Overview for Analytic and Expressive Communication Immersion
Employers show a preference for effective communicators with strong analytic or logical reasoning skills. An immersion in analytic and expressive communication provides you with the opportunity to develop both oral and written communication abilities grounded in reasoned argument, which in turn contributes to your individual confidence and empathetic thinking. Courses in this immersion may rely in part upon great or transformative texts selected for their relevance for learning rhetoric, argument, critical thinking, and/or ethics, and have the option to incorporate activities in RIT’s Expressive Communication Center.
The public speaking course is designed to equip the student with knowledge of the theories and principles necessary for formal public speaking. Informative and persuasive speeches are the focus with emphasis on organization, evidence, language use, strategy, delivery, and effective use of media aids. Public speaking is generally offered each semester. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
Choose one of the following*:
Introduction to Moral Issues
This course examines ethical questions that arise in the course of day-to-day individual and social life. Some consideration will be given to ethical theory and its application to such questions, but emphasis will be on basic moral questions and practical issues. Examples of typical issues to be examined are: What are the grounds for moral obligations like keeping promises or obeying the law? How do we reason about what to do? Examples of typical moral issues that may be introduced are capital punishment, euthanasia, abortion, corporate responsibility, the treatment of animals, and so forth. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
The purpose of this course is to improve everyday reasoning skills. Critical thinking means evaluating the reasons for our actions and beliefs. Ideally, we think our actions are rational, not arbitrary. But one does not have to look far to discover disagreement and apparent irrationality. What accounts for this? This course investigates how to argue effectively, how to evaluate evidence and reasons, and how to marshal good evidence and reasons in order to arrive at reliable knowledge and justified action. It covers common mistakes that people make in causal, statistical, moral, and everyday reasoning, and it teaches how and when it pays to be skeptical, reflective, and critical. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
Philosophy of Religion
This course will examine critically definitions, assumptions, and arguments central to religion. Topics may include interpreting the nature of religion, arguments for and against the existence of God, the relation between theology and philosophy, the relation between God and the world, paganism, the problem of evil, and the nature of religious language and experience. Lecture 3 (Fall).
Philosophy of Law
An introduction to philosophical analysis centering on the nature, extent and justification of law, the nature of legal thought, and the problems and theories of justice and the relationship between law, ethics and morality. Lecture 3 (Spring).
Philosophy of Peace
An introduction to some of the philosophical dimensions of the search for world peace, including the elements that would constitute a just and lasting peace, nations as moral entities, justice and national self-interest, force and violence, the morality of the use of force, peace-making and peace-keeping groups. Lecture 3 (Spring).
This course critically examines ethical issues that arise in professional life. The course will examine not only the general relationship between ethics and professional life but the particular consequences of ethical considerations within the student's own profession and the professions of others with whom the student must live and work. Lecture 3 (Fall).
Philosophy of Technology
Technology is a ubiquitous and defining force in our world. This course investigates how our conceptions of technology have emerged within philosophy, as well as the role technology plays in shaping how we live and how we reflect upon questions of meaning and value in life. Technological modes of understanding, organizing and transforming the world shape our relationships with others, with ourselves and with nature at fundamental levels. We will explore how these modes have emerged and why they emerged so predominantly within a Western social and intellectual context. Lecture 3 (Fall).
What we do is connected to what we know. Acting well depends on appropriate evaluation of perception, logic, and evidence, and acting on our beliefs commits us to various ethical outcomes. In addition, understanding how our minds work and how we produce knowledge in teams and institutions can improve the reliability of what we know and can assist us in achieving ethical goals. This course develops advanced critical thinking skills and investigates how knowledge claims and value claims interact in order to shed light on the conditions that make responsible knowing possible. We will study how we produce responsible knowledge individually and collectively: from how we make ethically rational choices in our own lives to how society directs research priorities in science and technology. Topics may include: rational decision-making, cognitive bias, moral psychology, social epistemology, epistemic, and ethical relativism, risk and uncertainty, research integrity, and values in science. Lecture 3 (Spring).
