Communication Arts


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.

 COM 119 - INTRODUCTION TO FILM (3 credits)

Students are introduced to the aesthetics of narrative and documentary motion pictures through the study of the basic elements of cinema. Topics may include story structure, cinematography, editing, sound, and lighting.


This course will include a general survey of Western theatre from Classical Greece to contemporary America. Students will learn the diverse practice of the art of theatre by studying theatre history, dramatic literature, and the practical components of acting, directing, design and production.

 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 197 - Special Topics (1-6 credits)


Students expand on the process and techniques begun in Academic Writing. Primary focus is on analytical written communication and on advocacy oral communication.Also included throughout the course is the reading of relevant academic professional writing, which promotes student awareness of the role of written and oral communication in academic and professional life. Prerequisite: ENG 102 with a minimum grade of “C-.”

 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-."


This course introduces students to the diverse genre of dramatic literature in Western and Eastern theatre. Students study the origins of tragedy, comedy, melodrama, the rise of Realism and Anti-Realism, as well as the sub-genres within those general categories. Eastern traditions of text such as Kabuki, Noh, and Bunraku are also studied. Students learn how to read a play on a deeper level for content, themes, historical and sociopolitical influences, as well as the emerging and changing aesthetics of each genre. Prerequisite: ENG 102.


A study of how things are done behind the scenes in theatre and film and why they are done that way, including the basic customs and traditions of production work and the philosphy, aesthetics, and process of production. Intensive hands-on development of skills in the construction of sets, costumes, lights, sound, and props; the operation of rolling units, lights, flies, and sound; and production assistant duties.

 COM 235 - Fundamentals of Acting (3 credits)

An introduction to the principles, processes, and techniques of acting. The study is designed to balance theory and performance; to explore in detail the psychological, perceptual, and conceptual linkages to the strategies, techniques, and skills of the actor; and to develop a significant sense of self-discipline on the part of the actor. Topics include warm-up and awareness skills, basic body and voice integration techniques, and the theories of Stanislavski, character analysis, and performance process.

 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-.”


This course introduces the basic concepts, functions and technology of audio production as they relate to the elements of narrative and storytelling. Prerequisite COM 119, COM 121, or COM 151; or instructor permission.


An introduction to the theory and practice of media production including critical andaesthetic theories. Topics may include scriptwriting, 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 theCommunication 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 297 - Special Topics (1-6 credits)

 COM 298 - PR:PRACTICUM (4 credits)

Entry-level supervised experiences in theatre, organizational communication and journalism/mass media. Prerequisite: 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 306 - SCRIPTWRITING (3 credits)

An introduction to the fundamental tools and skills required to craft a script for performance on stage or in film/video. Students are expected to produce playscripts and screenplays of vanrying lengths; they are also expected to read and respond to one another’s writing. Some history of playwriting and study of prevailing models of script- writing are also included. Prerequisites: COM 205 and COM 222, or ENG 205, with a minimum grade of “C.”


An interdisciplinary course exploring the human desire to perform in both aesthetic and everyday settings. It explores the links between the arts and literature, anthropology, communication, sociology, and philosophy. Critical reading, written analysis, and performance of lit-erary texts are essential elements of the course.


An introduction to performance studies research and artistic practice through readings, discussion and creative work. Prerequisites: junior standing and instructor permission. Repeatable for a maximum of six credits among different topic areas.


An introduction to performance studies research and artistic practice through readings, discussion and creative work. Prerequisites: junior standing and instructor permission. Repeatable for a maximum of six credits among different topic areas.

 COM 323 - MEDIA ARTS MANAGEMENT (3 credits)

An introduction to the basic principles and structure of management as it applies toCommunication 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 advanced-level course that focuses on specific areas of actor training, including methods of voice and movement training; the requirements and techniques of different styles of acting including classical, Elizabethan, Restoration/18th Century, Commedia, and Advanced Contemporary acting styles; and advanced textual analysis required of actors by specific theatrical works. Repeatable for a maximum of six credits among different topic areas. Prerequisite: COM 235 or instructor permission.

