342 Morton Hall
Telephone: 256.824.6645
Email: comm@uah.edu

The Department of Communication Arts offers a comprehensive program of study leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree. Majors and minors gain practical, critical, historical, and theoretical perspectives on human communication, preparing them for work, for social life, and for further academic studies. The department offers courses in rhetoric, interpersonal communication, communication theory and research, social media, nonverbal communication, media writing, public relations, theatre, and other specialized communication contexts. 

The department of Communication Arts offers the following degree programs:

Program Objectives

The Department of Communication Arts offers a variety of classes that critically examine the public, professional, cultural and personal dimensions of human communication.  Our comprehensive program strategically weaves together core courses in the humanistic tradition of rhetorical theory and practice with social-scientific perspectives on communication.  This curriculum capitalizes on the field’s far-reaching theoretical span, having roots in ancient Greco-Roman civilizations, where rhetoric became the capstone of education and the lifeblood of civic activity, and having fertile branches in the communication media of the present and future. Our goal for the communication arts degree is to equip majors with the critical thinking skills necessary to insightfully interpret persuasive messages, carefully reflect on the relationship between humanity and persuasion, and effectively participate in a variety of communicative contexts. 

The department allows students to focus on traditional rhetorical studies, with emphasis on speech, textual criticism and argument; human communication, which explores and challenges communicative rules, theories, norms, and strategies in the personal practice of interpersonal communication; and media studies, which considers various genres and channels of communication in the age of new media. Students completing the degree in communication may pursue work in public relations, social media management, fund-raising, advertising, marketing, and other communication-intensive positions, or they may pursue law school or other graduate education.

As teachers, our department is committed to developing mentoring relationships with students and maintaining rigorous standards for the classroom. Our department also recognizes the symbiotic relationship between active research and creative teaching. Therefore we maintain a climate that encourages scholarly interaction through departmental meetings, academic conferences, and scholarly publication. Finally, our department takes seriously its service to the students, the university, the community, and the profession. Through course offerings and committees we serve the College of Business, the College of Education, the College of Science, the women's studies program, as well as other university departments and programs.

Major in Communication Arts

Minors in Communication Arts

CM 110 - VOICE AND DICTION

Semester Hours: 3

Examines and practices methods of adjusting vocal articulation, tone, pitch, pace, volume, resonance, and pronunciation for improving or changing voice quality and accents. Understanding the vocal instrument prepares students for acting and for positive self-presentation in the real world.

CM 113 - Intro to Rhetorical Communication

Semester Hours: 3

Develops public speaking skills through an examination of rhetorical theory, training, and practice. Includes informative, persuasive, and other forms of speeches to prepare students for oral presentations in college and post-college ("real world") settings.

CM 131 - ACTING TECHNIQUES I/CALHOUN

Semester Hours: 3

CM 205 - INTRO TO JOURNALISM

Semester Hours: 3

Focuses on basic news writing skills specific to print journalism. Students will learn to identify new based on news values, develop leads, organize information, write stories in the inverted pyramid style, revise drafts, and copy-edit articles, all while working under simulated deadline pressure.

CM 210 - WRITING FOR VISUAL MEDIA

Semester Hours: 3

This course offers an introduction to scriptwriting for a variety of media: commercials, PSAs, fiction films, documentaries, and the web. The art of "visual writing" is emphasized. Students produce scripts on their own while contributing to and critiquing the work of their fellow classmates. ed, communication medium. Prerequisites: EH 101, EH 102.

CM 220 - INTRO PUBLIC RELATIONS

Semester Hours: 3

This course is designed to introduce students to the public relations profession. Through study of rhetorical and communication strategies, individual and group projects, as well as speaking and writing experiences, students gain the knowledge necessary to actively participate as effective public relation professionals.

CM 231 - FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN COMMUNICA

Semester Hours: 3

Examines how human communication shapes and adapts to a variety of practical settings public, interpersonal, organizational, mass, and technical. It prepares students for effective work in various communication contexts.

CM 251 - DECISION-MAKING IN SMALL GROUP

Semester Hours: 3

Provides working knowledge of how small groups communicate in the decision-making process. Students put theory into practice by functioning as group participants, observers, and consultants. Emphasis is placed on leadership, theoretical application, group participation, and oral presentation.

CM 260 - VIDEO PRODUCTION

Semester Hours: 3

This course provides students with an opportunity to experience the process of video production through creative projects designed to stimulate the visual artist, summon the storyteller and create the video editor.

