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Waubonsee Recognizes Communications Department as Student Success: Featured Faculty and Program

Group photo of Waubonsee's Communications Faculty
Communications Faculty (left to right): Vicky Archos, John Bitterman, Larry Modaff, Allison Beltramini, and Jennifer Schafernak.
The fundamentals of communications are fairly standard, including writing, speaking and listening. And yet the Waubonsee Community College Communications Department takes these basics in entirely new directions to make learning more effective, engaging and productive. For its efforts, the department is being recognized as the college’s Student Success: Featured Faculty and Program for November.  

To take communications to the next level, the program’s five full-time and 14 adjunct staff of the Communications departmentfaculty members develop curriculum that is innovative in both content and delivery.

Given that so many students study communications as part of their general education core, making the courses convenient and accessible has been a top priority. To that end, a fully online version of COM 100 – Fundamentals of Speech Communication debuted this semester. The course is also offered in an accelerated eight-week hybrid format,combining online instruction with in-person speeches.  

Even when speeches are delivered in person, technology still plays a vital role. Most faculty record student speeches and then use special software to embed feedback at precise points throughout the presentation, thereby making the comments more understandable and valuable.  

In COM 100, students may learn from what they watch, but in the department’s mass communications courses and programs, they may learn more from working behind the camera. Whether recording in the state-of-the-art television studio on the Sugar Grove Campus or capturing Waubonsee sporting events live from the field, Waubonsee’s mass communications students get a heavy dose of hands-on learning.

More hands-on learning comes in the department’s COM 135 – Introduction to Integrated Marketing Communications course. This course teaches students to design and drive marketing campaigns, use technology to create outreach and inbound success, and tackle challenges in identifying and reaching customers in unique ways. These skills are put to the test in the course’s culminating project, as well as at various internship opportunities in the field. Many of these marketing-minded students also enter the college’s own Motivate to Complete public service announcement contest, which challenges them to utilize marketing and communications techniques to push their peers toward achieving their dreams of college graduation.

But communications students aren’t just encouraged to graduate from Waubonsee; the department’s programs are designed so that students can easily transfer on and graduate with bachelor’s degrees as well. Courses include those normally taken during the first two years of a bachelor degree program. Communications staff faculty regularly review curriculum to maximize transferability. In fact, just a few years ago, a new “2+2” articulation agreement was signed with Western Illinois University, making it easier for mass communications students to go on to study broadcasting.

Even if it’s not the focus of their studies or future careers, every college-educated student should be a competent, creative communicator. Waubonsee is proud of its Communications Department for the role it’s playing in helping ensure student success in this all-important area.