College adds communication, social interaction minor

A new minor at SUNY Oswego in communication and social interaction aims to bolster the interactive knowledge and ability of students not majoring in that field.

“I think it’s going to appeal to a broad range of majors,” program coordinator Dr. Nola Heidlebaugh, a professor of communication studies, said of the minor that becomes official this fall. “We’ve never had a communication minor before. There has been a lot of interest expressed. We’re pleased to have responded to that.”

Around 20 percent of those taking communication courses are enrolled in other majors, coming from such programs as anthropology, business, English, music, psychology, sociology and theatre. In addition, many students come through the “Foundations of Communication” or “Critical Thinking and Public Speaking” general education courses and discover the many applications of the field.

“This minor will build on the interpersonal and public speaking courses, and that area of communication,” Heidlebaugh said. Because many courses to meet those needs already exist, the added minor doesn’t require creating new classes or much reorganization of resources.

In exploring the possibility of adding the minor, planners found an increased need for understanding the theory and practice of communication, and avenues to learn more about communication as it relates to organizations, ethics, conflict resolution, aging, cognition, rhetoric, multiculturalism and media literacy.

Core requirements are “Foundations of Communication,” “Critical Thinking and Public Speaking” and “Introduction to Mass Media,” as well as either “Interpersonal Communication” or “Group Interaction and Discussion.”

Another six-credit sequence would include two courses from either of two tracks. The minor is capped by a theory and research requirement from either the “Communication Theories” or “Qualitative Communication Research Methods” classes.

Those pursuing the minor would gain additional knowledge in persuasion—which Heidlebaugh said is useful to all students—as well as public address and organizational communication. She added that, depending on what courses the student chooses, there are opportunities to add depth in conflict management, interpersonal communication, intercultural communication and qualitative analysis.

Some courses from outside the communications program could conceivably be substituted, such as ones that teach qualitative research, with advisers’ permission, Heidlebaugh said.

The creation of the minor comes in tandem with forthcoming revisions to the college’s human communication major, she added.

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(Posted: Apr 18, 2007)