Department of Communication & Journalism

Applied Learning Experience

What types of applied learning opportunities are available?
Why are internship programs important to the program?
What type of student research opportunity is available?
Do students and faculty work together on research projects?
Do students present research findings at national conferences?

What types of applied learning opportunities are available?
Whether in business, writing for a newspaper or online blog or working in front of or behind a camera, Communication and Journalism students gain extensive practical experience in their fields before they graduate as all majors complete an applied learning experience.

Speech Communication majors have completed internships at non-profit organizations, arts organizations, city departments, and in business and private industry. Some examples of businesses and organizations where students have worked include the St. Joseph Museum, Inc., City of St. Joseph, Allied Arts Association and Second Harvest Food Bank.

Convergent Media majors have completed internships with small to major-market newspapers, web-based media or radio and television stations.

Why are internship programs important to the program?

Students in Communication and Journalism are required to complete internship/applied learning credit hours.  Recent internship placements include: Community PR Coordinator, Training Coordinator, Profit and Non-Profit Marketing, Events Coordinator, Web development, journalist—media publishing, photography, editor, Social Media developer.

Internships provide students with a valuable hands-on experience that is difficult to duplicate in the classroom.

According to the 2004-2005 Occupational Outlook Handbook, students with internship experience greatly increase their chances of finding a job in the fields of communication, theatre or video.

What type of student research opportunity is available?
Several courses specifically incorporate research as part of the curriculum. Through these courses, students work on both independent and team research projects. These courses include:

– Research Methods in Communication (COM 320)
– Survey of Rhetorical Theory (COM 338)
– Oral Communication (COM 104)
– Public Relations Communication Analysis (COM 415)
– Independent Research/Project (COM 450)

Do students and faculty work together on research projects?
Students generally work in small groups on their research projects; however, many students collaborate with faculty in one-on-one sessions.

Do students present research findings at national conferences?
Several students have had the opportunity to present the results of their original research at professional conferences, such as the Central States Communication Association, National Communication Association, and the College Media Association.

Currently, 21 Public Relations and Journalism students are preparing research to present at three different conferences in Greece, Malta and Croatia.  These students will be accompanied by three faculty members as part of a study abroad program offered to Western students.  This trip will include visits and field work at international public relations firms in Italy and England as well as the conference presentations of original research.