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 503: Practicum in Creative Approaches to Community Events (Crofts) - 2021-2022 Winter 2022

Track Neutral Elective | 3 Credits
Mondays 1/3 – 3/7, 6:00PM – 8:20PM | CMU 126 | Hybrid
Registration SLN: 12694

Course Description

Organizations of all sizes across all sectors rely on community-facing events to build their resources (people’s time, talent, and treasure) to achieve their stated goals. COVID upended these annual events, and as the U.S. eases into a new season of the pandemic, nonprofits with mighty missions are faced with a dilemma: what do community engagement events look like in 2022? At the Seattle-based organization FEEST, this is a critical question given their mission of youth-led food justice. How can FEEST communicate and engage the public creatively in ways that preserve the “breaking of bread” connections that are formed shoulder to shoulder at a shared table? Students will be asked to help FEEST reinvent a Spring 2022 showcase event by researching and designing inventive ways to build community, promote awareness, and center youth leadership. The design challenge of this practicum spans sectors and tools and strategies learned in this practicum have wide application.

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.

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

MCDM Elective | Meets Research Methods Requirement | 5 Credits
Mondays 1/3 – 3/7, 6:00PM – 9:50PM, + Saturday 2/12, 9:00AM – 5:00PM | CMU 232 | Hybrid
Registration SLN: 22125

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 512: User Research and UX Strategies (Porter) - 2021-2022 Winter 2022

MCDM Elective | Meets Research Methods Requirement | 5 Credits
Thursdays 1/6 – 3/10, 6:00PM – 9:50PM | CMU 126 | Hybrid
Registration SLN: 22072

Course Description:

This course focuses on the design, implementation, and evaluation of user interfaces from a usability perspective. The aim of the class is to study the concepts, methods, and techniques of usability engineering, with a focus on the artifacts where user experience is essential. Historically, usability has covered aspects of efficiency, learnability, and ease of use. Today, a large number of other measures for success rely on elements such as playability, engagement, entertainment, immersion, and aesthetics.

The above concepts will be detailed with the expectation that by the end of the quarter, students will recognize the aspects of each of the following deliverables within Interface Design and User Research. At the completion of this course, students will have portfolio-ready, end-to-end work examples. The work examples are designed for students to demonstrate they can: understand basic principles of user interface design, implementation, and evaluation, design and conduct usability studies, select an appropriate evaluation method and articulate its advantages and disadvantages, establish useful test objectives, and prepare reports and presenting results.

Meets Research Methods Requirement.

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COMMLD 515: Advanced User Design: UX Studio (Skillman, Levine) - 2021-2022 Winter 2022

MCDM Elective | Meets Research Methods Requirement | 5 Credits
Saturdays 1/8, 1/15, 1/22, 1/29, 2/5, 9:00AM – 5:00PM | CMU 104 | In-Person
Registration SLN: 22029

Course Description

In this class, students will work in small groups to design and prototype innovative user-centered solutions to real-world problems and develop an application. Students will develop their projects from a user experience (UX) design perspective and produce a strong piece for their portfolio.

The course emulates real-life aspects of UX design teams, including in-depth experience with user research, usability testing and iterating on the product with real-life users. By the end of the course, students will construct a map of a product’s full customer journey, develop personas with use cases, design a working prototype, and build a proposal with requirements for the concept.

Since this class takes foundational concepts to the next level, students who register must have either already taken one of our intro courses (511 or 512) or Psychology of UX (517). If you are currently taking 511 or have commensurate work experience, please fill out this form for our review, beginning Friday, November 5, at 6:00am PT. Applications will be time stamped, and qualified applicants will be added to remaining class spots on an equitable basis determined by time of application and remaining time in the program. The application can be found here: https://forms.gle/YGgtXTsumNACAwv86.

This intensive course structure includes lecture, small and large group activities, and extended studio time for hands-on work on the projects. Several guest speakers from the UX design field are planned throughout the quarter.

