Leadership is a highly valued, yet always scarce resource in all areas requiring coordinated action: civil society, professional work, profit and non-profit venues, religious and social action contexts. Communication's Rhetorical Leadership certificate program prepares leaders with humanistic knowledge, skills and attitudes through five graduate courses. "Rhetorical Leadership and Ethics" covers rhetoric's role in and potential for responsible leadership in multiple arenas; it is informed by the long history of debate over the legitimacy of studying rhetoric as a means of promoting joint action. "Theories of Rhetorical Communication" introduces certificate students to the vast, nearly three milennia-long theoretical range of the rhetorical tradition. "Communication and Social Order" examines how existing institutions and values get established and "naturalized" using symbolic action and conversely how they can be challenged strategically through rhetoric. The more advanced "Rhetoric of Constituting Community and Social Controversy" addresses explicitly the rhetorical range available to leaders, whether their main goal is constituting communities or promoting change in ways that the existing decision-making channels cannot accommodate. "Argumentation in Theory and Practice" integrates argumentative theory and practice in ways that are useful for potential leaders; it involves some performance-based learning that requires students to test their preferred theory alternatives in action.
Applicants must have completed a bachelor's degree prior to admission, must have a minimum 2.75 cumulative undergraduate grade point average, and must declare their intent to pursue the certificate before completion of six credits in the certificate sequence. Applicants not already admitted to the Graduate School must complete the UW System online admission application.