The Department of Rhetoric offers undergraduate courses that fulfill the Rhetoric requirement of the different colleges at the University and courses that apply toward the areas of Diversity and Inclusion as well as Values and Culture; see GE CLAS Core in the Catalog. It also provides individual instruction in its Writing Center, Speaking Center, Conversation Center, and the Iowa Digital Engagement and Learning Initiative (IDEAL) multimodal composition studio and offers other undergraduate courses, graduate seminars, and an undergraduate minor.
Rhetoric for the GE CLAS Core
Rhetoric courses help students to develop skills in speaking, writing, listening, and critical reading. They also build competence in research and inquiry as well as in analysis and persuasion, starting with public controversies in their social contexts and generalizing to all forms of idea presentation, whether academic readings, everyday debates, media messages, or student papers. Writing and speaking skills are emphasized and developed.
All rhetoric classes follow specific department goals, but each instructor uses a unique set of texts and contexts to teach rhetorical concepts. Rhetoric courses are sometimes organized around a special topic, such as the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), nursing, or law, but the primary emphasis is always on responsible inquiry and analysis. Some course sections involve special activities, such as service-learning components, but the workload across all sections is comparable, with a fixed number of major assignments and a department-approved library of readings.
During their first year at the University, students enroll in the rhetoric course indicated on their degree audit unless they are required to complete one or more prerequisite courses in English as a Second Language (ESL) as a result of their English proficiency evaluation.
Students planning to transfer to the University of Iowa should discuss rhetoric course equivalencies as soon as possible with the University of Iowa Office of Admissions. To learn more about the GE CLAS Core requirement, see GE CLAS Core in the Catalog.
Students who undergo formal evaluation by Student Disability Services and are found to have a learning disability in reading, writing, or speaking should request reasonable accommodations in order to complete rhetoric. Accommodations may be arranged by Student Disability Services in consultation with the Department of Rhetoric and individual instructors.
Undergraduate Program of Study
RHET:1000 First-Year Seminar 1-2 s.h.
Small discussion class taught by a faculty member; topics chosen by instructor; may include outside activities (e.g., films, lectures, performances, readings, visits to research facilities). Requirements: first- or second-semester standing.
RHET:1010 Writing for Academic Success 1 s.h.
Individualized instruction in the Writing Center; in conjunction with GE CLAS Core Rhetoric courses.
RHET:1020 Reading and Comprehension 3 s.h.
Transitional course to help prepare students for RHET:1030, focusing specifically on reading and comprehension strategies, and foundational writing strategies.
RHET:1030 Rhetoric 4-5 s.h.
Analysis and critique to discover, question, explain, and justify positions and claims made in writing and speaking; reading and listening to comprehend and assess arguments; employment of rhetorical concepts (e.g., purpose, audience); understanding research as responsible inquiry for speaking and writing; special topics, activities. Requirements: completion of any required ESL courses. GE: Rhetoric.
RHET:1040 Writing and Reading 3 s.h.
Introductory course in writing required of students who have completed a college-level public speaking course, but have not otherwise satisfied the rhetoric requirement. Requirements: completion of GE CLAS Core speaking requirement and any required ESL courses. GE: Rhetoric - Writing.
RHET:1060 Speaking and Reading 3 s.h.
Introductory course in speaking required of students who have completed 6 s.h. of college writing instruction, but have not completed a 3 s.h. college-level speaking course; intended to improve speaking, listening, critical, analytical, and advocacy skills. Requirements: completion of GE CLAS Core writing requirement and any required ESL courses. GE: Rhetoric - Speech.
RHET:1115 Academic Success Resources 1 s.h.
Development of students' academic skills through sustained engagement with campus success resources (e.g., Rhetoric's Conversation Center); students commit to weekly engagements, supplemented by online readings and reflections designed to foster critical thinking skills around their learning, and a summative, multimodal video speech to facilitate carrying concrete skills forward into future academic success.
