The major in Rhetoric provides the knowledge and practice of oral and written communication skills in order to communicate and evaluate communication effectively in the workplace and within society. Students develop and deliver speeches, analyze arguments from a variety of oral and written sources, develop and employ critical tools and engage in research and discussion that centers on communication and persuasion as central to business, politics and culture. The Rhetoric major offers students a deep understanding of the core of the liberal arts curriculum: the uses of communication.
The Rhetoric program facilitates student excellence in oral communication competence by providing theoretical and practical instruction emphasizing the following abilities: understanding the role of their rhetorical choices and behaviors within a variety of personal and professional contexts, audiences and cultures; critically examining the ethical implications of their own and others' rhetorical communication choice making; understanding the factors that affect the potential success or failure of their oral communication efforts; and learning how to craft rhetorically effective messages. The Rhetoric major is particularly suited for students who plan to pursue leadership positions or further academic study in the fields of law, religion, public affairs, government, business or higher education. In short, the degree in Rhetoric allows students to develop a deep understanding of one of the cornerstones of the liberal arts curricula, the uses of communication.
The major in Rhetoric is becoming increasingly popular as students more clearly understand not only their intrinsic value as effective means of acquiring a liberal education, but also their value as stepping stones to a number of professions. Rhetoric majors frequently become high school and college teachers, but many other fields of employment are open to them. Many become librarians; personnel officers; public relations officers; newspaper, radio and television writers or on-air personalities; employees of any number of governmental agencies; and managers of business firms. Broadly educated, these majors have the potential to succeed in numerous employment fields.