Background for Prospective & New Students.................................2
Important Terms...................................................................................5
Major Characters (in order of chronological appearance)..............6
Chapter 1: Frequently Asked Questions..........................................7
Chapter 2: Descriptions of Writing-Based Courses.......................9
Chapter 3: Future Opportunities.....................................................11
Study Questions.................................................................................13



Benedictine University was founded in 1887 as St. Procopius College. Although it continues to grow and change each year, the university remains focused on its Catholic and Benedictine traditions and values.

Learning is a lifelong process, the college believes. Rather than provide a purely academic education, the college strives to give students a multifaceted experience. This includes a knowledge of the past, a vision for the future and the ongoing search for wisdom and truth.

As a liberal arts college, Benedictine University offers a wide variety of majors designed to foster creative, intellectual and professional growth. The programs also allow students hands-on experience through internships and other opportunities.

The university is recognized for the diversity of both its students and its curricula and has been ranked among U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges 2005. Students can pick from 42 undergraduate programs.

Sometimes described as being more like a community than a college, Benedictine is a place where students develop friendships with others. The University is a small school with an average class size of 25, allowing for effective student-teacher interaction.

Communication Arts at Benedictine University
Benedictine University first offered Communication Arts courses in 1975. The college currently offers a Communication Arts major, a Writing and Publishing major and an English Language and Literature minor.

Like all the university programs, the mission of Communication Arts is to provide a broad-based liberal-arts education with a focus on professions and careers. This goal is closely connected to the school’s overall mission, which includes helping students become useful, effective citizens. The Communication department strives to provide professional training and a wide range of skills.

The Communication Arts major is designed to allow students the freedom to choose their own paths and follow their own particular areas of interest. The program offers four concentrations: journalism, broadcasting and cable, advertising and public relations, and mass media theory and criticism.

Communication Department: Past, Present and Future

Benedictine University been offering Communication Arts courses for almost 30 years. Over time, the department has grown, changed and improved, not unlike the field of communications in general. Compared to even 15 or 20 years ago, Communication Arts is much more inclusive and wide-ranging. Technological advances allow for new class opportunities. Student interest has grown, and the program is more in demand than ever.

Until recently, Communication Arts did not exist as its own major. Prior to that time, the major was called Literature and Communications; this was divided into the Communication Arts major and English Language and Literature minor in 1997. The Communication department was established two years later.

Currently about 70 students are in the Comm. Arts major. The number varies from year to year; sometimes the number of majors barely hits 30, while other years there are over 90. One reason for the fluctuation is that the graduating class often includes many Comm. Arts majors, which leaves the department with that many fewer students next year.

The Communication department has always expected some variation in the annual number of Comm. Arts majors, but when the number drastically dropped to about 30 students in 1998 and 1999, everyone knew something had to be done. One of the main reasons for the sudden “drought,” the department eventually concluded, was that potential students were being “scared off” by the foreign-language requirement.

The department asked the school to remove the requirement, which it did. When the change took effect in 2000, the number of incoming Comm. Arts majors shot up into the 90s. In recent years, the number has stayed at around 70.

The Communication department sees new challenges arise each year, but the faculty is encouraged by the ever-changing possibilities for the future. The faculty also feel that the current difficulties reflect the department’s drive to grow and improve. In other words, obstacles are seen not as setbacks but as yet-unreached changes and goals.

One of the goals of the Communication department is to add more full-time instructors within the next three years. Another goal is to add new courses, especially multimedia ones.

The college has recently added some new courses; for example, Comedy in Film and Professional Writing are both new subjects in COMM 291, Topics. Another new class is Non-Linear Editing for Audio and Video.

No plans exist to drop any current classes, but they are always changing and being updated. The department continuously tries to achieve the goal of keeping up with, and staying abreast of, new technologies and developments within the field. The department knows it has to remain competitive with other colleges, especially in recruiting and attracting students.

The Communication department has many goals and aspirations, but various problems, including a small budget, have hindered progress. Despite this, everyone remains confident and sees the current situation as just a temporary setback, not a defeat. The faculty members are dedicated to realizing their ongoing vision of more classes, more instructors and up-to-date technology. No one claims to know what the future holds for the Communication department. Everyone believes, however, that the years to come will be a time of development and change.


ARC: Acronym for "Academic Resource Center," which provides assistance in such matters as school policies, academic advising, tutoring and services for students with disabilities.

Ben Central: Abbreviation for Benedictine Central, the department that processes transcript requests, financial aid applications and payments.

BenU Live: Online access to information including schedules, course availability, financial account information and posted grades.

"The Candor": The weekly student newspaper of Benedictine University.