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COMMLD 518 A: Decision Science and Content Strategy (Kabiri) - 2021-2022 Winter 2022

Track Neutral Elective | 5 Credits
Thursdays 1/6 – 3/10, 5:30PM – 9:30PM | Online
Registration SLN: 22268

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.

Note: This course’s permanent number is pending, so please register for COMMLD 510 A. Enrolled students will be automatically moved to the new number (518) once it is ready.

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COMMLD 520: Qualitative Research for Social Media Marketing (Kubler) - 2021-2022 Winter 2022

Track Neutral Elective | Meets Research Methods Requirement | 5 credits
Tuesdays 1/4 – 3/8, 6:00PM – 9:50PM PST | CMU 302 | Registration SLN: 22234 | In-Person

Course Description:

From selling the newest runway fashions to promoting donations to Greenpeace, successful online marketing campaigns and product launches often start with well planned qualitative research. This course offers a qualitative methodological perspective on how to conduct interviews and focus groups. This course explains the who, what, why and how of qualitative research with practical applications for those professionally interested in marketing, branding, and even user experience as well. Students will work throughout the quarter to design and implement their own qualitative research project.

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COMMLD 521: Digital Media Branding and Marketing (Mottola) - 2021-2022 Winter 2022

MCDM Elective | 5 Credits
Wednesdays 1/5 – 3/9, 6:00PM – 9:50PM | CMU 232 | Hybrid
Registration SLN: 22026

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: Future of Marketing (Salkowitz) - 2021-2022 Winter 2022

MCDM Elective | 5 Credits
Tuesdays 1/4 – 3/9, 6:00PM – 9:50PM | CMU 126 | Hybrid
Registration SLN: 12698

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

MCDM Elective | 5 Credits
Thursdays 1/6, 1/20, 1/27, 2/3, 2/10, 2/17, 3/3, 3/10, 6:00PM – 9:50PM PST; One Saturday session 1/15 9:00AM – 5:00PM | CMU 302 | Hybrid
Registration SLN: 22123

Course Description

The landscape of web-distributed video can be broadly divided into two motifs: Entertainment and Information. From YouTube to Facebook, AR to VR, Twitch to Facebook Live, online video is a storytelling revolution.

Storytelling has been part of the human experience since the formation of language. Today, the technology that surrounds the “tell” of a story (the modes and channels of communication) directly shapes the immersive experience felt by the viewer.

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. You are expected to exercise the craft of content creation while at the same time critically evaluating and deconstructing content you see in the marketplace.

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COMMLD 535: Foundations of Audio Storytelling (Warga) - 2021-2022 Winter 2022

Track Neutral Elective | 5 Credits
Tuesdays 1/4 – 3/8, 6:00PM – 9:50PM | Online
Registration SLN: 22037

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 537: Principles of Storytelling for Organizations, Business, and Movements (Kessler) - 2021-2022 Winter 2022

Track Neutral Elective | 5 Credits
Saturdays 1/8, 1/22, 2/5, 2/19, 3/5, 9:00AM – 5:00PM | CMU 126 | Hybrid
Registration SLN: 12700

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 538: Storytelling and Communication for Mission-Driven Organizations (Melograna) - 2021-2022 Winter 2022

MCCN Elective | Meets Law and Ethics Requirement | 5 Credits
Mondays 1/3 – 3/7, 6:00PM – 9:50PM, + Saturday 3/5, 9:00AM – 5:00PM | CMU 302 | Hybrid
Registration SLN: 12701

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 541: Crisis Communication (Visneski) - 2021-2022 Winter 2022

Track Neutral Elective | Meets Law and Ethics Requirement | 5 Credits
Tuesdays 1/4 – 3/8, 6:00PM – 9:50PM | CMU 232 | Hybrid
Registration SLN: 22038

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.

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COMMLD 543: Leadership Approaches to Equity Initiatives in Organizations (Ross) - 2021-2022 Winter 2022

MCCN Elective | 5 Credits
Wednesdays 1/5 – 3/9, 6:00PM – 9:50PM | Online
Registration SLN: 22043

Course Description:

This course challenges and supports students to develop deeper self-awareness, hone stronger skills for learning across difference, and prepare themselves as organizational change-makers for diversity, equity, and inclusion.

