We have many electives to choose from, encouraging you to study the topics that interest you.


Heather Schmitt
Call or Text: (509) 313-6240 or (866) 380-5323
Email: schmitth@gonzaga.edu

Communication & Leadership

COML 504: Organizational Communication and Leadership - 3 credits

All organizations — from Microsoft, to churches, social clubs, and universities — rely on communication. Being able to communicate strategically is crucial to meaningful participation. This course will explore contemporary concepts about the meanings and functions of communication in organizations. Organizational communication encompasses not only communication within businesses, but also within large private or nonprofit associations, larger community groups, and governments both large and small. We will cover selected topics in organizational communication research such as culture, socialization, systems theory, communication and technology and globalization.

COML 505: Digital Storytelling - 3 credits

The digital age has changed the way we tell stories. Current technology allows users access to a range of digital tools to not only create their own stories, but share them widely through social media. But how do stories make an impact on audiences, given that there is so much more information available? This course teaches you different forms of storytelling using digital media tools. Readings will help you better understand different narrative and persuasive styles of storytelling as well as understand the major theoretical and policy-related issues. Through hands-on assignments, you will acquire technical skills that will help you become a more effective communicator in the digital age.

COML 507: Mindful Leadership and Communication - 3 credits
Includes 3-days on campus
This is a hybrid course and requires online course work before and after the immersion experience

This course is a multi-sensory, hands-on introduction to mindfulness undergirded by empirical research in neuroscience and outcome research.  The course includes; readings, audio files, and mindfulness practices, discussion board postings, and a final paper.  Content and learning activities are selected in the service of educating the whole person and nurturing the personal and professional qualities aligned with the mission of Gonzaga University.

COML 509: Social Media Engagement and Analysis - 3 credits

In this course, we look at the development and dynamics of social media platforms. Through course readings and assignments, we will not only better understand how these platforms can be used to communicate, but also how they can increase audience interactivity. Key to this course is an understanding of how social media has changed the way that audiences engage with organizations and networks. Google defines this new group of users as “Generation C,” a global group of consumers who thrive on content creation, curation, connection, and community. Generation C values authenticity and transparency, and they want both personalization and community.  You also have the option of earning your Hootsuite Certification during this course.

COML 510: Communication Teaching and Pedagogy - 3 credits

This course is designed for those considering teaching communication at the college level. You will learn teaching strategies, develop your teaching philosophy and observe college classroom environments. You will also increase your skills in assessing verbal and nonverbal behaviors to create an engaging classroom experience.

COML 511: Communication Consulting & Training - 3 credits

In a global economy, it is increasingly important to have the training and consulting skills that will allow you to interact effectively with many different cultures. Understanding and creating effective training programs is vital to you and your organization’s success. This course will explore the unique application of communication skills and models for training and offer practice in consulting in a variety of settings, developing resources, marketing, workshop development, training, skill building, and evaluation.

COML 512: Strategic & Crisis Communication - 3 credits

Gone are the days when organizations can afford to just "wait it out" during a crisis or while their competition moves ahead.  Whether you lead or work for an organization, or are in charge of strategic planning or communication, it is critical to understand how to develop, implement and evaluate effective integrated communication plans.  New ideas, trends, issues, projects, and services in our workplaces are all opportunities to plan, strategize, and communicate with stakeholders.  You will learn from real-life examples as well as your colleagues to fully understand and implement campaigns, media relations strategies, and social media tactics.

COML 513: Advanced Topics - 3 credits 

This course explores cutting-edge technologies, theory, and issues. The specific theme of this course varies each time it is offered because communication is constantly evolving.  This course can be taken multiple times because topic rotate.

COML 514: Strategic and Applied Public Relations - 3 credits

This course will explore current public relations practices and give you a solid grounding in the most important thing for a successful public relations practitioner – judgment. All major companies, well-known personalities, non-profits and many others rely on public relations to influence how they are regarded by the audiences that matter to them. As Warren Buffet said “A good reputation takes years to build and a moment to ruin.” The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) defines it as “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” We will cover selected topics to help you understand the science and the art of this discipline including audience research, strategic planning, how to become a valued counselor, and sell your ideas and plans.

