Classes

  • The Communication Leadership curriculum includes core courses and a variety of electives. All courses are 5 credits unless otherwise indicated. Use the search widget below to sort classes by degree track (MCDM, MCCN, track neutral) and by other attributes (credits, core requirements, etc.). Or view the latest version of our printed course guide here.

    Please view the University of Washington Academic Calendar for important dates, including quarter start and end dates, registration dates and deadlines, and campus holidays. Registration SLNs can be located on the Time Schedule.

COMMLD 535: Foundations of Audio Storytelling (Partnow) - 2019 Summer

Track Neutral
Monday-Friday, 6/24-6/28 | 9:00am-5:00pm | SAV 132
Registration SLN: 10909

Course Description: 

Whether gathered around a radio in a living room or walking plugged in with headphones, the medium of audio storytelling has always offered the opportunity to build mindset-shifting community around content. This course traces the evolution of audio storytelling from radio to podcasting that links to communities for various purposes: to educate, to entertain, and to inspire action — and the new golden age of podcasting that we find ourselves in means that audio storytelling has the potential for broad reach and powerful impact. Consideration is given to the core characteristics of strong storytelling, observed through an auditory filter. Class materials are twinned with a selection of cross-sector guest speakers who bring their own craft perspective. Students will experiment with designing their own short audio pieces.

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 524: Copywriting Fundamentals for Marketing (Schiller) - 2019 Autumn

Track Neutral Elective | 3 Credits
Saturdays 10/5, 10/19, 11/2 | 9:00am-5:00pm | CMU 126

Course Description: 

This advanced marketing writing class is designed for students who can already write well, but want formal training in persuasive copywriting techniques – the kind that drive people to call, buy, join, or sign-­‐up. If you’ve ever agonized over finding just the right words to achieve your goals, this class is designed to get you there faster. It introduces some of the most effective and well-­‐tested methods used by professional storytellers to outsell and outrun the constantly changing market. Students will learn how to use techniques based in psychological research to get measurable lift in subject line open rates, landing page conversion rates, app store downloads, and more. Using a combination of readings, case studies and practical writing assignments students will learn the art and science of creating top-­‐performing marketing text.

Student Testimonial:

“This course was one of the most valuable classes I’ve taken while in the program. Carol ensured that the readings and assignments were directly applicable to our own careers and the ideas I brought back to my boss made me look great at work. I wondered if a full-day class about copywriting would be too long, but Carol’s lessons were lively and interesting, and I found that the day moved along very quickly. In short, I found this class to have tremendous value and I highly recommend it.”

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 510: Leveraging Diverse Perspectives for Product Content Strategy (Davies) - 2020 Autumn

Track Neutral | 3 Credits
Wednesdays 10/7-12/9, 6:00pm – 8:20pm | Online

Course Description:

This course will guide students through a variety of techniques and processes to building experiences that are inclusive, and designed to directly serve their intended audience. This includes a lightweight look at understanding and defining your audience, testing for a variety of accessibility challenges, designing for inclusion, and an overview of ways to get feedback from your audience.Students will then be able to leverage these techniques to evaluate experiences to identify opportunities to improve.

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COM 597: Content & Social Strategy for Maximum Business Impact (Schiller) - 2017 Fall

Track Neutral, 3 Credits
Saturdays, 10/14, 10/28, and Sunday 11/5, 9:00am-5:00pm | CMU 126

Course Description:

Many experts think of social media and content strategy in big company terms: getting buy-in from management, developing a process, communicating among teams, defining metrics, etc. All very important, but in an over-saturated digital world how do you create the actual content? Not boring, me-too, formulaic content, but stories that people actually read, share and take action upon? Contrary to what many people think, great content is not built on luck or magic; it’s built using specific, repeatable techniques that you can learn and deploy to drive your business objectives. This class will teach you how to create unforgettable content, how to customize it for each social channel and how to ensure that your social and content strategy support each other for maximum business impact. Through a combination of case studies, readings and hands-on assignments, students will gain a solid understanding of how to create the kind of content that other marketers will wish was their own.

Student Testimonial:

I came into class with little to no formal training on content strategy. It was apparent from the get go that I would be learning multiple useful techniques on how to break down content and better improve said content based on the its ultimate goal. With her years of industry experience and scrappy attitude, Carol was a terrific asset to the class. Regardless of your individual pathway through the program, this is a great class for better understanding the online ecosystem that we all exist in.

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 514: Product Content Strategy (Schwieterman) - 2021 Winter

MCDM Elective | Meets Research Methods Requirement | 5 Credits
Wednesdays 1/6-3/10 | 6:00pm – 9:50pm | CMU 302

Course Description:

The goal of this course is to provide a strong foundational knowledge of product content strategy as a function within a user experience design team. Skill areas include responsive content strategy, inclusive design, content auditing, performance auditing and more. Specific focus is also given to understanding the perspectives of partner roles, building skills around collaborating and communicating with each role type. You should walk away ready to join a real team and get to work. You will also gain real work examples by working with brands from around the region.