"DuPage Arts Life": An annually published Benedictine University magazine showcasing creative and artistic works.

Eagle’s Nest: The dining service at Benedictine University. Various food-like substances are available every day.

"Eye of the Eagle": A monthly magazine-style show that airs on the university’s cable system and on local cable stations. The show is produced, shot and edited by Benedictine University students.

Friday: The day when almost no one is in the Communication department. Most instructors are doing research or course preparation (though at least one instructor admits she plays FreeCell when not busy).

IAI: Acronym for "Illinois Articulation Initiative," an organization dedicated to helping potential transfer students through the transfer process.

International Center: Office providing advising services to international students.

SOAR: Acronym for "Student Orientation and Recreation," an all-encompassing advising, registration and orientation program designed to help introduce new students to Benedictine University.

WebCT: Web server for students and faculty members in certain classes. Students and instructors share multimedia projects and lecture notes.

Writing and Publishing: A major similar to the Communications major but incorporating English Language and Literature into the curriculum.


Gail Pieper
Part-time instructor at Benedictine University since 1975.
Ph.D. in Classical Philology, University of Illinois at Urbana, 1969.
Academic programs taught: Humanities; Rhetoric; Comm. Arts.
Courses taught: The Baptism of Europe; The Mediterranean World; Editing for Print; Professional Writing; Research Writing for Biology.
Noteworthy accomplishment: Co-edited five books.

Peter Seely
Full-time instructor at Benedictine University since 1984 and department chair since 1999.
M.A. in Communications, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1979.
Academic programs taught: Rhetoric; Comm. Arts.
Courses taught: Basic Speech Communication; Television Production; Internship; Advanced Television Production; Mass Media Law and Ethics; Television and Society; Senior Project.
Noteworthy accomplishment: Authored a book. Named Program Director of the “Media Workshops” program at UCLA, 1994-98.

Luigi Manca
Full-time instructor at Benedictine University since 1991.
Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Mass Communications, University of Iowa, 1981.
Academic programs taught: Humanities; Rhetoric; Comm. Arts.
Courses taught: The Mediterranean World; Basic Speech Communication; Introduction to Comm. Arts; Advanced Writing, Editing and Page Design for Publications; Images of Men and Women in the Mass Media.
Noteworthy accomplishment: Wrote or co-edited three books.

Kenneth Nordin
Full-time instructor at Benedictine University since 1991.
Ph.D. in American Culture, University of Michigan, 1967.
Academic programs taught: Humanities; Rhetoric; Comm. Arts.
Courses taught: First-Year Seminar; The Baptism of Europe; Basic Speech Communication; Editing for Print; Newswriting and Reporting; Masters of the American Cinema; History of Film; International Film; Advanced Journalism Writing; Media and Government; The Literature of Journalism; Senior Project.
Noteworthy accomplishment: Wrote articles for the “Christian Science Monitor”; co-edited one book.


Q: What does “Communication Arts” mean? What is it?
A: “Communication Arts” refers to a program comprising various liberal-arts curricula. The program is a combination of those curricula, hence the word “arts.”

Communication Arts doesn’t mean “communication” as in “learning to do sales and phone sales”; rather, it means the ability to communicate by using the arts. The program is primarily concerned with the development of skills and the study of mass communications media.

Q: How is the Communication Arts major different from the Writing and Publishing major?
A: Although both programs fall into the Communication department, the curricula are quite different. For example, Writing and Publishing requires completion of a foreign language at the 202 level; Communication Arts does not.

The biggest difference, however, is that Writing and Publishing integrates courses from both the Communication Arts and English Language and Literature departments.

Q: How is the Communication Arts program at Benedictine University different from similar programs at other schools?
A: Unlike other schools, Benedictine’s Communication department features a generalist-style program. Students are not restricted to particular courses. In other words, Benedictine offers a wide-ranging, professional program, not a specialized or vocational one.

Q: Are the instructors generally accessible?
A: All full-time instructors are required to have office hours. Both part- and full-time instructors are known for being approachable and willing to make time to help students.

Q: What do the various courses focus on?
A: The various Communication Arts classes deal with topics such as editing, newswriting, media layout and design, writing for electronic media, advertising copywriting, multimedia and Web site production, TV broadcasting, gender issues, ethics and legal aspects of the mass media.

Q: Does Benedictine offer any scholarships specifically intended for Communication Arts majors?
A: Yes. There are three scholarships for Communication Arts majors: the Federal National Endowment for the Humanities Scholarship, the Revs. Clement and Adolph Hrdlicka Memorial Scholarship and the Arthur J. Schmitt Foundation Endowed Scholarship Fund. Financial Aid counselors can provide additional information on these scholarships, including eligibility requirements and the amount of the award.

