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Communication Skills

Ideas and experiences must be communicated if they are to be shared, scrutinized, and transformed into effective knowledge. Toward these ends, the faculty expects each student to develop skills in expository writing, oral communication, and foreign language.

Expository Writing (COM1)

Required only for students entering Richmond prior to Fall 2010.

As regards expository writing, or basic composition, the faculty assumes that all entering students have a certain level of technical competence, but scholarly work at the collegiate level demands that a student's writing be not only technically correct but also purposeful and effective. For this reason, the basic course that satisfies this requirement-English 103-is essentially a course in critical thinking, in which writing skills are developed as a tool for thought and communication. Although some students are exempted from this course on the basis of certain test scores, the majority of incoming students still satisfy this requirement through taking and passing English 103. In addition to this course, the faculty has begun to implement a writing program that will help to enhance the expository writing skills of many University students beyond the minimum level set by this requirement.

Oral Communication

Oral communication is another skill that is essential for education and life. Students should be able to speak so that their ideas are expressed logically, lucidly, and effectively, and they should be able to provide relevant evidence whenever appropriate. In addition, students should be able to analyze the spoken discourse of others. The general education curriculum at the University of Richmond assists students in these regards by immediately immersing them into frequent and intensive oral exchanges and presentations in the First Year Core Course, and by offering relevant courses, such as Rhetoric and Communication Studies 101, through the Department of Rhetoric and Communication Studies. In addition, many faculty and departments have been increasing the oral communication components in their courses and seminars, with the goal of enhancing this fundamental skill. Their efforts are assisted by the University's Speech Center. There is no required course that students must take to fulfill this portion of their general education.

Foreign Language (COM2)

Foreign language has become more and more important as the world for which students are preparing themselves has placed increasing demands upon them to understand the national and cultural perspectives of other language groups. The knowledge of a foreign language is critical for achieving such understanding as well as for exposing the learner to other cultures, in ancient or contemporary guise, that he or she may encounter after graduation. For these reasons, the faculty expects all students to demonstrate functional ability in listening, speaking, reading, and writing in a modern foreign language or in reading and writing in a classical language. These abilities are appraised either at entrance or through introductory and intermediate courses.