Quantifying Communication & Media (CM 203)
In this course, we explore the world of mass media – focusing on the history of media institutions, media effects and audience impact, the rise of advertising and public relations, and the technological changes currently shaping the worlds of news and entertainment. We also spend time analyzing and differentiating between media formats (e.g., TV, print journalism, social media), considering how the medium itself helps us to communicate content. In this particular Messina section of Introduction to Communication, we focus on quantitative communication as an organizing narrative. We look at how statistics and data are discussed and framed in the news, across public discourse and social media, and through documentary film, focusing on key social justice issues like food insecurity, education, and income inequality as case studies. Overall, we look at how quantitative data or “significant digits” contribute to the narrative and message of the stories we tell.
Dr. Amy B. Becker is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication. In addition to Introduction to Communication, she teaches an upper-level undergraduate diversity course entitled, Media, Culture, & Society (CM342D), and a course on the social, political, economic, and cultural implications of the Internet in the M.A. in Emerging Media program. Her research focuses on public opinion toward controversial political issues, the impact of exposure to political comedy and entertainment on civic engagement, and new media. She is a former political pollster and marketing research consultant. Becker currently lives in Columbia, MD with her husband and two young children.
Models, Networks, and Graphs: Introduction to Combinatorics (MA 115)
In this course, we explore ways that mathematics can describe parts of our world. Networks – patterns of interconnections among things – are becoming rapidly important in our shared human society. Both the social connections we make and the information we consume can be more deeply understood through the study of these networks. As a class, we will use mathematics to model networks using the objects and methods of graph theory. Subsequently, we will describe how networks can change over time and how types of segregation can be measured within a social network. More broadly, we discuss mathematical models and how they can be used and misused. In this Messina section, we also focus on communication as an organizing narrative, and aim to understand the visible and hidden ways mathematics influences our lives. In short, we search for ways to mathematically inform and enlighten the stories we tell.
Dr. Timothy B. P. Clark is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. He teaches courses along the entire undergraduate spectrum, and particularly enjoys teaching future teachers, Calculus, Combinatorics, and Abstract Algebra. He conducts research in the field of Commutative Algebra, where he studies geometric and combinatorial objects that encode the solutions to systems of algebraic equations. Clark lives in Baltimore, MD with his spouse, two young children, and their rescued dog.
Elise joined the Campus Ministry Team in 2015. As an Assistant Director, Elise engages students in exploring issues of social justice, interfaith cooperation, and the intersections of faith and sexual identity. A native of Pennsylvania, Elise first joined the Jesuit network, directing global immersion experiences, as the International Service Program Coordinator at the University of Scranton. After briefly teaching in the high school setting, Elise was drawn back to higher education, where she finds community and fulfillment. She enjoys accompanying students, in all of their identities, on their own unique journey. In her personal and professional life, Elise is drawn to the Jesuit ideals and Ignatian spirituality. In her spare time, you’ll find Elise kayaking, traveling, or trying out a new game.