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Communication Studies

Welcome to the Communication Studies Department!

How many times have you sat in a college class and wondered:

  • Why should I study communication? I've been communicating all my life!
  • I already know how to do it, don't I?
  • What does this have to do with my life?

Well, communication plays a central role in your personal, academic, and professional success. Relationships are often our greatest sources of joy and/or pain. Regardless of your career choice, others often judge your effectiveness, at least in part, by your communication skills. You may have effective skills, but each of us could improve.

Researchers have found that college students spend on average 61% of their waking hours engaged in some form of communication! Most of us are surrounded by others, trying to understand them and hoping they understand us. Communication affects the quality of your relationships, which in turn affects the very quality of your life. Communication truly matters and the need for competent communication is significant.

Take a look at our course offerings. We are a diverse department with many options. We offer more courses in communication studies than some four-year schools - take advantage while you are here! We want to help you develop your communication knowledge and skills.

We offer four Certificates of Achievement. These signify you have a concentrated area of study in communication. Employers look for people with competent communication skills. Any of us in the department would be happy to speak with you about our courses and certificates; go to the faculty page to find out how to contact us.

You can hire people to do all kinds of things for you...

  • fix your car
  • do your taxes
  • take care of your kids
  • prepare your meals

...however, you can never hire anyone to communicate for you. You have to know how to do that for yourself.

So start improving your communication today!

Outcome Goal

Students who successfully pass Communication Studies coursework should improve their ability to create, organize, present, and adapt effective verbal and nonverbal messages for diverse audiences. In addition, they should improve their ability to listen actively, comprehend, and efficiently synthesize verbal and nonverbal information.

Mission Statement

Communication Studies focuses on developing students' comprehension of the relationship between messages and audiences in many different communication contexts. These include intrapersonal, interpersonal, small group, public speaking, and intercultural settings.

Relationships depend on the ability to create shared meaning. Communication competence enhances relationships and lives. It is difficult to imagine any human activity untouched by communication.

Communication Studies courses promote a well-rounded education. Whether a student desires to transfer to a university, to complete an Arts and Sciences degree (A.A.), or to attain a professional/technical degree (A.A.S.), this discipline offers an understanding of the communication skills necessary to succeed in life. It helps to produce individuals capable of flourishing in a complex world.

Students engaged in these courses of study should:

  • Understand the general nature and process of communication
  • Understand basic theories of human communication
  • Understand how critical thinking and social research relate to Communication Studies
  • Understand that communication is a choice with consequences
  • Use verbal and nonverbal messages effectively
  • Listen and respond thoughtfully to others
  • Learn to adapt to others' messages
  • Become aware of personal strengths and weaknesses as communicators, while learning ways to reduce weaknesses
  • Understand how to create meaningful personal and professional relationships
  • Understand how communication skills advance probabilities of success at four-year schools
  • Understand how to increase employment opportunities for job success
  • Understand the diverse message systems around the world


All course offerings are subject to change. The college cannot guarantee class offerings, designated times or specific instructors - as funding levels and student interest may affect whether or not an offering is available.

Click on the course title to view course description.

Course Title Credits
CMST& 101Introduction to Communication 5.0
CMST 103Effective Listening 3.0
CMST 111Voice and Articulation I 4.0
CMST 112Voice and Articulation II 4.0
CMST 113Voice and Articulation III 4.0
CMST 120Communication For College Success 3.0-5.0
CMST 121Job Communication Skills 2.0-5.0
CMST 127Leadership Development 3.0-5.0
CMST& 210Interpersonal Communication 5.0
CMST& 220Public Speaking 5.0
CMST 226Gender Communication 5.0
CMST 227Intercultural Communication 5.0
CMST 229Argumentation and Debate 5.0
CMST& 230Small Group Communication 5.0
CMST 250Managing Conflict Through Communication 5.0
CMST 280Public Relations 5.0
CMST 287Business and Professional Communication 3.0-5.0
CMST 294Special Topics in Speech Communication 3.0-5.0
Browse additional programs in the CCS Online Catalog.
Tips for Success

Success Tips

Standards for Student Success in Communication Studies Courses


To Our Students:

Welcome to the Communication Studies Department! Your instructor may share these expectations with you. These norms for success address attitudes beyond the good practices you may have acquired. Some of these are routine but sometimes unstated premises that operate in healthy classrooms. Noting expectations early in the quarter will help you to be a successful learner, provide benefits for other students in the class, save time, and assist your instructor in conducting effective class sessions that offer every student the opportunity to be acknowledged as a productive course participant.

