Jill Morton

Communication teaches students many skills that help in many different areas of life. It is offered as both a major or minor and there are over 300 undergraduate students who study communication at UND. These students learn a lot about how to communication throughout their four years of studying.

There are many reasons to choose this as a field of study. It can apply to people’s professional and personal lives. The students are learning more than simply how to get a job. They’re learning things that are applicable to real life.

“I know how to approach new people or business people and talk to them,” Kolton Brohaugh, a current communication student said.

Besides having the confidence to talk to others, learning about communication also helps with the presentation of one’s message.

“It helps me know how to present myself so that my message will be well received,” said Anna Schild, a former communication student. Schild works as a project manager at King Show Games, a developer of slot games for casinos.

There are many helpful things that communication students learn with how to relate and talk to others in both a relational and professional way. Schild said she’s particularly good at interpretation of what people actually mean when they talk. Because 90 percent of communication is nonverbal and tone plays a big part in talking, Schild said she can understand people better than most because of this knowledge of communication.

Another important topic that Schild learned while at school that she stills uses today is a communication theory that states that in any communication there are three parts. These parts are the sender, messenger and receiver. She said she realizes how important this is to her everyday life because there can often be misinterpretations because of one of those three things not working well. For example she talked about her miscommunications with her boss and how he sometimes needs to repeat everything because he doesn’t clearly explain what he means.

Brohaugh said another thing that commination majors learn is how to work well in group settings because many communication classes have a lot of group work. He has also learned how to not get quite so overwhelmed during presentations because he has gotten a lot of practices in almost all of his communication classes.

Pamela Kalbfleisch is a professor at UND and specializes in interpersonal communication. She said she enjoys her job because she loves the students and loves teaching. She also noted how learning and teaching about communication has helped in her day to day life.

“It helps me in knowing how to be a good friend, good wife, good family member, and community member,” said Kalbfleisch. She said that her background in communication has helped her when relating to people. For example, if someone is sad, she knows how to provide comfort and listen. She said that all research talks about how important listening is in addition to communicating. Communication teaches all of these skills throughout their many courses offered.

The communication department provides many different types of learning. One example is research papers.

“I loved the research that we got to do, it was pretty exciting and fun,” Schild said. She got to do many of them throughout her years in college, but her favorite was researching about communication and gender, including a paper she wrote about stay at home fathers.

She said she had the opportunity to write many research papers and she liked the wide variety of courses that were offered. UND offers anything from organizational communication to a pop culture course.

“I like how diverse the classes are,” Brohaugh said. “I like all the different topics we talk about and learn about.”

It helps in the post-college transition, as well. Schild said she feels more confident during interviews because of her background in communication. She knows how to communicate effectively to the interviewer.

Schild leads and manages internal projects for her company. And although her job is not related directly to communication, she said it has helped with her ability to move up in her company.

“I think it helps in terms of that I’m a better worker because I know how to communicate,” Schild said. She said her boss and other superiors trust her more because of how clearly she communicates always.

She said it is also important the higher up a person is in the company because there are more things to communicate to more people, so the background in communication is very significant.