Program Overview

Entering CU

Entering the University of Colorado Boulder is one of the benchmark moments in a student’s life. It marks your transition to new subjects of study, higher levels of learning, and fresh experiences with people who will shape your college career and influence the course of your life. Your own transition is part of a much larger transition that is reshaping personal relationships, the global economy, politics of all kinds, and societies from the local to the transnational. Among the drivers of this transition is the capacity to communicate in new ways and the inventiveness and responsibility that we exercise in communicating. This includes more than expressing ourselves, sharing information, or mastering new media. It also includes our commitment to building community, engaging partners in joint endeavors, taking risks to collaborate with those who share our world in order to foster understanding and enable cooperation, and skillfully participating in the development of an inclusive, productive, and sustainable world. COMM RAP is designed to involve students in these personal, social, and global transformative processes.

The University’s Strategic Plan, Flagship 2030, establishes the primary goal of becoming “a place that is intellectually inspiring, academically challenging, welcoming and supportive, and conducive to positive personal growth, with the capacity to unleash the power of imagination, creativity, and discovery.” COMM RAP seeks to make that goal a reality for its students. We are a living-learning community devoted to the study and practice of communication amid the multiple and competing demands of contemporary society. We offer 200 student-residents an opportunity to engage faculty, staff, and one another in a small college atmosphere within a major research university. In both formal classrooms and co-curricular activities, you will explore specific communication challenges related to public and political discourse, organizational interaction, inter-organizational and community dialogue, interpersonal and group relations, as well as mediated and other technologically facilitated communication. All classes are offered in a small, seminar format (typically 20 or fewer students) that allows pedagogical sensitivity to the needs of first-year college students in particular. Civic engagement and social justice are also strong themes at COMM RAP. Our extensive co-curricular and hall-wide programming combines educational, social, and service aims, encouraging you to get involved with your own and broader communities, and to reflect upon your societal participation and development as citizens and social actors. Communication knowledge and skills have become increasingly important across arenas of study and practice, ranging from pre-law to the social sciences. COMM RAP is thus an interdisciplinary program open to students with wide-ranging interests in communication and society, regardless of major. We represent an exciting opportunity to join a diverse community of faculty, staff, and students who understand communication as an evolving activity crucial to life in the 21st century.

COMM RAP was inaugurated in Fall 2010 as the third residential college on the Boulder campus. It is housed in Buckingham Hall (BUCK), which was renovated for the program’s inception. We are part of the Kittredge Complex, located on the southeast side of campus, on Kittredge Loop Road off Regent Drive. Construction of BUCK was the first major project undertaken after the Regents decided to renovate much of the Kittredge Complex. The residence halls of Kittredge surround the Kittredge pond, and the emerging new complex reflects a design favored by students. Specifically, the building architecture mimics the Rural Italian style of the campus, and the halls are arranged to fit in harmony around an inner park with a reflecting pond, complemented by grassy areas, pathways, and serene landscaping. This design was chosen to foster a sense of community, which continues to be a primary focus of the Kittredge programs as well as an important theme for the campus. Our community stems in part from the “academic neighborhoods” created by the Residential Academic Programs at Kittredge.

The Kittredge Complex is named after Colonel Charles W. Kittredge, a member of Colorado’s first House of Representatives, who authored the 1877 bill that initiated the operation of the University. BUCK is named after Charles G. Buckingham, a Boulder bank president and philanthropist. The University of Colorado was fortunate to have received the support of this Colorado pioneer from the day of its founding. Mr. Buckingham joined other prominent Boulder citizens in paying for the cost of building Old Main, thus assuring the school’s home in Boulder. He was also quick to recognize that a library was one of the first needs of a university, and his gift of $2,000 established what was then called Buckingham Library in the building that now houses University Theatre. He died at the age of 94 in July of 1940, in the very city which he helped to build.