Economics & Business Program

Oral Communication Plan

Statement to Students

Good oral communication ability is a vital part of how you relate to others. In school or on the job, you must be able to clearly discuss concepts, clarify issues, express opinions, as well as ask and respond to questions. In business and economics, communication of technical material by precise language makes the communication process even more important. The Department of Economics and Business has developed an Oral Communication Plan to help you better understand what skills you can expect to learn and where the opportunities exist within the curriculum to practice these skills.

Oral Communication Standards

Because this department offers two distinctive areas of study — economics and business administration — one standard would not be adequate for the entire department. The general departmental standard for communication is that skills demonstrated reflect the potential to facilitate effective communication in a realistic business setting or in a graduate school academic setting. The specific standard is discipline specific, functional area specific, and business/ graduate school situation specific. Because of these differences, expectation about specific skills will be identified by instructors on course syllabi or other classroom handouts.
There are three major skill areas that relate to all economics and business students. These areas include:

  1. one-to-one communication, where the goal is to express clearly one’s own thoughts and to understand fully the views of another. Specific dimensions that might be used to assess performance may include appropriate body language, eye contact, appropriate language to the situation, diction, etc.
  2. small group (3-6 persons) interaction, in which the purpose is to complete a project. Specific areas to be assessed may include peer evaluations, whether there was a clear contribution to the group effort, appearance of team unity and respect for team members during presentation, etc.
  3. formal address, in which the speaker presents information and responds to questions from the audience. Specific dimensions for evaluation may include organization and flow of ideas, use of visual aids, response to questions, appearance, clarity of speech, etc.

Additionally, students majoring in economics are expected to meet minimal standards for discussion in a seminar-type setting, in which a group of about ten students explores a topic, and each participant is responsible for moving discussion forward.

Opportunities to Practice Oral Communication Skills

As students proceed through the curriculum, opportunities to practice communication skills increase. All students majoring in Business Administration are required to complete Introduction to Business and Computer Applications (BUS 125) and Strategic Management (BUS 475). These courses will be used to assess minimal requirements for one-to-one skills (BUS 125) and small group interaction and formal address (BUS 475). The following table shows some of the courses in which there are communication skill practice opportunities.

Communication Skill Areas of Concentration
Accounting Finance Management Marketing Economics
Small Group Interaction AuditingIncome Tax Accounting Theory Financial Mgt. Human Resources Mgt. Consumer Behavior Strategic Marketing Mgt. Seminar in Economics
Formal Address AuditingAccounting Theory Investment Analysis Strategic Management Consumer Behavior Strategic Marketing Mgt.Marketing Research Comparative Economic SystemsInternational EconomicsPublic Finance
One-on-One Applied Statistics
Seminar/Discussion Seminar in Economics

Evaluation

Students will be evaluated for specific oral communication skills in each of the above courses. The instructor will include specifics about what will be evaluated, how that will be done, and what standards the student will be expected to meet. During the semester, instructors will refer students failing to meet minimal standards to the Center for Learning, Teaching, Communication and Research (the Learning Center).

At the end of each designated oral communication course, the instructor will indicate to you whether or not you have met minimal requirements for the specific skill being evaluated in that course. A copy of that notification will be sent to your adviser who will review your progress with you prior to registering for the next term. If you have failed to meet minimal requirements, you and your adviser will look at other communication practice opportunities available within the Economics and Business course offering, or courses in speech offered through the English Department. As with all requirements, it is ultimately your responsibility to meet the department’s minimum oral communication requirements.

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