The Department of Communication Studies finds its roots in the desire of the founders of this university to train students to reach the world with the message of the gospel. In the early years, the Bible Institute offered a class in public speaking that focused on preaching, teaching and reading the Bible aloud. The Department of Speech was later formed in 1950 with the aim of teaching students how to effectively share biblical truths through their speech. During its beginning years, the department had a successful forensics team and hosted occasional evangelistic dramas. The department expanded in 1971 and was renamed the Communication Department. New classes were offered in drama, speech pathology and mass communication. Throughout the next three decades, programs were built in all of these areas, and by 2003, the department had grown to include over 500 students. A decision was then made to move the mass communication programs to newly formed independent departments.
With a focus on graduating students who are trained in both the theory and practice of the communicative arts, the department has become one of the top evangelical communication studies departments in the United States. The theatre program is growing, and the forensics team is nationally ranked as one of the best in parliamentary debate. With these strong programs in place and exciting plans on the horizon, the Communication Studies Department is seeing its best days and looking towards an even brighter future. (adapted from Mary Beth Koontz)
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