Classes

  • The Communication Leadership curriculum includes core courses and a variety of electives. Use the search widget below to sort classes by degree track (MCDM, MCCN, track neutral) and by other attributes (credits, core requirements, etc.).

    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. Please read the Department’s statement on internet resource requirements for access to courses.

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COMMLD 501: Leadership and Communities (Yasin) - 2021-2022 Autumn 2021

Track Neutral | 2 Credits
Thursdays 09/30-12/09, 8:00PM – 9:20PM PDT | SAV 260
Registration SLN: 13052

Course Description:

This foundational class considers leadership development through the two lenses of story and community. Sustained community engagement in the service of a more equitable and just world requires strong leadership models. Personal history and cultural context influence leadership styles, so using cross-sector profiles and guest speakers, we will carefully consider a range of leaders, their life stories, communication styles, and how they connect meaningfully to customers, colleagues, and constituents.

Credit/No Credit only

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 503 A: Communication and Leadership Practicum: Data Insights for Social Impact (Wilson) - 2021-2022 Autumn 2021

Track Neutral | 3 Credits
Mondays 10/04-12/06, 6:00PM – 8:20PM PDT | DEN 111
Registration SLN: 23402

Course Description

The COVID-19 pandemic amplifies the importance of clear and consistent communications. Human behavior is a complex phenomenon, influenced by factors at the individual, household, community and societal levels. Social and behavior change communication (SBCC) is used to spark positive normative and social change by addressing myths and misconceptions and maintaining public trust across all four levels. In this practicum, students will work in teams, supported by a faculty mentor, to develop and present a brief that highlights key factors to communicating with impact based on an analysis of data from a personal protective equipment (PPE) social media campaign. The brief (a useful tool to drive advocacy for health-related issues) will provide clear direction on what can be adapted to achieve results by optimizing the use of existing platforms (e.g., Facebook ads), to ensure high coverage of reliable COVID-19 information and services.  Students will apply policy advocacy strategies, recognizing that supportive environments are the foundation for individual behavior change.

About 503 Communication and Leadership Practicum

Communication and Leadership Practicum courses give students an early opportunity to engage with and understand the uses of course concepts in contemporary professional practice by addressing the challenges of real-life organizations. The course gives students an early opportunity to engage with and understand the uses of course concepts in contemporary professional practice by addressing the challenges of real-life organizations.

Each section of the Comm Lead Practicum focuses on a distinct professional skill or practice that is deemed essential across a variety of professional fields. Students can choose their section based on their interests and needs. Each section is matched with a client organization or group of client organizations who are interested in partnering with Communication Leadership students.

he span of a quarter, students analyze the issues faced by the client organization(s), collaborate and brainstorm collectively in small teams, and with the support of their faculty mentor create a deliverable for the client organization(s) that relates to the specific practice. Students may also create creative samples as part of the project. In doing so, students can develop and enhance skills, build foundations of practice, and produce work that they can include in their own professional portfolios.

Structure of Class

Class will convene online during the time indicated by section for a minimum of 5 classes led by a faculty mentor. This may occur every other week, or at different intervals that serve the needs of the project. On dates that the faculty mentor is not in attendance, students will have that time together to work with their teams.

During the times that faculty mentors are in attendance, students will report out on the current status of their projects, hear from experts about best practices, receive feedback, and provide feedback to one another. At the end of the quarter, students will present their project deliverables to the client organization, faculty, and their peers.

In addition to the final presentation, students will plan to meet with the client organizations mid-way through to report out on the current status of their projects and receive important feedback on their developing ideas and processes. Depending on client availability for these two meetings, time may need to be rescheduled from the regular class meeting time, with consideration of faculty mentor and student schedules.

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COMMLD 503 B: Communication and Leadership Practicum: Scenario Planning (Salkowitz) - 2021-2022 Autumn 2021

Track Neutral | 2 Credits
Sundays, 10/24 (9:00AM – 1:00PM PDT), 11/7 (9:00AM – 5:00PM PDT), 11/21 (9:00AM – 1:00PM PDT) | CMU 242
Registration SLN: 23412

Course Description

Scenario planning offers a tool and a method to navigate multiple uncertainties in planning for possible futures. As part of our 20th anniversary, this intensive practicum will guide learners through an entire scenario planning process related to the future of the Communication and Leadership Program. The tools and techniques learned in the practicum can be applied to any discipline or any industry. At the final session students will be asked to prepare and present recommendations to Communication Leadership with scenario-based research and analysis through alternative futures that demonstrate how their recommendations would change or be influenced by different social, economic, political or technological situations.

