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Organizational Communication

Organizational Communication (ORCO) prepares students for the future, focusing on dynamics within organizations and communication processes. MTSU students can tailor this interdisciplinary major to match their career interests. The student-focused program helps develop skills in verbal, written, and relational communication; critical and creative thinking; and problem-solving. ORCO majors train for careers in employee communication, special events and fundraising, nonprofit organizations, university student services and alumni relations, training and orientation.

Hands-on learning leads to EXL Scholars

Hands-on learning leads to EXL Scholars

Most courses in the Organizational Communication major are experiential learning courses (EXL). These include hands-on learning projects and count toward  requirements of the EXL Scholars Program that began in 2006. Research shows that students are more engaged in the task when they can learn “by doing.”

ORCO class puts on health campaigns

ORCO class puts on health campaigns

A new course taught in spring 2013 explores the role of communication campaigns to encourage good health and reduce health risks. Students work on a real health campaign with MTSU's Relay for Life, plus develop their own campaign surrounding a health issue. They also put on an actual health fair for MTSU students.

Students can prepare for careers in employee communication, special events and fundraising, and in corporate and nonprofit organizations. Jobs can be found in 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.


Employers of MTSU alumni include

  • ALSAC St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
  • Both Hands Foundation
  • Children First, Inc.
  • City of Mt. Juliet
  • Eli Lilly and Company
  • Emory University
  • Gaylord Entertainment
  • Ingram Content Group
  • Loews Hotels
  • Nashville Zoo
  • Tennessee Bureau of Investigation
  • Tennessee Performing Arts Center
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Vanderbilt University Medical Center
  • Youth Life Foundation of Tennessee

Dr. Mary Beth Asbury
Assistant Professor
marybeth.asbury@mtsu.edu

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Lindsey M. Bier
Lecturer
lindsey.bier@mtsu.edu

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Debra Boyd
Instructor
debra.boyd@mtsu.edu

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Debra Boyd
Instructor
debra.boyd@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Kaylene Gebert
Professor
kaylene.gebert@mtsu.edu

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Bethany Hoppe
Instructor
bethany.hoppe@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Yang Kim
Associate Professor
yang.kim@mtsu.edu

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Lori Kissinger
Instructor
lori.kissinger@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Jessica Kratzer
Assistant Professor
jessica.kratzer@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Janet K. McCormick
Associate Professor
janet.mccormick@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Linda Seward
Professor
linda.seward@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Xiaowei Shi
Assistant Professor
xiaowei.shi@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Sharon Smith
Assistant Professor | Speech Department Coordinato
sharon.smith@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Elizabeth Stephens
Assistant Professor
elizabeth.stephens@mtsu.edu

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Organizational Communication is an interdisciplinary major, anchored in the Department of Speech and Theatre, that leads to a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree. The major requires 33 hours (11 courses) and an 18-hour Cognate.  A minor is not required, but many students choose to earn one. Students may choose courses in business, entrepreneurship, sociology, psychology, mass communication, and other areas. 

A minor in Organizational Communication is available. ORCO 3240 Introduction to Organizational Communication is required; then students may choose four more ORCO prefix courses to complete this 15 hour minor.

The Department of Speech and Theatre offers a major in Speech and Theatre with a choice of two concentrations: Communication Studies or Theatre; one can earn either a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree.

Undergraduate minors include Communication Studies, Dance, Entertainment Arts Design, Speech and Theatre, and Theatre. There is a graduate minor in Speech and Theatre.

An academic map is a suggested four-year schedule of courses based on degree requirements in the undergraduate catalog. This sample schedule serves as a general guideline to help build a full schedule each term. Milestones, courses, and special requirements necessary for timely progress to complete a major are designated to keep you on track to graduate in four years. Missing milestones could delay your program. 

This map based on the 2013-2014 undergraduate catalog is not a substitute for academic advisement - contact your advisor if you have any questions about scheduling or about your degree requirements. Also see the current undergraduate catalog (catalog.mtsu.edu) for a complete list of requirements and electives.Note: Requirements are continually under revision, and there is no guarantee they will not be changed or revoked; contact the department and/or program area for current information. 

You may choose to attend a summer term to reduce your load during fall or spring terms but still stay on track to graduate in four years (see below). NOTE: Learning Support courses will alter the sequences on this map.