RHET:2000 Big Ideas: Creativity for a Lifetime 3 s.h.
Exploration of what senior artists can teach about creativity and aging; interdisciplinary project-based collaborative learning opportunities that consider role of arts and creativity across a lifespan; essential skills necessary to be professionals in numerous careers including health, social work, education, humanities, and the arts; identification of ways for students to be more creative in their own lives and work. GE: Values and Culture. Same as ARTS:2000, ASP:2000, EDTL:2000.
RHET:2055 Persuasion and Advocacy 3 s.h.
Maya Angelou said, "The wisest thing I can do is be on my own side, be an advocate for myself and others like me"; how to craft a powerful voice that aligns intellect with passions, shape audience impressions, and gain acceptance and recognition from others when advocating for yourself and for things you believe in; assignments tailored to student's interests and goals. Prerequisites: RHET:1030 or RHET:1040 or RHET:1060.
RHET:2065 Persuading Different Audiences: Launching a Successful Career 3 s.h.
Preparation for student's future persuasive demands as they start their careers; creation of several short projects addressing a variety of audiences, context, and situations with the goal of developing a professional and personable style; assignments reflect challenging circumstances in the workplace. Prerequisites: RHET:1030 or RHET:1040 or RHET:1060.
RHET:2070 Persuasive Stories 3 s.h.
Examination of the persuasive dimension of stories; students master the skill of storytelling by examining stories circulating within their culture and exploring the effects these stories have on thinking about their identities and discovering their own voices; integration of speaking and writing skills with persuasive storytelling skills through short oral and written assignments that lead to a final multimodal project of two interrelated storytelling assignments—production of a website and a podcast. Prerequisites: RHET:1030 or RHET:1040 or RHET:1060. GE: Values and Culture.
RHET:2085 Speaking Skills 3 s.h.
How to become confident and effective speakers; assignments include formal presentations and shorter, informal speaking activities; peer and instructor feedback help improve the impression students create as speakers; strengths developed include earning credibility, capturing and maintaining audience interest, and coming across as personable, professional, and confident. Prerequisites: RHET:1030 or RHET:1040 or RHET:1060.
RHET:2090 Conversation Practicum 0-3 s.h.
Intercultural conversation with international students in small groups or pairs; readings, classroom discussions, and in-class training to develop cultural competence and related skills.
RHET:2095 Fundamental Strategies of Persuasion 3 s.h.
Strategies of approaching persuasion in a variety of personal, professional, and communal contexts; fundamentals of persuasion including audience adaptation, creating reasoned and passionate appeals, conveying character, and enabling identification. Prerequisites: RHET:1030 or RHET:1040 or RHET:1060. Requirements: completion of GE CLAS Core Rhetoric.
RHET:2135 Rhetorics of Diversity and Inclusion 3 s.h.
How language is at the root of oppression while also being a powerful tool to enact social justice; students explore the roles of rhetoric in constructing diversity and examine how different bodies and minds are ascribed value based on their alignment with cultural attitudes toward normalcy, ability, race, gender, sexuality, and more; students use written, spoken, and/or signed language and digital forms of expression to create a more inclusive environment in and beyond the classroom. GE: Diversity and Inclusion. Same as SJUS:2135.
RHET:2350 Forensic Rhetoric 3 s.h.
Students strengthen argumentation, communication, and research skills while discussing the cultural phenomenon of forensic rhetoric (i.e., using the past to make arguments); rhetorical analysis of autobiographical stories, development of podcasts related to readings, and a multimodal project involving archival research. Prerequisites: RHET:1030 or RHET:1040 or RHET:1060.
RHET:2400 Idea to Innovation 3 s.h.
Opportunity for creative, self-motivated students to begin making a difference in their communities today; examination of how cities and communities are organized spatially and socially; case studies detailing social innovators in a variety of disciplines. Prerequisites: RHET:1030 or RHET:1040 or RHET:1060.
