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 (Crofts) - 2020-2021 Winter

Track Neutral | Core Requirement | 2 Credits
Mondays 01/04-03/08, 6:00pm – 7:50pm | Online

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.

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COMMLD 510: Decision Science and Content Strategy (Kabiri) - 2020-2021 Winter

Track Neutral Elective | 5 Credits
Thursdays 1/7-3/11 | 6:00pm – 9:50pm | Online

Course Description:

This course introduces students to content strategy through the lens of Decision Science. Successful content requires solid decision-making by the professionals who create it. But it also relies on a firm understanding of audience decision-making, so that communications can effectively sway audience decisions. This course will explore the audience half of this equation. Students will be introduced to behavioral and social science principles that apply to decision-making, including heuristics, game theoretic models, network effects, institutional constraints, and cultural and social norms. The course will also include a market research component, to teach students how to uncover drivers of decision-making among their target audience. Finally, the course will pull it all together, guiding students as they apply these learnings in the creation of a content strategy proposal.

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COMMLD 514: Product Content Strategy (Schwieterman) - 2020-2021 Winter

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

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.

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COMMLD 517: The Psychology of User Experience (Evans) - 2020-2021 Winter

MCDM Elective | Meets Research Methods Requirement | 5 Credits
Tuesdays 1/5-3/9 | 6:00pm – 9:50pm | Online

Course Description: 

Designers, product marketers, and entrepreneurs will learn the psychological constrictions of attention, perception, memory, disposition, motivation, and social influence that determine whether or not customers will be receptive to their digital innovations. This will give their innovations an edge on what are increasingly competitive platforms such as apps, bots, in-car apps, augmented reality content). Students will learn…

  • The psychological processes determining users’ perception of, engagement with, and recommendation of digital innovations
  • Examples of interfaces before and after simple psychological alignments that vastly enhanced their effectiveness
  • How to identify, apply theory, and develop consulting or research recommendations based on psychological theory
  • Application to their own business interests. A deeper understanding of common digital interfaces such as conversion funnels, display advertisements, and mobile notifications.
  • A broader understanding of the human context of digital ventures, and the ethical differences between alignment and meeting needs vs. exploitation and unsustainable design approaches
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COMMLD 521: Digital Media Branding and Marketing (Mottola) - 2020-2021 Winter

MCDM Elective | 5 Credits
Thursdays 1/7-3/11 | 6:00pm – 9:50pm | Online

Course Description:

This course is designed for students that will be utilizing their MCDM education and experience in the marketing arenas in businesses and organizations (including non-profits) or in leadership functions where an understanding of marketing is an important skill. The focus on the course will be on how to best utilize digital media vehicles along with more traditional forms of communications and advertising (and other marketing or Research and Development functions). Because of the ever changing nature of the advertising world with the advances and acceptances of digital media platforms, we will showcase industry “heavy hitters” from local marketing and advertising agencies to discuss the trends and issues the industry faces, using real life situations to explore alternatives and solutions. We will also explore how new media can be used with traditional channels of distribution (clicks and bricks), as well as in the R & D functions by encouraging and mining information from current and potential customers. Students that have not had a basic marketing class will be assigned pre-course supplemental readings and we will do a quick review at our first session so that everyone has a common understanding of the subject before we move into the more cutting edge concepts.

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COMMLD 522: The Future of Marketing (Salkowitz) - 2020-2021 Winter

MCDM Elective | 5 Credits
Wednesdays 01/06-03/10 | 6:00PM – 9:50PM PST | Online

Course Description

Rapid evolution of digital media and technology continues to disrupt the business of marketing, making it essential for professionals in the field to keep abreast of trends in a number of areas. This class focuses on the technologies shaping marketing, advertising, media, public relations and communications in the 2-4 year horizon and explores strategies of successful marketing organizations, both digital and traditional.

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COMMLD 524: Copywriting Fundamentals for Marketing (Schiller) - 2020-2021 Winter

Track Neutral Elective | 3 Credits
Sundays 1/10, 1/24, 2/7 | 9:00am – 5:00pm | Online

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 530: Storytelling and Communications for Mission-Driven Organizations (Melograna) - 2020-2021 Winter

MCCN Elective | Meets Law & Ethics Requirement | 5 Credits
Thursdays 1/7-3/11 | 6:00pm – 9:50pm | Online

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.

