Speech Matters Courses

Curriculum Overview

All participating students will take the five Speech Matters courses, with opportunities for students to pursue individual interests during the practicum, in particular. This integrated, full-semester approach to the curriculum, allows faculty and students to dive into co-created learning. 


Reframing the Criminal Justice Discourse: 4 credits

Professor: Meg Mott and Nelli Sargsyan

This core class for Speech Matters looks at how the current discourse about crime, criminality, and punishment restricts our ability to think creatively about criminal justice reform. We'll observe how neighborhoods protect themselves from "the criminal element," how politicians campaign on "law and order," and how superintendents of correctional facilities strategically advocate for reform. Using the methods of anthropology and the concepts of social and political theory, we'll consider explanations for why we treat people who have served time as if they have nothing to offer. We'll also consider other ways of framing crime and punishment that focus more on community health than on the actions of individuals.

Rhetoric and Debate: 4 credits

Professor: Meg Mott

Audiences are persuaded not just by what we say but how we say it. Using debating strategies, argumentative topics, and theater techniques, this practicum provides students with an opportunity to stand behind their words even when the targeted audience strongly disagrees.

Professional Practicum: 4 credits 

Professor: Meg Mott, with workshop leaders and professional mentors 

This class provides credit for attendance at all lectures during the fall semester for Speech Matters, for the trips to Montpelier, New Haven, New York City, and The Netherlands, and for participating in public forums. Friday afternoon lectures will take place at Marlboro Graduate and Professional School at 4:00 PM.