[Course Description +]

COM 597: Digital Transformations of Organizations (Agarwal and Foot) - 2016 Fall

Track Neutral, Meets Research Methods Core Requirement
Wednesdays, 9/28/16-12/7/16, 6:00-8:50pm** | CMU 302

**Please note that this class meets only 3 hours a week, but is a 5-credit course. The professors have designed the course to require weekly observations that serve as an equivalent to an hour of class time. The course has a prerequisite: a Memo of Understanding signed by the student and his/her organizational liaison is required to receive an add code for registration in the course. Please read the full course description below for more details.

Course Description:

Watch a video introduction to the course from Dr. Kirsten Foot.

The process of transforming organizations– whether for-profit companies, non-profit organizations, or government agencies– is often complex, even more so when digital information and communication technologies (ICTs) are involved. There are many reasons why technology adoption fails, why people resist the introduction of new tools, and why these tools have unintended consequences and effects. Managing technology change within organizations or being a “change agent” is rewarding yet extremely challenging work. This course prepares students to take on such roles. Using a case study approach, students in this class will learn how to identify potential roadblocks to change and develop analytical lenses for assessing digitally-mediated changes in organizations. Together we will examine several aspects of such changes including innovation cycles, change leadership, technology breakdowns, resistance to ICTs and/or organizational change, and collaboration.

During the second half of autumn quarter, this course will synch up with a “sister course” for professionally-oriented graduate students enrolled in a Communication masters degree program at Shenzhen University, located in China’s leading tech-industry city. We will experiment with real-time discussions between the two classrooms via video conferencing, and students in both locations will exchange some of their fieldwork observations and insights in English (and Mandarin, if desired) in order to develop cross-cultural and international understandings of ICT-mediated organizational change processes.

This course involves weekly assignments based on students’ fieldwork in a local organization, along with reading academic journal articles, organizational reports, case studies, and other types of documents, and writing weekly reports and other analyses. At the end of this course students will be able to identify key strategies for assessing and managing ICT-related organizational change, and analyze change processes in ways that support organizational development.

In order to obtain an add code to register for this course, students will first need to identify a local organization in which they can conduct fieldwork on a weekly basis during the course. The organization should be at least 5 years old, have at least 10 staff, and have undergone– or be undergoing– ICT-related change processes (tips for finding such an organization here). Each week the student will spend an hour at the organization’s headquarters, to interview a staff member and observe staff working with ICTs. The organization can be in any sector, and a UW department or office that meets the criteria above would be fine. Students should consider their schedules, organizations’ business hours, and transportation logistics when selecting an organization. Each student will print and sign this memo of understanding of the fieldwork for this course, and ask a staff member from the organization to confirm his/her consent by signing it. Heather Werckle will provide add codes upon receipt of MOUs signed by both a student and a staff member of an organization that meets the stated criteria.

Course Prerequisites:

  • Basic word processing, Excel, and Power Point skills, and the ability to access Canvas regularly
  • Access to and understanding of how to use Canvas
  • Ability to spend an hour each week during the 10 weeks of the course at the headquarters of a Seattle-based organization that has the characteristics described above
  • A Memo of Understanding signed by the student and his/her organizational liaison is required to receive an add code for registration in the course
[Course Description +]

COM 597: Audio Storytelling: Education, Engagement, and Entertainment (Crofts) - 2017 Spring

Track Neutral, 3 Credits
Wednesday, 3/27/17-6/2/17, 6-8:30pm | CMU 242

Course Description:

Whether gathered around a radio in a living room or walking plugged in with headphones, the medium of audio storytelling has always offered the opportunity to build mindset-shifting community around content. This course traces the evolution of audio storytelling from radio to podcasting that links to communities for various purposes: to educate, to entertain, and to inspire action. Consideration is given to the core characteristics of strong storytelling, observed through an auditory filter. Class materials are twinned with a selection of cross-sector guest speakers who bring their own craft perspective. Students will experiment with designing their own short audio pieces.

Student Testimonial:

“Three words are all it should take to convince any CommLeader that this course is awesome: Anita. Verna. Crofts. As we all observed, first hand, in her core class, Anita is one of those professors who not only excels at teaching course material, but also models effective communication, leadership, and community building techniques at all times. You learn a ton just by being around her, and she’s been known to bring amazing desserts to class as well.