Organizational Communication Academic Map

Department of Speech and Theatre
Middle Tennessee State University | Murfreesboro


Suggested Fall/Spring and Summer/Fall/Spring Four-Year Schedule

Refer to the scholarships website for information regarding use of the Lottery Scholarship for the summer term.

Click here for printer friendly academic map.

FRESHMAN FALL FRESHMAN SPRING
CourseHoursMilestones/Notes CourseHoursMilestones/Notes
ENGL 1010 (Comm)3Meet with major adv. ENGL 1020 (Comm)3Meet with major adv.
COMM 2200 (Comm)3  Hum/FA (Rubric 2)3 
MATH (Math)3  Nat Sci (Rubric 1)4 
Hum/FA (Rubric 1)3  COMM 23003 
Elective3  Elective3 
SUBTOTAL15  SUBTOTAL16 
SOPHOMORE FALL SOPHOMORE SPRING
ENGL 2020, ENGL 2030, or HUM 2610 (Hum/FA)3Meet with major adv. HIST 2010, HIST 2020, or HIST 20303Meet with major adv.
HIST 2010, HIST 2020, or HIST 20303  Soc/Beh Sci (Rubric 2)3 
Nat Sci (Rubric 2)4  ORCO 32403 
Soc/Beh Sci (Rubric 1)3  Cognate course3 
Elective3  Elective3 
SUBTOTAL16  SUBTOTAL15 
JUNIOR FALL JUNIOR SPRING
COMM 3220 or PSY 43803  ORCO 3500 or ORCO 32453Submit Upper-Division form and Intent to Graduate.
ORCO 3250 or ORCO 42003  COMM 3300 or LEAD 30103 
ORCO 36503  Cognate course3 
Cognate course3  Elective3 
Elective3  Elective3 
SUBTOTAL15  SUBTOTAL15 
SENIOR FALL SENIOR SPRING
ORCO 4210 or ORCO 42203POD required ORCO 45003Senior portfolio and survey required
ORCO 37503Meet with major adv. COMM 33403 
Cognate course3  Cognate course3 
Cognate course3  Elective3 
Elective3  Elective1EXL 4000 rec.
SUBTOTAL15  SUBTOTAL13 
NOTE: Students must save all papers and reports from major courses for their senior portfolio which is required in ORCO 4500.

TOTAL HOURS IN PROGRAM: 120

FRESHMAN FALL FRESHMAN SPRING
CourseHoursMilestones/Notes CourseHoursMilestones/Notes
ENGL 1010 (Comm)3Meet with major adv. ENGL 1020 (Comm)3Meet with major adv.
COMM 2200 (Comm)3  Nat Sci (Rubric 1)4 
MATH (Math)3  Hum/FA (Rubric 1)3 
Soc/Beh Sci (Rubric 1)3  COMM 23003 
Elective3     
SUBTOTAL15  SUBTOTAL13 
SOPHOMORE SUMMER
Soc/Beh Sci (Rubric 2)3  Hum/FA (Rubric 2)3 
SUBTOTAL3  SUBTOTAL3 
SOPHOMORE FALL SOPHOMORE SPRING
ENGL 2020, ENGL 2030, or HUM 2610 (Hum/FA)3Meet with major adv. HIST 2010, HIST 2020, or HIST 20303Meet with major adv.
Nat Sci (Rubric 2)4  ORCO 3500 or ORCO 32453 
HIST 2010, HIST 2020, or HIST 20303  Cognate course3 
ORCO 32403  Elective3 
SUBTOTAL13  SUBTOTAL12 
JUNIOR SUMMER
Cognate course3  Elective3 
SUBTOTAL3  SUBTOTAL3 
JUNIOR FALL JUNIOR SPRING
COMM 3220 or PSY 43803  ORCO 36503Submit Upper-Division form and Intent to Graduate
ORCO 3250 or ORCO 42003  COMM 3300 or LEAD 30103 
Cognate course3  Cognate course3 
Elective3  Cognate course3 
SUBTOTAL12  SUBTOTAL12 
SENIOR SUMMER
ORCO 4210 or ORCO 42203POD required Elective3 
SUBTOTAL3  SUBTOTAL3 
SENIOR FALL SENIOR SPRING
ORCO 37503Meet with major adv. ORCO 45003Senior portfolio and survey required
Cognate course3  COMM 33403 
Elective3  Elective3 
Elective3  Elective3 
    Elective1EXL 4000 rec.
SUBTOTAL12  SUBTOTAL13 
NOTE: Students must save all papers and reports from major courses for their senior portfolio which is required in ORCO 4500.