RHET:2610 Acting for Success 3 s.h.
How skills learned by actors in the theatre world can be applied to presentations and interactions in business, education, and beyond; how to connect with others on a personal level; ability to stand out as a team player and a leader; acting techniques traditionally used in theatre to open up communication dynamics; how to display an authentic self in everyday situations. Corequisites: RHET:1030 or RHET:1040 or RHET:1060. GE: Engineering Be Creative. Same as THTR:2610.
RHET:2620 Body Language: Study of Movement and Gesture in Speaking 3 s.h.
How to effectively perform movement and gesture in public and interpersonal speaking situations; development of skills; use of movement and gesture in many types of public speeches including academic and professional presentations, political debates, ceremonial addresses, and protest demonstrations; short readings on nonverbal communication. Prerequisites: RHET:1030 or RHET:1040 or RHET:1060.
RHET:3005 Narratives of the Midwest 3 s.h.
Exploration of the Midwest beyond stereotypical ideas of "flyover country" and "America's heartland"; focus on narratives in movies and other media to critique superficial observations and discover new voices and perspectives; students analyze portrayals of the Midwest and create unique Midwestern stories, use research and personal observations to construct a personal blog, podcast, and video essay. Prerequisites: RHET:1030 or RHET:1040 or RHET:1060.
RHET:3009 Negotiation and Conflict Resolution 3 s.h.
Strategies of successful negotiation across a wide range of conflict situations; keys to success in peacefully resolving conflicts; personal, professional, legal, and political negotiations; apologizing; mediation as alternative to litigation; analysis of conflict characteristics to determine optimal negotiation strategies; development of negotiation interpersonal skills; practice negotiating under real world scenarios. Prerequisites: RHET:1030 or RHET:1040 or RHET:1060. Same as PBAF:3217, URP:3217.
RHET:3085 Advanced Speaking Skills 3 s.h.
Preparation for speaking as a leader; how to speak effectively, authoritatively, and eloquently in a variety of settings; assignments including podcasts, video-recorded speeches, and TED talks; informal assignments provide occasions to practice, and give and receive quality feedback, as well as experiment with unique and memorable ways of speaking that give life to things that are abstract, technical, philosophical, and poetic. Prerequisites: RHET:1030 or RHET:1040 or RHET:1060.
RHET:3130 Rhetorics of Animal Advocacy 3 s.h.
Explore the range of social, ethical, and environmental problems that motivate animal advocacy past and present, and analyze several advocacy campaign responses to those problems (e.g., People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Farm Sanctuary, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, The National Humane Alliance); students will examine self-selected animal-related problems and design animal advocacy campaigns of their own choosing. Prerequisites: RHET:1030 or RHET:1040 or RHET:1060.
RHET:3140 Nature and Society: Controversies and Images 3 s.h.
Theoretical perspectives that explain and/or interpret environmental change and human environmental interactions; conceptual tools to understand complex relationship between nature and society at multiple scales; ways in which individuals and communities have overcome economic and environmental limitations in economically developed countries and economically developing countries; critical thinking through exposure to contentious viewpoints and assessment of their strengths and weaknesses. Prerequisites: RHET:1030 or RHET:1040 or RHET:1060. Requirements: completion of GE CLAS Core Rhetoric.
RHET:3250 Persuasive Writing for Science and Health Care Professionals 3 s.h.
Writing persuasively and authoritatively in professional settings; exploration of a variety of writing formats including letter, personal essay, blog, project proposal, and grant proposal; final project tailored to student interests; for engineering, science, and health care majors. Prerequisites: RHET:1030 or RHET:1040 or RHET:1060. GE: Engineering Be Creative.
RHET:3260 Persuasive Speaking for Science and Health Care Professionals 3 s.h.
