About the program
- Augustana College offers a major and minor in communication studies, a major for teaching speech communication language arts and a major and minor in multimedia journalism and mass communication. The nine full-time and three part-time faculty specialize in a range of areas, including media studies, rhetoric, interpersonal communication, public speaking, education and organizational communication -- providing students many opportunities for networking and making connections.
Alicia Matuszewski, general manager of WAUG student radio, and Jeff Chin, WAUG program director.
- Recognized early for the excellence of its programming, Augustana's communication studies department was the very first recipient of the National Communication Association's prestigious Rex Mix: Program of Excellence award.
- The faculty are committed to a curriculum focused on thinking, writing and speaking with both reason and passion. Almost all courses use discussion as a teaching tool, and students are encouraged to express their views in terms of the text or topic as well as personal values and priorities. Each student learns to rise to the challenge (and recognize the fun) of active dialogue, and to develop and communicate his or her ideas in a group setting. Communication classes range from 10 to 35 students.
- Students tailor their studies to their goals, choosing from diverse academic areas ranging from rhetorical criticism to interpersonal communication to intercultural communication. All communication students integrate study of innovative
converged media with traditional reporting, writing and ethics; multimedia journalism students are prepared for the rapidly changing field of mass communication.
- All Augustana students complete Senior Inquiry, a capstone project that draws from their comprehensive learning experience and demonstrates specific knowledge in their field as well as benefit to a community. Working closely with a faculty member, communication students may complete a research study, complete a professional media internship, develop a project for the community or create a converged media portfolio. At the end of their Senior Inquiry, students have a dynamic portfolio of work to help open doors to graduate school or employment.
Outside the classroom
- Because it is an extensive media market with a variety of opportunities, the Quad-Cities community is an ideal setting for communication interests. Students take internships at several television and radio stations, two full-time publishing
newspapers and online news sources. Sports teams, public relations and human resource departments, and not-for-profit organizations throughout the area seek out Augustana students as interns.
- Augustana's more than 150 campus organizations provide dynamic preparation for communication students. Besides our student-run on-campus radio station WAUG 97.9 FM and student newspaper, The Observer, the college has an NPR-affiliate radio station WVIK 90.3 FM, which broadcasts in western Illinois and eastern Iowa. Clubs such as Web Guild and ADs (Advertising Developers) are popular with our majors.
- Augustana's debate program is one of the most respected in the country, ranking in the top 10 colleges and universities that have qualified for the National Debate Tournament.
- Augustana's chapter of Lambda Pi Eta (LPH), the national honors association, has been busy giving back to both the Augustana and Quad City area communities. Their service projects have included activities in the QCA such as Operation Read where they read to kids at Rock Island Math and Science Academy's after school program, Adopt a Classroom where they provided Christmas gifts for a class at Longfellow Elementary, and volunteering at Friendly House, a local settlement house providing numerous services to Quad City residents. Within the Augustana community, LPH has offered speech workshops to help students prepare and practice speeches and presentations, along with continuously promoting the department in order to help the program to grow and succeed as a whole.
- Employers and graduate programs value graduates who combine clear thinking with effective communication and creative problem-solving, and look for leaders who can approach issues using more than one perspective. These are the qualities Augustana College generally promotes in every student, and specifically builds through the communication studies program. Designed to prepare students for graduate study, the communication studies program has seen many of its graduates earn PhDs and many more complete graduate or professional degrees.
- Communication studies has a long tradition of graduating students who pursue careers in business, public relations, teaching, journalism and other media. They have found their life's work in such roles as advertising copy writer, human resources manager, lobbyist, media relations specialist, radio/TV journalist, teacher, speech writer, TV and
film producer, production manager, media buyer, editor, news photographer, event coordinator, and many more.
What students say
Dana Kau '05, double major, communication studies and art history:
"The Communication Studies department was a natural choice for me. My father had told me since I could talk that nothing was more important than having a command of the English language. The department is wonderfully disciplined and passionate about making sure students THINK about what is being communicated to them and from them everyday. The choice of this major specifically at Augie has greatly impacted my ability to move up the ladder in my career as well as impacting my daily life and interactions."
Alyssa Ali '09, double major, communication studies and political science:
"The communication studies department at Augustana has prepared me for my field better than anyone could imagine. Not only did I learn about techniques on- and off-camera, but I learned how to communicate within the workplace and speak well in front of people. As a junior I became the sports director for WAUG and commented basketball games, and as a senior I became the General Manager of WAUG and was able to broadcast shows and events. My advisor also helped me get an internship at WQAD, the local ABC news affiliate. The communication studies department fostered my interest in the broadcasting field and nurtured it into professional opportunities."
Robbin Cooley '10, communication studies and psychology majors, German minor:
"This winter I will be interning in Sydney, Australia. This is a great opportunity because it will provide me with insight into the working world while living in one of the most beautiful places on earth. I will travel with students from Augustana who are also interested in exploring career opportunities and who have the same work ethic and enthusiasm as I do. The internship and international program will be a challenging experience and a great way to exercise personal growth as well as strengthen bonds with my peers. Augustana's communication studies program offers a lot of opportunities for students to gain practical experience, which definitely provides more opportunities for job placement after graduation."
Emilee Goad '11, double major, communication studies and psychology, sociology minor:
"The communication studies department not only prepared me for my field, but also life after Augie. Every course challenged my critical thinking skills and pushed me to do better than I could have imagined. The experiences I had both in and out of the classroom provided me with great knowledge and confidence to move forward in my life and become the person I am today."
Recent alumni now in graduate school
Robert Self '11 (studying and teaching at Illinois State University)
"Augustana's Communication Studies Department more than prepared me for graduate school — setting me up for success. The courses were fun, engaging, and rewarding, giving me the knowledge and inspiration to set my sights high, not only as a researcher, but also as an instructor. My senior project allowed me the freedom to focus on my interests, and interact with a dynamic set of individuals to help guide me along the way. And let's not forget the mental, emotional, and moral support of the professors! They truly made the program great."
Lynnsey Zimmerman '11 (studying and teaching at Illinois State University)
"Looking back at my experience at Augustana, the communication faculty truly helped me to succeed in college and thus far in grad school because I was not just challenged intellectually, but personally as well. The faculty pushed me to go above and beyond my abilities, challenge my boundaries, and broaden my horizons. Once I got to grad school I realized that because of all of this I was ahead of my fellow classmates. My communication classes not only challenged me to think critically, but the concepts used in the classroom had real world application, such as in my two internship experiences. I gained valuable knowledge, insight, and experience which has prepared me and will help me not only in the job market, but throughout life."