Rhetorical Leadership

A rhetorical education prepares students with a theoretical framework, practical skills, and models for effective, ethical leadership in areas like public service, education, the non-profit sector, business, and social activism.

Leadership through rhetoric is vital for those with limited resources and formal authority who must rally others primarily through language and arguments. Rhetoric is a humanities-based academic specialty that focuses on making, evaluating, and improving arguments in practical, shared decision-making situations. Unlike public relations or management approaches to leadership, the discipline of rhetoric has a 2500-year tradition of motivating, teaching, and critically examining how symbols unite people for or against shared action.

Rhetorical Leadership Program graduates

  • are able to understand a shared problem from multiple viewpoints and help others do so as well
  • are able to flexibly apply theoretical tools to practical, contemporary challenges
  • are trained to analyze information critically and facilitate wise decision-making
  • are prepared to motivate and model effective participatory action, even in situations where they may not hold formal positions of authority
  • are aware that situations most requiring leadership are dynamic and often atypical
  • realize that controversy and community need not trade off in difficult situations
  • have resources to analyze and address complex public problems

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