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    communication & theatre

    The communication and theatre department recognizes that we live in an age of unprecedented change in human communication. Such change brings much possibility and some risk for humanity and its constituent human communities.

    The communication and theatre department takes as its task the education and training of Bluffton University students towards rigorous understanding, thoughtful production and ethical critique of human communication in this promising yet daunting context. Therefore, the communication and theatre department seeks to develop in students the awareness of the ancient origins of rhetorical and theatre, knowledge of classical to contemporary theories of human communication, understanding rhetorical criticism and critical approaches to communication processes and insight into our current and changing communication context. Because of the practical nature of human communication, we are committed to providing our students with skill in crafting informative, persuasive, celebrative and sermonic texts for public presentation to a variety of audiences; proficiency in the critique and production of communication across media including print, radio, television, film and computer; and familiarity with the history, principles and basic techniques of theatre production. Finally, we intend to cultivate in our students an appreciation of the ethical complexities inherent in any communicative exchange, commitment to compassionate listening, clarity in critical thinking; and attention to the inextricable connection between religious faith and human communication.

    The communication and theatre department offers a major in communication and two minors: communication and theatre. In addition, the communication and theatre department cooperates with the religion department on the communication in church organizations program. Students who are interested in leadership in Christian church, mission, and other ministry institutions may combine this program with a major in communication or religion.

    Major (47 hours)
    The communication and theatre department offers a major in communication that provides a broad foundation for students interested in graduate study or specialized vocations. The major offers instruction in four areas: rhetoric, communication studies, broadcasting and journalism, and media and cultural studies. Courses in the core introduce students to each of these four areas as well as theatre. More advanced courses help students to become critical thinkers within the discipline through focused study of theory, criticism and ethics. Beyond the core, students may choose from a variety of electives based on their interests and aspirations. Students aiming at professional goals may pursue study in one of the three concentrations: broadcasting and journalism, organizational communication or public relations.

    Required: (30 hours)
    COM 105 Introduction to Journalism (3)
    COM 185 Public Speaking (3)
    COM 195 Interpersonal Communication (3)
    COM 240 Media and Culture (3)
    THE 257 Oral Interpretation (3)
    COM 275 Organizational Communication (3)
    COM 320 Classical Theories of Rhetoric (3)
    COM 325 Contemporary Theories of Rhetoric (3)
    COM 410 Rhetorical Criticism (3) or COM 415 Television Criticism (3)
    COM 417 Communication Ethics (3)

    Activity credits: (2 hours)
    COM 110 Theatre Activity (.5)
    COM 111 Student Newspaper Activity (.5)
    COM 112 Radio Activity (.5)
    COM 114 Yearbook Activity (.5)

    Electives: (A minimum of 15 hours from the following list)
    COM 250 Speeches that Changed the World (3)
    COM 277 Public Relations (3)
    COM 300 Women, Men and Language (3)
    COM 305 Writing for the Media (3)
    COM 312 Studies in Cinema (3)
    COM 334 Radio Production (3)
    COM 336 Advanced Public Relations Writing (3)
    COM 340 Religious Communication (3)
    COM 352 Gender, Race and Media (3)
    COM 360 Leadership in Church-Related Organizations (3)
    COM 365 Feature Writing (3)
    COM 370 Visual Culture and Communication (3)
    COM 390 Independent Study in Communication (1-3)
    COM 410 Rhetorical Criticism (3)
    COM 415 Television Criticism (3)
    COM 422 Special Topics in Communication (3)
    COM 425 Internship in Communication (2-3)
    CRJ 340 Conflict Transformation and Mediation (3)

     

    Broadcasting and journalism concentration (15 hours)
    COM 305 Writing for the Media (3)
    COM 334 Radio Production (3)
    COM 352 Gender, Race and Media (3)
    COM 365 Feature Writing (3)
    COM 415 Television Criticism or
    COM 370 Visual Culture and Communication (3)

    Public relations concentration (15 hours)
    COM 277 Public Relations (3)
    COM 305 Writing for the Media (3)
    COM 334 Radio Production (3)
    COM 336 Advanced Public Relations Writing (3)
    COM 365 Feature Writing (3)

    Organizational communication concentration (15 hours)
    COM 277 Public Relations (3)
    COM 300 Women, Men and Language (3)
    COM 340 Religious Communication (3)
    COM 360 Leadership in Church-Related Organizations (3)
    CRJ 340 Conflict Transformation and Mediation (3)

