Strategic Communication

With Western's access to music festivals, art centers, ski resorts and film commissions, there may not be a better place to begin your studies in Strategic Communication.

Whether you seek a career in public relations, advertising, publicity, organizational development, events management or media production/relations, you'll gain hands-on experience as you work side-by-side with faculty and professionals dedicated to the art of sharing information.

What Will You Learn? What Skills Will You Acquire?

In Western's Strategic Communication program, you'll study the theories and techniques of communication between organizations and their constituencies. You'll build critical thinking skills, writing and presentation techniques, while broadening your perspectives and adapting your decision-making skills to the professional environment.

Beyond the Classroom

We offer students regular interaction with local, off-campus organizations searching for the next best idea in public relations campaigns, fundraising and events management.

After Graduation

Our graduates have continued on to work in public relations and advertising firms, governmental agencies, arts organizations, recreation centers and positions in corporate and non-profit organizations.


Next Steps

If you're interested in Western's Strategic Communication Program, we invite you to take the next steps towards becoming a part of the Mountaineer family. 

Share your interest with friends and family: 
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  2. Get more information about the program.
  3. Schedule a campus visit so you can meet professors, see the beautiful Gunnison Valley, and find out if Western is the perfect school for you.
  4. Start the online application process - apply online now.
  5. Find scholarships, grants, or financial aid that match your interests and situation.


FOR REQUIRED COURSES AND DEGREE PLANS, VISIT THE OFFICIAL UNIVERSITY CATALOG. This is a list of courses offered by Western State Colorado University. To ensure the courses you need are offered during the current semester, please visit the current university catalog at To determined the courses required for your major, check the "Majors and Minors" tab for your area of study.


An introduction to the fundamental concepts of marketing, including consumer demand and behavior, segmentation, advertising, marketing research, product development, distribution, pricing, the internet as a marketing agent, and global marketing issues. The student is exposed to the most basic tools, factors, and marketing principles administered by management in establishing policy, planning, and complex problem solving. Prerequisites: ENG 102 with a minimum grade of "C-" and completion of at least 24 credits; or instructor permission.


Provides students an understanding of human behavior in organizations today. Students will become familiar with the basic dimensions of organizational behavior covering topics such as leadership, motivation, management of people, and group dynamics. The course stresses an experimental approach as well as the personal nature of the material and how this relates to the complexities of behavior in and of organizations. Prerequisite: BUAD 309 or COTH 202; or instructor permission.


Advertising, sales promotions, media utilization, public relations, and personal selling are highlighted in this course. Legal regulations and ethical considerations in mass media advertising and promotions are also covered. Finally, the student is exposed to the principles of planning and budgeting for such media events. Prerequisites:MATH 140, MATH 141, or MATH 151 with a minimum grade of "C-"; ACC 201 with a minimum grade of "C"; BUAD 270; or instructor permission.

 BUAD 345 - CONSUMER BEHAVIOR (3 credits)

Utilizing theories from the behavioral sciences, this course provides an in-depth examination of the individual customer learning and decision-making processes, segmentation, as well as culture, subculture, and social class relationships with marketing. Students develop an understanding of consumers' shopping behavior, utilization of different marketing channels, perception of products, and reactions to advertising and other selling methods. Prerequisites: completion of Base Curriculum; BUAD 270; or instructor permission.

 COM 151 - INTRO TO MASS MEDIA GAH1 (3 credits)

An examination of media-related industries (broadcasting, journalism, advertising, public relations and online communications), and the issues related to those industries that affect contemporary public discourse.

 COM 205 - COMMUNICATION ARTS I (3 credits)

This course is a study of the theory and associated terminology of visual communication including the application of concepts to film, theatre, and convergent media. Topics include aesthetics, design elements, mimesis, performance, semiotics and introduction to the primary techniques of the various communication arts. Prerequisite: ENG 102 with a minimum grade of "C-."

 COM 241 - MEDIA WRITING (3 credits)

An analysis and practice of the major forms of media writing, including print, broadcast and web-based publication, with an introduction to the ways that production varies the writing of each. Prerequisite: ENG 102 with a minimum grade of "C-".


An introduction to the theory and practice of media production including critical and aesthetic, producing, directing, cinematography, sound recording, editing, and standards of operation for production facilities and equipment. Prerequisites: COM 205, COM 261, and sophomore standing; or instructor permission.


