Skip to main content


Rhetoric is intended to provide an appreciation of the role of rhetoric in the creation and maintenance of human understanding; to promote exploration of the role of the symbol in the human condition; to foster an understanding of the role of communication media in contemporary society; and to enhance the ability to critique all forms of human communication. The Rhetoric Department works toward these ends in the context of a liberal arts environment.

Our department is located on the beautiful and vibrant Willamette campus, surrounded by trees, a tranquil stream, historic buildings, and a exciting garden of award-winning roses, yet only across the street from the resources and vitality of the Oregon State Capitol and legislative offices. Housed in the College of Arts & Sciences, the Rhetoric department serves the educational needs of undergraduate students and the general university community through our teaching, research, and service missions. We are committed to academic excellence.

Our faculty and students explore the theoretical, historical, ethical, and cultural dimensions of public discourse, in such areas as gender, media framing, history, religion, metaphor, politics, public policy, technology, and public moral argument. In the best tradition of a liberal arts education we sustain a rigorous connection to ancient classical rhetoric and other liberal arts disciplines while combining leading edge research and teaching into contemporary public discourse and new media technologies. Our Department offers a comprehensive set of courses that students in many disciplines, including law, history, politics, psychology, anthropology, English, and the sciences find valuable to their specific course of study.

The department sponsors an active Forensics program for students interested in intercollegiate debate and speaking. Work and competition is under the guidance of the Director of Forensics and several forensic assistants.

We invite you to learn more about the Rhetoric department and its academic programs by exploring our web site. If you can't find what you need here, please contact us. We would be happy to assist you.

Willamette University


Willamette University
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.
503-370-6138 voice
503-370-6720 fax