Caitlin Gleason is a sophomore from the Front Range studying Strategic Communication in the Communication Arts program at Western Colorado University.
Caitlin went to a large high school, and although there were good things about attending a bigger school, there were also some downfalls to it as well.
“I knew I didn’t want to be just a number,” said Caitlin. “I wanted to know my professors by name and feel like I could go to them. The small class size and the community when I found Western were what I looked at and really enjoyed and I eventually chose Western.
“I really like how Western focuses on having the student know the professor by name and vice versa. All of my professors have wanted to get to know me, and I feel confident reaching out to them if I needed anything even outside the classroom.”
Coming to Western, Caitlin found a new passion in fishing. She joined the Gunnison Sockeyes club on campus, where students go fishing in any season. In the winter, students head out on the ice and go ice fishing. In the spring and summer, they head to the river for some fly-fishing.
“I’ve met some really great people because of that,” said Caitlin about her experience with the Sockeyes. “Being able to go out for an afternoon and go out and meet new people was really cool. It’s a way to really enjoy the valley.”
Caitlin says that by picking the Communication Arts program with an emphasis in Strategic Communication, it was the closest thing to journalism she could get.
“It’s giving me skills outside of journalism as well. Like just being able to communicate with people,” said Caitlin. “I am in a production class right now, so I am able to work with cameras and documentary. I also found out about KWSB, the radio station. I am a student DJ there. I am kind of getting a little bit of everything rather than just writing.”
Along with her schoolwork and fishing, Caitlin is a student reporter for the Marketing Communications Department, a copy editor for the on-campus newspaper, Top o’ the World, and plays old-school country to pop as a student DJ for KWSB 91.1 FM, which has been a student-operated radio station on campus since 1968.
Off campus, Caitlin is an intern at the Gunnison Country Times, where she writes feature stories about Western every week or so for the local newspaper.
When Caitlin is not writing or being a DJ, she likes to spend her time in the Gunnison Valley.
“I like to get out and explore the valley,” Caitlin said, “whether that be fishing or just taking a drive up to Taylor Canyon.
“I think a lot of people think Western is really small and there is not much to do here. I also think that you can’t judge a book by its cover. You just have to do your research. For me, it has been the best decision I’ve ever made.”
Profile by Western junior Taya Olson.
Faculty & Staff
BUAD 270 - Principles of Marketing (3 credits)
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.
BUAD 333 - Organizational Behavior (3 credits)
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 COM 202; or instructor permission.
BUAD 335 - Marketing Communications (3 credits)
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 ÒC-Ó; ACC 201 with a minimum grade of ÒCÓ; 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 consumer's 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 - Introduction to Mass Media (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 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 ÒC-.Ó
COM 264 - Introduction to Production and Theory (3 credits)
An introduction to the theory and practice of media production including critical and aesthetic theories. Topics may include script writing, 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.
COM 274 - Public Relations Communication (3 credits)
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 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.
COM 346 - Multimedia Communication (3 credits)
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.
COM 371 - Small Group and Conflict Management (3 credits)
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. Prerequisite: junior standing.
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.
PSY 258 - Introduction to Personality (3 credits)
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 ÒCÓ.
SOC 399 - Internship (1 to 6 credits)
Sociology internships provide Sociology majors of junior and senior status with opportunities to work on sites off campus in the areas of law enforcement and social services. The experience must meet standards set by the College and by the sociology faculty. Up to three hours of internship credit may be counted toward the major. Graded Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory only.
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.
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.