A study of the use of communication to establish credibility, trust, and confidence between and among communities, employees, public agencies, civic organizations and business institutions.

 COM 284 - SOPHOMORE PORTFOLIO (1 credits)

A course in which students familiarize themselves with the requirements for the Communication Arts program and related capstone project, formulate specific goals, and prepare strategies through which those goals can be achieved. Students will develop an awareness of field-specific expectations required of them in professional or graduate-level work, and develop a plan for creating a portfolio that reflects that awareness. A part of the course consists of formally of applying for admission to the Communication Arts program. Prerequisite or corequisite: COM 205 or instructor permission.

 COM 305 - COMMUNICATION ARTS II (3 credits)

An exploration of the philosophical and theoretical foundations of human communication, concentrating specifically on textual analysis and interpretation. Using a wide range of media, students will investigate how the particular method of communication informs, alters, and shapes the messages being consumed, and how those messages both constitute and affect self-expressive acts. PREREQUISITES: COM 205 and admission to the Communication Arts Program; or instructor permission.

 COM 323 - MEDIA ARTS MANAGEMENT (3 credits)

An introduction to the basic principles and structure of management as it applies to Communication Arts. Particular focus is given to management of small and mid-size nonprofit media and arts organizations, and to the interrelationship between those two areas. Prerequisite: junior standing or permission of the instructor.


An exploration of the theory and application of multimedia communication principles through projects that use common interactive multimedia, animation, non-linear editing, web authoring, and desktop-publishing programs. Prerequisites: COM 205, or instructor permission.


An examination of media from a theoretical, organizational perspective. Topics covered include departmental functions and duties, programming, formats, regulations and finances. Also, in the context of media theory, empirical data is explored. Prerequisite:COM 241 and COM 274, or instructor permission.


An exploration of various concepts and types of conflict and the role of argumentation in managing and/or resolving conflict. The study examines the theory and practice of communication within small groups, as well as problem solving and decision making as common contexts in which argument occurs and conflict arises, and a continuum from formal to informal modes of conflict management/resolution is discussed and practiced by the students. Examples of specific areas covered include formal debate, negotiation, and arbitration. Prerequisite: COM 202.

 COM 372 - ISSUES MANAGEMENT (3 credits)

An exploration of the communication practices and strategies used by organizations to react to current events, publicity, and society. Emphasis is placed upon persuasion, media relations, and information campaigns.


A multi-disciplinary and multi-media course offering significant historical, theoretical, and practical content by which to explore and discuss how meaning is conveyed in communication. Special emphasis is given to the nature of oral communication in oral societies and to the nature and function of myth, symbol, sign, and inferential reasoning. Prerequisites: COM 305 or instructor permission.


An analysis of the many facets of information campaign planning. It explores concepts like persuasion and audience behavior, researching attitudes and effectiveness, campaign objectives and strategies, media choices, and relevant social and ethical issues. In addition, students are expected to build their own information campaigns. Prerequisite:COM 274.


A capstone course in which students complete their individual Communication Arts portfolios, based upon their cumulative work through the COM program and guided by their specific career or graduate school goals. The seminar provides an opportunity for students to work individually, in small groups, and with the instructor to evaluate the overall effectiveness of their finished portfolios, and revise accordingly, utilizing the critical techniques, cultural awareness, and technical skills students have developed throughout the COM program. Prerequisite: COM 305

 COM 499 - COM INTERNSHIP (1-12 credits)

Prerequisite: instructor permission.


An examination of the fundamental theories of personality including the psychoanalytic, trait, behavioral, social-learning, humanist and existential perspectives.

 SOC 380 - SOCIAL INEQUALITIES (3 credits)

An examination of major theories and concepts associated with social inequality as well as the causes and consequence of social inequality. The historical and contemporary aspects of social inequality in the United States are explored. Forms of resistance to social inequality are also considered. Prerequisite: SOC 101 with a minimum grade of "C."

Faculty & Staff


Professor of Communication Arts
Phone: (970)943-2036
Office Location: Taylor 222A
Lecturer in Communication Arts
B.S. California State University Northridge, M.S. University of Denver, M.F.A. University of Alaska Anchorage
Phone: (970) 943-2025
Office Location: Taylor Hall 222A