategies and increase performance with internal and external stakeholders.

Prerequisite: COMM-273

Terms Typically Offered: Fall, odd years.

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.

Terms Typically Offered: Fall and Spring.

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

Prerequisite: COMM-201C, COMM-273

Terms Typically Offered: Fall.

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.

Terms Typically Offered: Spring.

COMM-419  Digital Advocacy  2 Credits  

This course takes a hands-on approach to learning how to effectively utilize digital platforms when launching and sustaining a non-profit organization or social enterprise. Students will learn best practices and strategies for creating an engaged audience who helps to champion an issue, cause or brand.

Terms Typically Offered: Fall.

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 management, emphasizing practical application of theories, strategies, and tactics from a public relations perspective.

Terms Typically Offered: Spring.

COMM-445  Persuasion  3 Credits  

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

Terms Typically Offered: Spring.

COMM-446  Health Lit. & Communication  3 Credits  

This course will explore health literacy and its relationship to health outcomes, especially in vulnerable or at-risk populations. It will engage health communication as an applied approach to reduce health disparities, in the local and global context. The course will examine how strategically designed and culturally sensitive communication programs, practices, and policies can be used to enhance health outcomes. Students will learn to evaluate the effectiveness of health communication programs, design appropriate health communication interventions, and to use communication effectively to improve health outcomes. A particular emphasis will be placed on the use of media to communicate and educate.

Terms Typically Offered: Spring.

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.

Terms Typically Offered: Spring.

COMM-452  Relational Communication  3 Credits  

This course is designed to help you communicate confidently and competently in all your interpersonal relationships (e.g., romantic, friendship, family, coworker, and business relationships) and to introduce you to the examination, analysis, and application of theories and concepts of relational communication. The course will be organized around three general)topic areas: (1) developing relationships, (2) maintaining satisfying relationships, and (3) coping with relational challenges over time.

Prerequisite: COMM-290

Terms Typically Offered: Spring.

COMM-454  Sports Media Practicum  1-3 Credits  

An experiential learning course that provides students with the opportunity to gain practical experience in sports media content creation. Course requirements are developed and supervised by University Athletics in collaboration with faculty in the department of Communication. Students will develop a portfolio of professional level work over the duration of the course. Fifty hours of work must be completed for each academic unit received.Students must consult the department of Communication for permission to register. May be repeated for a maximum of 6 units. Students pursuing a minor in Sports Media must complete a total of three units prior to graduation.

Prerequisite: COMM-395 OR Permission of Instructor

Terms Typically Offered: Fall and 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.

Terms Typically Offered: Fall and Spring.

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.

Prerequisite: COMM-229

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.

Prerequisite: COMM-229

Terms Typically Offered: Fall, even years.

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

Terms Typically Offered: Fall and Spring.

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-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.

Terms Typically Offered: Fall.

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.

Prerequisite: COMM-496

Terms Typically Offered: Spring.