The Department offers undergraduate courses that approach communication as a liberal art that blends theory, analysis, and practice and cuts across the humanities and social sciences. These courses provide students with the resources to develop deep conceptual understandingof how communication processes create the social worlds we live in; the abilities to critically reflect on those processes; and the practical skills to communicate in their personal, professional, and public lives.
The study of communication is at once very old and very new. Its origins date back to ancient Greece where philosophers like Plato and Aristotle discussed the importance of rhetoric to civic life. Recent work considers how communication plays an important role in human identities, relationships, groups, organizations, public issues, and worldviews. It analyzes how discourse operates in contexts of social difference and unequal power relations. And it looks at how communication can contribute to solving problems and creating a more just world. Combining theory, critical analysis, and practice, undergraduate courses give students the tools to both understand and effectively engage in communication as it occurs in relationships, groups, organizations, publics, and broader cultures.