Integrated Learning Objectives

At the heart of Communication’s curriculum are PLU’s Integrated Learning Objectives – or ILOs – based on the idea that certain skills and abilities are required to adapt and function in a dynamic, complex, and rapidly changing world. All academic and extra-curricular experiences at PLU are targeted at developing at least one of the following areas to create a unique, well-balanced education as well as a model for achievement and assessment.

Each of the following objectives focuses on the assumption that a student’s awareness of self precedes an understanding of others.

Critical and Reflective Thinking

The critical and reflective thinking ILO stresses that students should be able to observe, analyze, perceive relationships, reason, make inferences, and draw conclusions from the world around them. It is the ability to define a problem, design problem-solving frameworks, implement strategies and evaluate the problem-solving process. Students should be able to work collaboratively with others on a problem-solving task and then evaluate the outcomes once the task has concluded.


Expression focuses on the ability of students to effectively use language, verbal and non-verbal codes, and to communicate in a variety of media including written and oral formats. Students should understand how to adapt messages to various audiences and apply the principles of communication theory to a variety of contexts.


Interaction stresses that students are able to identify their interactive behaviors within problem-solving groups, and use this self-awareness to function as an effective group leader, team member and facilitator of inter-group relationships in varying group environments. Students should make decisions within group contexts and act ethically toward self and others.


The ability to value people, events, and artifacts around us serve to make each of us humane beings. When we are able to appreciate alternate points of view, differences of opinion, and artistic expression we are better able to function in our world. The valuing ability includes three subgroups: Ethics, Diversity, Artistic Expression. Ethics is the ability to distinguish right from wrong and to understand how the consequences of our actions affect both ourselves and others. Diversity represents the ability to take on different perspectives and to understand our world from multiple points of view including the ability to apply many different frameworks to our understanding of self and others. Finally, artistic expression recognizes that different people and cultures represent themselves through many different media in many different ways. Individual expression and artistry are valuable and can be appreciated for what it represents.

Multiple Frameworks

This ability includes recognition and appreciation of how cultures profoundly shape different assumptions and behaviors. Students should be able to identify issues and problems facing people in a variety of cultures. This awareness is followed by the desire to seek common strategies to address the issues.