Applied Communication Graduate Program

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1 CERTIFICATE OF ADVANCED GRADUATE STUDY IN INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDIES WITH CONCENTRATION IN THE COORDINATED MANAGEMENT OF MEANING Applied Communication Graduate Program

2 What is CMM? The Coordinated Management of Meaning (CMM) CMM is the acronym for Coordinated Management of Meaning, a phrase that describes what we do when we communicate with each other. As human beings, we interpret what happens around us and to us, and what we experience and what we do. From here we construct meaning. These meanings are not simply responses, we have a limited capacity and sometimes a powerful responsibility to choose among potential meanings and to test and otherwise evaluate our interpretations. This is the management of meaning. What is important is to recognize that we always do this in interaction with other people. Every action we take is, in some ways, a response to things that have happened before and, in some ways, a request or hope or insistence on what will happen in the future. This is referred to as the coordinated management of meaning. CMM was developed in the late 1970s by Barnett Pearce and Vernon Cronen at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. As CMM emerged it moved from the periphery toward great acceptance and CMM has continued to evolve along a trajectory from an interpretive social science to one what its founders call a "practical theory". As evidence of its significance the majority of texts that survey communication theory includes a description of CMM. Additionally, CMM is practiced in a variety of contexts around the world. The Communication Perspective Those using CMM take what is called the communication perspective, that is to say that communication generates selves, relationships, organizations, groups, nations, and cultures. The communication perspective offers a different kind of description of the world than traditional ways of thinking about communication or human action. By seeing selves, relationships, etc. as the products of the on-going and unfinished process of communication, our attention is drawn to the characteristics of communication itself. Taking the communication perspective consists of looking at communication rather than through it and seeing communication as multi-faceted process of coordinating actions with others, and making or managing meanings. In contrast a traditional perspective defines communication as a process to impart a message from a sender to a receiver through use of a medium where the speakers share communicative commonality. The traditional perspective is often referred to as the transmission model. However, if we look at the roots of the word communication, we find it is from the Latin 2

3 communicare, meaning to impart, share, make common or within union. When we think of communication as transmission, there is a different sentiment. Transmission is from the Latin transmittere, meaning to send over or across. The word communication emphasizes sharing with people, making what is common, and creating a union between the speakers. The word transmission describes one person sending a message over a distance, either physical or emotional to another. Transmission by its very root lacks the idea of union, making common, or from the communication perspective, joint action. Transmission of a message takes place between independent persons sending information back and forth without accounting for the relational dimensions or consummatory nature of communication. The communication perspective is a radical departure from the traditional perspective. In the language of CMM, "taking the communication perspective" means looking at communication rather than through it, and seeing communication as the means by which we make the objects and events of our social worlds. A central tenet of the communication perspective is to see communication as material and constitutive of the social world, not just a means of transmitting information within it. Directions in CMM This perceptual shift is revolutionary and powerful. CMM researchers have generated a philosophically sophisticated theory, a respectable body of empirical research, and a diverse community of practice, including professionals such as managers, consultants, coaches, mediators, therapists, social workers, and teachers. Many CMM theorists and practitioners believe that CMM has the capacity to help us address the issues that confront us as persons and as a society. These CMM scholars and practitioners believe that the world currently faces challenges not likely to be met successfully within the same patterns of communication in which they were raised. CMM is particularly interested in learning how to transform those patterns of communication and, by this means, promoting personal and social transformation. Currently there are no doctoral programs that offer a strong emphasis in CMM and this has left a gap in the ongoing development of CMM scholars and practitioners and potentially contributions to the literature. The proposed program would fill part of the gap that exists by preparing post-master level scholars and practitioners who will develop a fluency in CMM. After graduating from this program they may elect to go onto existing doctoral level programs that would support CMM as a research methodology. It is possible that if this pro- 3

4 gram were to be successful, Fitchburg State University could pursue an affiliation with one of the UMASS campuses to offer a doctoral level degree. The Certificate would also be useful for practitioners working in a variety of settings as stated above; this could include managers, consultants, coaches, mediators, therapists, social workers, and teachers. Fitchburg State University and CMM Currently Fitchburg State University houses the archive of Barnett Pearce s work and will soon be adding the work of Vernon Cronen. This digitized archive will open in the spring of 2012 and be searchable by CMM practitioners and scholars across the globe. This is the only archive of the work of the founders of CMM. In addition to the archive, the Douglas and Isabelle Crocker Center at Fitchburg State is an affiliated partner of the CMM Institute for Personal and Social Evolution. The Institute describes itself as follows: The CMM Institute for Personal and Social Evolution is a connector and cultivator of all things CMM. The Institute itself represents a diverse community of individuals and groups who engage with and learn from one another through a variety of online and in-person forums. Individual scholars and practitioners, education and thought leaders, and institutional advocates compromise the core of the Institute s supporters, however the Institute s programs and events are open to everyone. The CMM Institute would be an active partner by advising on curriculum and trends in CMM, possibly co-sponsoring educational events, and promoting the program. The Master s program in Applied Communication has produced numerous theses and practica grounded in CMM, and the Applied Communication program has hosted a CMM weekend workshop for the past two years, which has brought in graduate students and practitioners from across the country. The Proposed Program Fitchburg State University in association with the CMM Institute would offer a CAGS with Concentration in CMM through a combination of long-distance learning and real time workshops and seminars. This would be a 36 credit program for post Master level students. Students would complete 10 courses for a total of 30 credits and then complete a 6 credit thesis, that would demonstrate the ability to apply CMM to real-world challenges. 4

