Dec 10, 2022  
2018-2019 Undergraduate Catalog 
2018-2019 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Mass Communication

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Colleges & Departments

126 Phelps Hall
Mass Communication website
J. Paul Johnson, Chairperson


Avery Dame, Assistant Professor; BA, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa; MA, University of Kansas; PhD, University of Maryland, College Park; 2017 -
Daniel Eastman, Professor; BA, Western Washington University; MFA, Wayne State University; MFA, Bard College; 1989 -
Tom Grier, Professor; BA, MA, Winona State University; EdD, University of Minnesota; 1989 -
Davin Heckman, Professor; BA, University of San Diego; MA, University of Minnesota-Duluth; PhD, Bowling Green State University; 2013 -
Jennifer T. Ma, Assistant Professor; BA, BL, LanZhou University; MBA, Boston College; PhD, University of Connecticut; 2015 -
Talan Memmott, Assistant Professor; MFA, Brown University; PhD, Malmö University; 2016 -
Tanya A. Ryan, Associate Professor; BA, Winona State University; MA, Bethel University; PhD, University of Minnesota; 2008 -
Muriel Scott, Assistant Professor; BS, Iowa State University; MA, PhD, University at Albany, State University of New York; 2014 -
John Vivian, Professor; AB, Gonzaga University; MSJ, Northwestern University; 1981 -


It is the mission of the Mass Communication Department of Winona State University to provide students with the concepts and skills necessary to prepare them to critically evaluate and develop media messages, to be socially responsible citizens of today’s world and to advance their chosen careers.

Mass Communication is about the content, both visual and verbal; the processes, conception through delivery; and the impact, on both individuals and the society, of mediated messages. This revised curriculum teaches about the content, processes and impacts of mediated messages through the following four perspectives:

  • Strategic Persuasive Messages
  • Images (Motion, Sound and Still)
  • Informative Messages
  • Analysis and Synthesis of Media Effects

These perspectives lead to the following program student learning outcomes for all options within the major curriculum.

A student completing the Mass Communication major will:

  • Exhibit conceptual thinking processes in the creation of mediated messages appropriate to his or her option
  • Produce mediated messages appropriate to his or her option
  • Understand the methods by which mediated messages are delivered
  • Be able to evaluate the effectiveness and the effects of mediated messages on individuals and society 


Mass media are needed in a free society to inform, survey, protect, and enlighten. The mass communication faculty members instill students with a strong sense of responsibility to serve the community and society. Faculty members also provide practical experience in producing mass media content.

Practicing professionals are frequent guests. Mass communication students have many opportunities to apply theory to practice in laboratories, co-curricular, and extracurricular programs including:

  • KQAL, a full-service 1,800-watt departmental radio station serving an average weekly listening audience of 15,000
  • A fully functioning wet darkroom in which intermediate and advanced students produce black-and-white photographs
  • Television broadcast facilities in which students produce programs for a variety of audiences
  • Multimedia labs for print, web, broadcasting, and other projects
  • Campus chapters of the American Advertising Federation (AdFed), National Broadcasting Society (and its affiliate, Alpha Epsilon Rho), Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), Society for Collegiate Journalists, and the National Press Photographers Association
  • Many other opportunities to work in student and professional media activities both on and off campus

Mass communication majors choose an option for their coursework in advertising, journalism, public relations or creative digital media. The curriculum offers students opportunities to develop skills in oral, visual, and written communication; gain an understanding of media law, ethics, and theory; and receive theoretical and practical experience in an area of special interest.

To assist students in planning, the department prepares a list of planned courses on a two- and four-year plan. Students may contact the Mass Communication Department for a copy of the prepared plans.

Pass/No Credit (P/NC) Courses

All courses in the mass communication major and minor, with the exception of internships, are offered on a grade-only basis.

Additional Graduation Requirements

For a checklist of the University’s graduation requirements, see the Academic Policies & University Requirements  section of this catalog. Specific requirements for mass communication majors/minors are as follows:

  • All mass communication majors must have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher to graduate.
  • Mass communication majors must have a cumulative WSU GPA of 2.5 or higher to register for most mass communication courses.
  • Mass communication majors and minors must earn a grade of “C” or better in all mass communication courses and all additional courses taken to satisfy the requirements of a mass communication major.
  • All mass communication majors must submit an assessment portfolio prior to graduation.
  • To graduate from WSU with a mass communication degree in any option, a student transferring credits must satisfy requirements from the appropriate option including 12 credit hours earned at WSU in mass communication courses at the 300-level or above.

General Education Intensive Requirements

Students may use intensive courses to satisfy both General Education Program (GEP)  and major requirements. Intensive courses will usually be in the student’s major or minor program. The following are offered as GEP intensive courses in the Mass Communication Department:


Oral (◎)
Math/Critical Analysis (◆)
Writing (△)

Intensive courses that can be used to satisfy major/minor requirements are identified in the lists of required courses and electives.


    Bachelor of ArtsMinor

    Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Colleges & Departments