    Minors

    Communication (19 hours)
    The communication minor enables a student to explore an interest in communication while majoring in another academic discipline. The minor is made up of the following courses:

    Required:
    COM 185 Public Speaking (3)
    COM 195 Interpersonal Communication (3)
    COM 240 Mass Media (3)
    COM 275 Organizational Communication (3)
    COM 105 Introduction to Journalism (3)

    Activity credits: (1 hour)
    COM 110 Theatre Activity (.5) or
    COM 111 Student Newspaper Activity (.5) or
    COM 112 Radio Activity (.5) or
    COM 114 Yearbook Activity (.5)

    Electives: (3 hours)
    Any COM course

    Theatre (19 hours)
    The theatre minor enables a student to explore an interest in dramatic arts while majoring in another academic discipline. The minor is made up of the following courses:

    Required:
    COM 110 Theatre Activity (1)
    THE 257 Oral Interpretation (3)
    THE 301 Play Production (3)
    THE 302 Play Direction (3)
    ENG 367 Shakespeare (3)

    Electives: 6 hours selected from the following:
    THE 223 Creative Drama (3)
    THE 258 Acting (3)
    THE 326 History of Theatre (3)
    THE 390 Independent Study (3)
    FCS 273 Historical Aspects of Design (3)

    Courses

    Communication courses

    COM 105 Introduction to Journalism (3)
    Cultivates basic skills and knowledge necessary for a career in print or broadcast journalism. The course covers the history of journalism in the United States, the changing shape of news organizations, basic developments in media law, and the essential forms of writing and reporting. Students will learn such basic skills as interviewing, covering meetings and public events, writing news leads, and using the inverted pyramid form.

    Activity credit (.5 each)
    A maximum of two hours of graduation credit for non-majors and up to 4 hours for majors; a maximum of two hours may be taken in any given area. Student must be enrolled in the activity during the semester for which the credit is received.

    Activity credits count as elective credit toward graduation requirements for majors. Supervising faculty determine the requirements needed to receive the activity credit based on individual student need and prior participation of the student. Credit/no credit.

    COM 110 Theatre Activity (.5)
    Participation in technical and/or performance roles in Bluffton University productions. Enrollment by permission of instructor.

    COM 111 Student Newspaper (The Witmarsum) Activity (.5)
    Participation on the student newspaper staff in both technical and reporting capacities.

    COM 112 Radio Activity (.5)
    Participation in the production, directing and performance of a radio show on WBWH.

    COM 114 Yearbook Activity (.5)
    Participation in the publication of the Ista yearbook in photography, reporting and graphic design capacities using yearbook resources.

    COM 185 Public Speaking (3)
    Engages students in the theoretical issues and practical problems of speech preparation and delivery within the context of an introduction to the discipline of communication. The course is designed to provide students with the opportunity to become better public speakers and audiences members by increasing their awareness of the technical qualities of a good speech and by exercising this knowledge during informative, deliberative and ceremonial public speaking occasions.

    COM 195 Interpersonal Communication (3)
    Explores the principles and practice of effective communication in interpersonal relationships. The course will examine such topics as communication apprehension, self-disclosure, listening, conflict and nonverbal communication as well as provide opportunities to develop specific communication skills.

    COM 240 Media and Culture (3)
    The course offers an investigation of the history, technologies and cultural implications of all forms of mass media in American society. This course is designed to develop in students an appreciation for the cultural significance of mass media, an understanding of key theoretical issues in media studies and awareness of key approaches of reading mass media texts.

    COM 250 Speeches That Changed the World (3)
    Examines episodes in the history of oratory across historical and cultural contexts, with particular (although not exclusive) attention to the Western rhetorical tradition. The course is especially concerned with those moments when persuasive speech reshaped a specific cultural world from a position of minimal institutional or political power. Students will come to appreciate oratory as an aesthetic and practical art, recognize the historical significance of public speaking, and acknowledge the role of various forms of public address in shaping their own self-understanding and world view.

    COM 275 Organizational Communication (3)
    Assists students in developing those communication skills needed to succeed in the contemporary organizational environment. In addition to examining the dynamics and ethics of professional communication in business and nonprofit organizations, students will learn how to work on cross-functional teams, lead public meetings, conduct personal interviews and prepare a variety of public presentations such as letters, reports and speeches. Throughout the course, attention will be given to such contemporary organizational issues as institutional power, cultural diversity and professional identity.

