In 1903 at Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, a Public Speaking department emerged. This transition occurred over a decade prior to public speaking teachers seceding from English. Members of the department played foundational roles in establishing the national association and moving the discipline toward research-driven initiatives in order to secure legitimacy across academic landscapes. Surviving two World Wars, the Great Depression and title merger with English, the department again emerged as an independent academic unit prior to the 1970s. The department included faculty from areas of speech, drama, telecommunicative arts, and speech disorders, which progressed until its dissolution in the mid-1990s. This manuscript traces the historical progression, collapse, and ramifications of Speech Communication at Iowa State University. Particular attention is given to the implications of department dissolution through my experiences as a member of the program of Speech Communication. The departmental history revisitation as well as my experiences as a faculty member blend uniquely to unfold a cautionary narrative for how Communication faculty should attempt to minimize paradigmatic fractionalization and coalesce to unify support for the introductory communication course.
LeFebvre, L. (2020). Speech communication at Iowa State University: A departmental history and aftermath. Journal of the Association for Communication Administration, 39(2), 50-71.