About 503 Communication and Leadership Practicum

Communication and Leadership Practicum courses give students an opportunity to engage with and understand the uses of course concepts in contemporary professional practice by addressing the challenges of real-life organizations.

Each section of the Comm Lead Practicum focuses on a distinct professional skill or practice that is deemed essential across a variety of professional fields. Students can choose their section based on their interests and needs. Each section is matched with a client organization or group of client organizations who are interested in partnering with Communication Leadership students.

In the span of a quarter, students analyze the issues faced by the client organization(s), collaborate and brainstorm collectively in small teams, and with the support of their faculty mentor create a deliverable for the client organization(s) that relates to the specific practice. Students may also create creative samples as part of the project. In doing so, students can develop and enhance skills, build foundations of practice, and produce work that they can include in their own professional portfolios.

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 510: Leveraging Diverse Perspectives for Product Content Strategy (Davies) - 2021-2022 Autumn 2021

Track Neutral | 3 Credits
Wednesdays 6:00PM – 8:20PM PDT | CMU 126
Registration SLN: 13053

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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COMMLD 511A: Introduction to User Centered Design (Gordon) - 2021-2022 Autumn 2021

MCDM Track | Meets Research Methods Requirement | 5 Credits
Mondays 10/04-12/06, 6:00PM – 9:50PM PDT | CMU 302
Registration SLN: 23165

Course Description:

This course focuses on the fundamentals of user experience design, identifying the skills and concepts needed to successfully design products and services for humans. We will learn the principles of design thinking so that students come away from the class with a framework for understanding how to identify real user problems, design solutions for how to solve those problems, and then test those solutions with real people.

Meets Research Methods Requirement.

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COMMLD 511B: Introduction to User Centered Design (Joslyn) - 2021-2022 Autumn 2021

MCDM Track | Meets Research Methods Requirement | 5 Credits
Mondays 10/04-12/06, 6:00PM – 9:50PM PDT | CMU 228
Registration SLN: 23764

Course Description:

This course focuses on the fundamentals of user experience design, identifying the skills and concepts needed to successfully design products and services for humans. We will learn the principles of design thinking so that students come away from the class with a framework for understanding how to identify real user problems, design solutions for how to solve those problems, and then test those solutions with real people.

Meets Research Methods Requirement.

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COMMLD 513: Content Marketing (Weaver) - 2021-2022 Autumn 2021

MCCN Track | Meets Research Methods Requirement | 5 Credits
Saturdays 10/09, 10/23, 11/6, 11/20, 12/11, 9:00AM – 5:00PM PDT | CMU 302
Registration SLN: 13054

Course Description:

This course focuses on the approach and implementation of marketing programs that encourage community building and engagement. The course starts with how to build a content strategy that supports the organization and its audiences as a foundation for content marketing. Building from strategy, we’ll explore best practices and tactics to create impactful campaigns and adaptable content for a variety of channels and platforms. Class work focuses on building brand storytelling, effective messaging, and models for optimizing and measuring digital marketing.

Meets Research Methods Requirement.

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COMMLD 523: Foundations of Branding: Social Media Communications and Strategy (Tang) - 2021-2022 Autumn 2021

MCDM Track | 5 Credits
Saturdays 10/02, 10/16, 10/30, 11/13, 12/04, 9:00AM – 5:00PM PDT | CMU 126
Registration SLN: 23173

Course Description:

This course examines the fundamental components of communication through social media and the communication methods used by Influencers. We identify the strategies used by social media platforms to maximize their key metrics. And in parallel, we compare the strategies used by influencers to maximize their goals. With the knowledge of Influencer and Social Media Communication you’ll be able to identify areas of opportunity on social media platforms, emerging social trends, and create interesting campaigns.

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COMMLD 524: Copywriting Fundamentals for Marketing (Schiller) - 2021-2022 Autumn 2021

Track Neutral | 3 Credits
Sundays 10/03, 10/17, 10/31 9:00AM – 5:00PM PDT | CMU 126
Registration SLN: 23204

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.

