COMM 101 > Fourth Unit Engagement Activities

While much of our learning will take place inside the classroom, you are also expected to devote a unit’s worth of time and effort to exploring the SJSU Department of Communication Studies and the opportunities for success available to its graduates. The goal of this assignment is for you to engage with our community in a much more in-depth manner than can be provided in a three-unit course.

To that end, you will select five Department Engagement Activities (25 points each). For each activity (unless otherwise stated), you will write a 1 1/2 to 2-page summary of what you experience and learn.

Organize each paper into two sections: (1) summary and (2) reflection (make specific connections to your personal goals, concerns, and/or ambitions).

Select from this list (others will be added throughout the semester).

Study our core values. Select and examine ONE of our four  cornerstones. Reflect on the degree to which that cornerstone is reflected in our departmental history, classes, assignments, and/or culture. Start your research at this site: - and branch out to other web resources as you see fit.

Get to know a faculty member. Schedule a half-hour visit with a department faculty member whose interests and expertise align with yours. Offer plenty of advance notice of your interview request, work around your chosen professor’s office hours, arrive promptly at the designated time, have thoughtful questions prepared in advance, engage in pleasant conversation, and send a thank-you note after the interview. Keep in mind that some faculty members are not available for this activity. Learn more about departmental faculty at: - and review these additional guidelines to ensure a successful interview.

Plan your pathway toward graduation. Schedule a visit with a department advisor and produce or revise your plan to complete a degree in our department. While a thank-you note is less necessary for this assignment, you are expected to follow the other courtesy guidelines listed in the get to know a faculty member activity. Learn more about departmental advising at:

Explore your career opportunities. Schedule a visit with Dr. Tabitha Hart, COMM Internship Director, to learn what you can do towards getting an internship in skilled communication work. Again, while a thank-you note is less necessary for this assignment, you are expected to follow the other courtesy guidelines listed in the get to know a faculty member activity. Also, prior to your visit, you need to complete the following tasks:

- Read the Internship FAQs at

- View a COMM student produced video (for COMM 199C, Spring 2013) on getting internships at

- Look at the Internship Bulletin board next to HGH 216 and be prepared to share your impressions of it.

Consider Studying Abroad. Make arrangements to meet with any COMM Study Abroad (COMMSA) program leader to learn about the COMM study abroad programs [don't forget those courtesy guidelines]. The leaders are: 

- Berlin, Germany: Bettina Brockmann & Tabitha Hart

- Jyv�skyl�, Finland: Deanna Fassett

[Note: The department is also running a Beijing program, but that trip is already booked.]

Learn about our graduate program. Review our departmental Graduate Program website. Use this opportunity to summarize your knowledge about the program and to contemplate the possibility of applying to our program one day. Conduct your research at this site (reading beyond the "overview" page):

Attend a department performance. See a play or other scheduled performance directed or supervised by one of our departmental faculty members [Remember that not all performances are supervised by COMM department faculty; please double-check with me to ensure that your selection will work]. Opportunities to witness thought-provoking performances by members of our community are frequently advertised in Hugh Gillis Hall. You might also consider attending Califia evening performances.

Attend a Califia night. Calfia gathers students (and sometimes faculty) to present all sorts of performances (spoken-word, dance, etc.). Calfia is free and open to the public. This semester we will have two such events, but only one within the grading period for this assignment: Friday, March 7 at 7:00 p.m. in HGH 231. Calfia events tend to run for about an hour.

Interview a department alumnus. Search your personal network of friends and colleagues for an SJSU grad with a degree in communication studies. Schedule a half-hour visit with that alum and learn about professional life after college – and follow the same courtesy guidelines listed in the get to know a faculty member activity.

Read a publication (book, chapter, or scholarly article) written by a department faculty member. How do you find a faculty pub? Start with Communication and Mass Media Complete. Primary restriction: Do not select a publication that is assigned in one of your current or previous classes.

Build your own module. Email your proposal for a clever and unique way to learn more about the department and its community. Please note: you may only include one build your own module activity in your Department Engagement Project.

Additional instructions:

• Place one Engagement Activity rubric behind each activity:

• While the page length does not allow for formal paragraph-length introductions you are still required to attend to other relevant instructions – including the inclusion of a one-sentence forecast and review – found on the gradesheet (which, for this assignment, does not need to be attached):

• Each activity must take place during this semester.

• You may not duplicate activity types or interview the same person for two or more activities.

• COMM 80 workshops (while a valuable resource) do not count for this assignment.

• You will submit one Engagement Activity near the mid-semester point for informal feedback.

• Toward the end of the semester, you will submit a professionally organized packet that contains all five Activities (including your first one, revised as necessary) to be formally evaluated. Again, place one rubric behind each activity.

• Keep electronic copies for your portfolio.