Department of CommunicationSpeech Communication is one of the oldest and one of the newest academic disciplines.
Its roots go back to ancient Greece, when rhetoric -- the study of discovering and using "the available means of persuasion" -- was an important part of the citizenry's education.
Interest in the study of rhetoric--including public address, argumentation, and persuasion--was renewed early in the 20th century and has continued to this day.
In the 20th century four major areas are included in the speech discipline, each of which focuses on unique characteristics of particular situations.
- Interpersonal communication includes the study of symbolic behavior in dyadic, two person, relationships.
- Group communication concentrates on the small group of three to seven persons.
- Organizational communication examines the effects that organizational structure and membership have on human communication
- Rhetoric and public address is the study of discourse and its role in shaping public perceptions and practices.
All areas emphasize effective oral and written communication.