Organizational Communication

Enroll in a major designed to help you toward your career goals!

Organizational Communication

Students with a major in Organizational Communication earn a Bachelor of Science degree (B.S.).  This major is not offered as a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree program.

The interdisciplinary major in Organizational Communication offers students preparation for careers in employee communication, special events and fundraising, and in corporate and nonprofit organizations. Opportunities for professional growth and networking are offered through IABC, the student chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators.

This major is also offered as an online degree.  Students may take all courses online, or some online and some on campus.

Be sure to watch a PowerPoint slide presentation about the major in Org Com.

Organizational Communication is on YouTube!  Recent ORCO graduate Lindsey Rose developed a video about the major, so check it out.  A current student, Michael Parks, gives advice about getting involved on campus in this YouTube video.

Find ORCO students, alumni, and friends on LinkedIn and Facebook.  Create an account on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com, and then join the group named: Past and Present Organizational Communication Majors and Faculty at MTSU.  On Facebook (www.facebook.com), look for OrCo at MTSU and link your social profile to our ORCO facebook group to be in the loop for notices about events, projects, internships, and more.

Definition of Organizational Communication.
Although many students say their major is "ORCO," the actual title of the major is Organizational Communication. Every student in the Organizational Communication major should be able to describe their major in about 20 seconds.  Here is the description from the U. S. Department of Education:

A program that focuses on general communication processes and dynamics within organizations. Includes instruction in the development and maintenance of interpersonal group relations within organizations; decision-making and conflict management; the use of symbols to create and maintain organizational images, missions, and values; power and politics within organizations; human interaction with computer technology; and how communication socializes and supports employees and team members.  (http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2002/cip2000/ciplist.asp?CIP2=09)

Courses to take each year
For course suggestions for each year, check out the suggested pattern of study and Planning Your Schedule .  The latest version of the major is found in the MTSU catalog 

Match this major to your interests
You can tailor the interdisciplinary Organizational Communication major to match your own interests, such as:

  • Student Affairs and Student Life for students who want to work for colleges and universities in various aspects of Student Affairs and Student Life, including student involvement and leadership, judicial affairs and mediation, student organizations, and student unions and programming.  The U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics gives information about salaries at  http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes119033.htm.

  • Nonprofit Organizations for students who want to direct non-profit organizations by managing personnel, marketing, fund-raising, budgeting, strategic planning, volunteers, and boards of directors.  The Occupational Outlook Handbook (U. S. Department of Labor) gives information about managers of nonprofit organizations at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/social-and-community-service-managers.htm.  

  • Special Event Planning for students who want to plan events such as fundraisers, ceremonies, celebrations, commemorative events, reunions, weddings, informative events, meetings, and conferences for nonprofit organizations, corporations, hotels, resorts, and event management firms. A minor in Entrepreneurship is highly recommended if you want to own an event planning business.  The U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics gives salary and other information about meeting, convention, and event planners at http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes131121.htm and at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/meeting-convention-and-event-planners.htm.

  • Internal (Employee) Communication for students who want to oversee communication programs for employees, and coordinate training sessions, benefits and health fairs, and special events in corporations, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies.  The U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics gives information on training and development managers at http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes113131.htm.

  • Consulting for students who want to consult on employee communication, orientation and training, conflict management and resolution processes, employee recruiting and relocating, and intercultural/international communication, either internally as an employee or externally as a free-lance consultant. A minor in Entrepreneurship is highly recommended if you want to own a consulting business.

  • Fundraising for students who want to coordinate philanthropy activities for corporations, and who want to coordinate fundraising for nonprofit organizations, political interest groups, and political candidates. Students might coordinate such fundraising events and activities as fun runs, galas and balls, annual fundraising campaigns, membership drives, gift clubs, capital campaigns, and phonathons.  The U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics gives information about fundraising managers at http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes112031.htm.  

  • Intercultural and International Organizations for students who want to work in corporations and nonprofit organizations that have an intercultural or international focus. A minor in Global Studies or a foreign language is highly recommended.

