Communication Arts

If students are to succeed in life, they must be able to write and speak effectively. Employers consistently rate good communication skills among the most desirable qualities of their employees. The Communication Arts courses are designed to help students develop and refine these vital skills.

Reading makes a full person, writing an exact one, and conversation a ready one.
Sir Francis Bacon, Multidisciplinary Scholar-Writer-Scientist-Statesmen

Communication Arts courses cover all facets of effective communication: writing, speaking, reading, listening, researching, illustrating, and more. Recognizing connections in what we hear, what we read, and what we write is more important than ever in a fast-paced world where there is so much new to learn.

Ultimately, our goal is that each of the elements of this course will enable you to be a more articulate, fully-rounded person who is ready to participate in and contribute to the important conversations in your own life and in society as a whole.

Course Requirements+

Communication Arts 101 and Communication Arts 102 are taken consecutively during the freshman year. Students should check with their advisors about any advanced placement. Students must make at least a C- to pass the course and fulfill the Core requirement.

UCCA 101

During the first week of the semester you may be asked to complete a diagnostic writing assignment. This will give your professor a sense of your writing capabilities. The diagnostic essay is often a useful way for you to see how much improvement you need to make over the course of the semester.

In general, UCCA 101 students complete four major writing assignments and present three speeches. Writing assignments include an autobiographical essay, a research portfolio that may include research questions, an annotated bibliography, a synthesis essay, or a review of literature, an informative research paper, and a reflection essay. Scholarly research and documentation is emphasized to prepare students for academic writing. Speeches may include a personal narrative, an informative speech, and a reflection speech. Even though some speeches may mirror the writing assignments, students will learn how to adapt a written document for oral presentation with a particular audience, purpose, and setting in mind.

UCCA 102

In UCCA 102, students will develop the advanced rhetorical skills necessary for persuasive communication, including understanding the structure of a logical argument and the ability to recognize logical fallacies. Students will continue to build competence in research and analysis, and they will explore various ways they can use technology to present information. They will develop small group and interpersonal communication skills through group projects and panel discussions. Students will write an evaluation or analytical essay, an annotated bibliography and a synthesis of sources, a persuasive essay that uses elements of classical rhetoric and argumentation to take a stand on a significant issue, and a proposal essay advocating a solution to a specific problem. Students will deliver a minimum of three speeches that support their writing activities. All students in UCCA 102 are required to take a uniform final exam at a specified time during finals week.


Focus is a community of students who take three courses in common: Communication Arts I, Cultural Perspectives I, and Foundations. All freshmen take these courses in their first semester at Samford; the difference is that students who enroll in Focus will take these three courses with the same group of students. Students won’t do more work in Focus, but they may find that their work means more.


Three key terms explain some of the advantages of enrolling in Focus:


  • Faculty who direct the courses work together to make curriculum interdisciplinary.
  • Faculty members have worked together to build courses that support one another and will work together on scheduling.
  • Students will be led by faculty members who are enthusiastic about Focus.


  • Student work closely with peers in small groups.
  • Students are engaged in service learning in Birmingham community.
  • Students will connect with faculty members.
  • Students will connect with one another through events outside of class.
  • Students will feel part of something important and will know they are missed when they are out of class.
  • Students will be engaged in group study sessions.


  • Focus will explore what it means to serve.
  • Students will explore issues of faith and vocation.


Communication Resource Center
University Library