As a school of future politicians, lawyers and business leaders, Georgetown has a special interest in inculcating strong communication skills in its student body. Powers of persuasion, the ability to express complicated notions orally and the different methods of public communication each have their value both within a college education and in practically every future vocation.

And indeed, the existence of Georgetown’s public speaking department is a testament to just that. But the school can do much more to expand the department and its attraction for students, in order to bolster those vital skills.

Right now, the department receives relatively little university funding, as it is much more dependent on specific donations. Moreover, it has little internal institutional support; only a few classes are offered each year and none are cross-listed with any other departments, a notable deterrent for students who might wish to study the discipline but are struggling to fulfill curricular requirements.

To strengthen the department and its academic worth for students, the university should devote more resources and money to expanding its offerings based on student interests and potential avenues of the discipline.

One especially popular class taught in the fall is “Courtroom Communication” by professor Arthur Murphy, a course catered to students who want to matriculate to law school. The class is effective and well-liked, and it provides professional value to students. However, it is the only one of its kind at Georgetown.

To develop the appeal of public speaking classes for students, they could be cross-listed as low-level electives within majors that place importance on oral communication, including “Marketing, Management and Government.”

If Georgetown wishes to grow the appreciation for and skills in public speaking and expression, investments in this department would be a terrific opportunity.

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