Communications & Media Arts Overview & Goals

Employers have often identified the ability to communicate effectively with others inside and outside the organization, as well as the ability to create and/or edit written documents, as among the top ten skills they seek when hiring new college graduates. Graduates in Communications and Media Arts bring these critical skills to the workplace and to their potential for career advancement and job flexibility.

A degree in Communications and Media Arts from Bethany College opens the door to a variety of employment opportunities. Our graduates demonstrate strong verbal, nonverbal, and written communication skills, and have considerable expertise in addressing small and large audiences. Communication graduates find jobs in the private, public-service, and non-profit sectors.

The 2016 graduation class found 100% employment in their career fields within three months of graduation. Many job searches are assisted by Bethany Communications alumni from CNN, Discovery, and NBC Sports, to name a few.  These alumni work closely with the department to ensure our graduates enjoy strong entry-level placement, mentoring and opportunities for advancement.

Communications & Media Arts (Major, Minor)

Program Highlights

Campus Media


Student Publication Center

With Bethany’s online newspaper, The Tower, students have the opportunity to work on a number of print media projects as part of Bethany’s student publication staff. Students learn writing, editing, and photography – all aspects of publication production. The publications are student produced under the guidance of the director of student publications. The Student Publication Center is equipped with high quality Macintosh computers and all the necessary support hardware and software for professional style editing, layout and design.

Bethany Broadcasting Network (BBN) Online

Bethany Broadcasting Network (BBN) Online, is a service of the Department of Communications & Media Arts at Bethany College, Bethany, West Virginia (USA).

BBN Online includes:

Event Central broadcasts speakers and special college events, such as Graduation, live. The videos are the archived for on-demand viewing.

Game Central is the official streaming Website for Bethany Athletics. Here fans can find live video and/or audio for scheduled games as well as Live Stats.

WVBC Online, Bethany College’s nonaffiliated, educational radio station, is available online. The student-run station, under the guidance of a communication faculty member and a full-time engineer, broadcasts seven days a week, up to 18 hours per day. WVBC features a diversified music format. Faculty, staff, community volunteers, and students work in all areas of radio -programming, news, sports, and underwriting. News is aired daily and the station features live play-by-play of Bethany athletics. Students learn and perform all technical aspects of radio production as well as on-air programming, including the use of our state-of-the-art Digital Audio Workstations (DAWS).

BCTV Channel 14 allows students to produce television shows, such as newscasts, College sports programs, and game and talk shows for the student-run television station. Operating through a cable-access channel and with the guidance of a faculty advisor, BCTV Channel 14 is an ideal training ground for students interested in broadcast media. Students assume all roles necessary in the airing of television programs behind the scenes and in front of the camera.

Other Communications Studies

Multimedia Lab

Students interested in design are encouraged to use the equipment available in the Multimedia Lab. Outfitted with Macintosh computers and the latest software, the studio is utilized by students when working on design projects, as well as advertising and public relations groups working on promotional pieces.

Careers in Communications & Media Arts

Customer Service
Insurance: Underwriting, Claims Management, Sales
Real Estate: Property Management, Sales
Human Resources
Training and Development
Labor Relations
Corporate Communication
Office Management

Public Relations / Advertising
Public Relations
Corporate Public Affairs
Investor Relations
Event Coordination
Media Analysis/Planning
Creative Directing
Audience Analysis
Public Opinion Research

Media Sales
Media Planning

Grant Writing
Public Relations
Volunteer Coordination
Program Coordination
Religious Work: Pastoral and Other Religious Leadership, Mission Work, Religious Camp Administration, Local Ministries, e.g. Youth, Adult, Education

City or Town Management
Community Affairs
Legislative Assistance
Public Information

Conflict Negotiation
Program Administration
General Services
Social Services
Foreign Service
Legislative, Executive, or Judicial Services

Nonprofit or Public Interest
Other Specialties
Law Assistance

Higher Education
Information/Library Science
Administration and Student Support Services
University Communications/Outreach

Dave Simms“The year 2020 will be my 14th season as the lead TV announcer for the Seattle Mariners. Bethany College provided an opportunity for me to get a life-changing, two-year internship at the Philadelphia Inquirer. It also gave me the opportunity to play (and letter) in football for year, play two-years of baseball, work as a public address announcer at football and basketball games and eventually be the radio play-by-play announcer for football and basketball. I also served as sports editor of the college newspaper. To sum it up, I was able to prepare for the career that I wanted thanks to Bethany College.”