CM 303 - PRAC & RES TECHNICAL COMMUNICA

Semester Hours: 3

Provides an overview of technical communications as a career field and as a research field. Introduces students to best practices and career options in technical communications and to the research methods used by technical communication practitioners and researchers. Prerequisite: CM 301.

CM 310 - PERSUASION

Semester Hours: 3

Provides foundation in the theories, principles, and strategies of social influence through theory and application. Students explore persuasive communication, social influence, and compliance-gaining from a social-scientific level and examine the production and consumption of persuasive messages.

CM 313 - BUSINESS & PROFESSIONAL COMM

Semester Hours: 3

Examines communication theories and practices relevant to the business context with a focus on oral presentations, interviewing, group leadership, and face-to-face communication. Develops knowledge and skills necessary for effective communication within business environments. (Prepare business administration students to meet the oral communication requirement in upper division and graduate business courses).

CM 320 - PRACTICUM IN WRITING

Semester Hours: 1-3

Writing and editing under the supervision of professionals. May be repeated up to 3 times for no more than 3 hours total credit. Enrollment requires advance planning. Prerequisites: CM 301, 302, enrollment in the Technical Writing Track, and a successful interview with the participating technical supervisor.

CM 330 - NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION

Semester Hours: 3

Examines the diversity of human nonverbal behavior and its influences on everyday communication experiences. Same as PY 330.

CM 331 - COMMUNICATION THEORY

Semester Hours: 3

Examines significant theoretical frameworks for the study of human communication and mass communication. Develops knowledge of communication processes and social influence. Provides preparation for senior seminar in communication theory and research. Prerequisite: CM 231.

CM 333 - INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION

Semester Hours: 3

Examines the process of communication between individuals. Prerequisite: CM 231 or permission of instructor.

CM 334 - HIST OF AMERICAN CINEMA

Semester Hours: 3

CM 335 - SOCIAL MEDIA

Semester Hours: 3

This course focuses on uses and effects of social media in interpersonal, organizational, mass mediated, health, and political settings. Social media technologies take on many different forms including social networking sites, micro-blogging, wikis, online videos, and blogs. Following questions are discussed in class: Who uses social media? How do people use social media to develop relationships, get social support, and evoke political change? Is privacy dead? How do employers use social media to check on employees?.

CM 340 - SPEC TOPICS IN COMM ARTS

Semester Hours: 3

Topics announced in advance. Representative topics include rhetoric and war, technical theatre, and culture and communcation. May be repeated twice for credit.

CM 360 - ADVANCED VIDEO PRODUCTION

Semester Hours: 3

Advanced Video Production is an intensive video production course designed to integrate film theory and practice. Students will learn the technical and artistic necessities of the film and video medium. Through immersive lectures, workshops, projects, and exercises, students will gain valuable experience and know-how in this exciting, fast-paced, communication medium. Prerequisite: CM 260.

CM 370 - COMM RESEARCH METHODS

Semester Hours: 3

Examines social scientific concepts, theories and designs commonly used interpersonal communication research. Develops knowledge and skills necessary for employment in fields involving the study of communication behavior and perception. Provides preparation for senior seminar in communication theory and research. Prerequisite: CM 231.

CM 375 - RHETORICAL CRITICISM

Semester Hours: 3

This course is an introduction to the critical analysis of public discourse. Specifically, it focuses on understanding how the variables of situation, audience, and rhetoric influence the production and reception of public messages. Teaching students to undertand the persuasive potential of messages prepares them as critical consumers, analysts, and potential creators of such messages. Prerequisite: CM 113 or approval of instructor.

CM 400 - INTERNSHIP

Semester Hours: 1-6

Practical experience in the workplace allows the student to apply principles, theories, and skills learned in communication arts courses. Arranged by the student with consent of the chair, the student meets regularly with a faculty advisor, keeps a log of activities, and submits a report on the internship. Prerequisite: Senior Standing with CM major, and permission of instructor.

CM 405 - ADVANCED MEDIA WRITING

Semester Hours: 3

An upper level course that offers an overview of various media writing genres, including Broadcast, Advertising and Public Relations. Students complete a mix of timed assignments within each context to acquire a more complete survey of media writing and prepare for a career within the mass media. Prerequisite: CM 205.

CM 408 - CLASSICAL RHET THEORY

Semester Hours: 3

This course surveys the early development of rhetorical theory in the Western world, from its sophistic origins in the 5th century BCE, through the Greek philosophers and educators, to the Romans and early Christians. Prerequisites: CM 113.