In addition to the “AVC Factor”, this class will help you beef up your skills as a storyteller, interviewer, writer, and editor, especially when it comes to content that is meant to be engaged with auditorily. The course materials, which include a number of great podcast episodes, radio stories, and relevant readings, help provide solid examples of how audio stories can be used to educate, inspire, and entertain. There were also several guest speakers who shared insights both on the “how to’s” of audio storytelling and ways in which it can be used as a community building tool as well. Lastly there were several opportunities for rich class discussion and peer-review time which I always appreciate since we are surrounded by such a talented community here in CommLead.”

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 524: Copywriting Fundamentals for Marketing (Schiller) - 2020 Winter

Track Neutral Elective | 3 Credits
Sundays 1/12, 1/26, 2/9 | 9:00am-5:00pm | CMU 126

Course Description: 

This advanced marketing writing class is designed for students who can already write well, but want formal training in persuasive copywriting techniques – the kind that drive people to call, buy, join, or sign-­‐up. If you’ve ever agonized over finding just the right words to achieve your goals, this class is designed to get you there faster. It introduces some of the most effective and well-­‐tested methods used by professional storytellers to outsell and outrun the constantly changing market. Students will learn how to use techniques based in psychological research to get measurable lift in subject line open rates, landing page conversion rates, app store downloads, and more. Using a combination of readings, case studies and practical writing assignments students will learn the art and science of creating top-­‐performing marketing text.

Student Testimonial:

“This course was one of the most valuable classes I’ve taken while in the program. Carol ensured that the readings and assignments were directly applicable to our own careers and the ideas I brought back to my boss made me look great at work. I wondered if a full-day class about copywriting would be too long, but Carol’s lessons were lively and interesting, and I found that the day moved along very quickly. In short, I found this class to have tremendous value and I highly recommend it.”

[Course Description +]

COM 597 Crisis Communication Strategies in a Digital World (Schwartz) - 2018 Winter

Track Neutral, Meets Law and Ethics Core Requirement
Wednesdays, Jan 3rd-March 8th, 6-9:50pm I CMU 126

Course Description:

The 24-hour news cycle, social media, and online reporting fundamentally changed how institutional leaders, executives, celebrities, politicians, and organizations address crises big and small; internal and external; local, national, and international. Effectively managing a crisis means not just employing PR strategies, but developing a comprehensive communications plan that disseminates actionable content and engages all stakeholders with equal focus across multiple and diverse networks. This course will address how the tools of communication influence crisis communication strategies. In addition, it will identify the key issues that must be addressed during an organizational crisis (real or imagined) from a communications perspective. It will examine implementation strategies to engage traditional and social media; digital networks; federal, state and local lawmakers; external and internal stakeholders; and consumers or constituents. As important, it will deconstruct and reinforce the personal ethics and behavior required by professionals in a crisis situation. This class uses current events, interactive discussions, real-time exercises, and engaging guest lectures to provide practical insight about effective techniques and lessons learned.

Student Testimonial: 

“This course is one of my favorites and Melissa is infectious. The variety of crisis cases that we looked at, presented each week and the readings that were required to be read were mind boggling. Not only did the course teach how to handle crisis, but also taught how to improve presentation skills, public speaking skills and more than anything, how to prevent crisis especially on social media when you have the option of preventing. Overall an amazing program and I have already recommended it to a lot of my classmates who started in Fall.”

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 560: Individualized Research (Philipsen) - 2019 Winter

Track Neutral | Meets Research Methods Core Requirement
Meetings to be arranged between enrolled students and instructor
Registration SLN: 22056 (application and add code required)

Course Description: 

This class is designed for students who want to explore an area and develop a research project of their own. Students work individually in this class with the instructor, Dr. Gerry Philipsen, to develop a negotiated plan of work, involving the reading of important scholarly works in the area of study and the development of an individual creative project designed to enhance the student’s intellectual and practical development. During the quarter the student meets at least three times with the instructor (at a time of their choosing) for one on one meetings. The terms of evaluation are set out in the individually-negotiated plan of work. This is a highly individualized, and highly structured learning experience. The topics to choose from with Dr. Gerry Philipsen as the instructor/advisor are:

  • Communication that enhances effectiveness in workplace teams
  • Personal negotiation strategies and conflict management in the workplace, and beyond
  • Cultural and intergroup communication

Dr. Gerry Philipsen is a pioneer in communication research. He is the originator of speech code theory. He is also the recipient of University of Washington’s Distinguished Teaching Award and University of Washington Award for Distinguished Faculty Contribution to Lifelong Learning. He is the former Chair of the Faculty Senate, Secretary of the Faculty, and former Department Chair at Communication Department at UW. He has spoken at over 100 universities and colleges, world-wide and also served as consultant for National Science Foundation and United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research.

To apply for this individualized research opportunity, please complete the Google Form here.

