Departments and Administrators
The Subcommittee on the Communication Requirement approved revised descriptions and criteria for CI-M subjects in Academic Year 2013-2014. All CI-M subjects are expected to meet these criteria. If you have questions regarding these criteria, please contact the Office of the Communication Requirement.
CI-M subjects (Communication Intensive in the Major) teach the specific forms of communication common to the field's professional and academic culture. CI-M subjects offer substantial instruction and practice in written and oral presentation, and fulfill the CI-M component for the designated major(s). Each undergraduate degree program is designed so that students take at least two CI-M subjects within their major program, typically in their junior and senior years at the Institute. One CI-M subject must offer substantial instruction and practice in oral presentation. Non-majors who enroll in CI-M subjects will have the same educational experience, but will not receive CI credit for completing these subjects. Students may prepare and present oral and visual research reports for different audiences, learn audience analysis and peer review, or go through the experience of proposing, writing, and extensively revising a professional journal article. This work may be done individually or in teams. A list of current CI-M subjects by undergraduate major is available online.
The Subcommittee on the Communication Requirement has established the following desired outcomes specified for CI-M subjects:
- Students develop the ability to create persuasive written, visual, and/or oral communication through a focus on the central genres and discipline-specific language of their major field of study.
- Students apply the conventions within particular disciplines for the proper use of ideas and language of others.
- Students apply principles of effective presentation of data and research (e.g., including how to integrate text, video, equations, or images; how to create tables or figures).
- Students demonstrate in their work how to analyze audience expectations and to adapt to the needs and knowledge level of their audiences.
Mechanical Criteria for CI-M subjects
Communication Intensive subjects in the major (CI-M) must:
- integrate writing and speaking assignments that relate to the professional discourse in the major field;
- require at least 5,000 words of writing including one mandatory revision, an equivalent amount of oral communication*, or an equivalent combination of the two;
- include substantial instruction and feedback on student work; and
- count communication-intensive activities as > 25% of the final grade.
*Oral communication practices vary by discipline. Appropriate assignments might include: individual presentations, team presentations, poster sessions, chalk talks, impromptu presentations, presentations of papers, technical presentations, multi-media presenatations, or teaching a lesson. Presentations may be designed for different audiences (e.g., a professional audience, the class, or the general public). As a rule of thumb, one minute of a formal presentations is considered equivalent to approximately 100-120 words.
Undergraduate programs should be designed to have students take the two CI-M subjects in their junior and senior year at the Institute. Departmental Major programs may, however, place one of the CI subjects in the sophomore year of their degree programs. Students may take two CI-M subjects in the same year, although this model is less desirable.
In most cases, both of the CI subjects will be offered by the major department. When degree programs find it necessary to designate a CI-M subject in another department as a part of their major, this subject must be educationally coherent with the objectives of the degree curriculum.
Proposing CI-M subjects
Departments may propose new CI-M subjects by submitting a Word proposal form and updated syllabus to the Office of the Communication Requirement. The due date for AY2016-17 CI-M proposals is December 4, 2015.
All proposals will be reviewed by the Subcommittee on the Communication Requirement (SOCR) for their CI content before they are forwarded to the Committee on Curricula (CoC).
- Catalog Coordinators in each Department/unit can enter the subject as a new subject into the Curricular Information System (CIS). A refresher on the process and subject numbering can be found on the Registrar's website.
- Departments should also submit a proposed revised CI-M program for its majors.
- The Committee on Curricula has the final review and approval of all subjects.
Typically, proposals are reviewed in the year before the subject will be offered as a CI-M; for proposals that fall outside this cycle, please contact the Office of the Communication Requirement to discuss the possibilities.
Modifying CI-M subjects
If a department proposes major modifications to a CI-M subject, it should submit a proposal to SOCR to have the subject re-evaluated. Major modifications include changes to the number or type of communication-intensive assignments, the instruction in communication, or the number of units. Departments may use the same Word proposal form to propose new CI-M subjects and modifications.