Communication as a field of study, as a profession, and as a central component of our everyday lives has grown dramatically in importance through the twentieth century and into the twenty-first. Communication plays an important role in personal relationships, social activities, politics, medicine, business, education, the law, and creative expression, and new communication technologies have given rise to a host of communication-based industries. Graduates of communication departments go into a variety of professions, including the media, law, marketing, sales, corporate communications, counseling, public relations, advertising, and education. The study of communication enriches students' lives as well as providing attractive career paths.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison was one of the first universities to establish a program in communication, and its Communication Arts Department has taken a leading role in the development of the discipline throughout its history. The department offers a variety of courses focusing on the principal media and modes of human communication. Our goal is to help students deepen their appreciation of the communication process and increase their communication skills. Whether a course deals with film, electronic media, rhetoric, or interpersonal communication, it is designed to encourage students to enhance and develop their own capacities for critical appraisal, reflection, and expression, and to expand their capacities for participation in the communication-driven social and civic life of the twenty-first century.