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Composition Forum 18, Summer 2008

More than 100 Years of Rhetoric at the University of Minnesota

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David Beard

University of Minnesota Duluth

As part of the development of a Department of Writing Studies in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota, the 99-year-old Department of Rhetoric in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences was dismantled. The bulk of Rhetoric faculty have been shifted to this new department of Writing Studies. The undergraduate majors & minors (in Scientific and Technical Communication [STC], for example) and the graduate programs (the MS in STC and the MA and PhD in Rhetoric & STC) were shifted to the new Department of Writing Studies.

Of all major research institutions, the University of Minnesota has had perhaps the most convoluted relationship with rhetorical theory and practice. The rhetorical tradition has been at the heart of the Department of Rhetoric and will be at the heart of the Department of Writing Studies — though institutional realignments always mean change. The rhetorical has been essential to the Department of Communication Studies since the postwar period. And, the College of Liberal Arts has housed a number of interdisciplinary initiatives that have included rhetorical study: a Communications program, a freestanding program in Composition; a Center for Advanced Studies in Language, Style, and Literary Theory, and a Center for Writing (offering a graduate minor in Literacy and Rhetorical Studies). This fragmentation and dispersal of rhetorical studies is part and parcel of the complex positioning of rhetoric at a Midwestern university with roughly 50,000 students.

The particular dismantling of the Department of Rhetoric strikes a chord, at least in me, because this is not the first time that a Department of Rhetoric has been dismantled at the University of Minnesota. An examination of the history of the dissolution of the first Department of Rhetoric and the fate of its programs can serve as an important foil for the critical analysis of the current institutional position of rhetorical studies. The dialogue on the institutional position of rhetoric is functioning at an interdisciplinary level (through the Alliance for Rhetoric Societies and its related initiatives) and at the disciplinary level (as the Consortium for Doctoral Programs in Rhetoric and Composition seeks disciplinary status in the National Research Council). That comparison will let me anecdotally demonstrate what I think are generalizable conditions affecting the development of programs centered on the rhetorical tradition.

Primary among those conditions is rhetoric’s position as an independent field of study. In the nineteenth century, rhetoric was in a predisciplinary state, a state reflected in its course offerings at the University of Minnesota and in the political positions of the faculty at its core. At the end of the twentieth century, University of Minnesota faculty were at the forefront of a new, interdisciplinary formulation for rhetorical work (under the rubric of “technical communication”). At intermediary positions between, rhetoric was yoked to sister disciplines (English and Communication) which (I think) always threaten to submerge the full rhetorical tradition. Current programs in Rhetoric and Composition must grapple with rhetoric’s disciplinary status, as well, and there may be lessons to learn from the University of Minnesota’s historical example.

The second generalizable condition involves the civic component of rhetoric. Rhetoric’s tie to the civic tradition must be constantly reinvented and buttressed in the university context. This is just as true of the turn from “elocution” to “public speaking” in the early decades of the twentieth century as it was of the creation of the undergraduate curriculum in the College of Agriculture, and it remains a challenge for rhetorical studies in the new Department of Writing Studies. Yoked as it often is to the liberal education mission of the traditional English department and the obligations of a professional or vocational program, rhetoric in composition programs must also struggle to hold onto its civic components — a project that may be informed by the University of Minnesota’s example.

To tell this story, I will intertwine some very specific historical figures (Maria Sanford and Billie Wahlstrom, among others) with some specific institutional sites. As we move from rhetorical program to rhetorical program, we will also move from figure to figure. These teacher-scholars are not synonymous with their programs, but they will help us put a face on the changing and developing curriculum. Sanford and Wahlstrom mark contradictory exemplars about the power of the individual in shaping a curriculum and a discipline.

