The mission of the Department of Communication Studies is to cultivate in students theoretically grounded and highly developed competencies in the production, delivery and criticism of diverse forms of human communication. It is the expectation of the Department that students will use their communication expertise ethically in the pursuit of both personal growth and professional advancement as well as in the fulfillment of their duties as responsible citizens and community leaders.
In sum, a major in communication and rhetorical studies empowers students to understand, evaluate and practice “effective” discourse. “Rhetoric” is the art of persuasion and this art provides the foundation and center of the program. To make them more effective and persuasive communicators, majors study the history of rhetoric and communication (to learn from the wisdom of the past), theories of rhetoric and communication (“maps” of how communication/persuasion work), rhetorical criticism (methods for evaluating significant discourse of the past and present), the rights and responsibilities for communication in a free society (perspectives on ethics and free speech), the impact of diverse channels (media) and contexts (interpersonal, business, public, intercultural, etc.) upon communication, and communication performance (public speaking, argumentation, debate, advertising, interviewing, etc.). As a true liberal arts program in communication and rhetoric, it prepares students for any professional endeavor which highlights the need for effective communication abilities and informed communication choices.
What opportunities are available for students interested in communication and rhetorical studies?
Debate Team- Debate is one of the oldest traditions at Illinois College. Parliamentary debate has been and continues to be the focus of IC Debate and Forensics. This type of debate teaches extemporaneous speaking, critical listening, critical thinking, research and presentation. They are also involved in policy debate, value debate and speech events. The preparation and tournaments follow the standard American competitive format. Students attend workshops as well as tournaments. The team also attends the Pi Kappa Delta Tournament, which is held in a different U.S. city every year.
Pi Kappa Delta-A national honor society for debate and forensics. Students with substantial forensic experience at Illinois College are eligible to join.
Lambda Pi Eta-A national honor society for students in communication studies. Students must display a commitment to the field of speech communication. Students must complete the equivalent of 12 semester credit hours in communication studies, have a GPA for all communication studies courses taken of at least 3.25, be in the upper 35% of the graduating class and complete 60 semester credit hours with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.
Sanders Oratory Contests- A competition in presenting genre specific speeches. The presentations are given during convocation in the presence of faculty, administration and students. The men’s contest is held in the fall and the women’s in the spring.
What do our communication and rhetorical studies majors do after graduating from Illinois College?
Your major in communication and rhetorical studies can prepare you for careers in any profession in which human communication plays a vital role. Graduates find careers in advertising, communication education, media (radio/television/broadcasting), journalism, public relations, business, education, government/politics, health communication, international relations/negotiations, law and social and human services.
Recently some Illinois College communication and rhetorical study majors have pursued graduate study. They have attended such schools as the University of Illinois-Champaign-Urbana, Syracuse University, St. Louis University, George Mason University, Indiana University, Illinois State University and Northwestern University. They have become general managers at TV stations, speech pathologists, production managers and professors at other colleges.