Degree Spotlight: Applied Communication
Dr. Gerald Driskill provides an overview of the applied communications program.
The BA in applied communication is a versatile program that focuses on professional writing, organizational communication, and developing and analyzing messages. For Dr. Gerald Driskill, a professor in the Department of Applied Communication, it’s all about creating a better social world through learning positive communication.
“Fostering better social worlds through positive communication is a mission we carry across our programs,” Driskill said. “From every classroom to every syllabus, it’s all about creating better worlds.”
The concept of co-creation is central to the applied communication program. Driskill explained that co-creation is more than teaching content knowledge or preparing students for exams; co-creation is a collaboration of students and instructors.
“When we say co-creation, we’re asking students what forms of communication will make your organization better or your family better,” Driskill said.
Driskill makes it clear: co-creation is not solving problems or fixing problems; co-creation is about listening and understanding what the problems are, and then identifying ways to move forward with communication.
A key aspect of co-creation is mentoring and building a relationship with the student.
“One of the practices we take into our online program is we make sure students have individual contact the first week or two with their instructor. It is a requirement,” Driskill said.
Nigel Spears, Communication Skill Center assistant director and former student of Driskill, credits the applied communication department for much of his academic success.
“It wasn’t until I met this department that I began to understand that what I learned in the classroom can apply to my everyday life,” Spears said.
Driskill further noted, mentoring is not offered directly to students, but the mentoring that develops with a student comes with being an instructor in that department.
“It’s mentoring, but it runs deeper than that,” Driskill said. “It’s how we want our classes set up, how we want our relationships set up, so those wanting help can get it.”
Students that need extra help can reach out to the Communication Skill Center — an on-campus resource designed to help students overcome difficulties associated with public speaking. Online students who are having trouble may receive help through video chats via Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. To receive help students must book an appointment first.
The applied communication program has courses that are geared for today’s job market, such as ACOM 3316 Interviewing. This course develops the student’s ability to effectively prepare for and participate in a variety of interview situations. Another course, ACOM 3330 Professional Communication, focuses on building positive relationships in organizations.
Students can complete the applied communication degree online or on campus. Courses are available in 16-week and 7-week (accelerated) formats.
For more information call 501.569.3158