About the University of Minnesota (Twin Cities Campus)

The University of Minnesota is different from the bulk of Midwestern public universities because it did not begin as a Normal School.{1} Instead, it began as a land grant institution, born of the Morrill Act. In the particular case of the University of Minnesota, geography complicated the development of the institution. The city of St. Paul became the home of the School of Agriculture, while Minneapolis housed the College of Sciences and Liberal Arts. Indeed, for thirteen years (1907-1920), the University of Minnesota was home to both a Department of Rhetoric & Public Speaking and a Division of Rhetoric in Agriculture, one on each campus.

As a result, for decades the administration and curriculum in Minneapolis and St. Paul, developing under two different provostal units in what is called now the “Twin Cities” campus, grew almost without interaction. At different points in the twentieth century, administrators inquired about duplication of course offerings,{2} but for the most part, collaboration was encouraged across the campuses, rather than elimination of programs. This means that first-year composition and public speaking programs were, at times, housed in two separate units on the Twin Cities campus — one in St. Paul, one in Minneapolis.

By the end of the twentieth century, the duplication of offerings increased. On the Minneapolis campus, these duplicated courses were offered by both the Department of English and by the open-admissions unit of the University, the General College (with course offerings in Basic Writing as well as First-year Composition). On the St. Paul campus, they were offered by the Department of Rhetoric. At the start of the twenty-first century, the argument for merger based on duplication of services was replaced with the argument for consolidation based on strengths. The consolidation of writing faculty into a single unit was based not on reduced costs but on building a national profile for research in writing.

But before we reflect on the institutional arrangements of today, let’s look back at the historical Departments of Rhetoric.

Maria Sanford: Rhetoric, Elocution, and the First Program in Rhetoric

Maria Sanford is the figure most closely associated with the first program in Rhetoric at the University of Minnesota. While she was not a scholar in the vein of her contemporary, Fred Newton Scott, Sanford was a powerful and formative force both on the University of Minnesota campus and in the State of Minnesota.

Sanford taught in the Department of Rhetoric and Elocution, a predisciplinary field.{3} The course catalog divided courses into two areas. The Rhetoric area included courses in composition, in “Addresses, Toasts, Orations,” in debate, in etymology and syntax, and in both literary criticism and “Lectures upon the History of Art.” In the Elocution area, courses in oral reading and interpretation, voice building, oratory and debate,{4} vocal expression, and the history of American, British and ancient oratory{5} filled the catalog. Finally, the department offered one graduate course, perhaps to complement the curriculum offered in the English department: “Principles of Criticism.”{6}

Clear disciplinary divisions are hard to discern in these course offerings. Traditional distinctions, as we understand them today, are inadequate to define the split between courses in rhetoric and courses in elocution. Courses in both literary and rhetorical discourse appear in both; courses in written and oral communication appear in both. Rhetoric was a predisciplinary field, able to be strongly defined by the personalities who taught it.

Maria Sanford was as strong a personality as you could imagine in this position. She was the first woman professor in the state of Minnesota and a Professor of Rhetoric & Elocution. Sanford worked to establish intercollegiate debating as an intellectual and civic good.{7} And, she was a popular speaker in public venues around the state. She was a powerful woman with a powerful impact on Minnesota’s intellectual and political culture. And she was, surprisingly, an anti-suffragette.

There is, to twentieth-century eyes, as great or greater an intellectual incoherence in being the first woman professor in Minnesota publicly speaking against suffrage as there is in a curriculum that defines “addresses, toasts and orations” and “debate” as courses in rhetoric but “oratory and debate” as a course in elocution. We can tease these issues out by looking at Sanford’s writings.{8}

In address before the Twentieth Century Club in Duluth in 1909, Sanford lays it out directly: “I regard the coming of women’s suffrage as I do death, as a certainty but not particularly desirable” (51A). Indeed, she matter-of-factly reports, in an address at Unity Hall in Minneapolis, that “I would have given my vote to Roosevelt at the last election, had I one to give” (54A). But she has no regrets that she does not possess the vote for two reasons: a kind of class anxiety and a circumscribed sense of woman’s work.

