Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

John O'Connor, Joseph Stearn, Randall Caps, Richard Greer

Degree Program

Department of Communication

Degree Type

Master of Arts


The purpose of this paper is to describe both the conceptual and methodological changes in the basic course and to test a unique communication training program which is congruent with the rhetoric of schooling and relevant to the needs of students. Consistent with this purpose, chapter one involves a discussion of the purpose of education and a suggestion that, in light of recent findings in educational psychology, higher education may be moving away from traditional practices. Chapter two affirms the importance of communication studies to human affairs; the transition in the basic speech course is documented and paralleled to the current movement in higher education; and finally, evidence is submitted to support the proposition that empathy is appropriate subject matter of education for self-actualization. In chapter three, hypotheses regarding student-centered, Interpersonal communication training are advanced, and the procedures used to test these hypotheses in an experimental basic speech course are outlined. Chapter four reports the results of the present research and provides a discussion and conclusions based upon those results.


Communication | Interpersonal and Small Group Communication | Social and Behavioral Sciences