About the Department

The key word in our departmental identity is strategic.  But what does that word mean in relation to our curriculum? It means the use of communication that is based on sensitivity toward organizational and environmental realities; that is planned, focused and disciplined; that is grounded in rigorous fact-finding and systematic research; and that is geared toward understanding, managing and enhancing organizational relationships. Such communication does not occur willy-nilly. And, invariably, the communication is within and between organizations and between them and their key publics, constituents or dominant coalitions.

 

From the Chair

Welcome to the Department of Strategic Communication, one of four departments in the School of Media and Communication.  A defining element of our department is its vibrant environment, which nurtures in our students a high level of can-do demeanor.  Consequently, they are inspired and motivated to develop attributes associated with what may be dubbed the three C’s of an effective communication practitioner: creativity, competence, curiosity.

Another defining element of our department is its professional emphasis: we integrate the growing demands of a first-rate educational program into those of the changing, evolving landscape of the professions.  Nearly all of our faculty members have a professional record in corporations, state and federal government agencies and nonprofit organizations.  We deepen and broaden our students’ experience by bringing to the classroom skills and practices our faculty members continue to learn and to develop from fieldwork.  And we do all those things with a demonstrated passion for the overarching importance of a global education for globalizing organizations.  Our faculty members teach and consult not only in the United States, but also in far-flung places in Africa, in Europe, and in the Far East.

Yet another key element is our exceptional group of students whose diverse perspectives and worldviews energize classroom discussions, guide scholarly inquiry, and frame client-centered communication projects and campaigns.

Our department has four concentrations:

  • general sequence in strategic communication
  • organizational leadership
  • public relations
  • rhetoric and public advocacy

If your passion calls for combining elements across the sequences in our department, you may find the general sequence appropriate for your needs.

If your interest is in building and leading effective virtual and traditional teams in organizational settings, consider focusing on organizational leadership.  If, however, you do not plan to major in strategic communication, you may minor in organizational leadership by taking six required courses, for 18 credits.

If your focus is on how organizations (or institutions) can communicate strategically with their disparate publics, constituents or stakeholders; on how fundraising and membership drives are managed; on how organizations can prevent, manage or communicate about crises constructively; and on how integrated marketing communication can best be used to meet the strategic goals of a campaign, the public relations sequence may be your concentration of choice.  Our public relations concentration has been recognized nationally by leading industry publications such as PRWeek for providing students with an academic foundation, along with unparalleled strategic communication skills.

And if your goal is to influence society through, say, political campaigns, social movements, public advocacy, grassroots activism, and democratic citizenship, then you may want to concentrate on rhetoric and public advocacy.

Regardless of your curricular interest, our department’s four core courses will provide you with a solid foundation in strategic communication writ large.

Our department also awards a master of science degree in communication management and participates in a schoolwide doctoral program in mass media and communication.  Both graduate programs foster in our students a lifelong commitment to innovation and inquiry.

As you explore this website, I hope you will learn more of what I have learned since joining the faculty in 2006: that we have a curriculum designed to prepare you to manage the mammoth challenges of organizational communication, and to expose you to the countless professional opportunities in an increasingly competitive marketplace; and that we have enthusiastic educators dedicated to, and enamored with, excellence in communication education on a global scale.

And I also hope you will contact us if you have additional questions on our offerings or schedule a visit to come talk with us.

 

Cornelius B. Pratt, Ph.D., APR
Professor and Chair