Your instructor will discuss variances in the expectations with you. We hope you will talk to your instructor about your expectations as well. The most constructive classroom environment will be one that encompasses the best that everyone - instructor and students alike - can offer to produce a positive learning experience, and that is what Spokane Community College is all about.

The Communication Studies Faculty
at Spokane Community College

Ten Ways to Help Yourself

Adapted from Ron Adler, Santa Barbara City College
  1. Attend classes regularly, be on time, and stay for the entire class period. In most courses, students receive attendance credit/points, but the points are less important on a day-to-day basis than what you will miss when absent and what your classmates will lose in not having your discussion contributions. Late-comers are a distraction to everyone. Anticipate challenges and try to plan for them.
  2. Participate in class discussion. Some courses have participation points and others do not. Your discussion contributions are important in either case. Be a positive force in your classroom interaction. Ask questions, express your opinions, and make yourself known as someone who is actively involved.
  3. Use the instructor's office hours. This time is set aside explicitly for you to talk with your teachers. You don't have to come with a monumental issue or problem (although these are good times to drop by). Students often use office hours to:
    1. introduce themselves to the instructor
    2. provide important information about unique challenges such as learning disabilities, child care issues, and potential conflicts with work responsibilities outside the college; a casual visit may produce positive results on both sides
    3. ask questions about course material and/or discuss individual problems
      In many cases, the instructor will never know your concerns unless you speak up.
  4. Try to avoid speaking with your instructor about significant issues immediately before and after class as (s)he is trying to either get everything ready for one class or prepare for the one starting in 10 minutes. Use office hours, email, or telephone messages to contact the instructor on important items. The SCC voicemail system allows you 24-hour access. We will return calls promptly if we are not in when you call. (Leave your name and phone number.)
  5. Understand that instructional memory is not flawless. Many of us have 75 students or more per quarter. It is hard to recall all the details of your class performance without help. If you want to discuss, for example, your progress from one assignment to the next, bring along instructor critiques and any other helpful notes to the meeting with your instructor. Be prepared to explain your issue or complaint. If you have questions about a grade, write out your reasons so your teacher can see the specifics.
  6. Take notes in class. Informed discussion is far more likely to arise from documented notes than hazy recall. Notes will also aid study for exams.
  7. Read assignments in the text and comply with homework expectations on the dates assigned. Bring materials required (Scantron answer sheets, pencils, etc.) when needed. Don't expect others to bail you out.
  8. Review the syllabus periodically. Ask questions if you have them. Know what is expected. If you don't know, ask.
  9. Participate in class activity appropriately. This involves such behaviors as listening to others and acknowledging opposing viewpoints, choosing language that avoids antagonizing others (obscenity, personal attacks, hostile or sarcastic comments, etc.), blatantly reading the newspaper or some other non-course-related text while class matters are in progress, talking with other students while someone else is trying to speak, and avoiding taking a nap during class. Most of the courses in the Communication Department are relatively small. One person's distracting behavior can have a larger impact than you might imagine. For those trying to present a speech or a group project, audience members who appear to be dozing or paying no attention whatever present an extremely bothersome problem. Your responsibility as a student of Communication Studies includes being an open, alert, courteous, and receptive listener, as well as being a competent presenter.
  10. Take responsibility for your education. Excuses should be eliminated from your academic repertoire. Know that we are human and predisposed to trust rather than doubt you. If you get away with a faked illness or fabricated emergency, you may find that the inevitable result hurts you more than anyone else. Learning is an opportunity to prepare for life, professional requirements, and individual success - both as a singular human being and a contributing member of society. You are attending Spokane Community College in the interest of your own professional advancement and the enhancement of the society in which you live. We are here to help you give both of these aims your best shot. Help us, and we will do our best to help you.

Please note: The information provided here has been collected from The National Communication Association Office (Rana Culotta), multiple print and online resources, and from Kevin Gillen and Alec Hosterman of Indiana University at South Bend.

What is Communication?

Communication is shared symbolic meaning and includes both verbal and nonverbal sending and receiving of messages.

Famous People with Degrees in Communication:

It may surprise you to discover exactly who holds a communication degree. There are many famous people who have both studied in the discipline and gotten degrees in communication. A fair share of politicians and actors have studied communication, not to mention athletes and media personalities.