Her arguments are based on an elitism, as Sanford defines “worthy” and unworthy women (“In the present conditions I think the influence of the truest woman is equal to ten but with the granting of suffrage her vote will count only one as will that of the unworthy woman” 52A). In a lecture in Poughkeepsie, NY, Sanford summarized her position: “I held back from classing myself among the suffragists for the reason that I thought of the great danger of the illiterate vote” (87A). In a certain way, Sanford felt greater allegiance to her class than to her gender, and that resulted in an anxiety about universal suffrage.

And, Sanford’s arguments are rooted on a definition of women’s work. This line of argument was common to other women who were also anti-suffragettes, including children’s author Kate Douglas Wiggins. Sanford argues that

Woman is taking a prominent place in philanthropy, a widening out of her natural sphere. Her development of her children, her ability of cleanly housekeeping is widened to include a larger field. And it is proper. […] I would have the American woman devoting her highest energies in making homes. (52A-53A)

This definition of woman’s work does not take woman out of the public sphere, but instead creates for them a specific role within it:

Many of the evils of city government today are simply poor housekeeping on a larger scale and who is there so competent as the thrifty housewife, skilled by long experience in ferreting out the hiding places of dirt and disease, to search out and go to the bottom of dark corners and damp cellars where filth and vice and contagion lurk and flood them with light and cleanliness. (14A).

Sanford spread this light herself, lecturing on public policy toward the poor, municipal sanitation, and peace.

Sanford was working through her conflicting value sets, to be sure — a conservative streak in domestic policy issues, a certain class-based elitism, but a sense of a responsibility for civic action. Sanford’s sense of the scope of rhetoric as a field was complicated by her efforts to describe the importance of her own work in the public sphere. In a real sense, Sanford defined the rhetoric curriculum at the University of Minnesota by virtue of her powerful personality, rather than by the measures we appeal to today (the rhetorical tradition or the contours of a discipline).

After Sanford’s retirement, the department’s name changed to the “Department of Rhetoric and Public Speaking.” “Public Speaking” carried civic connotations that elocution did not at a state university. Some of the more idiosyncratic courses (for example, Sanford’s courses in art and the graduate course in criticism) are now absent from the curriculum. As the defining personalities who taught them retired, they slipped away from the curriculum.

The revised course offerings in Rhetoric and Public Speaking were divisible not only into general categories of written and oral communication, but also into a number of other categories:

The Rhetoric and Public Speaking curriculum was an innovative synthesis of writing and speaking of great variety, with at least a capstone experience in rhetoric that might integrate the two. If there was a chance that rhetorical studies might have been integrated into a single major curriculum, this might have been the moment, the institutional structure, that could have made it possible.

It was not meant to be. Discussions to merge the Department of Rhetoric & Public Speaking with the Department of English took place over a number of years; initially, the Department of English refused the possibility of such a merger. The Dean of the College of Science, Literature and the Arts outlined some of that history in a letter to professors Thomas and Stoll, for purposes of clarifying the final merger steps. According to the letter,

The staff of the Department of English refused to unite with the Department of Rhetoric and Public Speaking because they should be outnumbered and overpowered by the horde of instructors in Rhetoric who would, by their votes, compel the Professors of English to teach composition and would give themselves the courses in literature.{10}

It is unclear whether these fears were founded, or even whether this was the motivation for the proposed merger. The question is an important one, because it helps us parse out whether the shift in the major and the shift in the status of rhetoric were enacted upon the Rhetoric & Public Speaking faculty, or whether the Rhetoric & Public Speaking faculty were willing participants in the process.

By 1921, the freestanding Rhetoric & Public Speaking unit was dissolved; by 1937, the Public Speaking division within English split into the Department that would become Communication Studies. Rhetoric’s fragmentation into its oral and written components was cemented on the Minneapolis campus.

The Civic Tradition in an Interdisciplinary Field: Billie Wahlstrom and the Department of Rhetoric

Another possibility for the synthesis of rhetoric as a single discipline (encompassing the interdisciplinary nature of the written, the oral, and the civic dimensions of the field) persisted in the College of Agriculture. Rhetoric, in the context of the School and later College of Agriculture, was a broad term for a general education unit at the high-school and college levels. As such, its mission entailed offering courses in written and oral communication, the humanities and performing arts. For decades, the Department grew as the School grew into a College and the College grew into a diversity of academic programs.

