Testimonials

Marion Artner, Manager - Engineering Implementation, AT&T
Deborah Blanks, CEO, Social Development Commission, UWM Urban Studies PhD Student
Angela McGowan, Campaign Manager, Jeremy Miller Campaign for Minnesota State Senate and PhD Student at University of Southern Mississippi
Emily Lenard, Senior Account Executive, Hanson Dodge Creative
Anne Davis, Website Organizer
Pi-Ching Chang, Language Consultant, Columbia Consulting Company in Taichung, Taiwan
J. Alex Wright, Marketing Manger, Badger Liquor Company
Bekki Willems-Solc, RL Graduate
Ed Wills, VP and Senior Consultant, Marshall & Ilsley Corporation
Patricia Luebke, Principal, Wauwatosa West High School
James Draeger, Textbook Buyer, Waukesha County Technical College
Chad Gobert, Online Training Specialist for UMass Boston
Colleen Simmons, Business Analyst, Medical College of Wisconsin
Erin Rodriquez Martell, Equal Opportunity Assistant, Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs
Debra Hall, Associate Lecturer, UW-Parkside
Mridula Mascarenhas, Assistant Professor of Communication, Hanover College
Victoria Opalewski, High School English and Speech Teacher
Robert Kraig, Executive Director, Citizen Action of Wisconsin
Brian Rothgery, Labor Organizer and Political Consultant
Christina Bauer, Marketing Communications Specialist, Johnson Controls


“I appreciate the real life application of Rhetorical Leadership. I even brought to work one day Professor Olson’s article on the AirTran takeover as I was explaining what I had learned in class (Communication 772, “Rhetorical Leadership and Ethics”) when we covered that area. I thought this paper was so well written I wanted to share it with my work colleagues.

"My Rhetorical Leadership coursework has provided me with the effective tools that I can apply not only in my career but in everyday life. There are situations that arise where you may not be in a leadership role however with the appropriate use of symbols and the framing of a discourse you can inspire and motivate an audience far more than command and control can achieve. I learned so many different things that I can't even name them all off the top of my head. However, they are there ready to be retrieved as needed. I have found that when I hear a speech or someone discussing an issue, either at work or in general, it automatically triggers many of the principles or areas we covered from the program.”

Marion Artner
Manager - Engineering Implementation
AT&T


"Rhetorical Leadership engaged me in an amazing discovery of the theory and use of language as a powerful and persuasive tool! The lessons learned enhanced my rhetorical and analytical skills; this is invaluable to me in the classroom and workplace."

Deborah Blanks
CEO, Social Development Commission
UWM Urban Studies PhD Student


“As a political campaign manager, I must look out for what's in the best interest of the candidate. This is best achieved through helping him (or her) enact ethical rhetoric through conducting a detailed audience analysis, assessing speaker intent, and utilizing available means of persuasion. I enjoy helping the candidate analyze a problem and craft a message that in turn motivates a group of individuals to take action and modify a problem. These are all skills I honed through my Rhetorical Leadership studies.”

Angela McGowan
Campaign Manager, Jeremy Miller Campaign for Minnesota State Senate
PhD Student, University of Southern Mississippi


“The Rhetorical Leadership program met both my academic and professional development goals. The challenging classes and professors made me a better critical thinker, writer, and overall better communicator. Being able to analyze communication from all sides has proven invaluable to me in the public relations and social media fields. A sincere thank you to Dr. Kathryn Olson, Dr. John Jordan, and Dr. Bill Keith for enriching my mind in the classroom and beyond.”

Emily Lenard
Senior Account Executive
Hanson Dodge Creative

"Ironically, the most salient take-away I have experienced as a result of my work toward the Rhetorical Leadership Certificate is an improved position as listener or audience member. Growing up with two lawyers for parents, I’ve never been shy about arguing for my views or making my voice heard, but this emphasis has helped me become more circumspect. Well-rounded attention cannot be taught; it can only be cultivated and rhetorical leadership training has helped me to improve this ability. I can more effectively examine discourses in all areas, from movies to politics to interpersonal discussions. The beauty of this emphasis is no t the concrete skill set I provides as much as the improved capacity to identify and take advantage of connections between all other sets of skills. So, while at this point I don’t know what my next step will be, I have no doubt that my work in the Rhetorical Leadership Certificate will be beneficial."

