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Rhetoric and Civic Life

In partnership with both the Schreyer Honors College and the Paterno Fellows Program, the Center for Democratic Deliberation helped to develop and deliver Rhetoric and Civic Life, a first-year honors course sequence that offers comprehensive training in the oral, written, visual, and digital communication skills necessary for the twenty-first century.

This course unites these various means of delivery, framing the course in terms of rhetorical theories applicable to all communication situations and emphasizing the need to both strengthen communication skills and sharpen critical awareness of the various means of communication.

After reading about, discussing, and applying rhetorical concepts to specific situations, students in the course:

  • Analyze civic rhetoric on campus and in their real and virtual communities
  • Research current political issues
  • Develop and present arguments using a variety of mediums

The spring 2018 class focused on gerrymandering and coordinated games to help increase the public's understanding of this complicated issue:

McCourtney Institute Senior Scholra Debra Hawhee is the course's director. Jessica O'Hara, associate teaching professor of Communication Arts and Sciences, is the assistant director. Communication Arts and Sciences lecturer Veena Raman oversees the ongoing assessment of RCL. To learn more about the course, please visit the Rhetoric and Civic life website.