Undergraduate Catalog 2020-2021 : Macricostas School of Arts & Sciences

Communication and Media Arts

Jay Brower, Chair
Higgins Hall 201K, Midtown campus
(203) 837-8833
(203) 837-8032 (fax)

Krista Brooks, Department Secretary
Higgins Hall 201, Midtown campus
(203) 837-9166
(203) 837-8032 (fax)


J. Brower, Chair J. Barone P. Echeverria
J. Eckstein J. Guzda T. Keys
K. Lever W. Petkanas C. Waldbeusser
K. Wiss


The Department of Communication & Media Arts employs a variety of resources designed to help students master the ability to participate in and evaluate the communication process. The department’s curriculum provides a balance of theory and practice that can be applied to business and personal relationships, media and other communication environments.

Students who major in communication or media arts prepare for graduate studies or careers directly related to: managing interaction in settings such as social service agencies, small businesses and corporations; media use, creation, performance, analysis and criticism; and related fields that require public speaking, persuasion and application or analysis of interpersonal and public speaking skills.


The Department of Communication and Media Arts at Western Connecticut State University is committed to teaching the theory, ethics, and skills necessary to expand and deepen students’ participation in a globalized world. Students learn to engage in challenging dialogues across a variety of communicative landscapes.

Each of our degrees and options shares an emphasis on the enhancement of capacities for observation, critical appraisal, and expression. Graduates of the program are positioned to pursue careers in public service, media campaigns, advocating for the underserved, organizational relations, broadcasting, and filmmaking, among many others.


To accomplish this mission, the Department of Communication and Media Arts:

  • Offers high-quality undergraduate courses and programs in communication and media theory including digital media production, digital interactive media arts, media studies, public communication and relational communication.
  • Emphasizes development of the four modes of communication (speaking, listening, writing, and reading) as well as media production techniques throughout the undergraduate curriculum to enhance students’ ability to understand and create appropriate, creative and effective interaction and media.
  • Provides a personalized learning environment for students through faculty-mentored undergraduate research projects, video productions, and internships.
  • Prepares students for graduate education in media arts, communication and related fields.
  • Assists students in identifying appropriate classes, learning opportunities and careers through attentive advising.
  • Fosters the growth and development of faculty and their students through supporting research, attendance at professional meetings, and presentation and publication of scholarly work.
  • Collaborates with media-industry professionals in the tri-state area to support professional growth of faculty as well as internship opportunities for students.

Good Academic Standing in the Major

Communication & Media Arts majors must earn a C (in some cases a B-) or better in classes that count in the major. Students must repeat a required course in the major until they earn the necessary minimum grade. Students may repeat major electives if they don’t earn the minimum grade, or when possible and desirable, select another major elective in its place. The major elective earning a C- or less may then be used as a free elective. Students do not earn additional credit for retaking a class. Courses retaken may not be eligible for financial aid or count towards Satisfactory Academic Progress for financial aid, athletics, etc.

Students must be in “Good Academic Standing” to change their major to Communication or Media Arts. This means, they must have at least a 2.0 GPA, a 2.5 in classes that will count towards their major.

Communication & Media Arts majors must remain in good academic standing in the major or be placed on “Probation in the Major.”

Good Academic Standing in Communication & Media Arts includes each of the following:

  • Maintaining an GPA of 2.0
  • Maintaining a GPA in the major of 2.5 (in classes that count towards the major requirements)
  • Completing COM 290 Communication Theory and COM 219 Communication Ethics with a C or better before earning 60 credits; or within 15 credits of transferring into Communication or Media Arts if they have already earned 60 credits.
  • Completing COM 390 Research Methods in Communication with a C or better before earning 90 credits or within 15 credits of changing their major to Communication or Media Arts if they have already earned or transferred in 90 credits.

Probation in the major means students are at risk of being disqualified from eligibility to earn a degree in Communication or Media Arts. After being placed on probation in the major, students have one semester to address the area that placed them on probation. If students are not able to meet the requirement within one semester, they are subject to suspension from the major. Students who are suspended from the major will be required to change their major. If they do not actively change their major, they will be changed to “Focus Undeclared” status.

The status “Probation in the Major” and “Suspension in the Major” will not appear on the student’s transcript. Students will be notified of the change of status by the department. Students on probation in the major must meet with their advisor to discuss a plan for successful completion of the degree. Students are ultimately responsible for maintaining their GPA and successfully completing their academic work. The advisor may discuss changes in life, study habits, or attitude to improve performance. Advisors may also recommend a decreased course load or utilizing campus resources to address personal, emotional, academic or life situations which are make it difficult to perform well in school. Once the requirements for Good Academic Standing in Communication & Media Arts are met, students may reapply to change their major to Communication or Media Arts.