 COM 330 - Technical Production (4 credits)

An intermediate-level study of lighting and sound production for theatre and film. Instruction is provided in the proper rigging of light and sound equipment, use of control consoles and software, optics, basic electrical theory, the nature of light, and acoustics. The design and aesthetic use of light and sound are also explored. Prerequisite: COM 231 or instructor permission.

 COM 331 - Scenography in Film and Theatre (3 credits)

A study of designing visually for the stage and screen, with an emphasis on a unified look and a single intense effect. A strong emphasis on script analysis as a basis for design. Additional information on visual research for theatre and film including location scouting and contextual research into the background of the story. Hands-on development of skills in generating graphic communication of design ideas is included. Prerequisite: COM 231 or instructor permission


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.

 COM 351 - Media Theory and Research (3 credits)

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 in-depth study of the aesthetics and theory of cinema through the examination and critical analysis of the technical and creative elements of selected iconic Hollywood and international motion pictures. Prerequisite: Junior standing.

 COM 361 - Multi-Camera Studio Production (3 credits)

Through the instruction in the theories and practices of studio-based media production, students receive training in the operation of studio equipment and technology. Students will practice the various job duties required in a studio production environment. Topics may include media writing, directing, floor directing, technical directing, camera operating, lighting, and audio. Prerequisite: COM 264 or instructor permission.


An in-depth study of audio design and production for film, radio, television and livetheatre. Prerequisite COM 261.


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.

 COM 389 - Media Production: Narrative (3 credits)

An introduction to the theory and practice of the field-based production of narrative films. Topics emphasized may include fictional story, cinematography, lighting, sound, editing, and production management. Prerequisite: COM 264 with a minimum grade of "C".


An introduction to the theory and practice of producing nonfiction works, includingconventional documentary forms and autobiographical or experimental works. Topics may include actual story, cinematography, lighting, sound, editing, and production management. Prerequisite: COM 264 with a minimum grade of “C.”

 COM 392 - Independent Study in Communication Arts (1-6 credits)

A detailed study in a specific area of communication arts, emphasizing individualized approaches toward development of creativity and scholarship. Prerequisites: junior or senior status and 10 credits in Communication Arts.

 COM 397 - Special Topics (1-6 credits)

 COM 398 - Practicum (1-4 credits)

Supervised applications and experiences in communication arts. Students assist, analyze, manage, and participate in various aspects of practical situations or job training. Prerequisites: instructor permission and completion of one of the following: COM 241, COM 261, or COM 298.


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.

 COM 406 - Advanced Screenwriting and Producing (3 credits)

Students are immersed in advanced screenwriting projects and pitching for independent feature film, television drama and situation comedy. Producing content may include such topics as contracts law, releases, copyright, fair use, ethics, location and talent management, production management, and other administrative subject matter pertaining to film and television production. Prerequisite: COM 306 with a minimum grade of "C".

 COM 423 - Directing (3 credits)

A comprehensive introduction to the theory and practice of directing for the stage. Include an exploration of play selection, character and script analysis, conceptualization of production, actor coaching approaches, staging techniques; as well as the actual direction and presentation of scenes and plays. Prerequisites COM 231, COM 235, COM 310 and junior standing; or instructor permission.

 COM 474 - Campaign Planning in Advertising and Public Information (3 credits)

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


Students are immersed in advanced project work. Topics may include cinematography, lighting, grip, electrical, special effects, visual effects, sound effects recording, sound design, and animation. Prerequisite: COM 361, COM 389 or COM 390 with a minimum grade of “C.”

 COM 497 - Special Topics (1-6 credits)

 COM 499 - Internship in Communication Arts (1-12 credits)

Prerequisite: instructor permission.

Some of the most exciting and challenging fields in today's global, interactive world involve communication. Employers consistently cite communication skills as the major requirement for success in professional careers. Western's Communication major can help you acquire and learn to use those skills effectively.

