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Communication Studies

From left, the Augustana Observer staff at work in Old Main; Haley Fox, Jake Norcia and Ashley Wolfe trying out the broadcast desk at WQAD-TV; and Kyle Soyer at the Observer's end-of-year awards ceremony holding awards he and the Observer photography staff won from the Illinois College Press Association. Soyer '14 is teaching English in France.

  • Careers/internships
  • About the program
  • What students say

Employers hire people who communicate well. In a 2013 survey of executives nearly all agreed that critical thinking, communication and problem-solving skills are essential in new hires.

Communication graduates have the skills employers want. Majors are taught to think about their audience, to ask intelligent questions and to find answers on their own. 

Graduates pursue careers in business and industry, education and the non-profit sector. About 95% who have applied to graduate schools have been accepted, most with financial support in the form of free tuition.

Communication studies majors have had internships in a wide variety of non-profit, for-profit, and governmental organizations, including the Girl Scouts, Unity Regional Healthcare, Walt Disney World, Congress and the U.S. Senate.

Recent grads:

Lauren Gebhardt '13 is a public relations assistant at Zeno Group, Chicago.

Sarahbeth Jones '13 is a communications specialist with the State of Virginia Department of Health.

Rachel Lenke '13 is studying for a master's degree in public policy at Loyola University of Chicago.

Augustana offers a major and minor in communication studies. The department also has a related major and minor in multimedia journalism and mass communication. A major for teaching speech communication-language arts in housed in the Department of Education.

The curriculum is focused on thinking, writing and speaking with reason and passion. Almost all courses use discussion as a teaching tool, and students are encouraged to express their views.

Classes range from 10-35 students. Students tailor their studies to their goals, choosing from diverse academic areas ranging from rhetorical criticism to interpersonal communication to intercultural communication. Every major engages in Senior Inquiry research, and they regularly present research at conventions of the National Communication Association and Central States Communication Association.

Faculty members specialize in a range of areas, including media studies, rhetoric, interpersonal communication, public speaking, education and organizational communication.

The department is housed in Old Main, the central academic building on campus. The 1889 building underwent a $13 million renovation in 2013. Communication studies and multimedia journalism students take classes in a 20-computer multimedia Mac lab and benefit from other freshly updated spaces. Student media are clustered together on the same floor, with new, dedicated spaces for the student newspaper, The Observer, and the campus radio station, WAUG.

Faculty offices are clustered nearby the classrooms and student media, making informal interactions with students a central part of the department's atmosphere. Interspersed between the classrooms, student media, and faculty offices are sitting areas for student meetings and computer kiosks for students.

Amber Dalgaard '15, communication studies and psychology, minor in Spanish; Customer experience coordinator for The Creative Group,
Inc., a corporate event planning agency

"Augustana had opportunities no other school could offer. I was happy that I would be able to choose a major but still learn from and interact with individuals from all majors because of the liberal arts focus. I loved the atmosphere on campus, the beautifulscenery and the many ways Augie seemed to go above and beyond for their students.

I am way past where I thought I would be. I never would have guessed that I was going to see Ecuador, Malaysia and Panama. I didn't expect to have six amazing internships, join a sorority, get involved on campus while still playing volleyball AND graduate a trimester early on top of that with a double major and minor. I have grown so much as a person and am more prepared than I ever thought I would be to enter the workforce."

Kerry Robbins '15, communication studies and psychology; Graduate student at East Carolina University working toward becoming a certified child life specialist

"Every experience during my time at Augie has added something to my time here. Two highlights are my experience in Houston, Texas, this past summer as an intern for the Children's Art Project through the Texas Medical Summer Research Internship Program, and my participation in St. Baldrick's.

For my internship, I was given the opportunity to spend 11 weeks in a beautiful city with a fantastic group of fellow Augie students, at an organization that built my skills and personal values/goals.

My participation in St. Baldrick's was something I felt called to do the beginning of my sophomore year. It spurred my passion to work in a field with children battling cancer and other terminal illnesses."

Chrissy Kunkel '14, communication studies and English; Graduate student in communication studies at University of Colorado Denver

"I chose Augustana because of its strong reputation as an academic institution and the small size that facilitates closer relationships between students
and faculty.... I have had two peak experiences at Augustana. Studying abroad in Ireland was educational, beautiful and taught me so much about the world and our own society. A second peak experience was my summer research fellowship studying representations of female empowerment in
HBO's "Game of Thrones." The school funded a trip to Marist College in New York so I could present my research at the Women & Society Conference, which was such a rewarding experience."

Sarahbeth Jones '13, communication studies and English; Communications specialist with the State of Virginia Department of Health

"I chose Augustana after realizing the tight-knit, inviting community I recognized here is not found at many colleges. Each of my professors and coaches has helped shape me in some way or another. I feel blessed and grateful to have worked with each one of them. I used Augie Choice as a stipend for a public relations internship at Junior Achievement of the Heartland in Moline. The professional experience was extremely useful for my résumé."

Robert Self '11, communication studies and German; Marketing communications coordinator at Messe Düsseldorf North America

"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 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."

 

Shaping their futures through lessons in Africa

The friendship between a student and his mentor brought about a program that makes life-changing learning experiences in Africa open to more students. Augustana Transformative Learning and Service (ATLAS) is a $2,000 grant that can be used with Augie Choice or independently.

Alumna launching nonprofit for women's growth

From her days in Campus Ministries to her Civic Engagement project to living in the Quad Cities, Melissa Pepper '09 has always felt called to lead. Using her communication studies and English degree as the Director of Marketing and Client Relations at the law firm Lane & Waterman in Davenport, Iowa, the Augustana grad is preparing to launch her own non-profit: Lead(H)er.

Missavage '04 has fingers crossed for student

Art teacher Kristin Missavage '04 Thomas introduced the Doodle 4 Google contest to her school and one of her third-graders won the Illinois competition. She now advances onto the national level. Thomas majored in art and communication studies at Augustana, then received an art education certification and masters in art education from Northern Illinois University in 2009.
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