Dave Sims ’75, Communications and Media Arts
Broadcaster, Seattle Mariners Baseball Club


Patrick J. Sutherland
Professor and Chair of Communications and Media Arts, Advisor to WVBC Online Radio
Ph.D., College of Communication, Ohio University
M.A., College of Journalism and Communications, University of Florida
B.A., Department of Communication, Marquette University

Olga Blackledge
Assistant Professor of Communications and Media Arts
Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh
M.A., European Humanities University

David M. Deiuliis
Assistant Professor of Communications and Media Arts, Advisor to BBN Webstreaming


Communication and Media Arts majors are expected to complete 48 of departmental course study. All students majoring in the department are required to complete the following courses: COMM 101, 201, 306, 311; three courses from 194, 291-292; 403, 420, 490, and 495.

In addition, all majors must complete six credits in courses offered by the English program in addition to ENGL 111, and one of the following courses: ACCT 202, ECON 162, ECON 163, PSYC 205, MATH 281, CPSC 151, SOSC 340.

All majors must also complete one of the following Specialization Tracks:

Integrated Media & Marketing: COMM 203, 412.

Digital Media and Production: COMM 200, 440.

Sports Communications: COMM 106, 250, and one course from PHED 243, 300, or 335. It is recommended but not required that students consider taking PHED 244, 337, and 355.

And a combination of the following classes (totaling 15 credits) in any of the tracks except the Graphics track:
COMM 104, 202, 206, 218, 300, 310, 413, 480.

COMM 101, 201, and 15 additional credits. At least six of those credits must be 300 or 400 level courses. Courses available to minors as electives are: COMM 104, 130, 140, 160, 200, 203, 205, 206, 218, 250, 303, 306, 310, 311, 314, 330, 335, 344, 345, 346, 370, 380, 409, 412, 430, 440, 480

Course Descriptions

COMM 101 Introduction to Communication 3 credits
This course examines the foundations of communication, including communication between individuals, language, and non-verbal codes and also mass media history and theory, including newspapers, radio, television, and digital media.

COMM 106 Introduction to Sports Communications 3 credits
This course provides and overview of, and an introduction to, sports communications. Emphases include multimedia sports journalism, media organizations, advertising and marketing firms, and sports leagues and teams. Other topics covered include sports depicted through digital media (including social media and apps), broadcasting, community and public relations, college sports information, along with promotions, and depictions of minorities and women in sports.

COMM 104 Visual Communication 3 credits
This course promotes understanding of the aesthetic, ethical, and creative principles inherent in visual communication. Films, animation, TV productions, printed and computer graphics, and photography are the sources for the analysis of perception and meaning in the visual image.

COMM 110 Digital Audio Production for Music 3 credits
This course focuses on hands-on experience in multi-track recording of musical instruments using a digital audio workstation. It also sets the stage for additional work in digital editing, mixing, and mastering techniques. (This course may be taken for credit as MUSI 110.)

COMM 160 Introduction to Film 3 credits
This is an introduction to the study of film as a cultural and technical artifact and as a form of art. The class teaches students the basic principles of film aesthetics and production to provide the skills necessary to “read” the film as art. The course also places a strong emphasis on the social context of film and the place movies hold in our culture, and introduces the general areas of study within film scholarship. (This course may be taken for credit as ENGL 160.)

COMM 194 Online Radio 3 credits
This course acquaints students with concepts, skills and strategies required for working within the online digital and terrestrial radio fields. Introduction to on-air music and journalism producing, production, and delivery of news programs and messages. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.