General Course Offerings

By 1969, the College of Agriculture required undergraduate majors to take 9 credits of “Communication I-II-III,” a continuation of the Communications movement in the 1950s with “integrated assignments in reading, listening and speaking” as well as writing.{11} The Department of Rhetoric housed faculty trained in both composition and communication, and so was ideally positioned for this initiative. Beyond the “Communication” sequence, students in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CoAFES) programs were required to follow those courses with Rhetoric 22, “Public Speaking,” and/or Rhetoric 51, “Exposition.” This extended communication requirement was a product of the land grant mission of the College of Agriculture; that mission required the training of technical experts to communicate their expertise to the citizens of the state.

Rhetoric also offered introductory Humanities courses in the “Enlightenment,” the “Industrial Revolution,” and the “Age of Darwin,” in addition to traditional courses in literary history and genre. It offered advanced courses in communication: listening, technical writing, and discussion. It offered advanced Humanities courses in “Individualism,” in “Religion in American Thought and Experience,” in “Nationalism in American Thought and Experience.” It offered advanced writing and speaking courses for graduate students and for foreign exchange students.{12} This diversity of courses was the raw material for the STC major that was approved by the Regents in the 1970s.

Major Curriculum of the 1970s

When the Department of Rhetoric created its Technical Communication (later Scientific and Technical Communication [STC] major) in the 1970s, it couched the major in the language of business:

Technical Communication is defined as the application of modern communication techniques to the dissemination of technical knowledge in industry, business, education and government. The technical communicator develops the channels of communication that run from scientist and engineer to management and to the consumers of the products and services provided by technology. (College of Agriculture Catalog 1975-1977)

The Major was described in broad categories, including the liberal education categories, in the College Catalog. The table, below, summarizes the distribution, including liberal education courses, listed in quarter-system credits.

Technical Communication Major Requirements. Source: College of Agriculture Catalog 1975-1977.
Course AreaCredits Required
Communication, Language, Symbolic Systems 21 credits (16 in Rhetoric)
Physical and Biological Sciences 18 credits
Man and Society 16 credits (some of which could come from Rhetoric)
Artistic Expression 20 credits (some of which could come from Rhetoric)
Technical Communication, subdivided into
  • Writing & Editing
  • Media Communication
  • Graphic Communication
  • Organizational, Managerial and Training Communication
  • Communication Theory and Research
  • Oral Communication
60 credits (some of which could come from Rhetoric)
Technical Electives 20 credits
Other Electives 25 credits
Total: 180 credits

Notably, this major curriculum includes courses from other units, both at the general education level and technical electives and within the major; not all of the 60 credits were offered within the Department of Rhetoric.

Major Curriculum of the 1990s

By 2006, the Scientific and Technical Communication major included 46 semester credits entirely within the Department of Rhetoric. Whatever well-meaning efforts were made to reach out across disciplines in the STC program at its inception were undercut by the tendency to bring major program credits into the department which houses it. Rhetoric created course equivalents to courses formerly taken outside the department and added requirements to match new course offerings. See the table below for a summary of the major program requirements in 2006, listed in semester, rather than quarter, credits.

Scientific and Technical Communication [STC] Major Requirements. Source: Department of Rhetoric Webpage (, 2007.
Course Area Credits Required
Intro to STC 2 credits in Rhetoric
Written, Oral and Visual Communication 19 credits in Rhetoric
Theory and Research 11 credits in Rhetoric
Science, Technology and Society 6 credits in Rhetoric
Internship 3 credits in Rhetoric
Electives 5 credits in Rhetoric
Total: 46 major credits in Rhetoric

