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Graduate Certificate in Rhetorical Leadership

Leadership is a highly valued, yet always scarce resource in all areas requiring coordinated action: civil society, professional work, profit and non-profit venues, religious and social action contexts. Communication's Rhetorical Leadership certificate program prepares leaders with humanistic knowledge, skills and attitudes through five graduate courses. "Rhetorical Leadership and Ethics" covers rhetoric's role in and potential for responsible leadership in multiple arenas; it is informed by the long history of debate over the legitimacy of studying rhetoric as a means of promoting joint action. "Theories of Rhetorical Communication" introduces certificate students to the vast, nearly three milennia-long theoretical range of the rhetorical tradition. "Communication and Social Order" examines how existing institutions and values get established and "naturalized" using symbolic action and conversely how they can be challenged strategically through rhetoric. The more advanced "Rhetoric of Constituting Community and Social Controversy" addresses explicitly the rhetorical range available to leaders, whether their main goal is constituting communities or promoting change in ways that the existing decision-making channels cannot accommodate. "Argumentation in Theory and Practice" integrates argumentative theory and practice in ways that are useful for potential leaders; it involves some performance-based learning that requires students to test their preferred theory alternatives in action.

Applicants must have completed a bachelor's degree prior to admission, must have a minimum 2.75 cumulative undergraduate grade point average, and must declare their intent to pursue the certificate before completion of six credits in the certificate sequence. Applicants not already admitted to the Graduate School must complete the UW System online admission application.

Students must earn a minimum cumulative 3.00 grade point average in certificate courses taken at UWM.

Required courses (6 cr)
772 Rhetorical Leadership and Ethics, 3 cr
762 Argumentation in Theory and Practice, 3 cr  OR  872 Rhetorics of Constituting Community and Social Controversy, 3 cr
Electives (9 cr)
665 Introduction to Mediation, 3 cr
667 Great American Speakers and Issues, 3 cr
672 Communication and Social Order, 3 cr
701* Critical Analysis of Communication, 3 cr
735 Rhetorical Theory, 3 cr [title change pending]
762 Argumentation in Theory and Practice, 3 cr (if not selected above)
835 Seminar in Contemporary Public Address, 3 cr
860 Seminar: Issues in Communication: (Subtitle, with a rhetorical topic), 3 cr
862 Public Deliberation, 3 cr
865 Theory and Practice of Mediation, 3 cr
872 Rhetorics of Constituting Community and Social Controversy, 3 cr (if not selected above)
873 The Digital Mirror, 3 cr
882 The Rhetoric of Kenneth Burke, 3 cr
893 Rhetoric of/and the Internet, 3 cr
972* Advanced Methods in Communication Research: (Subtitle, with rhetorical topic)
998 Communication Internship, 1-3 cr (with rhetorical leadership topic directed by a member of the Rhetorical Leadership Committee)
*students may count 701 or 972, but not both, toward certificate requirements

Students who have little experience in positions of responsibility will be encouraged to participate in a relevant internship during the course of their studies. The program will assist students in identifying appropriate opportunities.

For post-baccalaureate students, a maximum of 3 graduate credits may be transferred to count toward the certificate program's 15-credit requirements. Courses will be considered for transfer into the certificate program only if the applicant can provide ample, acceptable evidence that the course taken is substantially the same as one of the five courses that constitute the certificate program. The Rhetorical Leadership Committee will make such determinations, and its decision is final. No transfer credit is allowed for post-graduate students.

For those simultaneously enrolled in a degree program, up to 50% of the credits required for the certificate may count toward degree requirements, subject to approval of the degree program.

Non-degree students pursuing a "Rhetorical Leadership" certificate will have three years from initial enrollment in a certificate course to complete the certificate requirements. Degree students pursuing a "Rhetorical Leadership" certificate will have the same time limit to complete the "Rhetorical Leadership" certificate requirements as they have for completing the degree program.

The certificate will be awarded upon successful completion (i.e., once all grades for the certificate courses taken at UWM are officially recorded and show a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or more) of the certificate program requirements.

For more information or to apply for the certificate program, please contact the program coordinator.


Page last updated on: 02/13/2014