COML 515: Relational Communication- 3 credits

This course will enhance your ability to assess the dynamics occurring during conversations, whether one-on-one or in a group, and in different contexts including organizations, families, and in personal relationships.  You will study relevant theory, equipping you with the knowledge and skills needed to successfully navigate the challenges and opportunities related to human communication.  Students will also explore group dynamics and the specific communication actions that can lead to positive social change.

COML 516: Disinformation in the Digital Age - 3 credits

This course offers tools and theoretical frameworks for communication professionals to develop critical thinking about media in all its forms. Topics include news and data literacies, inequalities in media representations, media manipulation, disinformation, and social media activism. At the end of the course, you will better understand how to use media strategically to work toward social justice and counter the spread of disinformation. 

COML 518: Online Course Design & Teaching - 3 credits

With a focus on the college classroom and corporate and organizational training setting, this course develops skills for online course design. Topics explored include instructional techniques, syllabus creation, assessment, grading, presence and engagement matters, strategies for building inclusive classroom culture and climate, and navigating student performance and engagement issues. The course will consider how real-time or simultaneous and non-simultaneous teaching modes may be incorporated and combined into effective online instructional design strategies.

COML 520: Internship - 3 credits

You will complete an approximately 120-hour internship under the supervision of a communication professor at a local college or university for one semester or quarter. The internship includes the development of a portfolio and evaluations from internship supervisors. With guidance from COML faculty you will work to arrange your internship.

COML 521 Travel Writing - 3 credits

This course explores communication theory, ethical frameworks, research methodology and cultural literacy as they relate to travel communication. A travel communicator fosters the spirit of exploration using a variety of methods and platforms with the intent of ethically promoting and documenting components of travel. The genre ranges from the documentary to the evocative, from literary to journalistic, and from humorous to serious. This course will show you how to engage your experiences more deeply in both strange and familiar places.  

COML 522: Renaissance Rhetoric - 3 credits
Includes short-term study abroad in Florence, Italy
This is a hybrid course and requires online course work before and after the immersion experience

Fifteenth century Italy and Florence, in particular, saw a flowering of the arts and scholarship unmatched in history. This can be seen in the rhetoric of art and architecture, religious preaching, political writing and oratory, and in the humanistic philosophy that emerges from it. Whether the fiery oratory of the Dominican Friar Savonarola trying to reform the republic of Florence, the famous letters of St. Catherine of Siena trying to persuade the Pope to repair a schism in the Church, or Nicola Machiavelli’s The Prince as a primer on leadership, all provide an amazing repository of examples of the birth of humanism and its influence on persuasive discourse to lead social progress. Additionally, Donatello’s sculpture, Sandro Botticelli’s paintings, Leonardo Da Vinci’s drawings, and Michelangelo’s art will be analyzed to understand the rhetoric of the time and how the visual played an important role in communication with society. This course examines this period through readings, discussions, and on-site visits to historical settings in Florence. We will formulate and explore the critical questions necessary to understand these ideas and their application to today. Using the Italian Renaissance as the canvas, we will study multiple examples of rhetoric.

COML 525: Advanced Pedagogy – 3 credits
Prerequisite COML 510

With a focus on the college classroom and corporate and organizational training setting, this course develops skills for online course design. Topics explored include instructional techniques, syllabus creation, assessment, grading, presence and engagement matters, strategies for building inclusive classroom culture and climate, and navigating student performance and engagement issues. The course will consider how real-time or simultaneous and non-simultaneous teaching modes may be incorporated and combined into effective online instructional design strategies.

COML 530: Women, Communication and Leadership - 3 credits

This course will look at gender differences in leadership styles and efficacy as well as specific communication issues women face in attaining and retaining leadership positions. Through readings, discussions, videos, and projects that critically examine images and gender stereotypes of women leaders, the course is designed to give you practical skills you can use to become better communicators and leaders.

COML 540: Digital Media Analysis - 3 credits

In this course you will learn how to measure and evaluate the effectiveness of digital communication, including website traffic and social media.  You will gain specific tools for analysis and presentation of data in meaningful ways and develop media strategies based on data insights.  This class will use case studies and practical exercises to help you understand analytic techniques.

