Rhetoric and Civic Life: A Case Study in Integrated Communication

Workshop Leader:

Debra Hawhee, Pennsylvania State University

“It is time for rhetoricians from across the disciplines to work toward an integrated vision of rhetorical education.” – “The Mt. Oread Manifesto,” 2013

This workshop keeps alive conversations begun at recent RSA Institutes about the promise and possibilities for integrating speaking and writing pedagogies, this time by examining one such effort, the Rhetoric and Civic Life course, launched by the rhetoric faculty in English and Communication Arts and Sciences at Penn State in 2010. The example of Rhetoric and Civic Life will anchor a discussion of syllabus design, assignments, pedagogical strategies, and approaches to instructor training. Rhetoric and Civic Life does not stop with writing and speaking, though: it also emphasizes visual and digital rhetoric, and as such, it presents a robust model of rhetorical education for the current century.

Participants will also consider a small set of readings about the history of such efforts and the theory behind them. Toggling between those readings and a seven-year-long instantiation of such an approach will help identify the best ways to full integrate writing and speaking instruction and will therefore allow participants to imagine—and even begin to work toward—such an effort at their home institutions. Considerable attention, then, will be devoted to the range of circumstances and climate at individual institutions. The goal of this workshop, ultimately, is to help participants develop a set of strategies and arguments to begin integrating speaking and writing at their home institutions.

Direct questions to Debra Hawhee, dhw112@psu.edu.