Lambda Pi Eta

The department sponsors a chapter of Lambda Pi Eta (LPH), the National Communication Honors Society. As an organization, LPH recognizes, fosters and rewards outstanding scholastic achievement in the field of communication. To qualify, students must be full-time communication majors and have earned 60 credits with at least 12 in communication. They must also have a minimum 3.25 GPA in communication courses and a 3.0 overall GPA. Students must demonstrate commitment to the field. Students may contact the department chair for more information.

Course Restrictions
For a complete list of prerequisites, corequisites and other restrictions for all courses, please consult the Course Description section of this catalog.

Degree Programs in Communication & Media Arts

Bachelor of Arts

Communication: Communication Studies

Media Arts: Media Production

Digital Interactive Media Arts
Media Production
Computer Programming

Minor Programs

Broadcast Journalism



Students must complete all general education requirements, the courses and credits listed below by option and additional free electives to total a minimum of 120 semester hours, including the requirements for a foreign language.

Communication Studies Option

COM 102 Orientation to Communication & Media Arts Major
COM 160 Public Speaking or COM 161 Decision Making in Groups or COM 162 Interpersonal Communication or COM 163 Introduction to Human Communication
COM 219 Communication Ethics
COM 260W Thinking through Communication
COM 290 Communication Theory
COM 390 Research Methods in Communication
COM 495 Senior Thesis

Six courses (18 credits) no more than one at the 100-level in any of the following areas which are grouped to help students select the appropriate courses: 1. Media Production, 2. Media Studies, 3. Public Relations/Public Communication Group, 4. Relational Communication.



Students must complete all general education requirements, the courses and credits listed below by option, and additional free electives to total a minimum of 120 semester hours, including foreign language and physical education.

Media Production Option:

COM 102: Intro to Communication & Media Arts
COM 110 Sight, Sound & Motion
COM 146 Basic Video Production
COM 242 Scriptwriting or COM 243 Broadcast Writing
COM 246 Intermediate Video Production
COM 336 Postproduction
COM 390 Research Methods in Communication
COM 435 Senior Project Preproduction

COM 436 Senior Project
15 credits of Major Electives from the following list:

COM 242 Scriptwriting
COM 243 Broadcast Writing
COM 247 Live News & Election Coverage (4 credits)
COM 252 Media Performance Techniques
COM 270 Fundamentals of Radio Broadcasting
COM 340 Sound for Video
COM 394 Selected Topics in Media Production

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Explain Communication and/or Media Arts theories, ethical perspectives, principles, and concepts.
  2. Apply Communication and/or Media Arts scholarship and creative works.
  3. Formulate questions appropriate for Communication and/or Media Arts scholarship and aesthetic works.
  4. Evaluate the ethical dimensions of communicative activity.
  5. Analyze one’s own cultural standpoint and hot it influences communication.
  6. Evaluate personal, private, local, national, and/or global issues from a Communication and/or Media Arts perspective.
  7. Explain the importance of Communication and/or Media Arts in civic life.
  8. Practice writing to inform and persuade a variety of audiences.
  9. Contribute to scholarly and creative works appropriate to the purpose of inquiry.
  10. Identify elements of career development in Communication and/or Media Arts


As a field, Digital and Interactive Media Arts (DIMA) is a way of conceptualizing emerging practices of personal, commercial, and artistic expression in a variety of high tech channels. In this new terrain, traditional foundations in design and aesthetics form the ground of expression, but they are joined with the more recent fields of computer programming and video production computer animation, game design and interactive web design.

Careers that rely on competence in designing Digital and Interactive Media Arts are as varied as the fields they draw upon. Where some students may require a proficiency in the use and application of DIMA technologies and principles in the creation of artistic artifacts (fine arts, television, film, games), others may be involved in the creation of new technologies and their use as communication tools (advertising, public relations, and all web-based organizational communication).

This program seeks to ground students in the basics of aesthetics, programming, sound, and video production and design. By taking a project-based learning approach, students will come to understand and apply the full creative development process from idea to presentation.  Students will touch all aspects of the creative processes in digital and interactive media arts, and then specialize in one of two options:  Media Production and Programming.