    COM 277 Public Relations (3)
    Introduces strategic issues and effective practices of communication between organizations and their constituencies. Includes the study of public opinion research, media relations, public communications campaigns, consumer identity and representational ethics. Students gain practical experience in writing news releases, conducting surveys and designing integrated campaigns. Prerequisite: COM 185.

    COM 300 Women, Men and Language (3)
    Inquires into the relationship between communication and gender by studying communication theory and theories of gender construction, by taking a historical perspective on simularites and differences between women's and men's communication behaviors and by investigating varying contexts and their impact on gender and communication. This course seeks to develop in students an appreciation for differences in communication among women and men, some of the causes of those differences and strategies for the peaceful and just engagement of those differences.

    COM 305 Writing for the Media (3)
    Emphasis news gathering and writing for print and broadcast media. In addition to learning journalistic research and writing techniques students become acquainted with practical aspects of publishing including an introduction to desktop publishing. Philosophical and ethical issues are addressed in the course. Lab experiences include field trips, guest lectures, writing for The Witmarsum, and learning the use of Adobe PageMaker.

    COM 312 Studies in Cinema (3)
    Surveys the history, elements, common themes and the art of watching films. The course examines the role cinema plays in our culture and how our culture shapes cinema; explores ethical and spiritual considerations in relation to a variety of film genres and offers different kinds of film analysis for study.

    COM 320 Classical Theories of Rhetoric (3)
    Introduces students to the ancient foundations of the discipline of communication. In it students will explore rhetoric in ancient Athens as a social and political practice that both reinforced and contested the longstanding privilege of Athenian aristocracy. They will also study Plato's philosophical critique of what he considered to be rhetoric's essential immortality as well as the first philosophical treatise on rhetoric by his student, Aristotle. Students will then take a look at Isocrate's revision of rhetoric as a force for unity and the common good. Finally, students will engage St. Augustine's argument that rhetoric ought to be used by Christians to make the case most persuasively for faith. Throughout the course students will inquire into the revelance of these important divergent views on the uses and moral status of rhetoric today.

    COM 325 Contemporary Theories of Rhetoric (3)
    Explores theories of rhetoric and methods of rhetorical criticism that have been shaped by the modern and postmodern context. Theories and methods examined in the course include neo-aristotelianism, dramatism, postmodernism, cultural studies and deconstruction. Throughout the course, particular attention is given to the relationship between discourse and social transformation

    COM 334 Radio Production (3)
    Provides students with the opportunity to gain the knowledge, skills, and techniques needed to produce professional and effective radio programming. Specifically, students learn how to establish a stationís identity, organize a broadcasting and production studio, edit program material, produce entertainment and news programming both in-studio and on-location, think through the economics of both commercial and non-commercial radio, and broadcast sporting events. Throughout the course, students are not only given the chance to develop skills in each of these area but also to inquire into the issues related to these specific areas as well as to the whole enterprise of radio broadcasting today.

    COM 336 Advanced Public Relations Writing (3)
    Provides advanced writing instruction for students intending to become public relations professionals, with particular attention to writing for the world wide web and other mixed and new media venues. Prerequisite: COM 277.

    COM 340 Religious Communication (3)
    This course is an introduction to the theory and practice of religious communication in its sermonic, liturgical, deliberative and promotional forms. The course surveys homiletic theory and explores the role of religious language in congregational worship, decision-making and public relations. Attention is given to such current communication issues as the impact of electronic media on religious messages, the use of gendered language in religious texts and the tension between intimacy and inclusiveness in public worship contexts. Students in the class prepare sermons, write letters of admonition, plan congregational worship services and business meetings and design church promotional materials.

    COM 352 Gender, Race and Media (3)
    Explores the ways by which the media shape our understandings of ourselves and others as gendered and raced human beings. Applies theoretical explanations for these relationships to the study of specific media texts. Considers whether and how it is possible for us to resist these understandings. Prerequisite:
    COM 240.