Bioethics and Society
This course introduces students to some of the ethical considerations and problems that arise in the context of medical practice, biological science, health care policy, and related research. Issues that may be covered include: abortion; stem cell research; human cloning; euthanasia; informed consent; human organ procurement; health care allocation and how it is approached in various countries; bioethical concerns arising from human caused climate change and other environmental issues impacting public health concerns around the globe. Students will become familiar with the concepts and principles of bioethics while engaging with case studies and related media.
Part of the philosophy immersion, the ethics immersion, the global justice immersion, the philosophy minor, the ethics minor, and the philosophy major. May also be taken to fulfill the ethical perspective, the global perspective, or as an elective. Lecture 3 (Spring).
Social and Political Philosophy
An examination of some of the main problems of social and political philosophy through an analysis, comparison and critical examination of various views concerning the natures of individuality and society and the relations between them. (Prerequisites: Completion of one (1) course in any of the following disciplines: PHIL, POLS, SOCI, or CRIM.) Lecture 3 (Fall).
Critical Social Theory
Introduces students to models of cultural critique that arose in pre-war Germany and that have burgeoned in our contemporary aesthetic and philosophical practices. These models combine philosophical, aesthetic, economic and psychoanalytic methods of analysis. Among the topics considered are alienation and reification, hegemony or false consciousness, trauma, fetishism, the authoritarian personality and state, advertising and modern technology, and the relative autonomy of art. (Prerequisites: Completion of one course in philosophy is required.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
Philosophy of Language
This course examines how philosophers and others have understood the nature of language. It explores the classical philosophical contexts in metaphysics, epistemology, aesthetics and rhetoric in which concerns about the nature of language arose. In addition, the course focuses on recent debates, within both contemporary analytic and continental traditions of philosophy. Some likely areas of inquiry will be: theories of reference, description and naming; theories of meaning, metaphor and narrative; functionalist, pragmatist and naturalist accounts; structuralist, post-structuralist, and hermeneutic accounts, among others. The prominence of one or the other of these debates and approaches will vary. (Prerequisites: Completion of one course in philosophy is required.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
This course examines the theoretical basis of ethics and morality, namely the theoretical commitments that enter into any judgment that a particular action is right or wrong, with special emphasis on a particular thinker or theoretical approach. Topics may include different ways of understanding the concepts of right and wrong; the existence or non-existence of moral facts; different criteria of moral actions; different conceptions of the good life. (Prerequisites: Completion of one course in philosophy is required.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
Choose one of the following :
Introduction to Technical Communication
This course introduces students to current best practices in written and visual technical communication including writing effective email, short and long technical reports and presentations, developing instructional material, and learning the principles and practices of ethical technical communication. Course activities focus on engineering and scientific technical documents. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
An introduction to communication contexts and processes emphasizing both conceptual and practical dimensions. Participants engage in public speaking, small group problem solving and leadership, and writing exercises while acquiring theoretical background appropriate to understanding these skills. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
Community Journalism emphasizes the local aspects of news, and teaches students how to identify “community” beyond a region and a neighborhood. A co-taught course with Photojournalism faculty in the College of Art and Design, Community Journalism sharpens students’ reporting skills, and guides them in constructing a reporting project as a complete journalistic package, with visual, artistic and written storytelling components in concert with each other. The final project will be a reported (written) piece with corresponding photographs and multimedia. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
Communication for Social Change
The course introduces students to the role of communication, information, and media in social change messaging, particularly in the areas of activism and public advocacy. It takes a critical approach toward understanding the role of communication and communication technologies in the creation and dissemination of messages geared towards social change in a variety of mediated contexts. Students will review relevant theoretical frameworks that commonly inform the study and practice of activism and public advocacy, as well as analyze specific examples and case studies contemporarily, as well as select examples at moments of profound activism since the Civil Rights era of the 20th Century. Students will analyze various forms of activism and examine the role of communication in each. Finally, through the design of a social change communication campaign proposal, students will apply strategic communication approaches that will respond to a social issue that may be local, national or global. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
Rhetoric of Race Relations
Rhetoric of Race Relations examines the history of the struggle for freedom and equality for blacks in American society. This course traces the history and rhetoric of key spokespersons from the pre-Civil War period to the 20th century as evidenced in texts of selected public speeches and reactions to them. Lecture 3 (Fall or Spring).