Preparation for speaking persuasively and authoritatively in professional settings; students speak frequently and receive ample feedback from their peers and instructor with the goal of developing a presentational style of speaking that blends personable and professional as well as translating technical and abstract into concrete language accessible to the public; tailor-made for students majoring in science and health care areas. Prerequisites: RHET:1030 or RHET:1040 or RHET:1060. GE: Engineering Be Creative.
RHET:3290 Advanced Business Speaking 3 s.h.
Speaking as a purpose-specific, audience-oriented, and situation-bound activity whose demands change from one setting to another; students learn to speak with authority, come across as professionals, and manage the impression they create in their audience by speaking in various business settings including business presentations, boardroom meetings, employee briefings, customer complaints, and peer meetings. Prerequisites: RHET:1030 or RHET:1040 or RHET:1060.
RHET:3350 Gaming (the) Systems 3 s.h.
Knowing that Rhetoric is the art and study of persuasion and meaning making, students examine how games—one of the newest and most important forms of modern media—participate in these rhetorical practices; students play, discuss, and read about games and how games interact with the cultural discourses surrounding us on their way toward crafting their own rhetorical contributions to the world of games and gaming media; students play small, indie titles and a few major games as they produce an argumentative article, a game review, a video blog, and finally a game itself; beginner friendly, no prior knowledge of games or design programs required. Prerequisites: RHET:1030 or RHET:1040 or RHET:1060.
RHET:3360 Classical Techniques in Modern Speaking 3 s.h.
Examination of public speaking in context of ancient Greece, when the shift from aristocracy to democracy made public speaking the only way to rise to a position of power; excerpts from ancient texts that demonstrate link between public speaking and democracy; strategies ancients used in public, celebratory, political, and judicial settings to make the best case for themselves; application of these strategies in modern settings for public speaking. Prerequisites: RHET:1030 or RHET:1040 or RHET:1060.
RHET:3560 Public Policy and Persuasion 3 s.h.
Students build their skill set in policy analysis, formation, and communication through a social justice lens; engagement in service learning projects in one Iowa community, where work done directly impacts that community's ability to make changes; development of effective writing and oral presentation styles that can be adapted to different audiences; focus on homelessness policy using social policy and social justice concepts to explore work of policy makers who have "right-sized" existing systems to serve communities in crisis and propose solutions to systemic problems that disadvantage marginalized populations. Prerequisites: RHET:1030 or RHET:1040 or RHET:1060. Same as PBAF:3560, POLI:3560, SJUS:3560.
RHET:3585 Speak, to Change the World: The Art of Speechwriting and Speechmaking 3 s.h.
Students focus on "speaking that makes a difference" by studying famous, classic, and contemporary speeches designed to change the world; addressing communal/societal issues of students' choice; writing eloquent and persuasive speeches; delivering scripted speeches in ways that earn character, credibility, and authority. Prerequisites: RHET:1030 or RHET:1040 or RHET:1060.
RHET:3630 Apology and the Art of Verbal Self-Defense 3 s.h.
Examination of apology as a defense of actions, opinions, or personal character; role of apology in medical malpractice; corporate apology; role of apology in criminal courts; study of celebrity non-apology apologies; apology as gendered; efficacy of apology in politics; approaches to apology across nations; how to advocate for accommodations without apologizing, especially regarding disability rights; how to evaluate and create effective apologies in interpersonal and public sphere. Prerequisites: RHET:1030 or RHET:1040 or RHET:1060. Requirements: satisfactory completion of GE CLAS Core Rhetoric.
RHET:3700 Advocacy and Sustainability: Crafting Stories of People, Place, and Resilience 3 s.h.
How sustainable approaches to meeting critical social needs (food, water, shelter, air, work) have influenced food systems, policies on development, environmental problems, social justice, and policy both local and global in scope; readings and field research activities leading to creation of work of multimodal advocacy. Prerequisites: RHET:1030 or RHET:1040 or RHET:1060. Requirements: fulfillment of GE CLAS Core Rhetoric.
RHET:4980 Special Projects for Undergraduates arr.