Anne Davis
Website Organizer

"I LOVE my job right now, mainly because I can speak English every day. President Obama's back-to-school speech is another masterpiece talking about responsibility for oneself and even for a country! This reminds me of what we had in our class. Thank you very much for those interesting, inspiring courses!"

Pi-Ching Chang
Language Consultant
Columbia Consulting Company
Taichung, Taiwan

"I am working as the Marketing Manager at the largest liquor distributor in the state. My duties present rhetorical challenges as I negotiate the terms of promotional events and sourcing of materials on a daily basis. My training proves invaluable as public address and personal accountability lie at the heart of my job description. On the side, I am exploring entrepreneurial opportunities in the Renewable Energy sector. The Rhetorical Leadership training will be pivotal in turning my technical certification on renewable energy into contracts. From providing assessment to landing federal grants to installing energy-producing technology, there will be no shortage of communicative exchanges among an assortment of different parties. In these and other ways, I really feel as though my training will continue to deliver moving forward on any venture I embark on. So, for that I owe you a big thanks."

J. Alex Wright
Marketing Manger
Badger Liquor Company

"Often times, one wants to change the world to make it a better place. The Rhetorical Leadership courses give one the tools to do so. Through the study of social movements and argumentation, one is able to better understand how to propel social change and build community. I am hoping to find my niche in that."

Bekki Willems-Solc
RL Graduate

"Although my original intent in taking the course 'Communication and Social Order' was to help me in my professional role as a management consultant, I was surprised at the additional personal benefits I gained from the course content. Similar to how an art appreciation course teaches you how to understand art, this course taught me how to take a more active role in viewing the wide variety of communications (from stand-up comics to formal presentations) I encounter in my personal life. I am now a more active -- more involved audience member and a stronger advocate for social inequities that need to be addressed."

Ed Wills
Vice President
Senior Consultant
M&I Talent Development
Marshall & Ilsley Corporation


"As a student new to the formal study of communication, Rhetorical Leadership and Ethics opened up a new world in the way I view and analyze communication. As a high school principal, I find the critical analysis skills that I learned assist me to more carefully construct my messages as I communicate with staff members, students, colleagues and the public. This course stretched my own critical thinking abilities, and I've been recommending it to others in the Urban Education doctoral program. The study of communication is a natural companion to my studies in educational administration, and this course brings a unique dimension to the study of leadership and ethics."

Patricia Luebke
Principal
Wauwatosa West High School


"I use the lessons learned from your classes [like Bitzer's rhetorical situation] daily. Thank you . . . Turns out that the paper I wrote for 772 [on linking labor and the peace movement] paid off. I would not be where I am today without your guidance. Many thanks."

James Draeger
Textbook Buyer
Waukesha County Technical College


"As a person now in a leadership position with training responsibilities, I appreciate how Rhetorical Leadership and Ethics taught me important ways to reach an audience, including how to generate and maintain credibility of character when communicating through greater understanding of the positions of other leaders."

Chad Gobert
Online Training Specialist
UMass Boston


"Argumentation in Theory and Practice provided me with the vocabulary necessary, to not only point out illogical arguments, but explain why someone's logic is flawed. My daily arguments have become more fruitful and less likely to develop into conflict. . . . This course forced me to evaluate my own values and value hierarchies and subsequently changed how I judge the values and arguments of others."

Colleen Simmons
Business Analyst
Medical College of Wisconsin


"The RL Certificate program has provided me with a great range of knowledge about rhetoric. Students can gain a theoretical background in the field as well as a practical one. Regardless of one's future career plans, these courses offer valuable insights into the role of communication in our society. The program prepares students for many rhetorical roles, emphasizing critical listening and cooperation as well as ethical leadership."

