Communication Studies


Confidence in the Classroom: Meeting the Workforce Head On

By Andrew Swisher

The tools that senior Laura Cantor has received through her studies in the department have served as a springboard for various opportunities, ranging from helping faculty with research to interning for Fortune 500 companies.


Media Portrayals of Women in the Military

By Andrew Swisher

Media convey truths to the public. But just how much truth is in their messages, and how effective are they in revealing the nature of the institutions they cover? Associate Professor Mary Vavrus seeks to answer this question by looking at the way the news and documentary media portray women in the military.


The Importance of Real Stakes: Benefiting the Community Through Service Learning

By Andrew Swisher

Sometimes the best kind of learning is the learning done outside of the classroom. Students in COMM 3411: Small Group Communication get the chance to explore challenging issues and generate innovative ideas and solutions outside of the academic setting.


Organizational Communication of Title IX: Bridging the Divide

By Andrew Swisher

Though one in five college women and nearly half of LGBT students are likely to experience sexual assault before graduation, in 2014, 91 percent of US campuses reported zero rapes. One of the central questions Professor Kate Lockwood Harris is dissecting is how colleges respond to sexual violence in the context of Title IX, a federal law that requires universities to prevent assault and investigate when it happens.


springboard for Achievement: Kiah Bennett

By Stephanie Ussatis 

“I became fascinated with the study of how, what, and why humans communicate the way they do. After I declared a communication studies major, I was excited (and slightly intimidated) by the versatility of a communications degree.” Kiah Bennett is a recent alumna whose motivation, hard work, and success are no secret to those around her. Her fascinations and aspirations are extensive and diverse and she gives credit to the Department of Communication Studies for permitting her to explore them.


minnesota’s Environmental Classroom

By Andrew Swisher

One of the greatest aspects of a liberal arts education at the University of Minnesota is the breadth of opportunities for students to actively engage with their communities. Professor Mark Pedelty has a passion for the environment, which is evident in his research on environmentalist movements and music. He shares his enthusiasm with undergraduate students through an environmental communication course that he teaches each spring.  


Music and the environment

By Stephanie Ussatis

When we think about the ways in which we can shape environmental health, sustainability, biodiversity, and environmental justice, music may not be the first topic that comes to mind. Communication studies researchers—like Professor Mark Pedelty—recognize this gap between musicology and environmental studies and are eager to fill it.


Giving volume to the voices of our youth


By Stephanie Ussatis

Catherine Squires and her students are partnering with youth to produce oral histories and community research.


Classroom born thesis

By Laura Cantor

This semester, a student in Professor Mark Pedelty’s class Environmental Communication took his senior project beyond the course’s lesson plan. Sam Petrov was so inspired by the course that he decided to continue exploring environmental communication in his honors thesis. He began by looking at Apple and corporate social responsibility, but later turned his focus toward electric cars.


communicating support

By Laura Cantor

Everyone has been in a situation where a partner, friend, or family member needs support. We all want to help and we all use different kinds of strategies to support one another. Department of Communication Studies Professor Susanne Jones is determined to understand what communication strategies are beneficial and supportive to our friends and loved ones.


classroom Lessons and Minnesota Urban Debate League

By Laura Cantor

This spring, COMM 1313W: Analysis of Argument, served as a pilot course to prepare forty students to be mentors and judges for middle school debate tournaments sponsored by the Minnesota Urban Debate Team (MNUDL). The department’s debate program is led by Dr. David Cram Helwich, who explains, “The program will enhance research and teaching by giving communication studies students opportunities to practically apply communications theories while evaluating, researching, and discussing public policy arguments.”