COMM 200 Digital Media and Digital Culture 3 credits
This course provides the student with the history, structures, processes, and practices of digital media and examines the effects of technology on American and global culture. Key concepts that are integral to understanding the digital age are examined, as well as the effect of new content distribution venues like iTunes and YouTube. Various areas of digital culture are examined
including the Internet, the World Wide Web, virtual community and virtual identity, social networking sites, gaming culture, and mobile technology. (This course may be taken for credit as BUSI 200.)

COMM 201 Media Writing 3 credits
Media Writing is an intensive course in the study and practice of writing for the various media, including print, electronic, public relations, graphic design, and advertising. Students explore the ethical and legal concerns of media writing; learn basic writing, editing, and copy formats; learn to select and structure copy; develop information-gathering skills; and examine contemporary issues and concerns facing the media.

COMM 202 Digital Document Design 3 credits
This course provides students with practical experience using a variety of computer programs designed to create documents for various channels, including both digital and print publication. Students will develop and produce publications, presentations and digital documents that integrate text, art, and various graphic elements. Prerequisite: COMM 201.

COMM 203 Principles of Advertising and Public Relations 3 credits
This course covers the history and principles of advertising and public relations and discusses the different fields of marketing including industry and non-profit work. Advertising and public relations’ relative places in integrated media and marketing plans are also discussed. (This course may be taken for credit as BUSI 203.)

COMM 205 Principles of Graphic Design 3 credits
This course introduces basic graphic design principles and their applications. Visual perception, visual illusion, and communication impact are explored through examples and practical exercises.

COMM 206 Public Speaking and Announcing 3 credits
This course is an introduction to the dynamics of speaking in front of large audiences and also through electronic technologies. The course covers basics of vocal qualities, signals, language, argumentation and elocution for broadcasting of various types.

COMM 210 Editing Mixing, and Mastering Digital Audio for Music 3 credits
This course is the second in a series that addresses the processes of digital audio production for music. It is designed to focus on the processes of editing, mixing, and mastering digital audio for music. (This course may be taken for credit as MUSI 210.) Prerequisite: COMM/MUSI 110

COMM 218 Digital Production and Performance 3 credits
This course provides the student with basic concepts and practical instruction in digital media production strategies and techniques. Intensive instruction is provided in basic digital audio and video editing with an emphasis on the student achieving an introductory level proficiency. Students are provided a primer on other digital software used for print and radio mediums, which includes limited study of speech personality variables, as well as practice in basic announcing, interviewing, microphone, and camera performance techniques.

COMM 221 Acting for the Camera 2 credits
This course investigates the basics of on-camera work, including terminology and strategies for enhancing appearance on camera. Students perform scenes and improvisational exercises and may prepare work for telecasting on the Bethany TV station. (This course may be taken for credit as THEA 221.)

COMM 250 Multimedia Sports Production 3 credits
This course introduces the student to the techniques of production of various sporting events for radio, television, pod-casting, and other converged media platforms. Results of students’ work are broadcast, cablecast, or internet streamed for consumption by the Bethany community and beyond.

COMM 275 Producing the News Magazine 3 credits
An elective for production students or journalism students interested in working in news media. Students in this class will produce half-hour news magazine programs involving multiple individual pieces of 4-7 minute packages joined together by an anchor. Prerequisite: COMM 201

COMM 291 Tower Promotions and Productions 3 credits
This course acquaints the student with applied integrated marketing concepts and skills in both traditional and social media, required for working in the integrated media (advertising and public relations) area. Prerequisite: COMM 201 or 203, or by permission of the instructor.

COMM 292 Interactive Multimedia Production 3 credits
This course acquaints students with concepts, skills and strategies required for working in a digital televised, online, broadcasting areas as well as cross-platform digital production environment, and emerging media production fields. Prerequisite: COMM 218 or COMM 250, or by permission of the instructor.

