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The Study of Communication

In the Department of Communication, Languages and Cultures, our primary teaching and learning goal is to integrate theory, practice, and knowledge in the field.  We believe that in the study of Communication, Languages and Cultures, it is essential to understand the core theories and principles that lead to its successful (and ethical) practice, in addition to obtaining the skills, strategies and techniques of that practice.  Therefore, a main goal of the introductory courses in our major is to build the foundation for the kind of thinking and learning that is expected from our students, as well as prepare them for the rest of their studies in the field.

To that end, we offer a basic definition of the field: at its core, we view Communication as “the study of human interaction.”  In this undertaking, we use a mix of research approaches, including observation, survey research, and experimental methods.  We also employ many lenses through which to interpret our observations (e.g., interpretive, realist, critical, etc.).  While it’s true that “human interaction” can become a particularly complex concept as the media through which we interact become more complex, that is fundamentally what we are all interested in.

This basic definition of the central concept of study helps to build a kind of scaffold for students, starting them down the path of understanding communication as we define it in the field, being able to recognize it when they see it, and thinking about what they observe in scholarly terms.  Once they have a core understanding, students can then set about narrowing or specifying this definition in a direction tailored to their interests as they proceed further through their course of study.

In summary, for us the faculty and for our students studying communication, languages and cultures, we encourage these efforts in the context of the study of human interaction.  We believe that this approach will best inform our student’s understanding of the discipline of Communication.

(Statement by Dr. Corinne Dalelio)

James Everett       Christina Anderson       Gina Barker

Deb Breede          Corinne Dalelio             Stephen Daniel

Mark Flynn            Wes Fondren                Gwen Fowler

Kyle Holody           Linda Kuykendall          Steve Madden

Brian Roessler       Kim Schumacher