Erin Rodriquez Martell
Equal Opportunity Assistant
Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs


"Kathryn: An excellent article on rhetoric and the program in UWM's Journal of Letters and Science ["Study of Rhetoric Is a Study in Hope," College of Letters and Science Review, 2005-6]. I learned so much about writing from your classes that I have been telling some of my students about the program. So you may see more students in the Rhetoric certificate program. It is powerful to gain the skills that can change events!"

Debra Hall
Associate Lecturer
UW-Parkside


"I think Communication and Social Order provided me three really valuable frameworks from which to understand social life. Being able to see value hierarchies, enthymemes and epideictic at work in social movements was extremely empowering, because now such occurrences are no longer random events to me. Rather I am encouraged to peek beneath the surface . . . "

Mridula Mascarenhas
Assistant Professor of Communication
Hanover College


"After taking Rhetorical Leadership and Ethics, I am much more conscious of the speaker's intent and strategies. As a high school speech teacher, I try to focus on critical thinking skills with my students. I honestly can't think of a better exercise than having them try to decipher why a speaker chooses to convey the message in a given way and, even more importantly, why it worked. Now I have a better basis for leading them through this type of critical exercise."

Victoria Opalewski
High School English and Speech Teacher


"Over the last several years the 'rhetorical turn' in academic thought has started to have a major influence on social movements. Advocates for social change across the whole spectrum of issues are focusing more than ever before on the importance of 'framing' and 'message,' and large number of think tanks, trainings, and publications are have been dedicated to this topic. Although not all of these message framing initiatives are fully conscious of it, they are actually working on themes that have a rich history in the rhetorical tradition. Within this increasingly rhetorical context, the deep training offered by the UWM Rhetorical Leadership Program is more valuable and relevant than ever before."

On Friday, December 26, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published a Feature Story on Robert Kraig. The link to "Finding Inspiration Through Activism" is www.jsonline.com/business/36732514.html

Robert Kraig Receives the Families USA Consumer Health Advocate of the Year Award. Read WISPolitics.Com aritcle at http://citizenactionwi.org/images/ stories/Press_Releases/pr% 20families%20award%20health% 20advocate%20of%20the%20year%202-2-09.pdf

"In the trenches: Q&A with health care activist Robert Kraig." Read The Capital Times article at http://www.madison.com/tct/news/stories/437730

Robert Kraig
Executive Director
Citizen Action of Wisconsin

"I'm so happy I went through the Rhetorical Leadership program. It's given me exactly what I wanted: better skills as a persuasive writer and speaker. I don't think theoretically all the time, but the fundamentals are pretty deeply ingrained. Someday I hope I can focus on getting back into the theory and maybe publishing on conflict, public protests and argumentation. I just want you to know how much I value the education I got from the rhetoric faculty."

Brian Rothgery
Labor Organizer and Political Consultant


"The skills learned while earning the Rhetorical Leadership certificate have helped me in various ways since graduation. An intern in the marketing communications department at Johnson Controls when I graduated, I have since been hired on into a full time position as marketing communications specialist. Having this certificate gave me an edge for both of these positions, as writing was and still is a strong requirement for our department. Additionally, the knowledge of rhetoric in communication, and understanding how to make it work for me, helped in positioning myself as the intern they desired, and then later securing full-time employment. The projects I’m given also rely heavily on my rhetorical leadership skills – from writing, to project management, to critical thinking, and even to making connections with outside vendors to aid in a project’s physical completion. Furthermore, the way I compose myself with co-workers stems largely from what I learned in rhetorical leadership courses. I listen intently, accept and understand their way of doing things, and when appropriate, explain and apply my own techniques, adding to the bigger picture of our department, our goals, and the company as a whole. My rhetorical leadership got me this position, and has since guided me through all aspects of day-to-day work."

Christina Bauer
Marketing Communications Specialist
Johnson Controls