The STC major pulled more and more credits from the major into its own course offerings. Forty six semester credits are equivalent to 69 quarter credits — a net increase in major course requirements. Not only are more credits required, but all of those credits are captured within the Department of Rhetoric. And the BS in STC is disproportionately large in number of credits required, at any rate: for comparison, in 2007, the English BA required 35 credits; the History BA required 32. By increasing the total program credits to more than 130% of those in other majors and by restricting students to courses in the Department, Rhetoric’s colonization of the undergraduate student’s credit hours was very thorough.{13}

The creation of this curriculum is in part traceable to the context of the curriculum. The Department of Rhetoric is an unusual hybrid of the classical rhetorical tradition, with its civic imperative, and the land grant mission of the University of Minnesota. The classical tradition embraces rhetoric at the center of the liberal arts, mandating, then, that the Department of Rhetoric offer courses not only in effective communication but also in the humanities and liberal arts. It is true, and a source of consternation among budget-minded administrators, that the students enrolled in undergraduate majors in the College of Agriculture could have enrolled in courses in the College of Liberal Arts for their exposure to the humanities and liberal arts. After all, this is the arrangement that satisfies student requirements in engineering (enrolled in the Institute of Technology) and business (enrolled in the Carlson School of Management).

But these suggestions do not take into account the ways that the College of Agriculture internalized the land grant mission of the University. The goal is not merely a sampling of the humanities and a series of exercises in communication skill, but the development of a professional identity that integrates the liberal arts and effective communication into a responsible citizen-leader. In that sense, the Department of Rhetoric developed a curriculum that functions as an integrated part of a student’s training in technical fields of agriculture, rather than a tack-on to it. The integrated communication and liberal arts curriculum of the Department of Rhetoric models the synthesis of the classical rhetorical tradition and the land grant mission of the university.

The major begins, at least, with the same premise: it deeply integrates the rhetorical basis for communication skills and liberal education alongside a decidedly technical emphasis.

The visionary who carried that synthesis into the mature phases of the Department of Rhetoric’s curriculum was Billie Wahlstrom. Wahlstrom was rethinking rhetoric in the context of scientific and technical communication when she became Head of the Department of Rhetoric. In a key article in the Journal of Business and Technical Communication, George Meese and Wahlstrom argue that the predisciplinary state of the field yielded “programs which evidence virtually no appreciation of the problems and practices of actual technical communication” (21). But, unlike Sanford, whose vision of rhetoric was idiosyncratic and conflicted, Wahlstrom saw an opportunity to craft a discipline through the combination of research and curriculum.

Wahlstrom was herself trained in literature, and while that training certainly inflected her work, she moved beyond that training in an established field to create a new field. She did so in publications (including the key polemic in JBTC) and by modeling that field in the curriculum in the Department of Rhetoric.

Wahlstrom and Meese argue:

The best of the new programs offer more than instruction in writing, choosing to see technical communication as a broader field requiring training in visual and oral communication; skills associated with printing, graphic design, and publication management; information management; communications technologies; and often laboratory or production experiences in nonprint media, including video. (33)

This list of skills, experiences and attributes of the technical communicator is further described in their article.

It is clear that Wahlstrom’s impulses matched the extant undergraduate curriculum in the Department of Rhetoric. Wahlstrom’s hiring as head was a meeting of like minds. Where Wahlstrom made a difference was seeing that curriculum instituted at the doctoral level — fighting for a doctoral program whose interdisciplinarity was an argument against its existence, in times of tightening resources, and whose connection to the civic and humanistic components of the rhetorical tradition made it unlike any other doctoral program in the College of Agriculture. A doctoral program in technical writing would have avoided many of these conflicts, allowing the Department of Rhetoric to paint itself as applied research, like other agriculture programs, and to avoid apparent overlap with the College of Liberal Arts programs in English and Communication.

But Wahlstrom (and the Department whose will she represented) fought for a rhetorical program, and in part as a result of her efforts, that program was ranked nationally in doctoral programs in multiple fields (Communication Studies, Scientific and Technical Communication, and Composition). The undergraduate curriculum, for at least a few years, was offered across the state via interactive television and graduate certificates were offered online.

