South Dakota State University. Department of Communication Studies and Theater

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South Dakota State University. Department of Communication Studies and Theater

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Speech courses have always been a part of the South Dakota State University curriculum. In the earliest years, the preparatory department offered courses in public speaking to high school students, and the English Department offered courses in public speaking and rhetoric, including elocution and oral reading. Through the years, various other departments took responsibility for the public speaking courses, including the Elocution and Physical Culture Department, the Public Speaking Department, and the English Department. A Speech Department first appeared in the 1924 catalog, offering courses in debate, speaking, and play production. Required courses in rhetoric were taught by the English Department until 1938 when they were placed into the speech department. / By the 1950's, the Speech Department was well established on campus. The Board of Regents approved the speech major in 1958, and a master's degree was also available. Courses were taught in forensics, drama and radio. Film and television instruction began soon after. In the 1970's the communication disorders program, which prepared students to teach or provide therapy in speech, hearing and speech language was established as part of the department. / In addition to formal course work in speech, extracurricular activities involving the department have flourished on campus. In the early years, speech and literary societies sponsored most plays and debates, which were a major source of entertainment on campus. After such societies disappeared, students continued to participate in debate and theatre, taking part in competitions and many theatrical productions. Students also worked for the State College broadcasting system and work for the campus radio station KAGY. / Since the early 1990's, the department has been known as the Communication Studies and Theatre Department. Programs in speech communication, speech education and theatre are offered, as is the radio, television and film program, which focus on production. Many opportunities for extracurricular activities are also offered through the department.


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