COMM 300 Entrepreneurial Media 3 credits
The course will trace the causes and arc of these changes; examine case studies of new-media business and non-profits; bring in guest speakers who exemplify these changes; and provide a primer on the various skills needed to be successful as a journalism entrpreneur. This course also introduces students to the basics of entrepreneurship and evolving business models for media. It blends instruction in general entrepreneurship concepts with how the Internet and digital technologies are transforming media economics, using recent news and communication startups as case studies for applying entrepreneurial principles. Students will identify, develop and pitch ideas for media business; research and write a business case study; and perform skill-building exercises in business analysis and digital technologies. Local entrepreneurs will meet with the class to dicuss strategies and trends.

COMM 303 Organizational Communication 3 credits
This course is an examination of the principles of communication in an information society, especially in the context of business, service, and media organizations. Major organizational theories are explored from a communication perspective and examined in the context of the roles and skills needed by individuals within organizations. Examples are drawn mainly from media organizations, but the principles are applicable to all types of organizations and individuals. (This course may be taken for credit as BUSI 303.)

COMM 305 Feature Writing 3 credits
This course encourages excellence in journalism writing by examining award-winning writing, writing newspaper and magazine features, and critiquing articles. Prerequisite: COMM 201.

COMM 306 Communication Theory and Research 3 credits
This course examines the relationship between communication theories and the research methods used to test them. Emphasis is on understanding theoretical tenets, their connection to the communication process and to modern media, thesis development, and research design. An examination of current communication research is conducted. Prerequisite: junior or senior status or permission of the instructor.

COMM 307 Advanced Methods and Application 3 credits
This is an upper level core course in the communications department required for all majors. In this junior seminar, students will learn how to execute research in the field of communication. They are instructed on how to specifically use methodological approaches used in a scholarly, scientific, and rigorously academic capacity. Students are shown how to produce an equally comprehensive artifact. It features the application of current principles within: the industry practices of traditional broadcasting, web design, social media research, digital marketing, new media promotions, and advertising and public relations campaigns for completion of a practicum. Prerequisite: COMM 306.

COMM 309 Audio Recording Portfolio 3 credits
Instruction will be provided in live sound applications for music. This includes sound reinforcement, recording of live performances, and the use of pre-recorded or MIDI materials in live performances. (This course may be taken for credit as MUSI 309.) Prerequisites: COMM/MUSI 110, COMM/MUSI 210, and all MUSI courses required for the Music Technology major.

COMM 310 Digital Reporting 3 credits
This is a lecture-laboratory course focusing on the complexities and practices of gathering news for traditional media that have or are converting to digital delivery and also emerging digital media. Students are required to gather and report news/features using the digital technology across multiple platforms of distribution (i.e., radio, television, internet, telephone, etc.). Prerequisite: COMM 201

COMM 311 Communication Law and Ethics 3 credits
This course is a study of law and ethics as they pertain to emerging and traditional mass media and to related communication enterprises such as advertising and public relations. Legal topics emphasized include the First Amendment, libel and slander, privacy, and prior restraint. Ethics topics include examination and application of ethics theories and practices within the framework of each student becoming an independent moral agent.

COMM 344 Sports Information Directing 3 credits
This course examines the multi-faceted activities and qualities of sports information directing, also known as sports public relations. Areas covered include image building, determining sports news, understanding various sports and the terminology used in writing sports copy, developing relationships with the media, using statistics in sports writing, understanding the importance of photography, and designing and writing sports media guides.

COMM 345 Intercultural Communication 3 credits
This course focuses on communication among individuals from divergent cultures. The processes by which perceptions are created, expressed, and influence interpersonal relationships are examined. Emphasis is on identifying and controlling the roles that culture plays within a wide range of communication contexts. (This course may be taken for credit as BUSI 345.)

COMM 346 Gender Communication 3 credits
This course introduces the major concepts of communication and gender. Emphasis is on issues of gender in language and nonverbal behavior. Communication and gender in friendships, courtship, marriage, family, education, media, and organizations are considered through the examination of real-life communication situations.