CM 414 - CREATIVE NONFICTION WRITING

Semester Hours: 3

This course introduces students to the genre of creative non-fiction. Undergraduate students (CM414) will write five essays and revise toward a final writing portfolio.

CM 416 - WOMEN ORATORS

Semester Hours: 3

Critical examination of women's public address as it has developed through women's participation in movements for abolition, temperance, women's suffrage, and equal rights.

CM 418 - LEGAL ARGUMENT

Semester Hours: 3

Examines argumentation in legal communities, that is, the way lawyers and judges provide reasoned support for the positions they defend concerning what the law requires in a given case. It considers common forms of legal argument, sources and forms of evidence, and legal values that underlie legal argument. It provides students with a critical perspective from which to judge legal arguments and a basic set of tools for developing legal arguments.

CM 426 - BURKEIAN THEORY & CRITICISM

Semester Hours: 3

This course surveys key concepts in the theory of Kenneth Burke and their discussion and application by rhetorical scholars. Through readings, lectures, and class discussions students will gain insight into this, the most important rhetorical theorist of the 20th century. Prerequisite: Junior standing.

CM 430 - MASS MEDIA IN AMERICA

Semester Hours: 3

This course provides an overview of major forms of mass media communication. It focuses on both print and electronic media, its history and structure as well as on theories of mass communication. Students will become familiar with the current role and influence of media in society.

CM 431 - SR SEM COMM THEORY/RESEARCH

Semester Hours: 3

Senior capstone course involving either a scholarly project or an approved communication-intensive internship combined with a comprehensive examination. Prerequisites: CM 370 and CM 375, and senior standing.

CM 433 - DARK SIDE INTERPERSONAL COMM

Semester Hours: 3

Traditional Interpersonal Communication pedagogy focuses on more of the positive aspects of relationship formation and maintenence. This course offers a more complete view of human relationships by exploring a variety of topics related to the "darker" side of relationships situated in the contexts of friendships, family members, and intimates. By exploring issues such as deception, fatal attraction, jealousy and envy, conflict, stalking, abuse, and many others, students acquire a more complete view of human relationships. Prerequisite: CM 231.

CM 444 - ADVERTISING

Semester Hours: 3

This course will examine the emergence of advertising as a form of communication, its influence upon other forms of mediated communications and its impact upon culture and society. Students will learn how to develop and present an advertising strategy for an actual brand. Prerequisite: Junior standing.

CM 451 - ORGANIZATIONAL TRNG & DEVELOP

Semester Hours: 3

Provides upper-level undergraduates with the opportunity to learn how to design organizational training programs beginning with the needs assessment and continuing through the evaluation and implementation phases. Prerequisite: Junior standing.

CM 454 - NEW MEDIA WRITING & RHETORIC

Semester Hours: 3

This course teaches students to apply rhetorical principles across a variety of media and includes an examination of communication strategies used widely in academic and industry settings. The course focuses on new media through an exploration of digital technologies and the way digital culture and new media have dramatically impacted reading, writing, and research practices. Prerequisites: EH 101 and EH 102.

CM 455 - COMMUNICATION & CULTURE

Semester Hours: 3

This course focuses on the application of theory and research to intercultural communication. Topics and activities assist the students in developing communication skills that improve their competence in intercultural situations. By addressing the different world views that shape our perceptions, values, attitudes, and beliefs of different people, the Culture and Communication course challenges students to become aware of cultural differences, avoid ethnocentrism, and work toward effective communication with unalike others. Prerequisite: Junior standing.

Bell, Diana, Associate Professor, English, 1997, DA, Illinois State University.

Doty, Johnna, Lecturer, Theatre, 2012, MFA, Boston University.

Gilchrist-Petty, Eletra, Associate Professor, Communication Arts, 2008, PhD, University of Memphis.

Goodman, David, Lecturer, Communication Arts, 2016, MFA, University of North Texas.Research Interests: Documentary Film Production.Email: deg0008@uah.edu

McDavid, Nicole, Lecturer, Communication Arts, 2015, MA, Auburn University.Email: nbm0001@uah.edu

Rountree, J. Clarke, Professor, Communication Arts, 1993, PhD, University of Iowa.Research Interests: Rhetoric.

Scroggin, Kristin, Lecturer, Communication Arts, 2007, MA, University of Alabama.

Sheldon, Pavica, Assistant Professor, Communication Arts, 2011, PhD, Lousiana State University.