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Education Research International
Volume 2011, Article ID 948138, 12 pages
Research Article

Critical Concerns for Oral Communication Education in Alabama and Beyond

Department of Communication, Alabama State University, Montgomery, AL 36104, USA

Received 23 August 2010; Revised 25 October 2010; Accepted 30 November 2010

Academic Editor: Eric Z. F. Liu

Copyright © 2011 Richard Emanuel. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


An examination of oral communication education in Alabama (USA) identified four critical concerns. (1) Today's college students are not getting adequate oral communication education. (2) Oral communication education is being relegated to a “module” in another discipline-specific course. (3) When an oral communication course is included in the general education curriculum, that course tends to be narrow rather than broad in scope. (4) An increasing number of college faculty who teach oral communication courses do not have a graduate degree in the discipline. These concerns may be indicative of similar issues affecting oral communication education throughout the United States and beyond. Solutions to each concern are offered, and suggestions are provided about how decision-making bodies like state departments of education, regional accrediting agencies, the National Communication Association, and the like can address these concerns. This paper first examines the essential role of oral communication before identifying four critical concerns and offering suggested solutions for oral communication education in Alabama. These concerns may be indicative of similar issues affecting oral communication regionally, nationally, and even internationally. If so, then the suggested solutions offered herein may provide direction. If not, then being proactive rather than reactive may prevent some or all of these concerns from becoming reality.