 

[Course Description +]

COM 597 Crisis Communication Strategies in a Digital World (Schwartz) - 2018 Summer

Track Neutral, Meets Law and Ethics Core Requirement
Thursdays, 6/21-8/16, 6:00-9:50pm I PCAR 492
Registration SLN: 14248

Course Description:

The 24-hour news cycle, social media, and online reporting fundamentally changed how institutional leaders, executives, celebrities, politicians, and organizations address crises big and small; internal and external; local, national, and international. Effectively managing a crisis means not just employing PR strategies, but developing a comprehensive communications plan that disseminates actionable content and engages all stakeholders with equal focus across multiple and diverse networks. This course will address how the tools of communication influence crisis communication strategies. In addition, it will identify the key issues that must be addressed during an organizational crisis (real or imagined) from a communications perspective. It will examine implementation strategies to engage traditional and social media; digital networks; federal, state and local lawmakers; external and internal stakeholders; and consumers or constituents. As important, it will deconstruct and reinforce the personal ethics and behavior required by professionals in a crisis situation. This class uses current events, interactive discussions, real-time exercises, and engaging guest lectures to provide practical insight about effective techniques and lessons learned.

Student Testimonial: 

“This course is one of my favorites and Melissa is infectious. The variety of crisis cases that we looked at, presented each week and the readings that were required to be read were mind boggling. Not only did the course teach how to handle crisis, but also taught how to improve presentation skills, public speaking skills and more than anything, how to prevent crisis especially on social media when you have the option of preventing. Overall an amazing program and I have already recommended it to a lot of my classmates who started in Fall.”

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 520: Marketing Copywriting (Text-Based Marketing) (Schiller) - 2018 Fall

Track Neutral | 3 credits
Saturdays, 10/6, 10/20, 11/3 | 9:00am- 5:00pm | CMU 126
Registration SLN: 23688

Course Description: 

This advanced marketing writing class is designed for students who can already write well, but want formal training in persuasive copywriting techniques – the kind that drive people to call, buy, join, or sign-­‐up. If you’ve ever agonized over finding just the right words to achieve your goals, this class is designed to get you there faster. It introduces some of the most effective and well-­‐tested methods used by professional storytellers to outsell and outrun the constantly changing market. Students will learn how to use techniques based in psychological research to get measurable lift in subject line open rates, landing page conversion rates, app store downloads, and more. Using a combination of readings, case studies and practical writing assignments students will learn the art and science of creating top-­‐performing marketing text.

Student Testimonial:

“This course was one of the most valuable classes I’ve taken while in the program. Carol ensured that the readings and assignments were directly applicable to our own careers and the ideas I brought back to my boss made me look great at work. I wondered if a full-day class about copywriting would be too long, but Carol’s lessons were lively and interesting, and I found that the day moved along very quickly. In short, I found this class to have tremendous value and I highly recommend it.”

[Course Description +]

COM 597: Crisis Communication Strategies in a Digital World (Schwartz) - 2017 Summer

Track Neutral, Meets Law & Ethics Requirement
Mondays, 6/26-8/14, 6:00-9:50pm | MGH 074
Please note this class will begin the second week of the quarter on June 26 and will add a class on Tuesday, June 27, 6:00-9:50pm in CMU 126.

Course Description:

The 24-hour news cycle, social media, and online reporting fundamentally changed how institutional leaders, executives, celebrities, politicians, and organizations address crises big and small; internal and external; local, national, and international. Effectively managing a crisis means not just employing PR strategies, but developing a comprehensive communications plan that disseminates actionable content and engages all stakeholders with equal focus across multiple and diverse networks. This course will address how the tools of communication influence crisis communication strategies. In addition, it will identify the key issues that must be addressed during an organizational crisis (real or imagined) from a communications perspective. It will examine implementation strategies to engage traditional and social media; digital networks; federal, state and local lawmakers; external and internal stakeholders; and consumers or constituents. As important, it will deconstruct and reinforce the personal ethics and behavior required by professionals in a crisis situation. This class uses current events, interactive discussions, real-time exercises, and engaging guest lectures to provide practical insight about effective techniques and lessons learned.

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 560: Individualized Research (Philipsen) - 2020 Winter

Track Neutral Elective | Meets Research Methods Core Requirement
Meetings to be arranged between enrolled students and instructor
(application and add code required)

Course Description:

This course is designed for students who want to explore an area and develop a research project of their own. Students work individually in this class with the instructor, Dr. Gerry Philipsen, to develop a negotiated plan of work, involving the reading of important scholarly works in the area of study and the development of an individual creative project designed to enhance the student’s intellectual and practical development. The topics to choose from with Dr. Gerry Philipsen as the instructor/advisor are: Communication that enhances effectiveness in workplace teams, personal negotiation strategies and conflict management in the workplace, and beyond, and cultural and intergroup communication.

Submit your application for this class here: https://forms.gle/Ft4nsCc2c2AMXwVMA.

[Course Description +]