Communication Studies Department

When you major/minor in communication studies, you will learn to:

  • Identify the central thesis of a written, aural, or video text and critically analyze arguments
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of a message by applying practical communication theory
  • Access information through research, and evaluate the quality and usefulness of that information
  • Analyze an audience and situation, and adapt a message appropriately
  • Write skillfully, with logical structure and coherent style, for a variety of situations and media
  • Speak clearly, effectively, and extemporaneously before a live audience or on camera.
  • Be aware of the ethical implications of persuasion skills
  • Understand the role of communication in a democratic society

More Information About Communication Studies

We often hear, “I’m a Communications” major or other departments on campus refer to us as “Communications faculty,” but that isn’t accurate, so we want to get the word out!

So, why is there no S on our Communication? And why is it a big deal?

In short, they mean very different things and we want to be recognized for what we (and our students) study, teach, and research. Communication is about humans, symbols, exchanges, and meanings. That’s what we do! Communications has more to do with technologies and channels used for transmitting those messages produced (we’re not studying cables and wires).

So, we hope you’ll help shout out that we’re Communication Studies!

P.S. The S on COMS is for Studies. We are COM(munication) S(tudies). So be a COMS major, but a Communications major isn’t offered.

The skills that a student develops as a communication studies major create a strong foundation for many professions. We teach our students to write for print, broadcast, and electronic media, and the research skills that our students learn prepare them for careers in academia, law, public relations, and business. The excellence our students demonstrate in oral presentation allows them to work in government, the church, and many other areas. Luther communications students also have the opportunity to work with digital video and nonlinear video editing equipment, and some Luther communications alumni obtain positions in television and radio news, production, and motion pictures.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), graduates with a communication studies major nationwide most commonly obtained careers in the following fields:

  • Education
  • Finance/insurance
  • Professional, scientific, and technical services
  • Management

The most common occupational fields among Luther graduates with a communication studies major include:

  • Public relations
  • Radio broadcasting
  • Journalism
  • Development/fundraising
  • Sales (sales representative, retail manager)

Luther communication studies graduates are hired by diverse organizations, from marketing firms and small publishers, such as local newspapers or regional magazines, to national corporate institutions, such as Target.

Luther College aggressively tracks the career paths and outcomes of its graduates, from employment to graduate school to postgraduate service.

A high percentage of Luther grads continue on to postgraduate study. These are some of the communication studies majors or minors who have entered graduate programs since 2010.

  • Amber Sorenson ’20, Kent State University, MA in Communication Studies
  • Evan Lobdell ’20, MA in Communication Studies
  • Erin Halverson ’19, MA in Journalism and Mass Communication
  • Kristen Carlson ’19, University of Minnesota, MA/PhD in Communication Studies
  • Curtis Cook ’19 Creighton University, School of Law
  • D.J. Simpson ’16, Minnesota State University-Mankato, PhD in Communication Studies
  • Emily Gehlsen ’16, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Master of Social Work
  • Jordy Barry ’15, Rutgers University, MA in International Relations
  • Brianna Clancy ’15, University of Oklahoma, Master of Music in Voice/Opera Fellow
  • Nick Rauch ’15, Drake University, School of Law
  • Jena Schwake ’13, Colorado State University, MA in Communication
  • Sarah Thell ’13, St. Catherine University, Master of Library and Information Science
  • Mikaela Belland ’12, University of Minnesota, Law School
  • Katrina V. Sikkink ’11, St. Catherine University, Master’s in Occupational Therapy
  • Susana Hansen ’11, Wichita State University, Master of Music in Opera Performance
  • Jill Bohle ’10, Washington State University, MA/PhD in Rhetoric
  • Jared Bendel ’10, Colorado State University, MA in Communication Studies
  • Sarah Knoploh ’10, Saint Louis University, School of Law
  • William Liu ’10, Valparaiso University, MA in Photography
  • Heather Lund ’10, University of Northern Iowa, MA in Communication Studies
  • Lauren Rauchwarter ’10, Clemson University, MA in Communication, Technology & Society

Communication studies courses are taught in Main and Valders. Faculty offices are located in Campus House.

Majors may also apply their skills as contributors to Luther’s radio station (KWLC) and the student newspaper (Chips), both located in Dahl Centennial Union.

The Communication Studies Department also supports a Speech and Debate Center, which serves any student preparing an oral presentation for a class, cocurricular organization, or outside group. The Speech and Debate Center is located in Preus Library Room 120 and is open Sunday through Thursday evenings from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Also located in Preus Library, Room 100, is Luther’s new, state-of-the-art Digital Media Center. This center combines a full video production studio and multi-station Mac editing lab. Courses in media production are taught in this space, and it is available throughout the day and into the evenings for continued work on class or independent projects.

The Speech and Debate Center (SDC) was established in 2012 by the Roberts Endowment for Speech and Debate. The SDC is home to the Luther College Forensics Club and serves as a tutoring center for students who wish to improve their presentations for class.

The SDC is located in Preus Library Room 120, when classes are in-person, and is open Sunday through Thursday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., and select hours during January Term. The SDC is not open during finals week. Contact Derek Sweet with questions.

The Speech and Debate Center is staffed by specially trained, upper-level communication majors who can provide expert advice in speech preparation and delivery. These advanced students will consult on:

  • Audience analysis
  • Topic selection
  • Thesis development
  • Organization and outlining
  • Use of supporting materials
  • Presentation aids
  • Effective delivery

Do you need to schedule an appointment? Do you have additional questions? If so, please visit the Speech and Debate Center KATIE site.

The Speech and Debate Center (SDC) is open to any student wanting to improve a presentation for class. Students should come to the SDC with their presentation fully prepared and ready to present, a description of the course assignment, and a willingness to accept constructive criticism to improve the presentation.

The SDC tutor will listen to your presentation and record it, with your permission. After the presentation the tutor will give oral feedback on the presentation, which may include watching the video to show where improvement is needed and where the speech is strong. At the conclusion of the session the tutor will give the student an evaluation sheet to return to the professor as proof of attending the SDC for assistance.

A student may attend the SDC as many times as necessary to work on the presentation. Note that the job of the SDC tutor is to help polish a presentation, not to write the presentation, so students must come to the SDC with the presentation completed.

Complete the Speech Center Feedback Form