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COMMLD 531: Foundations of Video Storytelling (Keller) - 2020-2021 Winter

MCDM Elective | 5 Credits
Tuesdays 1/5-3/9 | 6:00pm – 9:50pm | Online

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) - 2020-2021 Winter

Track Neutral Elective | 5 Credits
Tuesdays 1/5-3/9 | 6:00pm – 9:50pm | Online

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.

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COMMLD 537: Principles of Storytelling for Organizations, Business, and Movements (Kessler) - 2020-2021 Winter

Track Neutral Elective | 5 Credits
Saturdays 1/9, 1/23, 2/6, 2/20, 3/6 | 9:00am – 5:00pm | Online

Course Description:

Thinking Story is a foundational class that focuses on the art and craft of nonfiction storytelling to communicate ideas and emotion, build relationships and community, promote change and inspire action. The class reflects the need in all sectors for superb storytelling. The class explores, investigates and discusses the elements of narrative — what makes a story a story – and looks at examples of nonfiction storytelling across media (text, sound, still image, moving image and multimedia combinations). This platform-agnostic, birds-eye view of story is about learning how to reframe/ reconceptualize “information” and “report” as story, how to locate the small story that illuminates the larger issue, and what it takes to produce such work. At its heart, the class is about learning how to conceptualize issues, topics, brands, and ideas as narratives. Students will learn to “think story,” to pinpoint, pitch and gather material for the production of original, compelling and persuasive content.

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COMMLD 540: Human Centered Design for Change Leadership (Cioffi) - 2020-2021 Winter

MCCN Elective | 5 Credits
Wednesdays 1/6-3/10 | 6:00pm – 9:50pm | Online

Course Description:

Effective change leadership requires broad community engagement and clear communication about the process. Collaborative practices can address individual and group resistance to change. In organizations of many sizes, across multiple sectors, urgent questions about core mission, internal structures, and products and services must be newly addressed given the shifting contexts at every fundamental level. In many sectors, entire infrastructure change is being openly discussed and requested. Leading strategic organizational change, or providing communications support for that leadership, relies on pivotal human-centered design tools (HCD) and their application to achieve measurable success.

In this course we will examine case studies at varying stages of a HCD process. Students will manage research and incubation, communicate it effectively to stakeholders, and deliver a creative agency-level proposal for a client facing organizational change. Students will learn to manage a complex project proposal from start to finish and work effectively in teams to communicate a proposed prototype process using HCD principles and practices. The client relationship will be offered by the instructor or students will be able to propose their own client relationship.

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COMMLD 550: Ethical Questions of Big Data (Lohmann) - 2020-2021 Winter

MCDM Elective | Meets Law & Ethics Requirement | 5 Credits
Saturdays/Sundays 1/16-1/17, 1/30-1/31, 2/27-2/28, 3/13-3/14 | 9:00am – 1:00pm | Online

Course Description:

Big Data: Cure or Curse? This course will provide you with an overview of the benefits and challenges of the use of big data and encourage you to apply the Communication Leadership core declaration tenets for its ethical use. The class will provide a basic understanding of the use of big data in analytics, predicting crises, on social media, behavior tracking, and even in marketing. This course provides an overview on the new regulations and conversations around secure data, intellectual property, and the challenge of data privacy. It also examines the benefits of some uses of anonymous big data for research and health innovation and cures. By the end of the class, students will understand how big data contributes to tracking pandemics, creating health cures, predicting crises, behavior tracking and targeted messaging on social media and in marketing. They will know how to research, market, and innovate with big data in a way that honors the values of integrity, accountability and transparency, and builds community. They will also be able to reflect on how they can make an impact with big data in a way that demands and honors diversity, takes responsibility, is aware of bias and does not amplify inequity.

Student Testimonial:

“I just wanted to pass on the current gratitude I’m feeling for your class. I’m taking a few more data-centric classes and yours set a solid foundation of what to consider with big data, and has made me a little less intimidated by it.”

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COMMLD 560: Communication Strategies for Inclusion and Equity (Burey) - 2020-2021 Winter

5 Credits | MCCN Elective
Tuesdays 1/5-3/9 | 6:00PM – 9:50PM PST | Online

Course Description

We are in the midst of a national reckoning with the presence and impact of institutionalized anti-Black racism in our lives. Politicians, business leaders and everyday people all across the country are asking what it means to stand for Black lives. To do so requires committing beyond surface level diversity and inclusion practices and digging deeper into how we make meaning with our choices for the images and narratives we use to create culture. Knowing how we engage in meaning-making as communicators is foundational to reimagining what meaning we can make to push our companies and cultures towards the vision of racial equity. In this course, we will examine case studies of meaning making across professional sectors including studies of entertainment, fashion, and politics. We will connect this to our interpersonal interactions across race in our professional lives, as well as in our work as communication leaders. By the end of the course, students will be able to more effectively articulate cultural messages and develop skills to help them create new narratives grounded in inclusion, belonging and racial equity.