COML 541: Advanced Digital Media Analysis - 3 credits
Prerequisite: COML 540

In this course, you will build upon fundamental concepts of how to measure and evaluate the effectiveness of digital communication and apply those principles more fully in the realm of digital marketing.  Part of the class includes preparing a portfolio campaign proposal.  The class is grounded in best practices behind the strategy, execution, measurement and analysis of multichannel campaigns.

COML  545: Digital Surveillance, Algorithms & Ethics - 3 credits

The internet plays a large role in our lives, but what really happens when you log into social media or search for a job, news, a political issue or even a restaurant online? In this course we will raise the curtain on what is really happening behind the scenes in these digital spaces. Who is collecting your data, how is it being used and stored, should it be used and stored, and how do algorithms really work? We will cover the issues surrounding privacy and surveillance and the ethical questions facing organizations and individuals. Some of the other topics we will study include, algorithmic bias, network neutrality, accessibility, content moderators, intellectual property and surveillance capitalism.

“This class has definitely been one of the most interesting and relevant courses that I have taken throughout the COML program.” Student Fall 2020  

COML 550: Visual Data Communication - 3 credits

There is a vast quantity of data out there and it is not neutral, so how do you communicate important information gathered from data clearly and efficiently? In this course you will learn how to visualize information in a way that is easier for your audience to use and understand. You will strategize how to move beyond the written word and traditional presentations in order to create engaging graphic representations, that are accessible and ethical and send a clear message. One of the best examples on how data is used today is the visual representations surrounding the COVD-19 pandemic. Part of your course work includes using data visualization, graphic and analytic tools.

COML 555: Artificial Intelligence and Communication - 3 credits

Artificial Intelligence is the new technological frontier and will affect many aspects of our lives in ways yet to be conceived. From ChatGPT to DALE-E 2 to Replika the way we create, interact and communicate is evolving. This course will examine the ways in which artificial intelligence is used as a tool to communicate – in business, education and personal settings through the written, visual and verbal uses of AI. The course will discuss how we can implement AI tools to solve various problems that face our society in areas including environmental, social, business and health while understanding the ethical issues and concerns inherent within AI. You will explore the design, use and potential for AI tools through hands-on interactions.

COML 560: Communicating for Behavior Change – 3 credits

Using communication to influence behavior change is a popular and important strategy to address social and health problems. The study and practice of these strategies is called health communication. Our information systems lately have been saturated with health communication efforts related to the global pandemic and medical device and pharmaceutical breakthroughs but other broad topics, such as health living and disease prevention, also have long histories of focus. Health communicators use various approaches and frameworks to “move the behavioral needle” of individuals and populations and two of those are risk communication and social marketing. Risk communication seeks to inform audiences of when they face health risks and when they may need to change their behavior. Social marketing is the process of “selling” specific behavior to individuals and populations using the same marketing tenets utilized by the private sector to sell products, but instead of profits as the end goal, the desired outcomes are social, organizational, environmental and public health improvements. This course introduces you to the concepts and theories related to these areas of study and help you to apply them to health communication events and strategic communications in other contexts.

COML 570: Globalization and Its Impacts - 3 credits

In this course you will become familiar with a variety of global issues tied to organizational performance and to analyze those issues using systems-thinking concepts and tools.  You will gain a deeper understanding of social relationships of interdependence and accountability, as well as skills to integrate diverse ideas and perspectives from a variety of sources.

COML 572:  Communication, Leadership and Community Development - 3 credits
Includes short-term study abroad in Cali, Colombia
This is a hybrid course and requires online course work before and after the immersion experience

You will contribute to the work undertaken by the Social Responsibility Office at Javeriana University in partnership with various community media and communication organizations active in the Ladera and Aguablanca districts in Cali to learn about and participate in community development projects geared to empowering disadvantaged young people.

COML 690: Directed Study - 3 credits

Arranged with faculty

Organizational Leadership

You may also choose electives from our Master's in Organizational Leadership (ORGL) program.

Students may tailor their elective choices or choose from formal concentrations.