Section Name

The Forum


More than a century after its inception in contemporary form, the discipline of Communication has encountered a tremendous opportunity—the chance to become an “essential discipline” in the academy, one like Math or English, which universities consider indispensable to the work they do. And yet, as a discipline, we have not sufficiently moved toward taking advantage of that opportunity. While such a move will require action in curriculum, scholarship, and service, one of the highest-impact areas in establishing the necessity of Communication is the introductory course.

In order to understand the opportunity that lies before us, we have to understand how higher education in the United States has evolved and how recent changes have created this opening. In this essay, I offer brief historical context to explain the relevant changes, then offer a path forward for the discipline respond productively.