The ability to articulate at least one theoretical framework and use it to illuminate a real-life communication problem, strategy, or initiative.
Theoretical literacy was one of the first skills I acquired as part of the MACOMM program. My first two courses were both theory-heavy courses (strategic communication and organizational communication) and introduced me to a whole new world of communication theory. The theories that were introduced later became part of our daily lexicon, and are now foundational to my communications work. During this final semester in our Capstone experience, my peers and I had to complete a comprehensive exam that was all about demonstrating the ability to understand and use a theoretical framework to help solve a communication issue. In studying for that final exam, I came to realize that theories and ideas such as sensemaking, narrative paradigm, structuration, systems theory, scientific management, impression management, capital and relational dialectics can be applied to situations in my own life on a daily basis.
One of my own early examples showcasing how I applied theory to a real-life scenario came from COMM605, in which I used Bordieu’s understanding of social, economic and cultural capital to help form a strategic communication plan. The goal of the plan was to provide a clear and relevant approach with recommended communication strategies for Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont to utilize for the successful design and launch of a young professionals affiliate group. This is one example of how I was able to directly infuse my coursework into my job.
I have journal articles, blog posts, and numerous papers from every one of my courses that has challenged me to apply a theoretical lens to any number of communication scenarios. I am now able to use this skill to approach communication problems from any number of angles, which allows me to arrive at stronger and more creative solutions.