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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

About the Communication Studies Department at MSU

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As members of the National Forensic League, you may be asking why your organization is working with this particular university. The Communication Studies Department at Minnesota State University, Mankato is proud of its long association with forensics, as well as its leadership role in competitive forensics, preparation of forensics coaches, and graduate training and research in forensics and performance studies.

Minnesota State University, Mankato has a strong forensics program with a heritage stretching back to the beginnings of the university. The January 16, 1931, issue of School Spirit (the student newspaper) notes the first meeting of a new "Outside Activity" when debate was offered for students. 25 Students met to discuss the formation of the program. The first debate resolution was "That the nations of the world should adopt a policy of free trade." The Minnesota State University, Mankato forensics tradition has continued ever since.

Minnesota State University, Mankato has earned a national reputation in intercollegiate forensics. Minneosta State University, Mankato is, in fact, only one of seven schools in the nation to qualify and compete in every national tournament hosted by the American Forensic Association since its inception. Maverick Forensics provides a key component to a sound post-secondary education. Numerous studies have indicated critical thinking is a necessary component to succeed in our fast-paced society. According to the Allen, Berkowitz, Hunt, and Louden (1999), education in communication enhances critical thinking by 44 percent. Forensics involvement was the activity most identified in the article for advancing critical thinking abilities.

Maverick Forensics remains one of the most active programs in the Upper Midwest. The forensics program remains a highly successful co-curricular intercollegiate competitive program, for example, Maverick Forensics is one of only six programs in the country to qualify students for participation in the American Forensics Association-National Individual Events Tournament (AFA-NIET) every year since its inception. A 1993 study recognizes Minnesota State University, Mankato as one the top 10 programs in the United States during the last 20 years.

Minnesota State University, Mankato faculty and alumni also have and continue to play leadership roles in competitive forensics. Current and former MSUM assistant directors and directors of forensics have played leadership roles on state, regional and national levels. They have and continue to serve as officers of the American Forensic Association (AFA), the American Forensic Association-National Individual Events Tournament (AFA-NIET), National Forensic Association (NFA), Delta Sigma Rho-Tau Kappa Alpha (DSR-TKA), and the Interstate Oratorical Association (IOA). The program has produced hundreds of high school speech and debate coaches, and dozens of college speech coaches.

The Communication Studies Department at Minnesota State University, Mankato offers BA, BS, BS-Teaching, MA, MS and MFA degrees. One of the strengths of this program is in our role as educators of communication studies teachers and speech and debate coaches. We offer a full teacher licensure program in Communication and Language Arts at the undergraduate level, prepare students who enter a MAT program to achieve initial licensure and offer an MFA in Forensics, the ONLY terminal degree in Forensics in the country.

The Communication Studies Department at Minnesota State University, Mankato shares in the national accreditation of the University by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association (HLC). Additionally, the University is authorized by the HLC to offer online courses, programs and degrees, all of which share this accreditation status. The Communication Studies Department's Bachelor of Science in Teaching in Communication Arts and Literature has been reviewed and approved by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) as well as the Minnesota Board of Teaching.