These descriptions have been written by the faculty members who will teach the courses. Feel free to contact the instructors for more information about the class.
Students completing a major in either communication studies or writing are required to complete a Rhetorical Studies
Core of four courses:
The aim of the major in communication studies is to provide a background of theory and practice in oral and mediated
communication. In their study of formal and informal oral, print and digital environments, students will learn to communicate ethically, responsibly and effectively for diverse audiences in multiple contexts.
The Writing major is designed to help students become skilled, reflective writers capable of composing texts in a variety of genres, responding effectively to diverse rhetorical situations.
Students choosing a Writing major or minor may not select either the collateral major or the minor in Creative Writing offered by the English department.
A grade of “C” or higher must be received in all courses counted toward a major or minor in either Communication Studies or Writing.
Students choosing a Communication Studies or Writing major or minor may not elect a second major or minor offered by the rhetoric department.
RHE-013 Directed Summer Reading
Provides incoming students an opportunity to practice the academic reading and writing skills necessary for successful college work. Students read three books, prepare written responses to each book, and discuss the assignments with a faculty member during a conference in the first four weeks of the Fall Term. S/U basis only. (0.3 course credit)
RHE-105 Reading/Writing Workshop
Provides practical instruction in expository writing; assignments stress the use of writing to improve skills in critical reading and thinking. (Note: First-term students who show evidence of underdeveloped reading and writing skills may be placed in this course.)
RHE-125 Fundamentals of Public Speaking
Explores the basic processes of speech making: audience analysis and adaptation, idea and organizational development, use of effective supporting material and reasoning, and presentation. Critical thinking and listening skills developed by analysis of public speeches. Speaking and writing skills developed through introductory, informative, persuasive, and ceremonial speeches.
SEMINARS IN WRITING
The following three writing seminars (RHE-137, RHE-146, RHE-157) are organized on the theme of “writing, the self, and others,” finding connections between personal expression and a concern for the worlds outside the self. Most assignments concentrate on strategies for analyzing and responding to cultural texts, ranging from novels and academic prose to film and music. Written forms include journals, autobiographies, travel literature, biographies, personal essays, research reports, and annotated bibliographies. Each course involves library work and one or more documented papers. (Maximum of two seminars may be taken for credit toward graduation.)
RHE-175 Writers Studio
A small-group workshop to help students develop basic writing, revising, and editing skills. May be taken for credit twice. Note: No more than 1.0 credit may be earned by enrolling in RHE-175 and RHE-375. (0.5 course credit)
RHE-200 Rhetorical Theory and Practice
Explores the forms and functions of written and spoken language, including the study of classical rhetoric (Plato, Aristotle, Quintilian) and recent developments in discourse theory and the psychology of writing. Students examine different research strategies in the field of rhetoric and conduct a research project.
Focuses on research interviewing: surveys, informational interviews, ethnographic interviews, and focus group interviews. Teaches both roles in selection and appraisal interviews. Other interview formats explored may include oral history, persuasive, broadcast or entertainment interviews. Prerequisite: sophomore standing.
RHE-210 Journalism Practicum
For Cosmos staff members. Introduction to college newspaper production, with discussions on professionalism, news gathering, ethics, advertising, layout, and computer skills. May be repeated each term a student serves on the Cosmos staff. Advanced students assist with instructing beginners. To receive credit, students complete a term of service to the Cosmos and participate in the workshops at the level agreed upon among the instructor, the editor-in-chief, and the staff member. S/U basis only. A maximum of one credit may be applied to a writing minor and no more than one credit may count toward graduation. Credit for Journalism Practicum is regarded as internship credit . (0.2 course credit)
RHE-215 Introduction to Journalism
Develops journalistic writing skills in several styles (hard news, features, in-depth reporting) and across media (print, audio, video, online). Topics include information gathering, objectivity, audience, news convergence, news values, civic responsibility, and journalism ethics. Students investigate the state of news and the roles and responsibilities of journalists in contemporary American society.
