Department of Communication Studies

Course Description

UNI First-Year Philosophy Statement

A positive first-year experience is the cornerstone of students’ success in college, and by extension, their careers and lives. The University of Northern Iowa recognizes the importance and value of this positive first-year experience for students, and the need for the university to facilitate students’ effective transition to the University by providing a variety of experiences, opportunities, and foundational skills to help them become successful students.

In the first year, students learn to take responsibility for their own learning and develop a sense of who they are as members of a diverse community, both on campus and outside of the university. Students become active participants in campus and community life, engage in a variety of experiences, learn to listen to and respect diverse perspectives, and develop foundational skills to help them become well-educated persons. Students engage in critical inquiry throughout their first year and begin to communicate the results of this inquiry in order to work for the common good within our pluralistic society.


Course Description

This two semester course is an integrated communication class emphasizing written, oral, visual and electronic communication as central processes of life-long inquiry. Students will develop other abilities that are vital for their transition to and success at UNI. Such skills include critical and creative thinking, decision-making, ethics, and working with diverse perspectives. Students will explore their own identities, discover their intellectual interests, learn to do research and engage in academic inquiry to ultimately achieve academic and personal success. As part of the UNI first-year experience, First-Year Cornerstone is committed to fostering a personal and supportive environment that challenges and inspires students to actively engage in learning and reflection, develop a broader world view, be engaged citizens, and be members of pluralistic communities. Cornerstone instructors are committed to creating a welcoming and safe environment both in and outside the classroom that is sensitive to individual needs, backgrounds and experiences of all first-year students.

                              Cornerstone Ciricles Course Outcomes


Each circle above has both an individual and a social dimension. You can think of these dimensions as relating to both self and other:

  1. Communication covers the skills individuals (selves) need to send and receive messages, but also the language, grammar, concepts and associations to words and images that allow us to interact with each other socially. You are going to work on this goal by:
    1. Composing and presenting effective written and oral messages in a variety of contexts.
    2. Documenting your awareness and skillful use of effective writing and speaking processes.
  2. Your success in college, at its most basic level, is your responsibility, but you can also develop strategies that can assist you in being successful throughout your college career. You are going to work on this goal by focusing on:
    1. Demonstrating strategies for succeeding in college and beyond.
    2. Working constructively in groups to solve problems and accomplish tasks.
  3. Civility is embodied in your ability to interact well with others. Civility requires knowing that one’s own behaviors always take place in relation to the norms, expectations and interpretations of others. You are going to work on this by focusing on:
    1. Recognizing that there are multiple perspectives and world views, and identifying how these differences affect interactions with others.
    2. Examining the impact of your beliefs and values on your interactions with others.