RHET:5100 Practicum: College Teaching and Professional Development for Teaching Assistants arr.
Guidance for teaching assistants seeking introduction to teaching at college level; focus on practical pedagogical concerns, including how to structure a course, devise learning outcomes, develop a syllabus and a calendar of assignments, evaluate student work, and create a student-centered classroom with collaborate learning experiences; pre-semester intensive training session, weekly meetings during first month of semester, periodic meetings to address midterm and late-semester issues; concurrent with TA teaching assistantships. Recommendations: interest in teacher training and preparation. Same as CLAS:5100.
RHET:5330 Directing a Writing Center arr.
Supervised tutoring in Writing Center involving graduate and undergraduate tutors and fellows across disciplines; providing instruction on recruitment and development of writing support teams; helping a variety of persons on campus (undergraduate, graduate, faculty) to improve their writing skills in many different areas, ranging from class or conference papers to publicity materials. Requirements: professional development program and rhetoric teaching.
RHET:5335 Directing a Speaking Center arr.
Supervised tutoring in Speaking Center involving graduate and undergraduate tutors and fellows across disciplines; providing instruction on recruitment and development of writing support teams; helping a variety of persons on campus (undergraduate, graduate, faculty) to improve their speaking skills in many different areas, ranging from class or conference papers to publicity materials. Requirements: professional development program and rhetoric teaching.
RHET:5350 Colloquium: Teaching Rhetoric 3 s.h.
Professional development program for new rhetoric teachers; includes three-day workshop.
RHET:5352 Seminar: Topics in Teaching and Professional Development 3 s.h.
Professional development and advanced study of pedagogical theories and practices; focus on teaching as a rhetorical act; readings on pedagogy, composition theories, and learning process; academic and alt-ac career options; teaching philosophy statement, teaching portfolio, peer classroom observations, and research project; for experienced rhetoric instructors and others teaching writing-intensive, process-oriented courses. Recommendations: previous or current teaching experience in composition-intensive courses.
RHET:5375 Teaching in a Writing Center 3 s.h.
Seminar/practicum to prepare graduate students to teach in the University of Iowa Writing Center or similar settings; seminar component on writing and reading processes, tutoring strategies, English-as-a-second-language issues; practicum experience tutoring in the Writing Center. Same as CNW:5375.
RHET:5385 Teaching in a Speaking Center 3 s.h.
Preparation to teach in University of Iowa Speaking Center or similar settings; seminar component on speaking and reading processes, tutoring strategies, English-as-a-second-language issues; practicum experience tutoring in speaking center.
RHET:6330 Writing for Learned Journals 1-4 s.h.
Seminar that supports graduate students in bringing written work to publishable form; analysis of target journals' audiences, interests, and citation politics; submission and the publication process; response to reader reports and criticism; best writing and research practices; discussion of knowledge cultures and discourses in disciplines and the contemporary academy. Same as AMST:6300, GRAD:6300, GWSS:6300.
RHET:6965 Topics in Second Language Acquisition: Writing 3 s.h.
RHET:7500 Science Communication in the Digital Age 2-3 s.h.
Preparation for communicating scientific discoveries and importance of scientific endeavors in digital media; focus on adaptable and transferable skills; relevant preparation for digital communication in academic and nonacademic career paths; develop aptitude with speaking and performance skills relevant to video presentation; develop familiarity with video composition and editing processes.
RHET:7930 Writing in the Disciplines arr.
RHET:7940 Public Speaking for Academics 3 s.h.
Prepares graduate students for the public speaking occasions germane in their home disciplines and in their future professions; students gain experience moving between different rhetorical registers in public speaking through engaging in cross-disciplinary conversations about performance and speaking practices while refining discipline-specific speaking strategies; honing the ability to communicate the same information in different forms and styles (along with understanding the corresponding advantages and limitations of such) will contribute to students' teaching and scholarly skill sets.