RHE-225 Journalism and Media Writing Workshop
Introduces and analyzes several forms of writing for media in a digital age. In addition to print format, students create and analyze interactive and web-based texts while acquiring a systematic approach to compositions in a variety of media.
RHE-237 Interpersonal Communication
Examines the influence in interpersonal relationships of ethnicity, gender, family, and class on self-concept, perception, emotions, and verbal and non-verbal expression. Students practice specific techniques that facilitate building positive relationships, including such issues as clear language usage, supportive climate building, and conflict resolution.
RHE-246 Intercultural Communication
Explores cross-cultural interaction and communication among members of different international and/or ethnic groups. Takes an experiential approach by requiring interaction with the international students at Coe as well as field trips to examine the cultural diversity in Iowa. Students may pursue their own intercultural interests through analysis of self-selected films and readings.
RHE-255 The Essay
Practice in writing a variety of essay forms in non-fiction prose. Students read and discuss classic essayists chosen to represent a range of prose styles and subjects.
RHE-265 Professional Writing
Planning, drafting, revising, and presenting documents for business and professional audiences; focus on effective writing and document design. Students compose a variety of texts—resumés, memos, letters, manuals, public relations materials, and/or reports—working both independently and collaboratively; students also give at least one oral presentation, based on a major writing assignment.
RHE-277 Cultural Studies
An exploration of American culture as a series of “texts” to be read, analyzed, and interpreted from a variety of rhetorical perspectives. Subjects for analysis may include media, art, architecture, lifestyles, entertainment, music, film, theatre, and a wide range of literary genres.
RHE-285 Technical Writing and Information Design
Introduction to the effective communication of scientific and technical information for both specialist and non-expert audiences. Instruction in audience analysis, writing processes, research strategies, integration of graphics and visual information, and the designing, composing, revising, editing, and assessment of technical documents.
RHE-305 Teamwork and Leadership in Small Group Communication
Introduces the basic theories and principles of small group communication in such areas as discussion, group development, leadership, critical thinking, interviewing, and conflict resolution. Study and practice of techniques aimed at improving a group’s successful team-building. Prerequisite: sophomore standing; students are encouraged to have completed Fundamentals of Public Speaking (RHE-125) or Interpersonal Communication (RHE-237).
RHE-312 Topics in Composition and Communication
Focuses on pedagogy, tutoring techniques, research, presentation strategies, and the conventions and strategies in composition and communication. Designed for Writing Center and Speaking Center personnel, instruction takes place in weekly group meetings and individual conferences. May be taken a maximum of four times for credit. (0.3 course credit)
RHE-317 Persuasion and Propaganda
Investigates the techniques of persuasion and propaganda used by and on Americans of different classes, races, ethnicities, and genders. Students practice inquiry and communication techniques that enhance their effectiveness as writers and speakers in a variety of social contexts.
RHE-325 Advanced Media Writing Workshop
Students practice adapting written language to oral and/or visual formats while learning to communicate news messages in a variety of broadcast formats, ranging from audio to news-in-the-field to video productions. Continuing focus on professional standards emphasizing accuracy, conciseness, style, and the conventions of Standard English. Prerequisite: Introduction to Journalism (RHE-215) or Journalism and Media Writing Workshop (RHE-225).
RHE-335 Writers Colony
An intensive writing workshop taught off campus; students engage in individual and collaborative writing projects. (Offered May Term only)
RHE-345 Nature Writing
A reading and writing course that combines the study of scientific literature on the natural world, an investigation of classic nature writing (e.g., Thoreau, Leopold, Eiseley, Olson, Lopez), and the composing of written texts based on personal experience in the outdoors. (Offered May Term or summers at the Wilderness Field Station)
RHE-357 Environmental Rhetoric
Explores various cultural perceptions of the environment, particularly focusing on the rhetorical strategies of classic American environmental writers such as H. D. Thoreau, John Muir, and Aldo Leopold and how their writings compare with works from a feminist tradition exemplified in texts by Susan Fenimore Cooper, Mary Austin, Rachel Carson, Carolyn Merchant, etc. Examines how authors and organizations have attempted to define and influence the political, economic, social, and ethical debates on key environmental issues. Assignments include personal essays and a major research project.
