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Educational Objectives

Rhetoric, Writing, and Communications


The central objective of the program is implied by our key phrase “reflective practice”. Though the two parts of this objective are inextricably linked—the practices of speaking, writing, and editing being always informed by theoretical knowledge and analytical experience—they can, for convenience, be divided as follows:

A. To develop students’ capacity to reflect on their own and others’ communicative practices, we aim to develop their ability

  • to recognize the stylistic, organizational, and substantive features of various communicative genres, to distinguish among these genres, and, where possible, to generate high-quality text consistent with genre conventions
  • to be aware of, and highly competent in responding to, such rhetorical variables as voice and ethos; communicative purpose, context, and occasion; audience expectations; and media constraints
  • to be critical thinkers, able not only to analyze, interpret, and evaluate a wide range of communicative acts and contexts, but also to challenge the terms and assumptions of value-laden discourse
  • to be rhetorically flexible, able to perform effectively in a variety of communicative situations
  • to make rhetorical decisions based on informed awareness of communicative theory and ethics

B. To improve students’ practical skills, we aim to develop their ability

  • to give effective oral presentations
  • to communicate effectively in a computer-mediated environment
  • to communicate effectively in various discursive modes and situations
  • to approach writing tasks as a recursive, multi-staged process, one that employs invention and revision as a means of strengthening discourse
  • to edit for coherence and cohesion in discursive units larger than the sentence
  • to edit for stylistic appeal and consistency in a variety of written documents
  • to identify and correct sentence level errors (errors in punctuation, grammar, syntax, and sentence construction