Class Notes: "Environmental Communication" with Professor DeLaure

Registration for Spring 2013 is almost upon us! You have hopefully been busy perusing our Communication Studies class schedule. Try to tear yourself away for a few moments to read about one of our new courses: COMS 490: Environmental Communication. I asked Professor DeLaure to share some information about what you can expect from the course:

“Next spring, I’m teaching a brand new course, “Environmental Communication.”  This is a upper division course that counts towards the COMS major, and also toward the Environmental Studies major.  (Pre-reqs are COMS 202, or ENVA major.)

This class examines how communication shapes our understandings of and interactions with the environment.  Over the course of the semester, we’ll address the following questions: How do we define “environment” and distinguish between “nature” and “culture”?  What are common rhetorical appeals deployed in discourse about the environment?  How do images and other visual modes of communication shape perceptions of the environment?  How do scientists, environmentalists, elected officials, and ordinary citizens deliberate over environmental issues, and how do the media frame these debates?  What are some of the challenges posed by miscommunication about environmental issues?  And how can you communicate effectively about the environment as a student, citizen, and activist?  Through our collaborative exploration of these and other questions, you will expand your awareness of environmental issues, become a savvier critic of environmental messages, improve your advocacy skills and, hopefully, deepen your sense of engagement as a global environmental citizen.

If you choose to enroll in Environmental Communication, you will read, discuss, monitor media coverage of environmental issues, write a book review, and also a critical analysis essay.  You will also have the opportunity to create a portfolio of applied communication materials for a real-world context.  For a non-profit organization, you might draft a fundraising letter, a grant application, and design some webpage copy.  Or, for an educational institution, you might develop a lesson plan and accompanying materials for teaching a target audience about a specific environmental topic.  Or, for a public campaign, you might create a range of materials (mailers, press releases, op-ed pieces, a speech, a social-media plan) to promote participation, encourage voting, or elicit a change of behavior.  Students will find or be paired with a Bay Area organization doing environmental work; at the end of the term, students will deliver their materials to that organization for possible use, and will also present their work to the class.”

Remember, COMS 490: Environmental Communication is an upper-division Communication Studies major course and also counts towards the Environmental Studies major. Thanks Professor DeLaure!


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