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Communication Studies Graduate Program

Role of GTAs

Courses Taught by Graduate Teaching Assistants

Most Graduate Teaching Assistants are assigned to teach courses satisfying the Oral Communication Requirement. Occasionally, assistant instructors with appropriate credentials can asked to teach:

130 Fundamentals of Speech: Speaker-Audience Communication (3)
150 Personal Communication (3)
230 Fundamentals of Debate (3)
330 Effective Business Communication (3)
331 Persuasive Speaking (3)
*Other courses may be added to this list as the needs of the Department dictate.

Nature of the Oral Communication Fundamentals Program

All bachelor degree candidates in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences are required to satisfy an Oral Communication Requirement, pass an exemption examination, or be exempted on the basis of high school speech training. Several other degree programs also require their students to enroll in these courses.

The extensiveness of the Oral Communication Requirement provides the department of Communication Studies with both significant opportunities and obligations. From the standpoint of Graduate Teaching Assistants, the most opportunity, perhaps, is for the financial support which accrues from teaching. An equally important obligation, however, (sometimes less evident to the new Graduate Teaching Assistants) concerns the program's obligation to provide the kind of education expected by those colleges and degree programs requiring the courses. The courses, therefore, should properly be viewed as a service to the University.

In order to fulfill the service function of the Fundamentals courses, the various sections of the courses must be conducted with a considerable degree of uniformity. In other words, the courses syllabuses must be followed as they have been devised by the Director and Assistant Directors of the Fundamentals Program.

Enrollment in COMS 930

Each Graduate Teaching Assistant during the first semester of teaching is required to enroll in the section of 930 entitled "Seminar in Teaching Oral Communication." The class meets weekly and carries two hours of credit. Its purpose is to provide the assistant instructor with additional insight and expertise in the teaching fundamentals of oral communication generally, and, in particular, the program as it is conducted at the University of Kansas.

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