Career Options:

There are many career paths that a person with a communication major can choose. Here are some job titles that former graduates with communication majors hold. Use this as an idea list, and remember that it represents some - but certainly not all - of the careers you might consider. Some careers may take additional schooling.

Business: Management, Manager, Personnel Recruiter, Vice-President of Human Resources, Trainer, Director of Training and Development, Admissions Counselor, Benefits Administrator, Sales Representative, Executive Manager, Public Information Officer, Industrial and Labor Relations, Negotiator, Customer Service Representative, Newsletter Editor, Human Resources Manager, Mediator, Buyer

Advertising: Advertising Specialist, Marketing Specialist, Copy Writer, Account Executive Manager, Media Planner, Media Buyer, Creative Director, Media Sales Representative, Public Researcher

Communication Education: Language Arts Coordinator, High School Speech Forensics/Debate Coach, Drama Director, Speech Communication Department Chairperson, School Counselor, Education Researcher, Audiovisual Specialist, Educational Administrator, Director of College News, Educational Tester, Educational Fund Raiser, Alumni Officer

Broadcasting - Electronic Media, Radio, TV, etc.: Broadcasting Station Manager, Director of Broadcasting, Film/Tape Librarian, Community Relation Director, Unit Manager, News Writer, Transmitter Engineer, Technical Director, Advertising Sales Coordinator, Market Researcher, Actor/Actress, Announcer, Disc Jockey, News and Relation Manager, Comedy Writer, Casting Director, Producer, Business Manager, Floor Manager, Talk Show Host

Journalism - Print, Electronic, etc.: Reporter, Editor, Newscaster, Author, Copy Writer, Script Writer, News Service Researcher, Technical Writer, Acquisitions Editor, Media Interviewer

Public Relations: Publicity Manager, Advertising Manager, Marketing Specialist, Lobbyist, Corporate Public Affair Specialist, Account Executive, Development Officer, Sales Manager, Media Analyst, Media Planner, Creative Director, News Writer, Public Opinion Researcher

Theatre/Performing Arts: Performing Artist, Script Writer, Arts Administrator, Performing Arts Educator, Costume Design, Scenic Designer, Lighting, Theatre Critic, Makeup Artist, Stage Manager, Model, Theatre Professor, Casting Director

Government/Politics: Public Information Office Writer, Legislative Assistant, Campaign Director, Research Specialist, Program Coordinator, Elected Official

High Technology Industries: Trainer for Communication Tech., Circuit Television Producer/Director, Systems Analyst, Technical Copywriter, Language Specialist, Cognition Researcher, Audio and Visual Computer Display Specialist

Communication and Health Care: Health Educator, School Health Care Administrator, Medical Grants Writer, Hospital Director of Communication, Clinic Public Relations Director, Health Communication Analyst, Research Analyst, Medical Training Supervisor, Health Personnel Educator, Medical Center Publications Editor, Hospice Manager, Heath Care Counselor, Activities Director, Marketing Director

International Relations and Negotiations: On-Air International Broadcasting, Corporate Representative, Translator, Student Tour Coordinator, Diplomat, Foreign Correspondent

Law: Public Defender, Corporate Lawyer, District Attorney, Private Practice Lawyer, Legal Researcher, Mediation and Negotiation Specialist, Legal Secretary, Legal Reporter, Legal Educator

Social and Human Services: Public Administrator, Social Worker, Recreation Supervisor, Human Rights Officer, Community Affairs Liaison, Park Service Public Relations Specialist, Religious Leader, Mental Counselor

  • Sixth president of the United States, John Quincy Adams, taught rhetoric at Harvard.
  • Lyndon Johnson taught public speaking at Southwest Texas State University.
  • Christine Gregoire, former Attorney General and current Governor of the state of Washington, earned a BA in speech from University of Washington.

Many successful actors and actresses were formally educated in the communication discipline.

  • Spike Lee holds a communication degree from Indiana University.
  • Meg Ryan studied journalism at New York University.
  • Brad Pitt and Matthew McConaughy are both rumored to hold communication degrees but it remains unconfirmed.
  • Renee Zellweger and Denzel Washington both studied communication.
  • David Boreanaz from the television series "Angel" holds a communication degree.
  • James Gandolfini from "Sopranos" graduated from Rutgers University.
  • Nicholas Meyer, screenwriter/author/director, earned a Ph.D. from University of Iowa.

