Undergraduate Catalog 2019-2021


Mary Jean Land, Chair and Professor
Professors: Scott Dillard (Rhetoric Program Coordinator), Jan Hoffmann
Associate Professors: Amy Burt, Kristin English
Assistant Professors: Angela Criscoe, Jamie Downing, Jim Schiffman, Christina Smith, Anan Wan
Senior Lecturer: Amanda Respess
Lecturer: Chad Whittle

Department Contact Information:
Georgia College
Department of Communication
Campus Box 32
Milledgeville, GA 31061
Chair, Mary Jean Land, maryjean.land@gcsu.edu
Administrative Assistant, Tommie Benton, tommie.benton@gcsu.edu
Administrative Assistant, Barbara Fleming, barbara.fleming@gcsu.edu

The mission of the Department of Communication encompasses the vision and goals of the university as a public liberal arts institution while providing students with a balance of theory and practical applications in mass communication and rhetoric. The Mass Communication major offers instruction in researching, writing, critical thinking, producing, and disseminating information through mass media. Our curriculum is designed to prepare graduates who are independent professional communicators with strong professional, research, theoretical, and critical thinking skills. It is the desire of the faculty and department to produce graduates who are capable of meeting the high standards of a constantly evolving world of media.

The major in Rhetoric assumes that the hallmark of an educated person includes the ability to speak clearly, eloquently, ethically, and effectively in order to promote the three central values of our University's liberal arts credo: reason, respect, and responsibility. The Rhetoric program facilitates student excellence in oral communication competence by providing theoretical and practical instruction emphasizing the following abilities: understanding the role of their rhetorical choices and behaviors within a variety of personal and professional contexts, audiences, and cultures; critically examining the ethical implications of their own and others' rhetorical communication choice making; understanding the factors that affect the potential success or failure of their oral communication efforts; and learning how to craft rhetorically effective messages. In short, the degree in Rhetoric allows students to develop a deep understanding of one of the cornerstones of the Liberal Arts curricula, the uses of communication.

Student Success

Earning a college degree is a significant milestone in one's life and requires tremendous effort. To enable students to achieve this goal, the faculty has developed a comprehensive program to help further each student's success.

For Mass Communication majors, freshman students are required to enroll in MSCM 0001 Mass Communication Freshman Seminar. This course provides students an overview about their chosen major in mass communication. It strives to expose freshman students to many of the university's resources, university and departmental policies and procedures, opportunities for advancement, and extra-curricular opportunities.

Mass Communication majors are required to complete two university practicums in order to be eligible for graduation. The practicum experience is designed to provide students with practical application of their skills within an area of Mass Communication. Students receive one hour of academic credit resulting in a letter grade assigned by their practicum supervisor. Practicums are completed on-campus; requirements, hours, and duties vary.

MSCM students are all required to complete one off-campus internship within the field of Mass Communication after they have completed all four of their MSCM skills courses and practicum courses. The internship experience is designed to provide MSCM students with practical application of their knowledge and skills in a professional setting. Students receive three hours of academic credit resulting in a letter grade assigned by the internship coordinator. Students are responsible for arranging their own internship with assistance from faculty and the Career Center.

Paths in Mass Communication

Mass Communication has three optional paths: Strategic Communication, Digital Media Production, and Journalism. These paths serve solely as guides for students in selecting classes and careers.

The Strategic Communication path includes opportunities in public relations and advertising including strategic planning, account management, social media and media planning and buying. Students who are interested in creative or management careers in the persuasive communication areas of public relations and advertising are encouraged to pursue this path. Students in this path have interned at BBDO, Home Depot, 22Squared, Ketchum, Jackson Spalding, Georgia Aquarium and a variety of corporate communication departments, creative agencies and nonprofit organizations nationally and internationally.

The Digital Media Production path includes opportunities in graphic design and video production for persuasive, informational and entertainment purposes. Students who are interested in creating graphics, logos, posters, and/or producing, directing, shooting video, recording audio, and editing for commercial, corporate, documentary, or narrative fiction, should pursue this path. Students in this path have interned at Adult Swim, Crazy Leg Productions, and various production studios and broadcast stations around the world.

The Journalism path includes cutting-edge platforms to report, write, record, shoot, edit, and produce ethical, inspiring journalism for diverse audiences. Classes focus on breaking news, public affairs, investigative, narrative, documentary, interactive, community, and sports journalism. Students pursuing careers in print, online, broadcast, or emerging media should pursue this path. Students in this path have interned at National Geographic, CNN, AJC, and various media outlets around the world.

To major in Rhetoric is to study and practice the most essential element of effective and ethical leadership, the art of strategic self-presentation through oral communication. Rhetoric courses are designed to be small, interactive, engaging, and challenging. Our faculty are devoted to ensuring that each student develops competence, confidence, creativity, and a well-honed critical facility in both speaking and listening in a variety of contexts customized to different audiences for different purposes. For Rhetoric majors, freshman are required to take a First-Year Academic Seminar (RHET 0001), in which you are introduced to the faculty and students who make up the departmental community. You will join with other first-year students to get an overview of the subject matter covered in the major, explore career possibilities, and develop techniques for getting the most out of your college courses and activities. You will also learn about departmental and university expectations, policies, and resources. Because the college experience at GC is more intense than at many other schools, we have designed the curriculum to help you each step of the way.

Rhetoric majors also complete a Senior Capstone Experience. This experience is met by completing RHET 4999-Undergraduate Research In addition, we are committed to offering the courses necessary to ensure that students who follow the program of study will graduate in four years. Toward that end, a typical four-year program of study has been developed, which serves as a guide each term for scheduling courses. Required courses are specified, then sequencing of courses is recommended. Students are advised to enroll in an average of 30 semester hours each year.

Career Information

The major in Mass Communication provides a varied background suitable for employment in any field of communication. Graduates are inclined to pursue employment opportunities with newspapers, radio or television stations, production companies and Internet design firms. Many Mass Communication graduates also become leaders in the fields of advertising, public relations and marketing. In particular, the Mass Communication major prepares students to work with the mass media.

The major in Rhetoric helps students develop flexible and cross-functional skills, including leadership, teamwork, problem-solving, and analytical thinking, as well as enhanced oral and written communication skills. These skills and habits of mind enable students to succeed in a wide variety of professions including not-for-profit organizing, mediation, politics, and consulting. People who majored in similar programs hold positions as managers, ministers and/or spiritual leaders, labor representatives, directors of not-for-profit organizations, communication trainers, mediators, campaign directors, research specialists, program coordinators, teachers, lawyers, and politicians.

Extracurricular Activities

The Colonnade, WGUR 95.3 FM Radio, GC360 News, Lambda Pi Eta (Student Honor Society), Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), Bobcat Media Productions, Society of Professional Journalists