The Professional Writing Program @ Longwood U

LATEST UPDATES AND OUTSTANDING ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Don’t miss this intriguing “History of Rhetoric” course with Dr. Heather Lettner-Rust in Spring 2017!

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After a successful semester of discussing cross-national leadership rhetoric, ENGL 305: Rhetoric and Public Culture students are currently working on their conference papers for Longwood’s Spring Conference of Undergraduate Research. The students also delivered a panel presentation as part of the vice presidential debate-week activities last month at Longwood University.

20161006_162143On October 6, 2016, Haley Vasquez, Chris Crider, Emi Peterson, Garrett Badgley, Colin Deans, Haley Klepatzki, and Zach Carmon presented to the campus community their collaborative statement on “An Effective Rhetoric for Global Peace and Understanding: Students’ Insights for the Presidential Candidates.” Sponsored by Longwood’s Office of International Affairs, the interactive session aimed to promote an understanding of how our presidential candidates can and should function on a world stage when the goal is to foster global peace and understanding. Following students’ presentation on the current climate of U.S. presidential rhetoric, Dr. Elif Guler engaged the audience in a discussion of how the principles of rhetoric can be shared on a global, regional, and local stage.

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Haley Vasquez introducing the panel presentation

Some excerpts from the students’ insights shared with the Longwood community:

“Rhetoric refers to the purposeful use of language and the classic art of making effective arguments. Plato suggested that rhetoric should be used to find the truth and achieve justice. Aristotle defined it as the use of the available means of persuasion.  Quintilian said only good and virtuous men should practice the art of rhetoric. Various other key figures across cultures and nations also studied rhetoric and offered their own definitions and interpretations of this art.”

“The presidential candidates seem to make various arguments. The question is: are these effective arguments?”

“Jay Heinrichs, a persuasion guru who has applied rhetorical principles, from business transactions to family quarrels, observes that ‘We need to distinguish rhetorical argument from the blame-shifting, he-said-she-said squabbling that defines conflict today. In a fight, each disputant tries to win. In an argument, they try to win over an audience’ (Thank You for Arguing).”

“Albert Einstein once said: ‘The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.’ We concur with this statement, but we also contend that the world is a dangerous place because of those who say nothing or say the wrong thing. We hope that our presidential candidates work to achieve global peace and understanding by awakening the idea that it all begins with their use of language. Rhetoric is more than a tool of persuasion–it is the fundamental difference between conflict and progressive argument.”

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From Left: Dr. Emily Kane (Office of International Affairs), Haley Vasquez, Colin Deans, Haley Klepatzki, Dr. Elif Guler (Deparment of English and Modern Languages), Zach Carmon, Emi Petterson, Garrett Badgley, and Chris Crider

*Photos courtesy of Shirley Blackwell and Elif Guler.

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Longwood, More than an Institution of Higher Learning: Reflections After the VP Debate

I was in a rhetoric class back in the fall of 2015 when I heard from my professor that Longwood University would host the 2016 Vice Presidential Debate. While my classmates seemed excited about it, I was shocked. As someone who grew up 25 miles north of Farmville, in an even smaller town, I was baffled as to how such a feat could have been accomplished by a small liberal arts school. This was right around the time I had started feeling like I was slowly flourishing in the Longwood community. And, to be honest, that made me more skeptical and even a little apprehensive about Longwood’s hosting the VP debate. My mind began to race with questions surrounding the logistics and the images of my beloved university getting flooded by a multitude of outsiders. I childishly felt like holding Longwood closer to me, and not sharing it with anyone else.

My perspective on Longwood’s hosting the VP debate changed drastically at the Student Ticket Lottery on Sunday, October 2, 2016. When the ticket winners were being announced, I was sitting in my car with no hope of getting an audience member status inside the Willett Hall. But, it happened–President Reveley called my name! I was going to watch the debate live and in person on Tuesday, October 4th! Once again, I was shocked. I had never been so lucky before. It was right then and there when it all became clear to me: Longwood University is a haven for opportunity. I, along with my other peers who were going to attend the debate, was a part of the experience of a lifetime.

From that point on, my boyfriend and I immensely enjoyed the various events leading to the debate: MKTO feeding of the spirit laid out before them, members of the community mingling with students, and volunteers hustling about in their yellow shirts. Following suit of many others, we decided to walk throughout campus, checking out the news equipment. The debate was only two days away.

On Monday morning, I received my ticket from Lancaster Hall and awaited the email with my instructions. Finally, on Tuesday, just hours before the debate was to start, I received the word. I drove to Lancer Park, received my official ticket, completed the security checks, and was shuttled into the perimeter–in the Bedford Hall. All of the ticketed guests stayed in Bedford for about two hours before we were allowed into Willett. Upon entering, I was taken aback by the lighting, the cool air, and the media perched above the crowd. I quickly took a few photos before finding my seat and getting settled. Students, VIP Guests, and others were all equals now. Smiles, hugs, phone cameras, and personal conversations were rampant. After an hour of that in Debate Hall, the announcement was made for us to find our seats. A silence fell over the entire hall. After a few more minutes, the debate was underway. And, there I was–witnessing rhetorical practice in action.

This experience enabled me to delve deeper into my rhetorical studies. At that moment, I realized how proud I am to be a student at Longwood University. I didn’t have to shake hands with a VIP or be interviewed by any media members to understand the most important takeaway from this experience: Longwood is more than an institution of higher learning. It is a highly valuable and respectable place for nurturing relationships and gaining confidence. Longwood is a safe haven for individual growth, and it’s where I proudly call home.

Welcome to the Rhetoric and Professional Writing Program Blog! This blog will feature the latest updates from the program and accomplishments of those involved in it! Stay tuned!

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