We can’t yet say how these programs will weather the change to the new Department of Writing Studies. The Department is under new leadership; it is unclear what programs will flower in the changing context.

Into the Twenty-first Century

The dissolution of the Department of Rhetoric, which began in Fall 2007, will lead to the relocation of the undergraduate programs (the BS in Scientific and Technical Communication, as well as four minors: in Technical Communication; in Internet, Science, and Society; in Land, Nature, and Environmental Values; and in Designing Documents with New and Emerging Technologies) to the College of Liberal Arts. And once again, a curricular shift is likely.

That curricular shift will be catalyzed, in part, by the addition of new faculty. Faculty from the former Department of Rhetoric will be joined by faculty from other units (including the composition faculty in the dismantled General College). New faculty will create new courses and new programs; they will no doubt inflect the current programs, as well.

Beyond those influences on curriculum, there is a larger issue. Programs are inevitably shaped by their contexts, and the Department of Rhetoric in the College of Agriculture was free to develop almost in a vacuum by virtue of its location in St. Paul.{14} The new context of the Department of Writing Studies in the College of Liberal Arts (located, therefore, in Minneapolis) may pose some challenges. For example, outside the College of Agriculture, the land grant mission of the university is diminished as a shaping force; how will the civic dimension of rhetoric be reinvented in this new context?

The Minneapolis “campus” of the University of Minnesota includes strong programs in Communication, in Design, in New Media, and in the History and Philosophy of Science. Undergraduate courses may shift from being courses offered within the department to becoming required courses in other departments.

The analysis of the dismantling of the Departments of Rhetoric, however, can offer some guidance to faculty in this program and others. Primarily, it invites us to rethink the role of the civic component of rhetoric (whether derived from its classical tradition or from idiosyncrasies like a land grant mission) in our curricula. And, it invites us to rethink the inherent interdisciplinarity of rhetorical majors. We need to rethink “rhetoric and composition” as “rhetoric and composition and oral communication and visual communication and information design and…” This comes with a variety of administrative and disciplinary turf challenges, and we must be prepared to address those challenges.

But most importantly, perhaps, by looking at the curricular shifts at the University of Minnesota and the personalities that shaped and fought for them, we can see the power of the individual to shape a curriculum. Energized with that lesson, we can begin to face the challenges ahead of us.


