Are You Ready?
Instructions: Below you will find a series of statements about your style of learning. Indicate your degree of agreement with each statement by placing the appropriate number in the box next to each item. Please use the following scale:
Scoring: You are ready for class if you scored 90 – 105. If you scored 60-90 then you should target some specific personal growth areas. If you scored below 60, you should probably consider another major.
Some Common Misconceptions
“I’m already a great communicator; all I need is the degree.”
Response: Many people are blessed with natural communication abilities. However, experience does not necessarily equal competence. The faculty is committed to not only further developing your skills but also improving your understanding of the communication process. We are not here to “rubber stamp” anyone. Our expectation is that CP majors/minors want to enhance their skills and understanding of the communication process.
“I really hate math.”
Response: You will still need math skills to effectively study communication. For instance, conducting effective analyses of audiences will require you to collect and properly interpret survey data. Moreover, the rigor and analytical skills used by mathematicians are just as important to students of communication. We expect you to develop rigorous analytical skills.
“I want someone to tell me exactly how to communicate.”
Response: The CP program focuses on developing your thinking skills so you can effectively address any future communication problem or situation. We provide general (and sometimes vague) principles that should structure your thinking well into the future. Our expectation is that you will become comfortable solving ambiguous problems.
“I love to talk.”
Response: Speaking is only part of the communication process. There is also, of course, listening. We stress the intellectual skills necessary to accomplish important tasks. Often, this means repressing a natural desire to speak. We expect you to approach the act of communication from a strategic point of view.
“I want to sit in a classroom, take notes, and then take the exam.”
Response: Our classes are not structured in this manner. Most of the classes involve some sort of group project and guided discussion. We do this to provide you with practical experiences and foster your intellectual involvement. We expect you to fully participate in group projects and discussions.
“I want to make really cool videos.”
Response: Great! But that is only one small part of the educational process. We expect you to become adept at a variety of other important communication skills.
“I want a major that fits with my work schedule.”
Response: This is not always possible. Reconciling work, personal and school conflicts is an important life skill. We expect you to be in class and devote the time necessary to properly completing your scholarly obligations.
“I want an easy major”.
Response: Most students find the courses demanding both in terms of time and rigor. There are numerous group projects, assignments and casework that should be completed outside the class period. We expect you to work hard.
“I love people.”
Response: Great! But love is not always enough. For instance, effectively dealing with people also involves providing them appropriate information using the right channels. We expect you to transform your love of people into specific marketable communication skills.
“I’m a sensitive person and I want to go into a field where that trait will be appreciated.” Response: Sensitivity is an admirable personal trait. But it needs to be balanced with rigorous thinking and willingness to accept constructive feedback. We expect you to be open to constructive feedback.
Some Tips on the Educational Process
Your education will emerge out of the words read, the problems investigated, and exercises experienced. To get the most from this process, we strongly recommend you read the following books:
· The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
· Working with Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman
· Teamwork by Carl Larson & Frank LaFasto
Covey’s classic book provides a useful overview of the work habits that can make you successful, while the Gardner book discusses the emotional control necessary to thrive in our program. Finally, the Teamwork book is a useful primer for effective group work.