Communication Law and Ethics
This course examines major principles and trends in communication law. The course analyzes a broad range of issues related to the First Amendment, intellectual property, and media regulation. Special attention is paid to discussing the major ethical perspectives and issues surrounding contemporary communication behavior. Lecture 3 (Spring).
Communication, Gender and Media
This course examines the relationship between gender and media communication with specific attention to how gender affects choices in mass media and social media practices. Students explore how gender, sexual orientation, sexuality and social roles, affect media coverage, portrayals, production and reception. They consider issues of authorship, spectatorship (audience), and the ways in which various media content (film, television, print journalism, advertising, social media) enables, facilitates, and challenges these social constructions in society. The course covers communication theories and scholarship as it applies to gender and media, methods of media analysis, and topics of current interest. Lecture 3 (Fall).
Grand Challenges: Clean Water
We face grand challenges in the 21st century that will test our collective intelligence and resourcefulness — global change, new diseases, the need for access to clean water, technological developments that are changing us and our relation to the world. We have the opportunity to transform our future through innovation and leadership, but we need to improve our critical thinking, innovate towards possible solutions, and work across disciplines to meet these common challenges. This course is therefore open to all students with the curiosity, imagination, and commitment to meet such challenges. We need engineers, scientists, public policy specialists, and humanists — individuals from every field of study and endeavor –– to contribute to global efforts to meet these challenges.
One of the most important challenges of our time — and one identified by the National Academy of Engineers as among fourteen Grand Challenges— is that of providing access to clean water to people across the globe. This course focuses on this grand challenge though interdisciplinary links between the liberal arts and engineering. Students will work in teams to analyze the scope of the clean water problem, examine real case studies, trouble shoot observed problems, and propose alternative solutions. Given the social and cultural contexts within which the need for clean water access arises, this course encourages students to think holistically about sustainable solutions rather than narrowly about the technical quick fix. (Prerequisites: This class is restricted to students with 1st or 2nd year standing.) Lecture 3 (Fall).
Writing, Public Speaking and Civic Engagement
Civic engagement describes the different ways individuals and collectives work to identify public concerns, defend or redefine public values, seek to correct historical injustices, and make positive change for the common good or a specific community. In this course, students will gain an understanding of key concepts and vocabulary within interdisciplinary civic engagement and social justice literature, engage a variety of contemporary issues of public concern and the groups that seek to address these issues through different forms of civic engagement, and learn about the role rhetoric plays within these diverse and situated civic contexts. Students will identify a public concern (i.e. homelessness, voting restrictions, health care disparities, environmental racism, economic inequality, the school-to-prison pipeline) they want to learn more about; identify a group or groups seeking to address that issue through practices of civic engagement; and analyze, research, and present on that issue and group through formal and informal writing and public speaking/presentation assignments. Students will learn tools and perspectives in rhetorical analysis and genre awareness, effective writing practices for a college-level humanities course, effective public speaking/presentation skills, and revision and workshopping strategies for both writing and presentation contexts. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
Gender and Contemporary Art
This course traces the historical development of women’s activism in the art world from the 1970s to the present. We will interpret how this art activism, which artists and scholars alike have referred to as the feminist art movement, has examined how gender informs the ways art is made, viewed, conceptualized in history and theory, and exhibited in museums and visual culture, in a range of cultural contexts. We will also analyze how current artists, critics, and curators continue to build on this history, in particular how they use the concept of gender intersectionality to develop a variety of new creative practices, theories, modes of exhibition and social engagement. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
* Students may only count one 100-level course toward their immersion
† Students must take public speaking, one philosophy class and one 300-level or above class