Behind the scenes of an upstart political campaign stands a speechwriter thoughtfully crafting a message of political change. As she works, she relies on her diverse knowledge of persuasive speech, politics and social justice, public speaking, and the media to help her candidate succeed. Various fields are increasingly looking for employees with this same skill set: the ability to think critically about social issues and carefully analyze the communications and media industries.
Drake’s Rhetoric, Media, and Social Change (RMSC) program allows students to explore how language and symbols shape who we are and what we do. Grounded in the liberal arts, the RMSC program combines the study of a broad range of subjects with training in critical theory, discourse analysis, and cultural performance. Students in the program learn to analyze forms of media, knowledge, and power to become critical thinkers and engaged citizens.
Although the academic discipline of rhetoric is thousands of years old, it is a field that is constantly evolving to meet new means of communication and expression. Rhetoric, Media, and Social Change majors study public discourse, with particular emphasis on the role of persuasion in political life, social interactions, and popular culture. From political speeches and legal documents to less obvious forms of discourse and communication such as clothes, signage, tools, and toys, to film, television, advertising, art, literature, photography, and the Internet, opportunities to study rhetoric are everywhere. Drake’s RMSC curriculum highlights the political and ethical issues at stake in these various forms of communication and more broadly, in language, power, identity and culture.
The RMSC program cultivates qualities of communications, leadership, and analysis that are valued in many aspects of professional life. RMSC graduates have numerous opportunities for professional experience and/or graduate study. Students typically go on to careers in diverse fields such as law and public administration, medicine and public health, activism, social work, advertising and marketing, politics and public policy, business, banking, and consulting.
Drake’s unique Rhetoric, Media, and Social Change program within the College of Arts and Sciences allows students to partake in an interdisciplinary study of rhetoric, sociology, and anthropology.
Students majoring in RMSC must complete at least 30 hours of coursework across the disciplines of rhetoric, media, and social change, including a senior capstone.
Drake also offers a minor in Rhetoric, Media, and Social Change, requiring nine credit hours of core coursework and at least one course from each of the three majors areas of rhetoric, media, and social change.
Courses in the RMSC program emphasize the importance of primary texts, open discussion, analysis, original writing, and skillful and innovative oral presentations.
Students select from a broad variety of course topics in the areas of rhetoric (public speaking, theory, history, war, class, the American family, religion, etc.); media (popular trials, media culture, race, visual representations, technoscience, global youth, documentary, and gender and violence); and social change (the environment, advocacy, activism, law, race and ethnicity, social problems, criminology, employment, feminism, social stratification, gender, technology, etc.).