Andrew Stoddard ‘14
The Rhetoric minor is arguably the most popular minor at Hampden-Sydney, with about 50 students currently pursuing it. That’s approximately five percent of the student body. With that said, the Rhetoric minor has undergone some significant changes recently.
“We’ve been able to re-design this minor so that we have the opportunity to offer more advanced-level classes in Rhetoric,” said Dr. Lizabeth Rand, director of the Rhetoric Program.
Under the old format, students seeking a minor in Rhetoric had to complete a total of 18 credit hours. The four required courses for the minor were: Rhetoric 102 (Principles and Practice of Good Writing), Rhetoric 210 (Public Speaking, Rhetoric 310 (Advanced Public Speaking), and Rhetoric 301 (Creative Nonfiction). For the final six credits, a student had to take two electives: one from either Rhetoric 401, English 380 or Classical Studies 201, and another class of his choice from a wide array of disciplines.
For the new version of the Rhetoric minor, students still have to take Rhetoric 102, Rhetoric 210, Rhetoric 310 and Rhetoric 301. What has changed, however, are the electives. Now, students pursuing a Rhetoric minor must choose from two of the following: Rhetoric 360 (History of Rhetoric), Rhetoric 370 (Rhetoric and Culture) or English 380 (Literary Criticism). RHET 360 and RHET 370 are brand-new courses being offered by the Rhetoric program in place of the now-defunct Rhetoric 401.
“We would like to see students enrolling in [Rhetoric] 360 and 370 this spring, including those who have already completed the old plan,” Dr. Rand said.
The most notable addition to the new Rhetoric minor is the inclusion of a one-credit Capstone course (Rhetoric 481) to be completed during a student’s senior year; a Capstone course is normally not part of a minor course of study.
“We wanted to offer a culminating, senior-level experience in the study of communication. It also gives us a chance to meet and interact with Rhetoric minors more often,” Dr. Rand said.
H-SC students will be gradually introduced to the new plan for the Rhetoric minor. According to Dr. Rand, since current seniors do not have sufficient time to complete the requirements for the new Rhetoric minor, they will be allowed to stick with the old plan. On the other hand, current freshmen looking to be Rhetoric minors have no choice but to follow the new plan. With current sophomores and juniors, the situation gets a little more tricky as they may choose to follow the new plan or stick with the old version.
“We encourage [sophomores and juniors] to follow the new plan because we think it’s a good minor, but when they committed to the Rhetoric minor, they committed to the old plan,” Dr. Rand said.
Scott Markland, a junior minoring in Rhetoric, has already made up his mind as to which version he’ll follow.
“I’m going to stick to the old plan because I have most of the requirements complete for that one, and I still have a lot of my major requirements to worry about,” Markland said.
When asked if the enhancements to the Rhetoric minor could be a step towards turning the program into a full-fledged department, Dr. Rand wasn’t entirely sure.
“I don’t know, but I’d love to see it happen one day. It’s something to think about for the future,” she said.
In the meantime, if any students have questions regarding the Rhetoric minor, they should either see Dr. Rand in her office (Morton 018) inside the Writing Center, or e-mail her at lRand@hsc.edu.