May 30, 2024  
Undergraduate Catalog 2017-18 
Undergraduate Catalog 2017-18 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Communication, School of

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Leigh Ford, Director
Main Office: 305 Sprau
Telephone:  (269) 387-3130
Undergraduate Advising Office: (269) 387-3197
Clifford Media Center: (269) 387-3134
Fax: (269) 387-3990

Julie Apker, Director Graduate Program
Sandra Borden
Sue Ellen Christian 
Autumn Edwards
Chad Edwards
Richard Gershon
James Gilchrist
Annette Hamel
Keith Hearit
Richard Junger
Joseph Kayany
Marilyn S. Kritzman
Steven Lipkin
Jennifer Machiorlatti, Director Undergraduate Programs
Leah Omilion-Hodges
Mark Orbe
Anna Popkova
Kathleen Propp
Jocelyn Steinke 
Kelly Wittenberg

Mission Statement

The School of Communication is committed to excellence and innovation in teaching, learning, scholarship, and the practice of communication. As teacher-scholars, our purpose is two-fold:

  • Develop reflective and skilled communicators who value diversity, community, ethics, and critical thinking; and
  • Contribute to the research and practice of our discipline with an emphasis on collaboration with local, regional, national, and international partners to examine organizational, community, educational, and social issues.

Communication Programs

Communication is the principal mode for establishing and maintaining human relationships. It consists of those processes by which society is made possible, by which people develop and exchange ideas, solve problems, and work cooperatively in attaining common objectives. Effective communication is an educational imperative for all human beings.

The study of communication is important to virtually every profession that involves working with people, making it an excellent major, minor or cognate for communication-related jobs in education, business, government agencies, media, health care professions, social services, industry, and other public and private organizations. Communication is central to positions in public relations, strategic communication, information management, employee communication, and training and development. Professional curricular programs in diverse modes of media production provide both the background knowledge and training for positions in journalism and media production, performance and management.

The School of Communication is dedicated to meeting the personal and professional communication objectives of our students. Seven major areas of concentration are available: Communication Studies; Film, Video, and Media Studies; Interpersonal Communication; Journalism; Organizational Communication; Public Relations; and Telecommunications and Information Management. These major areas of concentration reflect the primary divisions in the discipline, with required courses to ensure adequate preparation in specific fields. The concentration areas and accompanying upper-level requirements provide appropriate guidance to assure that programs of study are academically sound.

Two minors - Minor in Communication and Minor in Journalism - are also offered.

Communication majors and minors may choose to participate in the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance certificate program. This program is designed to prepare students for leadership in nonprofit organizations. Students qualify for the certificate by taking courses in the Nonprofit Leadership minor which meet the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance competency requirements. For details, please see the Nonprofit Leadership minor description in the School of Public Affairs and Administration section of this catalog.

The School of Communication offers an Accelerated Graduate Degree Program that allows qualified undergraduate students to take up to 12 hours of graduate credit during their senior year, at undergraduate tuition rates. This coursework counts toward both an undergraduate AND graduate degree. Accelerated Graduate Degree Program students who complete 12 graduate hours during their senior year will then have 18 credits remaining to complete a master’s degree in Communication. Details of the program can be found at the School of Communication website:

The School also encourages a close relationship between academic classes and extracurricular and co-curricular experiences. Students may become involved in a variety of activities, including community service projects, WIDR-FM radio station, video taping of special events, and internships in a variety of organizations. Academic credit may be earned for significant participation in many of these communication activities.

Students planning to major or minor in any of the communication areas should discuss their program needs and interests with School advisor at the earliest possible date. To find out more about advising and/or to make an advising appointment, visit our website at www.wmich/communication, click on “Advising” and then follow the desired links. Students can schedule an appointment with the advisor or can email for specific advising needs.

Transfer Students

  • the courses are approved as direct equivalents to current WMU courses in the major or minor or;
  • the courses are allowed as electives in the major or minor.

Any course not used toward a School of Communication major or minor may be used as electives to meet the minimum required 122 credits needed for graduation from WMU.

Special Rules/Restrictions

  • Students must have a grade of “C” or better in any prerequisite before they can enroll in the subsequent course for all prerequisites in the School of Communication.
  • Students must get a grade of “C” or better for any class to count toward a School of Communication major or minor (a grade of “B” or better for graduate courses.)
  • The School of Communication has a TWO-repeat policy. Students may only take a course twice in their attempt to obtain a grade of “C” or better.

Undergraduates with junior or senior status and with listed prerequisites completed may enroll in 5000-level courses with prior approval of advisor and/or instructor.

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