Rutgers University | Current Teaching

COM621: Organizational Research & Theory (Click here for a copy of the syllabus)

This class will expose students to the basic theoretical perspectives in organizational communication, and to a lesser degree, organizational theory and organizational behavior. The purpose of this course is to provide students a thorough grounding in organizational communication research. The readings are organized historically and integrate a survey of organizational communication research within a survey of organizational theory.

This will enable students to understand the intellectual development of the interdisciplinary area of organizational theory and the evolution of organizational communication research. The class will focus on the change in theoretical perspectives over time as well as on new methodological approaches to the study of organizational communication.

As the area of organizational communication continues to expand, it is important to examine the relationship of organizational communication studies to other related “disciplines” in light of historical events as well as alternative agendas in academic discourse. As part of the course, students will be exposed to both “classic” readings and current perspectives, as well as alternative/diverse methods of research.  Because organizations and their problems have been much in the news (think ENRON, the White House, and Volvo) we will also have a focus on “organizational change.”


COM410: Media, Marketing & Communication (Click here for a copy of the syllabus)

Course Summary: Television, newspaper, magazines, billboards? Traditional media is still the backbone of the marketing industry. But today the industry is cluttered with social networking sites, blogs, user-generated content, wikis, massively multi-player on-line role-playing games (MMORPGs), and much, much more. Consumers are increasingly more educated and proactive about their media consumption, and organizations face a complex array of marketing and advertising decisions.

Through the course of the class, you will begin to make sense of many of the trends and issues emerging in today’s advertising and marketing communication environment. You will become familiar with the modern world of media, marketing and advertising, and learn how to apply communication theories in order to assess industry issues. This class will provide you with a stepping-stone into the media world, and equip you with tools for understanding the challenges facing 21st century media and marketing.


COM357: Organizational Communication (Click here for a copy of the syllabus)

Organizations come in all shapes and sizes: from profit-driven businesses to nonprofits staffed by volunteers; from large multinational corporations to individuals running small startups. Organizations form, exist, survive, and fail through communication. In fact, many organizational scholars and practitioners agree that ‘organization’ and ‘communication’ are synonymous– an organization cannot exist without communication and communication enables us to organize the world around us.

The purpose of this course is to develop your understanding of the role communication plays in organizations. Communication enhances and undermines relationships, persuades, motivates, insults, compliments, misleads, manipulates and facilitates in organizations. Communication is central to the understanding of such organizational processes like teamwork, employee motivation, organizational culture and climate, gossip, turnover, socialization of employees and the diffusion of innovations. Indeed, communication is central to the very structure and functioning of organizations everywhere.

Throughout this course, you will be exposed to the theoretical foundations necessary to understand organizations as communicative entities. In addition, we will examine a series of case studies and through the course of class discussion we will develop successful communication strategies for succeeding in organizations.


COM300: Communication Research (Click here for a copy of the syllabus)

The purpose of this class is to introduce students to communication research methods, applications, and issues.  The purpose of this class is to show students how to think about research, how to understand its purposes, and how it is used in our social worlds.

I know that this is the required course that strikes fear into the hearts of most undergraduates.  It shouldn’t.  This class will not be scary or overwhelming as long as you are committed to keeping up with the pace and on top of the work.  By the end of this class, you will better understand how research is conducted, how research results are used, and how to interrogate if those results are sound.


Byrne Seminar: Social Networks and Society (Click here for a copy of the syllabus)

How many ‘friends’ do you have? Millions of people use social networking websites, such as Facebook or Twitter, nearly every day. Even before the Internet, the way we communicated with friends, family, and colleagues created ‘networks’ that connected us with one another, but also produced limiting social boundaries. Simply put, as long as people communicate with each other, social networks exist, with both expansive and constraining effects. This seminar introduces you to how scholars study social networks and use them to make sense of society.

We’ll examine how our forms of communication affect our opportunities to achieve our goals and to manage our relationships. We’ll also look at how our communication builds up into large entities – organizations. In all, our social networks help to create the fabric of society.

Students will examine aspects of communicating that build and create social networks. We will explore the implications of types of network structures for both individuals and organizations. We will also look at the dark side of networks, including issues of privacy and security. Students will reflect on and analyze their own social networks as well as examples from everyday life (e.g., newspapers, webcasts, radio stories, etc).