RHE-375 Advanced Writers Studio
A small group, multi-genre workshop for experienced writers. May be taken for credit twice. No more than 1.0 credit may be earned by enrolling in RHE-175 and RHE-375. (0.5 course credit)
RHE-405 Topics in Communication Studies
Exploration of a topic in the field of communication studies (e.g., non-verbal, organizational or corporate communication, cultural and intercultural issues, communication and technology) with consideration of how communication is affected by issues of class, race, ethnicity, gender, political persuasion, etc. Course work includes research methodology, research project, and oral presentations. May be repeated for credit with the consent of department. Prerequisite: Rhetorical Theory and Practice (RHE-200) and either Interpersonal Communication (RHE-237), Intercultural Communication (RHE-246), or Teamwork and Leadership in Small Group Communication (RHE-305).
RHE-407 Topics in Communication Studies: United States Pluralism
Same as Topics in Communication Studies (RHE- 405) except focus of course is a topic in communication studies related to United States Pluralism. May be repeated for credit with consent of department. Prerequisite: Rhetorical Theory and Practice (RHE-200) and either Interpersonal Communication (RHE-237), Intercultural Communication (RHE-246), or Teamwork and Leadership in Small Group Communication (RHE-305).
RHE-415 Advanced Writing Workshop
A multi-genre workshop for the serious writer, exploring the demands and possibilities in writing fiction, poetry, and various non-fiction forms. Focus on enlarging the writer’s repertoire of strategies and skills; manuscripts revised in preparation for publication. Each student produces an end-of-term portfolio. Prerequisite: junior standing and completion of two writing courses that count toward Writing major or minor.
RHE-417 Sex, Race, and Gender in the Media
An introduction to analysis of representations of identities such as gender, race, sexual orientation, and the body in the mass media. As such, this course examines some of the relationships between the media in the U.S. and the social constructions of race, gender and sexuality. Students view, read about, analyze and discuss various forms of mass media and look at what these forms represent. An underlying understanding within the course is recognition of the inextricable interconnections of gender, race, and sexuality.
RHE-805 Independent Study in Rhetoric
Independent research projects in rhetorical studies, composition, and communication studies. May be repeated for credit for a maximum of 2.0 credits. Maximum of one credit may be applied to a communication studies or writing major or minor, dependent on the subject of the research. Prerequisite: consent of instructor. (0.5 or 1.0 course credit)
RHE-845 Directed Studies in Writing
Completion of major writing projects under the direction of a faculty member. Registration by consent of instructor and after submission of a written project proposal to the rhetoric department. May be repeated for credit with the consent of department. Prerequisite: completion of three composition courses in the rhetoric or English departments.
RHE-895 Publications Practicum
A student may receive practicum credit while holding the position and performing the duties of the main editor of: The Cosmos, The Acorn, Colere, or The Pearl, or a comparable publication sponsored by the rhetoric department. Students must arrange with a supervising faculty member the amount of credit and a practicum agreement specifying skill development goals and the projects to be undertaken for the development of those skills. No more than 2.0 course credits may be applied to graduation requirements. One course credit may be applied to a major or minor in writing. S/U basis only. (0.5 or 1.0 course credit per term)
RHE-895 Internship in Public Relations/Journalism/Communication
An internship with a focus on public relations, journalism or communication. A minimum of 140 hours on-site experience is required. S/U basis only. Supervision by the administrative coordinator of the public relations program or by rhetoric department faculty. One credit may be applied to a major in public relations with the consent of the administrative coordinator; one credit may be applied to a communication studies, or to a major or minor in writing with the consent of the Rhetoric Department chair. Prerequisite: junior standing and consent of either the administrative coordinator of the Public Relations Program or the chair of the rhetoric department.