  1. It is my contention, supported only by anecdotal evidence, that rhetoric as an area of study develops differently at Normal Schools, which were established to prepare teachers, because the curriculum is not tied to the development of the K-12 curriculum outside the university. Normal Schools, for example, rarely develop freestanding departments of Rhetoric, instead compressing all things rhetorical into programs in English until a critical mass of faculty in a subject area can divide from the English faculty. In contrast, land grant schools like the University of Minnesota, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Iowa State University do develop freestanding (if sometimes short lived) programs in Rhetoric, affecting the way that Rhetoric is taught and researched at those schools. (Return to text.)
  2. The primary record of these challenges is recorded in the student newspaper, The Minnesota Daily. For example, on July 19, 1982, a Task Force on Communications Skills began to investigate the possibility of duplication in courses in Rhetoric, English, Speech-Communication and the open admissions unit called the General College. On August 18, 1982, the Daily reported that the committee decided to accept the status quo; this document is preserved in the Vertical File on “Composition” of the University of Minnesota archives. The correspondence of the University faculty (housed in the University archives in the departmental files for English) records even earlier attempts at merger, in that the English faculty inquired in 1944 about folding the faculty in Rhetoric in the School of Agriculture into the Department of English. In the records of the Office of the President at the University Archives (Box 45, #841), Professor Hillhouse of English corresponds with Dean McConnell and President Coffey about taking advantage of retirements in Rhetoric to fold that department into English. Dean Bailey, upon learning of these discussions, writes to object on October 16, 1944: he argues that Rhetoric offers courses in composition, “in English Literature, in speech, in dramatics” to university students in agricultural programs as well as courses open to high school students in the School of Agriculture, making it administratively too complex to simply collapse into English. This was the same argument made 25 years earlier by Dean Thatcher when asked about merging the Section of Rhetoric in the School of Agriculture with the newly merged Department of Rhetoric and Public Speaking and English in 1919 (recorded in a letter to President Burton, May 16th, 1919, from the Agriculture, Forestry and Home Economics files of the University of Minnesota archives, Box 8, #924). In each case, the Section or Department of Rhetoric in St. Paul was defended because its mission and course offerings were more complex than could be administered by a single department on the Minneapolis campus. (Return to text.)
  3. Note that Sanford would near retirement long before the National Council of Teachers of English and the National Association of Academic Teachers of Speech would ever be formed. The Modern Language Association had been largely uninterested in rhetoric since Fred Newton Scott failed to build interest in the area at the end of the nineteenth century. Scott’s efforts to measure interest in rhetoric are documented in W. E. Mead’s “The Graduate Study of Rhetoric.” (Return to text.)
  4. These courses are described in the Bulletin of the University of Minnesota, 1895-1897. (Return to text.)
  5. These courses are described in the Bulletin of the University of Minnesota, 1905-1906. (Return to text.)
  6. This course is only described in the Bulletin of the University of Minnesota, 1905-1906, so the status of graduate study in Rhetoric & Elocution is unclear. (Return to text.)
  7. Due to her influence and popularity, a statue of Maria Sanford resides in the National Statuary Hall Collection in Washington, D.C. Thanks to the staff at the archives of the University of Minnesota for bringing her to my attention. (Return to text.)
  8. All of the quotations from Sanford’s writings are from transcriptions of her lectures and writings collected in the first and only academic study of Sanford as a rhetorical figure, written by Maude Shapiro. (Return to text.)
  9. These courses are described in the Bulletin of the University of Minnesota, 1914-1915. (Return to text.)
  10. From the Agriculture, Forestry and Home Economics files of the University of Minnesota archives, Box 8, #924. (Return to text.)
  11. A similar freestanding Communication program was offered as an alternative to courses in English Composition on the Minneapolis campus. In 1981, Robin Brown and Don Ross proposed a merger of the English Composition staff and the Communication staff into a single academic unit. In Ross and Brown’s proposal, the Comm 1-001 (expository discourse), Comm 1-002 (persuasive discourse) and Comm 1-003 (mass media from the rhetorical perspective) sequence would be restructured such that a combination of Comm 1-001 and Comm 1-002 or Comm 1-001 and Comm 1-003 would be the equivalent of a single semester of Composition. Additionally, all teachers of the Communication courses would be trained alongside the Composition teaching assistants. These moves would efface the real intellectual differences between the programs and diminish enrollment in the Communication program, effectively signaling the end of the Communication program on the Minneapolis campus. The College of Agriculture always maintained its own liberal education requirements beyond the general university requirements, and so the Department of Rhetoric was immune to these twists and turns on the Minneapolis campus. (Return to text.)
  12. See the College of AFHE Catalog, 1969-1971. (Return to text.)
  13. By the 1980s, Rhetoric offered a Masters degree in STC; by the 1990s, an MA and PhD in “Rhetoric & STC” was offered. (Return to text.)
  14. Certainly, the undergraduate curriculum grew relatively freely; the doctoral program faced some friction because all doctoral programs, in both Minneapolis and St. Paul, were governed by the same graduate school administration. (Return to text.)

Works Cited

Meese, George P. E., and Billie J. Wahlstrom. “Designing Graduate Programs to Prepare the Communication Leaders of 2000 +.” Journal of Business and Technical Communication 2 (1988): 21-35.

Mead, W. E. “The Graduate Study of Rhetoric.” Proceedings of the Eighteenth Annual Meeting of the Modern Language Association of America, 1900. (1900): xix-xxxii.

Shapiro, Maude Shirley. “A Rhetorical Critical Analysis of Lecturing of Maria Louise Sanford.” Diss. University of Minnesota, 1959.

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