Speech Comm Concentration

The Speech Discipline seeks to foster an understanding of the basic nature of all human communication; to promote critical and confident listening and thinking; and to train students in the performance of the interpretive and rhetorical arts.

The practice of Direct Oral Communication is at once a skill, an art and the manifestation of a distinctively human faculty (best called by the old Greek word Logos, meaning “word,” “thought,” or even “reason”). The combination of chosen words, the manner in which they are spoken, the movements (by the communicator) that accompany the speaking of them, and the direct presence of an audience necessarily makes the direct oral communicator, in every setting, a performer.

The effective presentation of performing self in intimate, social, small group, and public settings is the goal of our discipline. Can our students think critically and structure thought coherently? Can they equip themselves with images, ideas, arguments, and emotions in support of their thinking? Are they sensible of the arts of language – analytically and interpretively – so as to marshal them towards the expression of their thinking? Finally, are our students capable of objective and penetrating analysis and judgment of direct oral communication?

Thus the Speech Discipline seeks, among several goals, to foster an understanding of the basic nature of all human communication; to promote critical and confident listening and thinking; and to train students in the performance of the interpretive and rhetorical arts. Speech students make use of small-group workshops, the media of audio- and videotape, and theatrical productions. (The concentration in theater offers the opportunity to participate in large- and small-scale productions.) They have broad opportunities to execute independently conceived projects. In preparation for graduate school, industry, community service and many other spheres of employment, students are guided by a highly accessible faculty.

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