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COMMLD 525: Brand Values, Creativity, and Innovation (Howard) - 2021-2022 Autumn 2021

Track Neutral | 5 Credits
Tuesdays 10/05-12/07, 6:00PM – 9:50PM PDT | DEN 112
Registration SLN: 13055

Course Description:

This course will take a close up look at corporate brand values in marketing communications today. Brand values should be timeless and unchanging, but in a constantly fluctuating business environment, is this goal even possible? While high volume video advertising and A/B testing is exploding, paradoxically, messaging of corporate brand values is oftentimes minimized. Marketing today is composed of ever-changing algorithms, transactional communications, and confusing narratives.Should creativity play a bigger role in storytelling in today’s marketplace? Do customers even know what the companies they make purchases from actually stand for values-wise? Does it matter? How can companies still connect emotionally with consumers? Students will ideate a marketing film for a company or nonprofit of their choice. All the while, they’ll be considering deeply how emotion, story, and marketing message function in a project that resonates with the consumer while also reinforcing an organization’s belief system.

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 530 B: Communicating Climate Change (Warga) - 2021-2022 Autumn 2021

MCDM Elective | 5 Credits
Mondays 10/04-12/06, 6:00PM – 9:50PM PDT | DEN 212
Registration SLN: 23403

Course Description

Numbers don’t tell stories—it’s up to effective communicators to make meaning out of the facts for an audience. How do you become a meaning-maker and effective communicator during this slow-crisis? Beyond just communicating the urgency of the situation how do you make sense of it personally in your own career and life?

Students will learn ways of communicating the existing facts of an environmental situation through storytelling. A variety of media will be surveyed (narrative non-fiction, fiction, essays, podcasts, videos, etc) to explore the universal and essential aspects of effective storytelling…along with the highly transferable skills important to your own communication career. Suitable for those wishing to work in NGOs or Environmental organizations. 

Students will pick a topic then challenge themselves to communicate more than just the facts in the medium of their choice as a final deliverable. Strong emphasis will be put on historical factors and how-we-got-here approaches in research and delivery.

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 531: Foundations of Video Storytelling (Christensen) - 2021-2022 Autumn 2021

MCDM Track | 5 Credits
Tuesdays 10/05-12/07, 6:00PM – 9:50PM PDT | CMU 302
Registration SLN: 23174

Course Description:

This course focuses on the decisions we make when we tell our stories. This course is both theoretical and practical. Students will be afforded the skills to create and distribute video stories. Additionally, students will be expected to display critical thinking around point of view, audience targeting, ROI success criteria, methodology, and production standards.

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COMMLD 535: Foundations of Audio Storytelling (Partnow) - 2021-2022 Autumn 2021

Track Neutral | 5 Credits
Wednesdays 09/29-12/08, 6:00PM – 9:50PM PDT | CMU 243
Registration SLN: 23404

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 a 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.

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COMMLD 538: Storytelling and Communications for Mission-Driven Organizations (Melograna) - 2021-2022 Autumn 2021

MCCN Track | Meets Law & Ethics Requirement | 5 Credits
Mondays 10/04-12/06, 6:00PM – 9:50PM PDT | CMU 242
Registration SLN: 13056

Course Description:

Nonprofits, NGOs, campaigns and social enterprises are driven by their desire to make the world a better place. As their storytellers, our job is to make sure their messages reach the right audiences and recruit those audiences to the cause. Keeping in mind that mission-driven organizations will often work on complex issues involving vulnerable populations, our job is to pursue this work within an ethical framework that centers the concerns and desires of the people whom our clients serve. Upon completing the course, students will be able to work with mission-driven organizations as their primary storytellers.

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 540 A: Building Teams and Community (Baltus) - 2021-2022 Autumn 2021

Track Neutral | 3 Credits
Mondays 10/04-12/06, 6:00PM – 8:20PM PDT | CMU 126
Registration SLN: 13057

Course Description:

Building meaningful community around your work begins with your team. This course focuses on cultivating community from the inside out, in a series of concentric and overlapping circles. First it addresses ways to bring people together within the workplace and make sure they feel valued through rewarding opportunities to brainstorm, collaborate and critique. Then it explores what it means to set communication norms within an organization and how those norms affect an organization’s culture and identity. Finally, it provides a methodology for deepening connections with external audiences, conducting credible outreach, building load-bearing bridges and inviting widespread engagement that leads to social impact.