COMM 388 Electronic Media Skills for the Liberal Arts Student 1 credit
This course is intended for students seeking technical training in electronic media skills for non-professional applications. Students choose from a variety of skills, including mixing and editing audio, making video movies, and creating audio and video resources for World Wide Web sites on the Internet. The course is open to all students, except those following the Digital Media and Production track of the Communications and Media Arts major. (This is an activity course with letter grades required for Communication and Media Arts majors and CR/NCR only for others.) Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.

COMM 390 Campus Media Management 1 credit
This course assists the student working as a manager for a campus media organization to develop leadership skills under the supervision of the medium’s faculty advisor. Open only to managers of the campus media as determined by the faculty advisors. This course may be repeated once in the same organization and for a maximum of four credits. (This is an activity course with letter grades required for Communication majors and CR/NCR only for others.) Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.

COMM 403 Globalization and International Communication 3 credits
This course examines the principles, variables, and processes involved in globalization and the international media system as well as varying practices of media production and consumption in other countries. Students will study sample countries and will research economic, political, media and cultural factors as transmitted through the media system of a foreign country. (This course may be taken for credit as BUSI 403.) Prerequisite: Junior or senior status or permission of instructor.

COMM 409 Publications Photography 3 credits
This course introduces the knowledge and skills needed to produce high quality digital photographic images. Assignments include news, features, sports, portrait, and still-life imaging. Emphasis is on working within strict deadlines and creating images suitable for publication. An additional course fee is required. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.

COMM 412 Integrated Marketing Communications Campaigns 3 credits
This course uses the integrated marketing communications (IMC) approach of utilizing appropriate advertising, marketing, personal selling, and public relations principles and practices to develop a strategic communication campaign. Students conduct research, develop goals, objectives, strategies, and tactics for a client. The campaign is presented to the client in written and audio-visual form. The campaign is evaluated. (This course may be taken for credit as BUSI 412.) Prerequisites: BUSI 310, ECON 163 or ACCT 202.

COMM 413 Integrated Marketing Communications II 3 credits
The strategic marketing campaign developed in BUSI/COMM 412 will be implemented during this semester. Students will implement the marketing plan and then take the appropriate steps to monitor results and evaluate the effectiveness of the campaign, including meetings with the client once the campaign is concluded. (This course may be taken for credit as BUSI 413.) Prerequisites: BUSI/COMM 412.

COMM 420 Professional Internship 2-3 credits
This course is a professionally supervised experience with an off-campus media organization or communication agency. Assignments apply classroom materials and campus media experiences and are similar to those experienced by new communication professionals. A minimum of 100 hours in the experience is required for the two-credit version of this course, and 150 hours minimum is required for the three-credit version. Prerequisites: Three courses from COMM 194, 291, and 292 for a total of 9 credit hours.

COMM 422 Digital Service Learning 3 credits
This course is designed to provide the student with exposure to cutting-edge digital hardware and software applicable to careers in the fast-changing communication field. The student will work off campus, under the supervision of a communication professional, on a service project serving the community. The student will present a portfolio at the conclusion of the experience. Prerequisite: Junior standing, permission of instructor.

COMM 440 New Media Theory and Practices 3 credits
As digital media and the internet become more and more common, scholars are examining how people use these technologies and for what purposes. This course will cover the emerging body of theory on new media processes and practices in the information age. Prerequisite: BUSI/COMM 200.

COMM 480 Special Topics 3 credits
This advanced course is offered periodically to deal in depth with a particular subject or issue relevant to the field of communications, to pursue unique topics of interest to students, or make faculty research available for students as learning exercises.

COMM 487-489 Independent Study 1, 2, or 3 credits

COMM 490 Senior Project 3 credits
This course requires a research paper demonstrating the ability to describe, analyze, synthesize, and draw significant conclusions on a contemporary communication issue. Detailed guidelines for the senior project are available from the Communications and Media Arts Program. Prerequisite: COMM 306.

COMM 495 Comprehensive Exams
This course is an administrative placeholder used to record a student’s score on Comprehensive Exams (CR/NCR).