An abundance of star athletes have majored in communication as well.

  • Soccer player, Brandi Chastain, holds a degree from Santa Clara University.
  • Star basketball player "Magic" Johnson is an alumnus of Michigan State.
  • Donovan McNabb, quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles, holds a communication degree from Syracuse University.
  • St. Louis Rams quarterback Kurt Warner is a University of Northern Iowa graduate.
  • Minnesota Twins President David St. Peter studied communication at the University of North Dakota.

Not surprisingly, many successful media personalities and broadcast journalists hold degrees in communication.

  • Network newscaster Connie Chung studied communication.
  • Walter Cronkite earned a communication degree at the University of Texas.
  • Former "Nightline" host Ted Koppel earned a B.A. in speech and M.A. in mass communication from Syracuse University.
  • "Today Show" host Matt Lauer holds a B.A. from Ohio University.
  • Shock-jock radio and television personality Howard Stern studied communication.
  • "Late Night" host David Letterman studied at Ball State University.
  • Network news anchor Jane Pauley is an Indiana University alumni.
  • Former "CBS Evening News" anchor Dan Rather holds a journalism degree from University of Texas at Austin.
  • Television news/sports host, Bob Costas studied communication.

There are many more interesting people with communication degrees. Here are some additional examples:

  • John Gray - author (He earned a Ph.D. from Columbia Pacific University.)
  • Hugh Hefner - publisher (He earned a communication degree from the University of Illinois.)
  • Gary Larson - "The Far Side" cartoonist (He earned a B.A. from the University of Washington.)
  • Mark McGrath - lead singer for Sugar Ray (He earned a B.A. from the University of Southern California.)
  • Edmund Muskie - politician (He was a debater at Bates College.)
  • Andrea Rich - Director of LACMA, former professor at UCLA
  • Tennessee Williams - playwright (He studied communication at the University of Iowa.)
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic - popular parody/novelty musician (He was involved in the forensics team at Cal Poly.)

Certificates of Achievement

Certificates of Achievement


Complete a concentrated area of study within your A.A. degree.

Consider the Benefits:

  • Assures you more confidence
  • Helps you develop and maintain strong personal relationships
  • Helps you to get the most out of your education
  • Looks great on a resume - employers tell us listening is the #1 job skill
  • Counts as added skills, giving you the edge in being hired and promoted
  • Enables you to get along better with co-workers, bosses, and customers

There are four different certificates (details):

  • Communication Studies Certificate of Achievement (13-15 credits)
  • Advanced Communication Studies Certificate of Achievement (18-20 credits)
  • Intercultural Communication Certificate of Achievement (15 credits)
  • Business Communication Certificate of Achievement (15 credits)

Check with a counselor to make sure any additional classes you take are a viable option for your degree plan and financial aid package.

How to Earn a Certificate

After you have earned the number of credits needed with a 2.0 or better, or, in the case of the Intercultural or Business Communication Certificates, after you have completed the specific course requirements, then:

  1. Print the Application for Communication Studies Certificate (PDF).
  2. Fill it out and attach an unofficial transcript with your Communication Studies courses/grades highlighted. We keep your application and transcript on record.
  3. Return your application and unofficial transcript to:
    Meg Kreiner, Communication Studies Instructor
    Office: Building 1, Room 211B
    Phone: 533-7388
    Email: Meg.Kreiner@scc.spokane.edu

Your form will then be processed, and your certificate will be mailed to you.

You can use your credits to earn several certificates!

Lois J. Roach Scholarship



Lois Roach taught at SCC for 22 years and was the founder of the Communication Studies Department. Lois was a much-loved teacher and colleague; she was an inspiration to those around her. She is remembered most for her courageous will as well as the ability to draw out the best in people. When she was diagnosed with polio and confined to an iron lung, she learned to walk again. Lois continued to inspire people through her confirming communication style. She taught private speech and piano lessons as well as working with stroke victims and hearing-impaired children. When she retired in 1990, Lois did not stop touching lives. She endowed a scholarship for Arts and Sciences students who have an interest in Communication Studies. Lois is no longer with us physically; however her spirit still inspires students today through this scholarship. The butterfly was her favorite symbol of change. It represents the ability to adapt to life's challenges. She believed in helping people reach their potential, just as a caterpillar changes into a beautiful butterfly.