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COMMLD 540 B: Professional Short-Form Writing (Tomasic) - 2021-2022 Autumn 2021

Track Neutral | 3 Credits
Wednesdays 09/29-12/08, 6:00PM PDT – 8:20PM PDT | SAV 130
Registration SLN: 23608

Course Description:

This collaborative hands-on course explores the kind of short-form writing that dominates today’s rapidly evolving professional communications space — the digital space where lines between content and form increasingly blur and where always-on media feeds deliver a mix of advertising, marketing, public relations, human resources, personal brand-building and journalistic reporting and research. It’s a space that presents new writing challenges every day: professional emails, office memos, newsletters, website copy, funding proposals, executive summaries, op-eds, tweets, blurbs, blogs. Much of this material is badly done. Most of it is mediocre. The best of it, though, sings out and demands our attention, demonstrating mastery in the kind of critical thinking and dedicated practice that delivers copy sharply focused and sure in matching voice and material with form and audience. This course is part professional-communications criticism class and part writing workshop. It’s about learning how to identify good writing; it’s about understanding the process that produces good writing; and it’s about practicing that process yourself.

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 541: Crisis Communication (Visneski) - 2021-2022 Autumn 2021

Track Neutral | Meets Law & Ethics Requirement | 5 Credits
Wednesdays 09/29-12/08, 6:00PM – 9:50PM PDT | CMU 302
Registration SLN: 23175

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 558: Law and Policy (Baker) - 2021-2022 Autumn 2021

MCDM Track | Meets Law & Ethics Requirement | 5 Credits
Tuesdays 10/05-12/07, 6:00PM – 9:50PM PDT | CMU 230
Registration SLN: 23205

Course Description:

This course looks at how the law of digital media, interactive media and social media has facilitated the growth of multimedia storytelling, interactivity, and the explosion of collaborative consumption. Understanding when and how one can remix, reuse, republish, and remake content is critical to any organization’s successful advertising, content creation, distribution, and publication. This course will explore the legal issues surrounding free expression, content production and publication, intellectual property (with a special emphasis on copyright and fair use), and advertising. This course is designed both as a stand-alone course to satisfy the law and policy requirement of the program and as a companion to the data security and privacy law course offered in the Fall, which focuses more on data usage, privacy and security, FTC regulatory issues and intellectual property issues around data and analytics.

Meets Law & Ethics Requirement.

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 560 B: Communicating Across Power and Identities (Ross) - 2021-2022 Autumn 2021

Track Neutral | 2 Credits
Tuesdays 10/05-12/07, 6:00PM – 7:50PM PDT | DEM 002
Registration SLN: 13059

Course Description:

This course provides a primer on concepts of identity, power, privilege, and systems of oppression. Through reflective writing and facilitated discussions of curated readings students explore how their personal and professional identities impact their effectiveness in communicating across interpersonal difference. Designed to welcome those who may have previously avoided discussing uncomfortable topics, this introductory course empowers students with modes of inquiry that enable their essential self-examination and self-preparation for any future equity-related organizational collaborations.

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 560 C: Wellness Narratives (Bradshaw) - 2021-2022 Autumn 2021

Track Neutral | Meets Research Methods Requirement | 5 Credits
Mondays 10/04-12/06, 6:00PM – 9:50PM PDT | DEN 213
Registration SLN: 23405

Course Description

This course dives into wellness and well-being as central concepts to mental, physical, and emotional modes of health in the 21st century.  What does wellness and wellbeing mean as part of our modern lives? We will explore the historical rise of self-help narratives during the turn of the 20th Century through advertising and therapy culture. From there, we will explore the rise of consumerism and health through the television set and formats like Reality TV and the Talk Show to better understand the evolution of wellness into the 21th century. This framing will help us consider health and wellness as part of a complex media ecosystem. That is, 20th century cultural anxieties of the physical and mental body, including the focus on losing unwanted weight and detoxifying the body from various ailments carries into the contemporary moment. Topics for the course will include productivity, health, corporate and social responsibility, clutter, burnout, and more.  The goal of this course is for students to better understand the historical, cultural, economic and technological foundations of wellness specifically in the United States and why this history matters. Students will research and write a White Paper focused on a particular wellness issue. The final assignment helps showcase the student’s ability to do preliminary research while taking complex ideas and distilling them into an understandable paper for an executive audience. We will do weekly reflective journal exercises throughout the quarter that engage with the readings and screenings from the course. Come prepared to engage in discussion, deep dive into wellness research, and hone your writing skills!