TOTAL HOURS IN PROGRAM: 120

Graduation information may be accessed here.

Organizational Communication

ORCO 3050 - Listening
3 credit hours
(Same as COMM 3050.) Explores the function and impact of listening in workplace and other relationships. Includes analysis, interpretation, and application of effective listening skills.

ORCO 3240 - Introduction to Organizational Communication
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing. An overview of organizational communication theories and processes examined through a hands-on approach. Includes communication networks, teamwork, leadership and power, information technology, crisis communication, and organizational trends.

ORCO 3245 - Women, Leadership, and Communication
3 credit hours
(Same as LEAD 3245.) Communication behaviors and issues unique to women in leadership positions in gendered organizations. Activities and discussions designed to develop critical-thinking skills, broaden perspectives, adapt decision-making skills to the professional environment, and develop professional relationships.

ORCO 3250 - Organizational Communication in Communities
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or above. Theories and techniques involving communication between organizations and their constituencies. Identification and analysis of communication involving corporate philanthropy and fundraising, fundraising events, volunteers, image, and grant writing. Possible topics include health organizations, art organizations, and nonprofits.

ORCO 3340 - Interview Communication
3 credit hours
(Same as COMM 3340.) Prerequisite: Junior standing or permission of instructor. A critical study of professional interviewing techniques for employment, recruiting, counseling, persuasion, and appraisal.

ORCO 3500 - Strategic Communication in Organizations
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or above. Organizational communication and its relationship to employees, leadership, corporate culture, diversity, change, and innovation. Possible topics include work-life balance and organizational identity.

ORCO 3650 - Conflict and Organizations
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or above. The role of communication in conflict management/resolution between or among individuals and groups. Examines workplace violence, fraud, mediation, grievances, substance abuse, and discrimination.

ORCO 3750 - Organizational Communication Analysis
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or above. Critical analysis of organizational communication using survey research and other methods including studies of content, readability, readership, information dissemination, and organizational effectiveness.

ORCO 3800 - Introduction to Arts Management
3 credit hours
(Same as THEA 3800.) Prerequisite: Junior standing or permission of instructor. Management of a not-for-profit arts organization. Topics include organizational design, strategic planning, budgeting, marketing, and fundraising within the context of a visual or performing arts organization. Guest lecturers from regional arts organizations. Projects and discussion for individual interests in various arts disciplines. Laboratory hours required and/or crew requirement.

ORCO 4000 - Topics in Organizational Communication
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or above. An in-depth study of a special topic which is significant in organizational communication literature and/or practice.

ORCO 4200 - Multinational Organizations
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or above. A critical study of multinational organizations and the expatriate experience, including analysis of organizational preparation and employee training.

ORCO 4210 - Applied Organizational Projects
1 to 3 credit hours
Prerequisite: Permission of department. Practical experiences in actual situations and projects in organizations, both on and off campus. Students will apply knowledge and skills learned in the classroom in a supervised setting. May be repeated for a maximum of six credits. Pass/Fail.  

ORCO 4220 - Internship in Organizational Communication
1 to 3 credit hours
Prerequisite: Permission of department.  Practical experience in applying coursework to actual situations and projects in organizations, both on and off campus, in a supervised internship program. May be repeated for a maximum of six credits.

ORCO 4450 - Directed Study in Organizational Communication
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. Intensive, independent study to pursue research in a specified area which is significant in organizational communication literature and/or practice. May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credits.

ORCO 4500 - Senior Capstone in Organizational Communication
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: Junior standing or permission of instructor. Practical application of tools and theories prevalent in the field of organizational communication involving an audit or organizational communication and culture and a consulting project.

ORCO 4850 - Development for Arts Organizations
3 credit hours
(Same as THEA 4850.) Prerequisite: Junior standing or permission of instructor. Development of not-for-profit arts organizations. Focuses on comprehensive approaches to fundraising. Includes not-for-profit arts organizations, board structures, and the terminology and tools of the fundraising profession. Ideal for future artist, not-for-profit manager, or those interested in fundraising. Laboratory hours required.