Communication and Media Studies Department


Communication is an ancient field of study, tracing its roots to the Golden Age of Greece when Aristotle studied rhetoric, the art of persuasion. Citizen participation in politics was at the heart of Greek democracy and the power of the spoken word was key to participation.

 During the 20th Century, communication inquiry began to broaden beyond its traditional focus to include knowledge gained from psychology, sociology, anthropology, and other contemporary fields of study.  Scholars examined the effects of communication on attitude formation, interpersonal relationships, group decision making, and organizational behavior.  Meanwhile, the introduction of radio, television, and film further expanded the scope of the discipline. 

Today, students and faculty consider issues involving gender and communication, multiculturalism, ethics, health communication, media and public policy, and other current topics.  Understanding the process of communication is as important to democracy as public speaking was for the ancient Greeks. 

 The bachelor of arts degree in communication provides comprehensive knowledge about the nature of communication, the symbol systems by which it functions, the environments in which it occurs, its media, and its effects.  Employing critical and empirical approaches, the program spans the social sciences, humanities, and fine arts.

The bachelor of arts in media studies focuses on understanding, creating, and exploiting various social and participatory mediathrough a program of integrated courses in media writing, criticism, and production.  Our goal is to graduate literate, capable, and responsible media professionals. 

The Communication and Media Studies Department also offers two minors.  The minor in cinema studies and the minor in communication and media studies.

News & Events

Mind Map
Communication Professor Lenny Shedletsky and Associate Professor of Education Jeffrey Beaudry will present a webinar on the topic of visual literacy to faculty of the University of Maine System. The webinar will introduce faculty to visual literacy and concept mapping and will provide opportunities for collaboration on classroom applications. The event time is Wednesday, October 15, 2014, from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM. Professors Shedletsky and Beaudry have recently edited the publication, Cases on Teaching Critical Thinking Through Visual Representation Strategies, with IGI Global. Several contributing authors of this text will participate in the webinar. A tech grant from University College Faculty E-Learning funded this endeavor.
Maureen Ebben
Maureen Ebben, PhD, Communication and Media Studies, is acting as Faculty Research Associate with USM's new Cyber Security Research Cluster where she contributes to research, education, and outreach efforts.
Billy Libby
Marie Sheffield, multicultural coordinator at the Center for Grieving Children and program participants discuss their work with Your Song, Your Story, with 98.9 WCLZ's Ethan Minton. USM media studies alum Billy Libby founded the non-profit, Your Song, Your Story, after working with the Center during his media studies service learning practicum course. The full interview is available on the 98.9 WCLZ website.

The Cinema Studies Minor

Cinema Film Studies Still

The Cinema Studies minor offers students a multidimensional understanding of film as form of art, product of industry, and mode of communication. The program can serve as a base of knowledge for students intending to enter careers in the media, as a foundation for further study, and/or as the opportunity to gain deeper insight into one of the most culturally significant media of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.  For more information, contact Matthew Killmeier.

Internships in Communication and Media Studies

It's not too late for a summer internship. Interested communication majors should contact Russell Kivatisky (russellk@maine.edu) and media studies majors should contact Dennis Gilbert (dgilbert@maine.edu).
Have a great summer!

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