  • Arts Organizations for students wanting to work in nonprofit museums, house museums, art galleries, and for symphonies and theatres. A minor in an arts discipline and two internships with arts organizations are strongly recommended. One internship should focus on technical, stage management, or performance areas, and the second internship should focus on management within an arts organization. You must learn about the art form and how to talk to artists, as well as learn how the arts organization operates.

  • Sport and Fitness Organizations for students who want to coordinate wellness, fitness, activity programs; plan special events for fitness and fundraising; and oversee wellness and fitness education efforts for corporations, nonprofit organizations, gyms, health clubs, camps, community recreation, and community sports teams.  The U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics gives information about recreation workers at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/personal-care-and-service/recreation-workers.htm.

  • Health Care Organizations for students who want to coordinate training sessions for employees, oversee health fairs and health education efforts, coordinate volunteer and fundraising activities, and plan special events for medical centers, nursing homes, other health care facilities and offices. A minor in Health Care Services may be beneficial.

This interdisciplinary major offers broad exposure to several academic departments and disciplines and prepares students for employment in corporations and nonprofit organizations. Through class work, internships, and projects, students sharpen their abilities to apply a wide range of information to specific situations.

For more information on the major in Organizational Communication, contact:
Dr. Sharon S. Smith, Jones Hall 346, Sharon.Smith@mtsu.edu
Dr. Janet K. McCormick, Jones Hall 344, Janet.McCormick@mtsu.edu
Dr. Mary Beth Asbury, Jones Hall 342, MaryBeth.Asbury@mtsu.edu




Dr. Mary Beth Asbury teaches courses and advises students in the Organizational Communication major.

Experiential Learning
Many courses in the Organizational Communication major are experiential learning courses (EXL). These include hands-on learning projects and count toward the requirements of the EXL Scholars Program that formally began on campus in fall 2006. Research shows that students are more engaged in learning when they can learn "by doing."; For more information about the EXL Scholars Program, check the website: http://www.mtsu.edu/~exl.

Careers for graduates in Organizational Communication 
Jobs can be found in nonprofit organizations and corporations dealing with government, education, health and medical care, charities and public service, museums and the arts, tourism and hospitality, sports communication, and religious organizations.

  • Assistant executive director of a nonprofit organization
  • Fund raising director or development manager
  • Member services coordinator or director of membership services
  • Volunteer program director
  • Community partnership specialist
  • National seminar planner
  • Meeting and conference planner
  • Special events director
  • Grant writing assistant
  • Training director
  • Orientation coordinator
  • Student affairs coordinator
  • Alumni relations director
  • Youth director
  • International missions service project coordinator
  • Patient advocate
  • Community involvement director
  • Corporate philanthropy or foundation grants director
  • Retention or relocation specialist
  • Recruiter
  • Ombudsman or corporate mediator
  • Customer relations manager
  • Human rights officer or ethics officer
  • Workplace diversity specialist
  • Crisis manager

For information about jobs and internships, visit the MTSU Career and Employment Center.

According to results from the Job Outlook 2012 survey, employers want these candidate skills and qualities:

  • ability to work in a team structure
  • ability to verbally communicate with people both inside and outside the organization
  • ability to make decisions and solve problems
  • ability to obtain and process information
  • ability to plan, organize, and prioritize work

    *source: Job Outlook 2012, National Association of Colleges and Employers

The major in Organizational Communication will help you acquire these skills and more.


Cake for class presentation.
ORCO classes are fun!  This is a cake for an ORCO class presentation.  It says: "Positively ORCO.  Yea!" 



Students in ORCO 4200 Multinational Organizations.


 
An ORCO 3250 Communities class.



Students in ORCO 3500 Strategic Communication brainstorm about an organizational issue.



One section of ORCO 3500 Strategic Communication.



Students in ORCO 3250 Communities help with an event at MTSU.


Lori K class
Another ORCO 3250 Communities class plans and successfully holds an event.