Certificate / Concentration Program

Students of Rhetoric

Why Study 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.

Certificate or Concentration

The requirements of both the UWM Rhetorical Leadership Certificate and Concentration are identical. The two technical terms are used by the Graduate School to indicate whether the Rhetorical Leadership program was completed as a stand-alone credential (certificate) or as part of a degree sequence (concentration).

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

Read essays to learn more about Rhetorical Leadership.