What Will You Learn? What Skills Will You Acquire?

As a Communication Arts student, you will receive the preparation and hands-on training required for a career in one of the many professions that shape our nation's culture.

Communication Arts majors often pursue careers in mass media, such as creating commercials, writing for the media, managing corporate crises, producing movies and videos, or helping businesses improve their communication systems.

At Western, Communication Arts students learn to analyze written, oral, visual, and electronic messages from historical, critical and social science perspectives. They also learn to produce such messages for artistic and functional expression.

Communication Arts program emphases include the following:

Beyond the Classroom

On-campus opportunities in Communication include the student radio station, KWSB, the student newspaper and Mountaineer Media, a student-run film and media arts production company.

Students have also served at internships in public relations and media with companies such as Crested Butte film Festival, Two Plank Productions, Gunnison Valley Health and the David Letterman Show.


Next Steps

If you're interested in Western's Communication Arts 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.


Scholarships associated with academic programs usually have a specific scholarship application form that can easily be obtained by contacting that academic program's office or visiting that academic program's web page. If you have any questions, please contact the Financial Aid office at 970.943.3085 or 800.876.5309. To find scholarships based on year of study (e.g. - Freshmen Scholarships), please see the navigation to the left.

 Beta Engineering/Jess Gern Scholarship

Beta Engineering/Jess Gern Scholarship is Available to:

An outstanding student in the Department of Communication and Theatre. Student must be a junior majoring in Communication or Theatre with a 3.0 or better GPA. Beta Engineering/Jess Gern Scholarship is

Communication and Theatre Scholarship Provided by:

Bob Austin, President of Beta Engineering Company in Austin, Texas. Bob is an alumnus of Western State Colorado University, who established this endowment fund to honor Dr. Jess Gern, then Chairman of the Arts and Humanities Department, and to show his appreciation to the College.

Amount: Award depends on funds available.

Scholarship Recipient Selected by:

Western State Colorado University Communication and Theatre Department. Application: Contact the CALL Department for application and deadline information. (970) 943- 2025 - Taylor Hall 216

Find out more about Western's Communication Art's Program at

Faculty & Staff


Honors Program Director Kelsey L Bennett
Honors Program Director
B.A., Saint John's College, Santa Fe, Ph.D., University of Denver
Phone: (970) 943-7021
Office Location: Taylor Hall Honors Center 110A
Professor of Communication Arts
B.A., St. Michael's College; M.A., State University of New York-Albany; Ph.D., University of Colorado.
Phone: (970) 943-3042
Office Location: Taylor Hall 218
Picture of Courtney P. Fullmer
Senior Lecturer in Communication Arts
B.A., University of San Diego;, M.A., Colorado State University.
Phone: (970) 943-2087
Office Location: Taylor Hall 220A
Lecturer in Philosophy, English, & Communication Arts
Ph.D., University of California, M.A., University of Colorado, B.A., Western State Colorado University
Office Location: Taylor Hall 212C
Jack Lucido
Professor of Communication Arts
B.A., Humboldt State University; , M.F.A., University of North Carolina-Greensboro.
Phone: (970) 943-3052
Office Location: Taylor Hall 212E
Assistant Professor of Communication Arts
B.A., University of Colorado at Boulder, Studio Arts, B.F.A., University of Colorado at Boulder, Film Studies (cum laude), M.F.A., University of Illinois at Chicago, Moving Image
Phone: (970) 943-2581
Office Location: Taylor Hall 220B
Associate Professor of Communication Arts
Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University, M.A., The Michigan State University, B.A., M.A., Chung-Ang University
Phone: 970-943-2265
Office Location: Taylor Hall 222C
Chair: Communication Arts, Languages and Literature Department; Professor of Communication Arts
Phone: (970)943-2036
Office Location: Taylor 222A
Department Chair of CALL
PhD, M.A., Washington State University; B.A.. Central Washington University
Phone: 970-943-2036
Office Location: Taylor Hall 216A
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 208B