    COM 360 Leadership in Church-Related Organizations (3)
    In large, formal church-related organizations (i.e. World Vision and Habitat for Humanity) and small, informal ones (i.e. local congregations and neighborhood associations), persons of goodwill join together in the name of Christ to voluntarily serve those in need. This course will suggest to students: (1) the composition of the church-related not-for-profit sector; (2) the contextual variables within that sector which suggest a need for Christian vision and leadership; and (3) the specific competencies required for involvement and leadership in church-related organizations. The following objectives will be pursued: (1) to differentiate by mission and structure the various types of organizations which constitute the not-for-profit sector in general and church-related organizations in particular; (2) to investigate numerous opportunities for involvement in not-for-profit church organizations; and (3) to practice Christian communication and leadership within the not-for-profit sector through selective involvement with voluntary organizations. Throughout the course, such concepts as awareness, empathy, foresight, persuasion, and stewardship will be introduced and evaluated. This course is also listed as
    REL 360.

    COM 365 Feature Writing (3)
    Provides training in conceiving, researching, and writing features for newspapers and magazines. Students will learn how to research features in the age of the internet, gather information through personal interviews, and construct articles that shape public understanding of significant contemporary issues, personalities, and events. The class will also consider legal and ethical questions that accompany such journalistic leadership. Prerequisite:
    COM 105.

    COM 370 Visual Culture and Communication (3)
    Explores the breadth, characteristics, and significance of our increasingly visual culture for human communication. Through the study of visual culture theory and the ongoing development of the VizCulture web site, this course enables students to ask questions about what it means for consciousness, sense of self, relationship to community, encounters with others, etc., to live amidst visual culture. Prerequisite: COM 240.

    COM 390 Independent Study (1-3)
    By arrangement.

    COM 410 Rhetorical Criticism (3)
    Examines a variety of methodologies for evaluating public address, including neo-Aristotelianism, dramatism, perspectivism, ideological analysis, mythic criticism, genre criticism, fantasy theme analysis, movement criticism, feminist criticism, and deconstruction. Prerequisite: junior standing.

    COM 415 Television Criticism (3)
    Explores a variety of critical approaches to understanding television programming. Students will study and apply critical approaches sensitive to issues of gender, race, class, genre, narrative, etc. as well as apply them to the understanding of television programs. Prerequisite: COM 240.

    COM 417 Communication Ethics (3)
    Explores the ethical issues and dilemmas facing communication professionals and scholars through Anabaptist, other Christian, and non-Christian traditions of social ethics. Prerequisite: senior standing.

    COM 422 Special Topics in Communication (3)
    Provides an opportunity for sustained study of a particular theoretical, critical, or professional topic within communication.

    COM 425 Internship in Communication
    Provides an opportunity to apply communication skills either in a for-profit organization or a non profit agency. In consultation with an adviser from the Communication and Theatre Department, the student is assigned an organizational supervisor/evaluator at an appropriate business or agency to work at a level commensurate with the student's knowledge and experience. The student will work with the organizational representatives to develop a plan that accommodates the needs of the organization and recognizes the level of the student. Communicative skills that may be utilized in this experience include: public speaking, interviewing, writing, editing, human resource management, leadership in meetings or developing audio/video tools for the organization.

    Theatre Courses
    THE 223 Creative Drama (3)
    Seeks to develop imaginative and creative presentations of material and/or ideas through various classic art forms from the historic theatre. Experimental and experiential techniques such as interpretation, pantomime, improvisation, puppetry, body movement and voice development will be stressed. Classroom assignments will culminate in presentations in area elementary schools. Offered alternate years.

    THE 257 Oral Interpretation (3)
    Offers practice in the art of reading aloud. The course is designed to develop understanding of literature and the ability to share this insight with listeners. It also gives students an opportunity to plan an oral reading

    THE 258 Acting (3)
    Introduces the theory and technique of acting. Students participate in the use of the voice and body in short scenes from plays. Offered alternate years.

    THE 301 Play Production (3)
    Aids the student in preparing a play for performance. The course will deal with script selection and analysis, character analysis, set, lighting, costume and makeup design. The student will select a one-act play on which to apply the various principles necessary for production preparation. Laboratory experience required through technical work on the current campus theatre production.

    THE 302 Play Direction (3)
    Guides the student through the creative process of preparing aone-act play for performance. Casting, rehearsing and performance, followed by a written evaluation of that experience including audience response. Student directors create a prompt book and direct scripts of choice approved by instructor. One-act plays performed for college audience during "Night of One-Acts."

    THE 326 History of Theatre (3)
    Surveys stagecraft and acting from the Greek theatre to the present. This includes a study of one or more plays from each major era.
    THE 390 Independent Study (1-3)
    By arrangement.

    THE 390 Independent Study (1-3)
    By arrangement.