Recognizing that the mission of Saint Mary’s College is to instill a liberal arts, Catholic and Lasallian character into all areas of the College community, the goal of the Department of Communication is to incorporate these traditions into a curriculum that identifies the process of communication as a primary means by which we construct social reality, recognize and analyze social processes, and affect social change. We see the content of the field as complex and interdisciplinary, and thus seek to pursue the continuing goals of improving the effectiveness of our communication, enhancing creativity and productivity in ourselves and others, promoting a sense of social reality that is fair and just for all members of society, and ensuring the continuation of critical contemplation as a means of strengthening and enriching the social good. We therefore encourage ethical and systematic inquiry into a broad range of areas, including mass and alternative media, rhetoric, interpersonal communication, new media and digital culture, organizational communication, visual studies, ethics, intercultural communication and cultural studies.
Communication as an academic field draws upon the humanities, the social and natural sciences, and the professions. The communication faculty have interdisciplinary backgrounds that enrich the academic and cultural environment of the department. The curriculum is both conceptual and applied with core courses preparing the student for an in-depth exploration of one or more areas of inquiry.
Aaron D. Sachowitz, PhD, Associate Professor, Chair
Shawny Anderson, PhD, Associate Professor
Makiko Imamura, PhD, Associate Professor
Jason Jakaitis, PhD, Assistant Professor
Samantha Joyce, Associate Professor
David Benin, PhD, Adjunct Assistant Professor
Dan Leopard, MFA, PhD, Associate Professor
Ellen Rigsby, PhD, Associate Professor
Scott Schönfeldt-Aultman, PhD, Professor
Edward E. Tywoniak, MFA, EdD, Professor Emeritus
By the time they graduate, students should be able to:
- DEVELOP a comprehensive understanding of key terms in the field.
- ANALYZE texts, practices and ideas in their social and cultural contexts using standard communication models.
- DEVELOP basic understanding and literacy of media and communication technologies.
- UNDERSTAND and apply communication theories.
- UNDERSTAND and apply appropriate research methods to communication research questions.
- DEVELOP a capstone project that synthesizes all of the above.
Students who major in communication take a total of 11 courses, seven of which are required plus four electives. Of the four electives, two must be upper-division application courses denoted by the word “Application” after the title.
Students who minor in communication take a total of six courses, three of which are required plus three electives. Of the three electives, one must be an upper-division application course denoted by the word “Application” after the title.
Any course listed in this department with a prerequisite assumes a grade of C- or better in the prerequisite course.
Minor in Cinematic Arts
The Cinematic Arts Minor combines the critical analysis and creative production of the moving image art form, ranging from time-based film and video to new media art. The courses emphasize technical fundamentals and conceptualization, creative experimentation and critical thinking, and personal expression and social responsibility. A hybrid instructional approach for several of the courses integrates critical analysis and creative production in order to encourage students to analyze as well as to produce the moving image art form as an engaged critical practice.
Students minoring in Cinematic Arts take six courses from the disciplines of Art, Communication, English, Anthropology, and World Languages and Cultures. Beyond the coursework, an internship elective (ART 193) provides a hands-on experience that can include assisting with a film exhibition, working as an assistant with a faculty filmmaker or researcher, and other options. (This program is coordinated with the Art and Art History Department and is cross-listed with their section of the course catalog).
Students completing the Minor in Cinematic Arts will be able to:
- Plan, shoot, edit a finished film or video art project.
- Contextualize moving image artworks within a broader cultural, historical, and political framework.
- Utilize critical-theoretical concepts as a springboard to develop a film or video art project.
- Write a concept statement articulating the aims, influences, and process associated with their own production work.
- Write an extended critical essay integrating research, analysis, and interpretation of cinematic works of art.
Total Requirement (six courses)
Required Core (four courses)
Minor in Digital Studies
The idea for a minor in Digital Studies within the School of Liberal Arts grew out of the recognition that the dramatic change brought about by the digital revolution in areas such as communication, culture, art, commerce, and education necessitated a more formal lens of investigation of the contemporary world. Foundational to this conversation is the very question itself of the role of the liberal arts in the 21st century, including the signature hallmarks of a liberal education-critical thinking, collaborative inquiry, and the ability to effectively communicate.
The Digital Studies minor is open to all students. The program’s curriculum provides the requisite tools for critical analysis of how “the digital” frames human discourse, while simultaneously developing a technical understanding of how digital media and content are produced and delivered in order to prepare students for careers in the technology sector.
Students completing the Minor in Digital Studies will be able to:
- Ability to analyze the digital environment toward the end of becoming a digital citizen 2.
- Ability to analyze the digital environment (technically and culturally) through shared inquiry and collaborative learning
- Ability to understand and utilize digital media production tools (video, audio, images, graphics, interactivity) 4.
- Ability to understand and utilize principles of digital programming (HTML5, CSS5, and Python)
- Ability to understand and utilize project management tools and skills toward the creation of digital artifacts
- Ability to understand and utilize critical thinking for the analysis of digital information and its application in the contemporary age
- Ability to produce and conceptualize through assignments and activities digital bases art within a critical-theoretical framework
- Ability to investigate through assignments and activities digital concepts within historical cultural and societal contexts
- Ability to investigate through assignments and activities the dialogic relationships between digital culture and technology
- Ability to investigate and analyze through assignments and activities the attributes and the effects of “big data” on culture and society, and develop skills and strategies for effective data management.
Total Requirement (five courses and four .25 credit labs)
Required Core (three courses and four .25 credit labs)
ProgramsBachelor of ArtsMinor
CoursesCommunication - Lower DivisionCommunication - Upper Division
Students must have sophomore standing to enroll.