Communications and Rhetoric (CORH) is a new program area offered in the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies (FCCS) at UBC Okanagan. The courses offered in this area are designed to enable students in all programs to best express their ideas and expertise in their academic discipline and in their chosen professions. Communication and rhetoric is not just about composition, but about a broad range of skills that are valuable in any field of study – the sciences, social sciences, business and management, arts and humanities, engineering, health sciences, and media studies.
Communications is vital for talking about pressing social issues, and for thinking about how certain stories, ideas, and perspectives are shared. Rhetoric is embedded in every act of communication through the purpose and persuasive strategy that we weave into our verbal, non-verbal, and creative acts, explains English professor, Aisha Ravindran.
“Whether at university, in your personal life, or at your place of work, the ability to communicate well places you at an advantage.” She says, “Being aware of how language is used to persuade, and using it strategically and ethically to achieve your objectives, can make you more productive, confident, and highly respected as an efficient communicator.”
Communication skills are in-demand by employers and a key outcome for the BA degree at UBC Okanagan. Feedback from the community and employers in a variety of fields has shown that the ability to communicate through different means is seen as a valuable asset. Today, we see how important it is to communicate your ideas in written or oral form or using different media so that a message has a positive impact on the receiver of the message.
“Students will gain skills that benefit them personally in being able to talk to and persuade others more effectively and will also benefit in terms of increased employability,” notes Jordan Stouck Associate Dean in FCCS.
Starting in the fall of 2020, students can take one of three CORH courses as electives within their programs in the BA, or as credits to fulfill the English or Communications requirement for BSc students, depending on the specific program. In these courses, they will broaden their skills to communicate their ideas effectively, so their ideas have the impact they deserve. Students will bring in their knowledge from different programs and fields of study so there is shared understanding that will strengthen the ability of students to communicate with ease in different contexts.
Future Degree Options
With assistance from the ALT Fund, an advisory team is developing a full certificate and minor in Communications and Rhetoric. The development of this area is a critical step for UBC Okanagan students to become aware of their own identity, disciplinary cultures of learning, and apply this knowledge for improved communication in their future professions.
The team that includes Drs. Aisha Ravindran, Jordan Stouck, Marie Loughlin, and Anita Chaudhuri, supported by fourteen members from other faculties on campus, are working on curriculum development for the certificate and the minor.
The 15-credit Certificate structure contains four thematic interdisciplinary clusters, with the learning outcomes for each cluster of courses focusing on a specific conceptual aspect of communications, and a final capstone project. The course design will have an experiential learning focus, and the program will have a final capstone to combine different disciplinary strands in a research-centric collaborative project.
The 30-credit Minor will align with the communications needs of students across the disciplines with a suite of 10 courses that will combine communication skills with discipline-specific content, and broader interdisciplinary and professional applicability in real-world contexts.
The program advisory team includes faculty from the Faculty of Creative & Critical Studies, Faculty of Health and Social Development, Faculty of Management, Irving K. Barber Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Irving K. Barber Faculty of Science, Okanagan School of Education, School of Engineering and the UBC Okanagan Library.
The anticipated launch for the Credit Certificate is Fall 2021, and Fall 2023 for the Minor.