For better or worse, organizational change initiatives impact individuals, groups, organizations, and ultimately societies. Thus, courageous leaders throughout organizations must learn how to improve their relevant knowledge, skills, and awareness iteratively, in order to contribute effectively to genuine change-making. The course is designed to meet students where they are and coach them toward significant growth in self-awareness, skills, and understanding. Students learn collaboratively together in order to explore interconnections among the dimensions of our intersectional identities. Those who complete this course gain confidence in their ability to learn about uncomfortable topics and expand their understanding of the roles of individuals, groups, organizations, and societal structures in making real system change.

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COMMLD 560 B: Communication for Change Management (Hall) - 2021-2022 Winter 2022

Track Neutral Elective | 3 Credits
Mondays 1/3 – 3/7, 6:00PM – 8:50PM | CMU 242 | Hybrid
Registration SLN: 22073

Course Description:

The world we live in continues to change at an intense rate. In order to succeed in this uncertain future, organizations must adapt to tough market conditions by changing their strategies, their structures and infrastructures, their boundaries, their mindsets, their leadership behaviors and of course their expectations of the people who work within them. The COVID-19 pandemic has shocked the global health care system and the global economy. The Seattle Times reported in April 2020 that the global economy will suffer the worst year since the Great Depression of 1930.  There could not be a more critical time to take a course on change management. Key skills taught in this course will prepare a professional for the shifting workforce.  Upon completing the course, students will be able to guide organizations to implement change management programs that support employees and reflect organizational culture.

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COMMLD 560 C: Designing Inclusive Workplace Culture (Williams) - 2021-2022 Winter 2022

MCCN Elective | 5 Credits
Thursdays 1/6 – 3/10, 6:00PM – 9:50PM | Online
Registration SLN: 22074

Course Description:

Workplace culture is dynamic. It’s not about ping-pong tables and unlimited time off. Inclusive and effective culture is critical to how we design the future of work. How we connect and work together impacts everything from how we feel, to our ability to meet the mission of our work. Communication leaders are uniquely situated to effect positive cultural change, no matter the role or the organization. In this course students will learn the “5 components of Inclusive Culture,” a signature framework developed over 15 years of experience helping organizations, startups, small businesses, and emerging companies build inclusive workplaces. Students will learn and apply this step-by-step methodology to build a culture plan for a company of their choice.

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COMMLD 570 A: Stakeholder Mindset and Communication (Howard) - 2021-2022 Winter 2022

Track Neutral Elective | 3 Credits
Tuesdays 1/4 – 3/8, 6:00PM – 8:20PM | CMU 242 | Hybrid
Registration SLN: 12706

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 B: Building Brands with Communication & Community (Kim) - 2021-2022 Winter 2022

Track Neutral Elective | 3 Credits
Wednesdays 1/5 – 3/9, 6:00PM – 8:20PM PST | CMU 242 | Hybrid
Registration SLN: 22124

Course Description

Community partnerships are not effective if communication and storytelling surrounding them are not strategic. This course will explore how partnerships and collaborations with like-minded brands or orgs, along with the communication strategy around them, grows your audience while furthering your mission. This course looks at how the right partnerships help tell your story while deepening your relationship to your audience, the partner brand and others. This will include looking at both business partnerships (ones that further brand awareness, customer growth and sales) as well as social impact partnerships (ones that further customer loyalty, through things like givebacks, impact programs and public service). Lastly this course will also look at using your mission to create community impact programs and how to build powerful campaigns around them to grow your audience and engagement and create opportunities for others to share your story.

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COMMLD 573: Listening and Leadership (Crofts) - 2021-2022 Winter 2022

Track Neutral Elective | 2 Credits
Wednesdays 1/5 – 3/9, 6:00PM – 7:50PM | CMU 126 | Hybrid
Registration SLN: 12707

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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