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 563: Multicultural Marketing: Creating Equitable and Inclusive Communications (Park) - 2021-2022 Autumn 2021

MCCN Track | 5 Credits
Saturdays 10/02, 10/16, 10/30, 11/13, 12/04 9:00AM – 5:00PM PDT | CMU 242
Registration SLN: 13058

Course Description:

This course will take a close look at the evolution of multicultural marketing. We will explore how agencies and companies have adapted, pivoted and transformed how we engage with diverse audiences. You’ll learn how to build marketing campaigns that is rooted in principles of diversity, equity and inclusion and is responsive to the increasingly diverse marketplace.

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COMMLD 570 B: Leadership at All Levels (Myers) - 2021-2022 Autumn 2021

Track Neutral | 3 Credits
Wednesdays 09/29-12/08, 6:00PM – 8:20PM PDT | CMU 230
Registration SLN: 13061

Course Description:

Leadership shows up everywhere, every day–and it is open to us all. Building on the Comm Lead leadership coursework, this course will take the theoretical development of one’s leadership style and bring it into practice with one’s work style. Classes will focus on mini-workshops around the following topics: decision-making processes, presentation skills, practical communications, how-to be a team player (including how-to run a meeting, how-to write an email), and drafting your optimum work experience. Students will complete the class knowing how to address bias and success inhibitors within any organization; develop skills for collaborative and successful leadership at any level; and understand how to empower their workplace for everyone. Guest speakers will share stories from leadership perspectives at different companies and how they approach their own development and empowerment.

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 570 C: Professional Visibility and Personal Branding for Communications Professionals (Sampaco) - 2021-2022 Autumn 2021

Track Neutral | 1 Credit
Wednesdays 9/29, 10/13, 10/27, 11/10, 12/1, 6:00PM – 7:50PM | CMU 326
Registration SLN: 23780

Course Description:

Career success is not just about what you know or who you know. It’s about who knows you. If you want others in your industry to know who you are and to recognize your value, you must be intentional about how you show up, how you communicate about yourself, and how you make others feel. Taught by a TV news anchor with more than 10 years of on-camera experience, this course is for ambitious professionals who want to set themselves up for success by growing their professional visibility and advocating for themselves at work. Career strategy, personal branding, and public speaking are core elements of this course. You’ll learn how to improve your on-camera speaking skills (ex. Zoom meetings), how to articulate your value to a prospective employer or client, how to talk about your accomplishments, and how to grow your professional credibility using social media. You will practice speaking in front of audiences (in person or virtually) and receive feedback on how to improve your verbal and non-verbal communication skills, culminating in your final assignment, an “About Me” video (geared towards prospective employers or clients) that you can attach to your LinkedIn profile. Guest speakers will also share strategies for growing their professional visibility and how they approach self-advocacy in the workplace. Women, students of color, and international students are strongly encouraged to register for this course.

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 580: Leadership in Emergent Technologies and Trends (Hosein) - 2021-2022 Autumn 2021

Track Neutral | 2 Credits
Tuesdays 10/05-12/07, 5:30PM – 7:20PM PDT | CMU 126
Registration SLN: 23071

Course Description:

In this course, you’ll gain a solid understanding of emerging technologies in the context of social change. We’ll develop a set of questions and conceptual tools that will help you critically assess technologies in early periods of development and adoption. We’ll also explore strategies that you can use to help companies and organizations better plan for, adapt to and advocate for more equitable solutions.

What You’ll Learn

  • How to critically examine narratives used to explain new technologies and their development
  • The fundamentals of key emergent technologies, including artificial intelligence, smart devices and automation, and their potential human impact
  • How to advocate for technology that solves a problem without amplifying existing inequity
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