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Communication: Undergraduate Programs

Overview: 

The Communication (COMM) major provides students with communication skills that are useful for a variety of professional careers. Our mission is to provide students majoring in Communication with the ability to speak and write clearly and effectively, complete research to better understand the world around them, become critical consumers of information, and apply critical thinking skills to real world challenges.

Strong communication skills are reported as the number one requirement that organizations look for in recent graduates that they hire. Communication students go on to careers in education, business, social and human services, international relations, law, health, technology, politics and government, public relations, advertising and media.

The Department of Communication has approximately 900 undergraduate majors. COMM majors must pass the core introductory courses before advancing to the upper division theory courses. We currently have 12 full-time faculty members who are actively involved in department activities and teaching. A small number of adjunct faculty also teach undergraduate courses. Approximately 25 graduate students are currently enrolled, the majority of whom teach in the department. The department website is https://comm.arizona.edu/.

Expected Learning Outcomes: 

 

1. Understand the major theories in the field of communication.

2. Understand the different research methods used in communication research.

3. Understand quantitative communication research.

4. Be able to produce effective messages supported by research.

Assessment Activities: 

 

The undergraduate director, with the assistance of the COMM 101, 228, and 300 instructors will assemble/compile the relevant exam and assignment data for each learning outcome. The undergraduate director, along with the COMM undergraduate advisors, will assemble/compile the relevant COMM Major Declaration & Graduation/Exit survey results for each learning outcome.

 

1. Understand the major theories in the field of communication.

 

-Direct measure: COMM 101 (Intro), 300 (Theory) exam items

COMM 101 exam items measuring theory knowledge*

COMM 300 exam items measuring theory knowledge*

*To maintain exam item integrity/security, exam items are not reported on the Assessment website.

 

-Indirect measure: COMM Major Declaration & Graduation/Exit survey

 

-Social Penetration Theory is about:

a. New technology

b. Interpersonal relationships

c. Mass media effects

d. Communication in organizations

e. I don’t know

 

-Cultivation theory predicts that

a. People who visit their doctor with an agenda will receive better health care

b. People who receive social support from their spouse will live longer

c. People who watch a lot of TV will think there is more crime in the world than people who watch little TV.

d. Supervisors who provide constructive criticism will have more productive employees

e. I don’t know

 

2. Understand the different research methods used in communication research.

 

-Direct measure: COMM 101 (Intro), 228 (Research Methods) exam items

COMM 101 exam items measuring research methods*

COMM 228 exam items measuring research methods*

*To maintain exam item integrity/security, exam items are not reported on the Assessment website.

 

-Indirect measure: COMM Major Declaration & Graduation/Exit survey

 

-An examination of whether women are portrayed negatively in Disney cartoons is an example of what type of research?

a. Experiment

b. Survey

c. Ethnography

d. Content analysis

e. I don’t know

 

-Which of the following distinguishes quantitative and qualitative research?

a. Whether or not the research is funded

b. If it counts for extra credit

c. Approval of the research by an institutional review board

d. The use of numbers

e. I don’t know

 

3. Understand quantitative communication research.

 

-Direct measure: COMM 101 (Intro), 228 (Research Methods) exam items

COMM 101 exam items measuring quantitative communication research*

COMM 228 exam items measuring quantitative communication research*

*To maintain exam item integrity/security, exam items are not reported on the Assessment website.

 

-Indirect measure: COMM Major Declaration & Graduation/Exit survey

 

-If two variables are positively correlated, then:

a. As one variable increases in size, so does the other

b. As one variable increases in size, the other decreases

c. The variables are related, but there isn’t enough information to determine how

d. Changes in one variable cause changes in the other variable

e. I don’t know

 

-Which of the following distinguishes quantitative and qualitative research?

a. Whether or not the research is funded

b. If it counts for extra credit

c. Approval of the research by an institutional review board

d. The use of numbers

e. I don’t know

 

-During your COMM coursework so far, how many COMM research studies have you participated in, either for credit or extra credit in a course?

a. 0

b. 1-2

c. 3-4

d. 5-6

e. 7 or more

 

4. Be able to produce effective messages supported by research.

 

-Direct measure: COMM 101 (Intro), 300 (Theory) assignments

COMM 101 assignment*

COMM 300 assignment*

*To maintain assignment integrity/security, assignment questions are not reported on the Assessment website.

 

-Indirect measure: COMM Graduation/Exit survey

 

-The COMM major taught me how to produce effective messages supported by research.

a. Strongly Agree

b. Agree

c. Neither agree nor disagree

d. Disagree

e. Strongly Disagree

 

COMM Major Declaration Survey Items

 

1. Social Penetration Theory is about:

a. New technology

b. Interpersonal relationships

c. Mass media effects

d. Communication in organizations

e. I don’t know

 

2. If two variables are positively correlated, then:

a. As one variable increases in size, so does the other

b. As one variable increases in size, the other decreases

c. The variables are related, but there isn’t enough information to determine how

d. Changes in one variable cause changes in the other variable

e. I don’t know

 

3. An examination of whether women are portrayed negatively in Disney cartoons is an example of what type of research?

a. Experiment

b. Survey

c. Ethnography

d. Content analysis

e. I don’t know

 

4. Cultivation theory predicts that

a. People who visit their doctor with an agenda will receive better health care

b. People who receive social support from their spouse will live longer

c. People who watch a lot of TV will think there is more crime in the world than people who watch little TV.