5 The Curriculum Foundations of CMM 1. Introduction to CMM This course will introduce students to the theory and practice of CMM. Students will be introduced to concepts such as the communication perspective, logical forces, moral operators, person position, the primacy of life stories, the development of interactional patterns, and the role of mystery and ineffability in the human condition. 2. The Philosophical Underpinnings of CMM - In this course students will be introduced to the past and current conversation partners that inform CMM. These include American pragmatism, systemic thought and practice, social constructionism, Buberian dialogue, adult transformational learning, and interpersonal neuroscience. At the end of this course students will be familiar with the philosophical conversations that have and are shaping the development of CMM. 3. A CMM Based Approach to Research and Analysis - CMM will be studied as a practical theory and the course will provide specific research projects, theses, and dissertations using CMM as a research methodology. After this course is completed, students will have knowledge and information about how to structure CMM-based research and how to use CMM as a methodology in collecting data and analysis. 4. Joint Action: Meaning, Thought, and Episodic Action - Students will become familiar with the George Herbert Mead s ideas about joint action, the later work of Ludwig Wittgenstein, and John Dewey s conceptions of aesthetics, experience, and consummatory moments. The course will explore emotions as social construction, and applications to non-responding media such as television, radio, or listening to music. 5. Methods and Techniques of CMM - Students will develop proficiency in circular questioning techniques, the CMM heuristics such as the hierarchy model, daisy model, serpentine model, LUUUUTT model, and loops and paradoxes. 6. CMM in Comparison to Other Social Constructivist Views - Students will explore theorists such as John Shotter, Kenneth Gergen and Sheila McNamme, and Rom Harre so they may take on a comparison of semiotic and representational views of 5

6 language. Students will develop an understanding of the constitutive nature of language and how meaning arises in use. The Practice of CMM 7. CMM in Public Dialogue or Participatory Democracy Projects - Students will learn how to use CMM in designing strategic processes, specific events, and developing facilitations skills to engage communities in dialogic conversations. 8. CMM in Organizational Settings - This course will focus on the use of CMM concepts and tools to enhance organizational life. 9. CMM in Personal and Social Development - Students will learn how to use CMM to enhance mindfulness of their social world to discover the part they play in making those social worlds, and how they can make better social worlds. 10. Advanced Seminar in CMM - Students explore their topics of interest and work with a faculty member and other students to develop a prospectus for their thesis. In this course students will conduct a literature review of their area of interest, develop their guiding research questions, and complete their research design. Thesis As a final culmination for the program students will complete a 6 credit thesis which will demonstrate the use of CMM. Format The program would be delivered through a combination of on-line classes, weekend workshops delivered at multiple locations, and a summer institute. Students are required to attend one summer institute at the beginning of the program to serve as an orientation and introduction to CMM. They would also have to attend one additional summer institute to defend their thesis. During the summer institute there would be a number of events related to the theory and application of CMM. Summer Institutes will begin on a Sunday evening and end at noon on Friday of the same week. 6

7 Faculty The faculty for the program would include existing Fitchburg State University faculty and be augmented by established CMM scholars such as: Vernon Cronen, University of North Carolina, Willmington John Parrish-Sprowl, Indiana University Purdue University of Indianapolis Arthur Jensen, Syracuse University Kim Pearce, CMM Institute Stephen Littlejohn, University of New Mexico Victoria Chen, San Francisco State University John Chetro-Szivos, Fitchburg State University Jack Lannaman, University of New Hampshire Jonathan Shailor, University of Wisconsin Tuition Costs The stated cost for tuition and fees for Fitchburg State University is $831 for a 3 credit course and $1,662 for the 6 credit thesis. This would be a total of $9,972 for tuition for the courses. The two required summer institutes would be an additional $3,500 ($1,750 per session this is an approximated cost) which does not include transportation and housing. During the summer housing is available on campus at a cost of approximately $40 per day or approximately $200 per summer session. The total estimated cost of the program would be $13,872, excluding travel costs. 7

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