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“I am in my 12th year 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 Simms ’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. 2001.
M.A., College of Journalism and Communications, University of Florida. 1989.
B.A., Department of Communication, Marquette University. 1982.

Richard Clancy
Visiting Professor of Communications and Media Arts

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


Communications and Media Arts majors are expected to complete 48 credits 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 390-395; 403, 420, and 490.

In addition, all majors must complete 6 credits in courses offered by the English program in addition to ENGL 111, and one of the following courses offered by the Economics or Business programs: ECON 163 or ACCT 202.


Integrated Media & Marketing Track Requirements: COMM 203, 202, 206, 412, 413


Digital Media & Production Track Requirements: COMM 104, 200, 218, 310, 440.


Graphics Track Requirements: COMM 104, 205, 315, two quarters at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.


Sports Communications Track Requirements: COMM 206, 250, 344; PHED 243 or 244; PHED 300 or 335; or PHED 337 or 355.

COMM 101, 201 and 15 additional credits. At least 6 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 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 130    Interpersonal Communication    3 credits
This course examines the various theoretical approaches to the study of interpersonal communication and the role of interpersonal communication in the development and maintenance of human relationships.

COMM 140    Small Group Communication    3 credits
This course offers a study of the principles and practices that govern small-group communication in business, government, and the wider community. Topics include team building, group roles in decision-making, leadership, and conflict resolution. Analysis covers communicating online and face-to-face with group members.

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 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 208    Principles of Broadcasting and New Media    3 credits
This course provides the student with basic knowledge of broadcasting and new media’s histories, structures, processes, and practices and the effects on both individuals and society. Included is an overview of seminal theories such as cultivation, diffusion of innovations, and uses and gratifications. The course also provides an overview of sales and advertising aspects of the media business, including ratings and promotional activities, governmental controls and self-regulation, ethical considerations, global characteristics, and technological advances.

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 211    The Documentary Tradition    3 credits
This course examines the documentary film tradition of Europe and North America. Works studied include those from producers/directors ranging from Robert Flaherty and Leni Riefenstahl to individuals such as Peter Davis, Michael Moore, Kevin Breslin, and others. Students study, analyze, and write about essential theories and issues related to the documentary, including objectivity (versus subjectivity), audience, social activism, and characteristics distinguishing the documentary from photography, journalism, and history.

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 265    Producing Commercials    3 credits
Advertising theory, audience research, and strategic message development come together in producing commercials. This course explores the development and production of commercials for radio, television and the web. (This course may be taken for credit as BUSI 265.) Prerequisite: BUSI/COMM 203

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 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 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, telephony, 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 314    Public Opinion    3 credits
This course explores the complexity of issues of concern to individuals or groups which influence our daily lives and how information sources, styles, and channels help formulate public opinion on those issues. The influence of mass media and social relationships on how opinions change is also explored. Prerequisite: junior or senior status or permission of the instructor.

COMM 315    Design Application    3 credits
This course emphasizes problem-solving as related to developing and producing visual content for various media, including cross-platform distribution of content. Design and integration for multiple media channels including video, web and multimedia will be covered.  Problem solving and preparation are emphasized. (This course may be taken for credit as BUSI 315.) Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.

COMM 318    Telemedia Programming and Management    3 credits
This course prepares students for a leadership career in the telemedia, including radio and television broadcasting, cable, corporate communications, computer applications, and the Internet. Topics include technological change, economics and ownership issues, programming and marketing strategies, organization and management, industry self-governance, government regulation, and ethics. Students undertake a project related to individual professional interests. Prerequisite: COMM 208.

COMM 330    Screenwriting    3 credits
Students learn feature film format and study existing screenplays to understand how to write only for sight and sound. Both examination of existing films and screenplays and original writing are required. Prerequisite: ENGL 111.

COMM 335    Seminar in Television Writing    3 credits
This course studies the techniques for writing half-hour comedies and one-hour dramatic scripts for television. Issues covered include character development, camera work and working within time limits for scripting to handle commercial breaks and the serial format. Prerequisite: COMM 201.  

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 370    Mass Media and Popular Culture    3 credits
Exploring the relationship between popular culture movements and the evolution of mass media, this course looks at how the two have impacted each other. The course covers all the mass media stretching back to books and magazines and looking forward to consider how the digital era has and will continue to affect popular culture. (This course may be taken for credit as BUSI 370.)

COMM 380    Political Communication    3 credits
With the arrival of the digital era, political campaigns are no longer top-down media plans that exist only for a short “season.” Political communication is now a year-round, daily process. This course will examine the history and current state of political communication in the United States and also study rhetorical analysis of messages, media, and speakers in political campaigns, institutions, and movements.

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 391    Tower Promotions    3 credit
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 203, or by permission of the instructor.

COMM 392    Tower Digital Productions    3 credits
This course acquaints student with applied concepts and skills required for working within the digital media area (print and internet). The students learn how to chronicle both campus and community events, and it offers students opportunities in video production, reporting, and Vlogs. The Tower Digital provides valuable learning experiences in graphics, Web design and new media. Prerequisite: COMM 201 or by permission of the instructor.

COMM 393    Television Production    3 credits
This course acquaints the student to concepts, skills and strategies required for working within the digital televised, online, broadcasting area. Students create and produce news and entertainment programming, and the station also offers learning opportunities in graphic generation and management. Prerequisite: COMM 218 or COMM 250, or by permission of the instructor.

COMM 394    Online Radio    3 credits
This course acquaints student 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: COMM 201 or permission of the instructor.

COMM 395    Interactive Multimedia Production    3 credits
This course acquaints students with concepts, skills and strategies required for working in a cross-platform digital production environment, and emerging media production fields. Prerequisite: COMM 218 or COMM 250, or by 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.  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 used 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    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 120 hours in the experience is required for the two-credit version of this course, and 160 hours minimum is required for the three-credit version. Prerequisites: Three campus media experiences at one credit must be completed.  Details about prerequisites are available from the department.

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 425     Writing and Developing the Documentary    3 credits
This course will introduce the process of creating a documentary film, from initial concept through distribution. The course will cover writing proposals, pitching ideas, creating teams, budgeting and fundraising, outreach and distribution. Emphasis will be on developing a specific idea to be produced in COMM 426, Documenting Human Experiences

COMM 426     Documenting Human Experiences    3 credits
In this course students will produce their own documentary and share their experiences in discussions. Students will build on the preparation work done in COMM 425. Prerequisite: COMM 425.

COMM 428     Community Voices Documentary Workshop    3 credits
This course will provide hands-on training in social issue documentary video production. Students will partner with a non-profit organization based in the area to produce a short documentary to be used in conjunction with the organization’s outreach efforts. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.

COMM 430     Censorship and Propaganda    3 credits
Controlling and influencing the media have always been contested areas in mass communications. This advanced course examines the history of both censorship and propaganda and looks at the history of such endeavors in the United States. Subjects covered include but are not limited to: government control of the media, the use of propaganda in wartime and corporate influence over content in passive ways, such as the movie ratings system.

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.