d. Supervisors who provide constructive criticism will have more productive employees

e. I don’t know

 

5. Which of the following distinguishes quantitative and qualitative research?

a. Whether or not the research is funded

b. If it counts for extra credit

c. Approval of the research by an institutional review board

d. The use of numbers

e. I don’t know

 

6. During your COMM coursework so far, how many COMM research studies have you participated in, either for credit or extra credit in a course?

a. 0

b. 1-2

c. 3-4

d. 5-6

e. 7 or more

 

COMM Graduation/Exit Survey Items

 

1. Social Penetration Theory is about:

a. New technology

b. Interpersonal relationships

c. Mass media effects

d. Communication in organizations

e. I don’t know

 

2. If two variables are positively correlated, then:

a. As one variable increases in size, so does the other

b. As one variable increases in size, the other decreases

c. The variables are related, but there isn’t enough information to determine how

d. Changes in one variable cause changes in the other variable

e. I don’t know

 

3. An examination of whether women are portrayed negatively in Disney cartoons is an example of what type of research?

a. Experiment

b. Survey

c. Ethnography

d. Content analysis

e. I don’t know

 

4. Cultivation theory predicts that

a. People who visit their doctor with an agenda will receive better health care

b. People who receive social support from their spouse will live longer

c. People who watch a lot of TV will think there is more crime in the world than people who watch little TV.

d. Supervisors who provide constructive criticism will have more productive employees

e. I don’t know

 

5. Which of the following distinguishes quantitative and qualitative research?

a. whether or not the research is funded

b. if it counts for extra credit

c. approval of the research by an institutional review board

d. the use of numbers

e. I don’t know

 

6. During your COMM coursework so far, how many COMM research studies have you participated in, either for credit or extra credit in a course?

a. 0

b. 1-2

c. 3-4

d. 5-6

e. 7 or more

 

7. The COMM major taught me how to produce effective messages supported by research.

a. Strongly Agree

b. Agree

c. Neither agree nor disagree

d. Disagree

e. Strongly Disagree

Assessment Findings: 

Our most recent findings associated with each learning outcome are below. We continue to collect assessment data in our COMM Major Declaration (Time 1) and COMM Major Graduation/Exit (Time 2) surveys. Summary survey results are presented at the end of this section.

LEARNING OUTCOME #1. Understand the major theories in the field of communication.

Direct measures of COMM 101 and COMM 300 exam items measuring theory knowledge indicated that this learning outcome was sufficiently achieved.

Indirect measures indicated that from the COMM Major Declaration to the COMM Major Graduation/Exit survey the percentage of correct responses about communication theories increased from 46% to 73%.

LEARNING OUTCOME #2. Understand the different research methods used in communication research.

Direct measures of COMM 101 and COMM 228 exam items measuring research method knowledge indicated that this learning outcome was sufficiently achieved.

Indirect measures indicated that from the COMM Major Declaration to the COMM Major Graduation/Exit survey the percentage of correct responses about research methods increased from 59% to 78%.

LEARNING OUTCOME #3. Understand quantitative communication research.

Direct measures of COMM 101 and COMM 228 exam items measuring quantitative research indicated that this learning outcome was sufficiently achieved.

Indirect measures indicated that from the COMM Major Declaration to the COMM Major Graduation/Exit survey the percentage of correct responses about quantitative communication research increased from 62% to 81%. In the case of research participation, the data indicated that 82% of graduating COMM students participated in either 5-6 or 7 or more studies. On the COMM Major Declaration survey, the most common response, 45% of new COMM majors, indicated that they had not participated in any studies.

LEARNING OUTCOME #4. Be able to produce effective messages supported by research.

Direct measures of COMM 101 and COMM 300 assignments indicated that this learning outcome was sufficiently achieved.

Indirect measures indicated that 97% of students indicated on the COMM Major Graduation/Exit survey that the either “agreed” or strongly agreed” that the COMM major taught them how to produce effective messages supported by research. Two percent of respondents neither agreed nor disagreed and one respondent strongly disagreed.

2015-2017 Survey Responses

T1 (Social Penetration Declaration); N = 856 Responses

T2 (Social Penetration Graduation/Exit); N = 276 Responses

 

T1 (Correlation Declaration); N = 856 Responses

T2 (Correlation Graduation/Exit); N = 276 Responses

T1 (Content Analysis Declaration); N = 856 Responses

T2 (Content Analysis Graduation/Exit); N = 276 Responses

 

T1 (Cultivation Declaration); N = 856 Responses

T2 (Cultivation Graduation/Exit); N = 276 Responses

 

 

T1 (Quantitative Declaration); N = 856 Responses

T2 (Quantitative Graduation/Exit); N = 276 Responses

 

 

T1 (Research Participation Declaration); N = 856 Responses

T2 (Research Participation Graduation/Exit); N = 276 Responses

T2 (Message Effectiveness Graduation/Exit); N = 276 Responses

 

 

Change in Response to Findings: 

The assessment data collected over the past three years supports the learning outcomes we are attempting to teach at the undergraduate level. The last two years of assessment data is consistent with the data we collected in year one (2014-2015). We will continue to collect and analyze assessment data and consider the implications of those findings to inform whether changes are necessary at the undergraduate level. At present no changes to the undergraduate curriculum are warranted.

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Updated date: Thu, 07/13/2017 - 15:40