West Virginia University students apply theories of effective communication to real-life challenges as part of a course inspired by the TV programThe Apprentice.

Students enrolled in the Department of Communication StudiesBusiness and Professional Communication course gain hands-on experience assisting area businesses and organizations.

Students are randomly assigned to groups and compete for top grades. Groups select a leader for a series of projects, establish group roles, design team names and a brand identity, and are given real projects and problems to solve.

Most courses ask students to listen to lectures, read books, take tests and write papers,said associate professor Brian Patterson , who created the course.This course presents students with the kinds of issues and problems that real organizations face and requires them to put classroom communication theories into action.

Perhaps the most satisfying aspect of the course is that it allows students to give back to the area while gaining valuable on-the-job training. Student groups have completed projects for the Clarksburg Police Department, Mountaineer Boys and Girls Club, Milan Puskar Health Right Clinic, Slight Indulgence and more.

The communication plans and materials created become part of the studentsportfolios.

Since working with the Mountaineer Boys and Girls Club, the students have raised nearly $10,000 in cash and material contributions.

The financial resources that communication studies students are able to generate are a great benefit to the organization,said Denny Poluga, director of the Mountaineer Boys and Girls Club.Surprisingly, there are still people in the area who do not know our organization, and the student marketing campaigns really allow us to do better community education and get the word out about our services.

Students are required to design communication strategies ranging from mass media to interpersonal communication. Community service, public speaking, creativity and using communication theories are all part of the course.

Local businesses interested in becoming a course partner may contact Patterson at 304-293-3905 ext. 2145 or ” drpatt92@gmail.com rel=nofollow> drpatt92@gmail.com .

For more information about a degree in communication studies, call 304-293-3905 ext. 2131 or visit the departments Web site at http://communicationstudies.wvu.edu .

The Department of Communication Studies is housed in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences .