Section Name

The Forum


Former NCA President Richard West, writing in Spectra during his presidential year, lamented that the basic course in communication lacked national cohesion, especially compared to other disciplines like psychology, political science, or sociology (West, 2012). Some, including myself, may quibble with the comparison to other disciplines, arguing that History 101, Political Science 101 or Sociology 101 do not necessarily look the same at all institutions around the nation.

However, West’s call for examination of the basic course was a welcome one:

  • I believe it is time for our organization to undertake a thoughtful examination of the basic course and ascertain its value for a generation of students whose career opportunities, now more than ever, will necessitate some sort of understanding of the power of communication. An examination of the BCC and all its vectors is long overdue (West, 2012, p. 1).

Various groups took up that call, and a national conversation about the basic course and the communication major as a whole began. The results of that conversation produced the strength that I will argue for in this essay.