Spring, summer and fall 2011 may hold upperclassmen’s last chance to take Fundamentals of Communication (COMS 111), said Dr. Lynette Sharp-Penya, associate professor of communication.
COMS 111 is being replaced by Foundations for Speech and Rhetoric, or COMS 211, listed this school year as COMS 240, as a part of the new core curriculum. Students under a pre-2010 degree plan who have put off filling their speech requirement and want to take COMS 111 must do so by fall 2011, Sharp-Penya said.
“If they don’t sign up for COMS 111, they can still graduate,” Sharp-Penya said. “These students can take COMS 211, which will be a great course.”
The speech requirement of ACU’s pre-2010 core curriculum can be fulfilled by either COMS 111 or COMS 211, but the new core can only be filled by COMS 211, said Dr. Joe Cardot, chair of the Department of Communication. COMS 211’s unique philosophy will make it a much harder course to be able to transfer in from another school, Cardot said.
COMS 211 focuses more on public speaking and rhetoric than COMS 111, which provides a selective sampling of the field of communication. COMS 211 has been placed as a sophomore-level class with ENG 111 and ENG 112 as prerequisites.
“We’re going a lot further with this new course that will teach peopleÂ more about persuasion and campaigns than just oral communication,” Cardot said. “Anyone that could take it would benefit from them, but it’s not required for anyone but freshmen.”
COMS 211 will require students to give five speeches on personal and community values and on issues at the community, national and international level, Cardot said.
“By the end of it they will have a better understanding of themselves and how they can function in their world,” Cardot said. “It’s going to be more of an integral part of the new core.”
Cardot said he hoped that moving the communication class to the sophomore year would allow students to come in more prepared for the rigor of the course and more aware of the importance of communication in careers after college.
Sharp-Penya said she was ecstatic to teach a more in-depth course, but she also wished the new core had a communication class for freshmen, because studies show that the classes reduce communication apprehension.
“There’s a good reason to keep that in the freshman level,” Sharp-Penya said. “Research shows that there’s an inverse relationship between communication apprehension and retention.”
COMS 211 will be finalized this semester, Cardot said. He also said while ACU will offer only a few COMS 111 sections next fall, the issue is still under discussion.