Q: What is the Senior Portfolio, and what is its purpose?
A: Communication Arts majors are required to submit one during their senior year. The portfolio contains samples of a student’s work in advertising, journalism, multimedia, public relations and video. These items come principally from work produced in various classes.

The purpose of the Senior Portfolio project is to help students put together a professional portfolio, which is frequently necessary to demonstrate competency and skill to prospective employers and clients.

Q: Other than the courses within the Communication Arts program, what are some important areas of focus?
A: Beyond the core classes and required courses within the major, the choice is up to the student. For example, if his focus is on creativity, he might take fine arts and music classes, whereas if his focus is on the theoretical aspect of communications, he might take political science, philosophy and literature courses.

Q: How many credit hours does a Communication Arts major need to complete before graduation?
A: Students in all majors must complete a total of 120 hours with a grade of “C” or better. Communication Arts majors must complete at least 39 hours within the department. This includes at least 12 hours of 300-level courses. More information about specific course requirements is available from admissions counselors and department advisors.

Q: Can a student minor in Communication Arts?
A: Yes. A minor requires at least 21 credit hours in Communication Arts classes. Six or more of the 21 hours must be earned from 300-level courses.


Most of the students entering the Communication Arts major are primarily interested in the writing aspect of the major. Although a course catalog is available to give students a basic summary of all the classes offered, many students feel the catalog descriptions could be more informative. Below is a more in-depth look at some of the courses that emphasize writing as a focal point of the class.

COMM 150:        Introduction to Communication Arts
Instructor:           Luigi Manca
When offered:     Spring semester
Defined as a “practical and theoretical introduction to the field of communication arts,” this course focuses on just one aspect of communications each semester, such as persuasive techniques in advertising and politics. Assignments are presented as 4-minute speeches. Topics may include subliminal advertising and hidden messages, advertisement analysis, political speech analysis and emotional appeals.

COMM 209:        Newswriting and Reporting
Instructor:           Kenneth Nordin
When offered:     Fall semester
Defined as “principles and practice in gathering and writing news as well as preparing copy for publication,” this course covers a wide range of journalistic stories. The class explores the basic elements of a news story, explains the “inverted-pyramid” standard format and touches on some ethical issues for journalists to be aware of. News stories include an obituary, news release, sports story, weather report, police story, libel suit story and a feature profile story.

COMM 253:         Public Relations Writing
Instructor:            Allan Linderman
When offered:       Fall semester
Defined as focusing on “writing for print media,” this course provides an in-depth look at the world of public relations, from the writing component to the business and ethical sides of public relations. Students learn about adjusting their writing style to different audiences. Projects include news releases, feature stories, newsletters and ideas for special events. A group project involves development of a PR campaign.

COMM 254:         Writing for the Electronic Media
Instructor:            Allan Linderman
When offered:      Fall semester
Defined as a “practical course designed to expose students to the various approaches, forms and techniques of writing for the electronic media,” this course primarily discusses the elements of various radio and TV programs. Students learn the technical terminology of TV and radio production. The class also studies topics such as camera shots, storyboards and sound effects. Writing assignments include news broadcasts, sportscasts, commercials and documentary scripts.

COMM 255:         Television Production
Instructor:            Peter Seely
When offered:      Fall + Summer semesters
Defined as a “laboratory course introducing students to the technical and aesthetic principles involved in preparing programming for film,” this course is similar to COMM 254 but involves actual production. Technical aspects studied include audio, lighting, composition and  lenses. Projects are written, produced, shot and edited by the students and include a 30-second commercial, an interview and news stories for the “Eye of the Eagle” TV program.

COMM 291:         Topics -- Professional Writing
Instructor:            Gail Pieper
When offered:       Periodically
Defined as a “study of aspects of communication on the intermediate level not listed as regular course offerings,” this course is unlike most others in that the curriculum changes. Professional Writing is a comprehensive examination of many types of writing, ranging from the creative to the straightforward. Students may be asked to rewrite a handout or compose an original piece. Assignments can include annual reports, company backgrounders, fact sheets, owner’s manuals and educational articles for children.


What careers are possible for a college graduate who’s earned a degree in Communication Arts? This type of question is one of the most common, not only for Benedictine University students but for students at other colleges as well. While common practice is to simply hand the student a list of potential jobs, doing so doesn’t tell the person anything particularly meaningful. What many Communication Arts majors don’t realize is that the most common media they see every day, such as newspapers, TV shows and advertisements, aren’t as simple as they seem. And there are many more jobs than just the obvious ones.

