Texas Tech University

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if my academic program needs to develop a Communication Literacy plan?

Can a student declare a major in this area? If yes, the area needs a Communication Literacy (CL) plan. If no, the area does not need a CL plan.

What if I'm working with an undergraduate major that is interdisciplinary and differs from student to student (e.g., BGS in the College of Arts and Sciences; BHS in the College of Human Sciences)?

Students in interdisciplinary majors will select one of the following options: 

  1. Student may follow the CL plan in one of her/his areas of study, provided that all courses are part of the student's curriculum in that area.
  2. Student may select a minimum of three CL courses from any of his/her areas of study.

Students in interdisciplinary programs should work closely with their advisers to determine the course of action most appropriate for their educational goals.

Will this add extra coursework to the students' degree requirements?

No.

Are the faculty in my academic program going to have to design all new courses to meet the CL requirement?

No. It is very likely that your faculty are already teaching your students the communication skills that they need to be successful in your discipline. What we are asking is that your faculty pay deliberate attention to identifying and articulating those skills, determining where they are currently taught, in what order they should be taught (if any), and in what ways you will make sure that students and faculty are not only aware of the CL plan but are also able to articulate its components and importance.

Are my faculty going to have to significantly revise all of the courses that we determine will be part of our CL plan?

No. The Communication Advisory Committee will provide each academic program with template language that can be included at the top of each CL course syllabus so that all Instructors of Record teaching and students taking the course are aware of its CL status. However, as noted in the preceding answer, we anticipate that most academic programs are already teaching students the communication skills they need. To that end, while your CL course syllabi might need some revision, we anticipate that revision will be primarily a clarification of the communication expectations and outcomes.

Will the CL requirement be in addition to the WRIT requirement?

No. The CL requirement will replace the WRIT requirement, effective fall 2017. Students who are on catalog years prior to 17-18 and have not yet completed their WRIT requirements will be accommodated.

Will the CL requirement still be six credit hours, like the WRIT requirement?

No. The emphasis of the CL requirement is not completion of a set number of credit hours, but completion of a set of courses designed to develop communication skills in the discipline. Each academic program developing a CL plan will determine the number of and relationship between the courses that constitute the plan. See CL Narrative (see previous section) for additional information.

How is my area supposed to identify courses that will constitute the CL sequence?

Begin by getting together as area faculty and asking these questions:

  1. What types of communication skills do our graduates need?
  2. How can our graduates become more proficient in their communication skills?
  3. In which currently available courses are our students receiving the instruction they need to build their skills? To address their deficiencies? At what point in the program do students enroll in these courses?

After you have compiled responses to the questions above, work to design one or more sequences or clusters of courses that students in your area can take in order to fulfill their CL requirement.

Does a student have to take and pass every course in the CL plan in order to graduate?

Yes, with these exceptions:

  1. Students who begin CL plans in other academic programs then transfer into your program may request permission from your department chairperson or area head to count her completed CL courses in the previous major toward completion of her plan in the new major.
  2. Students who transfer from other institutions may request permission from your department chairperson or area head to apply transfer coursework toward one or more of the CL courses.
  3. Students whose graduation dates will be delayed because a required course in the CL plan is not being offered may request permission from your department chairperson or area head to substitute another course in place of the remaining CL course(s).

Do all of the courses in my program's CL plan have to be housed in our program or department? In other words, if we think our students would benefit from a course offered in another program, department, or college, can we include it?

Not without the full cooperation and support of the offering program, department, or college. And, if you do choose to include other programs' courses in your CL plan, those courses may not compose more than half of your program's total CL SCH requirement.

Why?

It is expected that all programs are concerned with preparing their students to successfully communicate in ways specific to their disciplines.

What kinds of communication are we really talking about here?

Kinesthetic, melodic, computational, graphic, visual, oral, written, nonverbal, etc. The point is for your program to prioritize the forms of communication valued by your discipline. (SOME examples of types of skills associated with these kinds of communication: dance choreography, tuba performance, computer coding, architectural or engineering design, photography, spoken word performance in a foreign language, poetry, sign language translation, etc.)

How can academic programs best identify and develop communication skills throughout their curricula?

TTU's CL requirement signals the university's awareness that in addition to the fundamental role that writing plays in enabling students to explore, develop, focus, and organize a message, other types of communication must also be taught as appropriate for a student's discipline. Throughout each program of study, then, students must be given ample opportunity to develop their skills in forms of communication central to that program. Academic programs can use the following questions to initiate and promote thoughtful and creative conversations about how communication skills are identified and developed throughout their curricula:

  1. What types of communication skills do our graduates need?
  2. How can our graduates become more proficient in their communication skills?
  3. In which courses are our students receiving the instruction they need to build their skills? To improve their proficiencies? At what point in the program do students enroll in these courses?
  4. What should these courses require/include? Please consider these as starting points for discussion. Your program may identify alternative or additional requirements for course content in your CL courses.
    1. Work that focuses on the role of audience and message reception in communication
    2. Work in identifying the purpose of and context for the communication
    3. Demonstrated use of skill as required for discipline
    4. Application of feedback to communication strategies