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COMMLD 562: Communication for Advocacy (Parikh) - 2020-2021 Winter

MCCN Elective | Meets Law & Ethics Requirement | 5 Credits
Thursdays 1/7-3/11 | 6:00pm – 9:50pm | Online

Course Description:

This course is focused on”integrated advocacy,” which is a strategy of communicating one’s advocacy efforts through multiple channels – like the marriage equality movement, net neutrality efforts by Google, Facebook and Netflix, and the passage of the Affordable Care Act of 2010. You will develop part of an integrated advocacy campaign working for a client in this class. Real-life challenges and advocacy needs of our clients will allow us to use integrated advocacy model in an applied sense. We will build stories around goals and solutions. We will come up with advocacy tactics and create an advocacy campaign that will ignite change. This is a hands-on course. The course will help you develop immersive storytelling skills, and practice community organizing. You will learn persuasive communication and engagement methods, and how to pack a punch with a campaign aimed at making change. Guest speakers and mentors with experience spearheading campaigns will serve as guides throughout the quarter. The course will culminate with a short advocacy pitch session.

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COMMLD 570: Institutional Imperative, Communication, and Stakeholder Mindset (Howard) - 2020-2021 Winter

Track Neutral Elective | 3 Credits
Tuesdays 1/5-3/9 | 6:00pm – 7:50pm | Online

Course Description:

Investor Warren Buffett describes the concept of institutional imperative as “the tendency of executives to mindlessly imitate the behavior of their peers, no matter how foolish it may be to do so.” He added, “I then thought that decent, intelligent and experienced managers would automatically make rational business decisions. But I learned over time that isn’t so. Instead, rationality frequently wilts when the institutional imperative comes into play.”

This unseen force has stifled innovation in businesses while focusing solely on short term financial gains for shareholders only. And covering up for this behavior through dubious communication practices has only complicated things. What role will marketing communication professionals have in expanding companies’ messaging beyond just shareholders going forward? Is change truly afoot, or will there be more of the same?

From the Boeing 737 MAX fiasco to the ever-changing excuses of Facebook to the anti-trust actions against Google, we’ll examine why the communication practices of honesty, trust and admiration will always emerge victorious over institutional imperative. During the quarter we will discuss evolving public and private sector stakeholder communications including, Shareholders, Board Members, and Funders, Communities, Employees, Suppliers, and Customers.”

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COMMLD 570: Digital Cross-Cultural Storytelling for Leadership and Global Networking (Wang) - 2020-2021 Winter

MCCN Elective | Meets Research Methods Requirement | 5 Credits
Thursdays 01/07-03/11 | 6:00PM – 9:50PM PST | Online

Course Description

Evolving multinational working relationships provide a rich source of information, products, and business opportunities. With this global interaction, however, comes the challenge of effectively communicating across cultures. But both verbal and nonverbal communication norms differ among the organizationally diverse workforce today, as do the differences between individualistic and collective cultures. This course aims to deepen students’ understanding of the robustness of this new global networking by applying the organizational diversity continuum, a visualization of the many layers of diversity that an organization encounters each day, internally and externally, to examining successful and failed cases in cross-cultural context. The purpose of this course is to introduce Narrative Paradigm Theory (NPT), especially digital storytelling, as one important communication technique in addressing organizational diversity communication challenge as well as building cross-cultural leadership. 

Meets Research Methods Requirement.

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COMMLD 573: Listening and Leadership (Crofts) - 2020-2021 Winter

Track Neutral Elective | 2 Credits
Wednesdays, 1/6-3/10 | 6:00pm – 7:50pm | Online

Course Description:

This course considers listening skills as a key leadership attribute when it comes to effective communication. The behaviors of a good listener are considered through a range of texts related to leadership, but with additional emphasis on audio programs showcasing the interview format where an interviewer’s ability to listen closely and empathically solicits strong connection and memorable storytelling. Foundations in Audio Story is the production course geared toward audiophiles at Comm Lead, whereas Listening and Leadership is for all Comm Lead students who are keen to hone their ability to listen as a critical career skill.

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