On the surface, newspapers look relatively simple. How hard could it be? Turn on the computer, open a layout-and-design program such as QuarkXPress, and send out a bunch of people to find out the news of the day. Once they come back, have them write up the stories and pass everything along to the appropriate person, who will figure out where the stories go and ask a few people to compose attention-getting headlines. Sooner or later everything is off to the printing press.

Behind the scenes, newspapers are complicated and time-consuming. The newspaper could be described as having five basic departments: news, editorial, advertising, distribution and production. There are reporters, who do the research, gather the news and write the stories. They report to editors, who supervise journalists and improve their work. There are executive, managing, sports, photo and metro editors, among others. Copy editors look at the stories and correct errors. Other specialists produce and lay out the actual design, working with presses and typesetters. Entire books have been written on the complexities of newspapers. Many people work together to produce a simple-looking product that is often taken for granted. The newspaper industry is a giant one.

On the surface, TV shows also look relatively simple. How hard could it be? For example, a news broadcast seems straightforward enough. Hire two or three attractive people, give them some nice clothes and tell them to sit down and read from a script or teleprompter while a camera films everything. Tell the anchors to smile a lot, wear ugly ties and introduce stories. Assign a couple of reporters to find an interesting story, talk about it and ask a few people what they think about that story.

Behind the scenes, TV shows are also complicated and time-consuming. News broadcasts involve more than just the anchors. The producer and director supervise the overall execution and production of the program. Reporters and correspondents go on-location to cover events and breaking news. The anchors often have writers, researchers and news editors to gather information write the script, which someone else feeds into the teleprompter. Interviews have to be edited. Both the in-studio anchors and on-location reporters have a camera crew for the actual shooting. Numerous people handle the lighting and audio equipment. Technicians are responsible for sound cues, on-screen graphics and other effects. Of course, everyone has to work together to make all the audio, visual and other elements cohere. The computers, monitors, microphones and other machinery all have to be in good working order. What the viewing audience sees as a simple, half-hour program is anything but.

On the surface, advertisements also look relatively simple. How hard could it be? Neither print ads nor commercials require much work. In print ads, for example, just hire a person to model the product. Pose the person, put a few props around the stage for realism and tell the photographer to start shooting. Get the prints, write a few lines of text to say about the product, and send the ad to some magazines or newspapers.

Behind the scenes, advertisements are also complicated and time-consuming. Nothing is what it seems; practically everything is staged. The people responsible for creating the ad, including the talent scout, conduct casting calls and pick which people will be hired for the job. The shooting session involves intense preparation to get the lighting just right. Many different people assist with wardrobe and makeup. The propman is responsible for getting the required props. Set dressers and decorators have to create the scene or setting in which the action is taking place. A professional photographer takes the pictures, which are often retouched. Copywriters are hired to create the ad’s text and slogan. When all is complete, the finished ad is sent to various publications. Few people realize just how much it takes to produce a simple advertisement.

Whether a student is in Communication Arts or any other major, he should take a close look at the industry in which he’ll someday work. By doing so, he will find out just how much work really goes into seemingly simple tasks and how numerous are the job opportunities available.


1. Kenneth Nordin has been “The Candor’s” advisor since he joined Benedictine in 1991. The placard next to his office gives his daily schedule, including class times, office hours and hours at the newspaper office. However, the name of the newspaper is misspelled on his office placard as “The Condor.” Keeping in mind that the school’s mascot is the eagle, write a short essay on the meaning of the phrase “bird’s-eye view” as it relates to copy editing.

2. Three basic types of hair styles exist: parted, unparted and departed. Come up with at least two puns involving the word “hair.” Walk around the Communication Department and find an example of each hairstyle. Bonus points if you find an old photo of the instructor with an Afro.

3. Instructors often get into fights with the photocopier. Watch in amusement as an instructor becomes increasingly frustrated. Count the number of times a rude word is spoken to the machine. Multiply that number by the number of kicks the photocopier receives. Finally, divide by the number of moments it takes for the instructor to walk away in a huff.
Note: If the machine is working properly, you may have to sabotage it yourself.

4. Examine the various comics on each instructor’s office door. Based solely on this information, see what you can determine about the person’s teaching style. Alternatively, you may compare and contrast two of the different comics as you believe they relate to the instructor’s personality.

5. Gail Pieper is a technical writer and editor at Argonne National Laboratory. Her editing prowess has led to the coining of the term “Pieperize,” which means to thoroughly and accurately edit a document. If she receives 10 student papers every two weeks, and the average paper contains 23 grammatical errors, approximately how many red-ink pens has she dried out in the past four years?