  1. To provide an interdisciplinary program in which students will acquire knowledge in fundamentals and specific area(s) of focus.
  2. To provide exemplary faculty who are actively engaged in their discipline.
  3. To provide learning environment in which students apply appropriate learning and skills to create new digital interactive media content.
  4. To provide students access to exemplary, digital interactive media software, equipment, and facilities.
  5. To support experiential learning through internships and cooperative education.

Our primary goals in this degree are to create an environment in which students:

  1. Conceptualize, plan and execute creative ideas using appropriate DIMA technology.
  2. Learn to communicate effectively about their ideas by discussing and defending their work and critiquing others in relation to concepts, ideas, techniques, processes, and experiences.
  3. Learn the value of interdisciplinary thinking and collaboration.

Learning Outcomes:

At the completion of this program students will be able to:

  1. Discuss and apply the concepts related to the visual, spatial, sound, motion, interactive, and temporal elements/features of digital technology and principles for their use in the creation and application of digital media-based work
  2. Discuss and apply narrative and other information/language structures for organizing content in time-based or interactive media
  3. Organize and represent content structures in ways that are responsive to technological, social, and cultural systems.
  4. Discuss the characteristics and capabilities of various technologies (hardware and software); their appropriateness for particular expressive, functional, and strategic applications; their positions within larger contexts and systems, and their influences on individuals and society
  5. Discuss and apply processes for the development and coordination of digitally-based art and design strategies (for example, storyboarding, concept mapping, and the use of scenarios and personas).
  6. Analyze and synthesize relevant aspects of human interaction in various contexts (physical, cognitive, cultural, social, political, and economic) and with respect to technologically-mediated communication, objects, and environments.
  7. Analyze useful, usable, effective, and desirable information with respect to user/audience-centered digitally-based communication, objects, and environments.
  8. Discuss and apply history, theory, and criticism with respect to such areas as film, video, technology, and digital art and design.
  9. Engage in teams-based work and to organize collaborations among people from different disciplines.
  10. Use the above competencies in the creation and development of professional quality interactive digital media productions.
  11. Develop knowledge of legal and ethical issues across disciplines.
  12. Present work in a portfolio in a professional way.


DIMA Core Requirements:
ART 121 Fundamentals of Two-Dimension Design
ART 141 Drawing I
COM 110 Sight, Sound & Motion
COM 146 Basic Video Production
CS 140 Intro to Programming OR CS 143 Visual Basic
CS 170 Language OR CS 172 Intermediate Java
DIMA 100 Introduction to Digital Interactive Media Arts
DIMA 200 Design for Digital Interactive Media Arts
DIMA 300 DIMA Technologies
DIMA 400 Senior Project & Presentation

Production Option:
COM 235 Preproduction for Television and Film
COM 242 Script Writing or COM 243 Broadcast Writing
COM 246 Intermediate Video Production
COM 336 Postproduction
COM 371 Film and Video Art

Programming Option:
CS 220 Obj. Oriented Prog. OR CS 250 Adv. Topics in Program Java
CS/MAT 165 Intro to Discrete Math
CS 245 Web Applications Dev.
CS 205 Data Modeling & Design OR MIS 301 Database Apps in Business
CS 340 Computer Animation


Eighteen semester hours in communication which must include at least 12 semester hours above the 100 level. Only courses with a C grade or better will count.


COM 146 Basic Video Production 3 SH
COM 243 Broadcast Writing 3 SH
Three credits selected from the following list in consultation with an advisor:
COM 246 Intermediate Video Production (prereq. COM 146) 3 SH
COM 247 Live News & election Coverage 4 SH
COM 252 Video Performance Techniques 3 SH
COM 270 Fundamentals of Radio Broadcasting 3 SH
COM 336 Postproduction (prereq. COM 246 and COM 235) 3 SH
COM 39 Special Topics in Media Production (see advisor) 3 SH
WRT 270W News Writing 3 SH
Two classes from the following list:
WRT 279 Sports Writing 3 SH
WRT 333W Editorial Environment 3 SH
WRT 335W Fact-Based Opinion Writing 3 SH
WRT 338W Writing About Specialized Subjects 3 SH
WRT 375 Book, Performance, & Restaurant Reviewing 3 SH
WRT 490 Internship/Practicum in Writing 3 SH

Sample Four-Year Degree Sequences can be found at www.wcsu.edu.


  • See Catalog section on Foreign Language Requirements to determine how language classes count.
  • Free electives in the junior and senior year are often used for professional internships or minors in related areas.