Many orientations to the social world are formed from our experiences that extend from family identities; in particular, the ways individuals relate and communicate with others are profoundly affected by our familial relationships. Furthermore, understanding the family as a communication system is imperative in an era when family issues are at the forefront of national concerns in governmental, educational, health, and religious arenas. This class regards the examination of ?family? as fundamental to a comprehensive understanding of relational communication. This upper level course is intended to help students understand how communication helps people develop, maintain, enhance, or disturb family relationships. Students learn to think, write, and speak critically about what ?family? means, and about the various forms, functions, and processes of family communication. This course is designed to help students better understand family communication in their own lives, both theoretically and practically.