Frequently Asked Questions: All-University, General Education Rhetoric Sequence


Note: These FAQs are answered here for your convenience.  The answers are not provided to replace or supersede the Rockford University academic catalog. 

Q. What is the all-university rhetoric sequence?
A. The rhetoric sequence comprises three courses:  two 100-level courses, and one 300-level course. The two 100-level, three-credit courses of the sequence are:

  • RHET 101, Introductory Rhetoric
  • RHET 102, Intermediate Rhetoric 

The 300-level, three-credit course of the sequence can be satisfied by:

  • RHET 351, Applied Rhetoric. 

Q. Can I graduate from Rockford University if I do not fulfill the rhetoric sequence?
A. No. The rhetoric sequence is an all-university, general education graduation requirement. To earn the B.A., B.F.A, B.S., or B.S.N. degree, all-university general education requirements must be fulfilled. 

Q. May I waive the all-university rhetoric sequence requirement?
A. Please refer to the Academic Catalog for instructions on seeking a waiver of any degree requirement. 

Q. What is the ‘Upper-Division Rhetoric Requirement’? 
A. The ‘Upper-Division Rhetoric Requirement’ is another phrase that refers to the 300-level rhetoric course (RHET35x) in the all-university rhetoric sequence. 

Q. What are the prerequisites for RHET 101?
A. RHET 101 has no prerequisites. 

Q. What are the prerequisites for RHET 102?
A. To enroll in RHET 102, the prerequisite is completion of RHET 101 with a final grade of ‘C’ or above or by departmental approval of transfer credit.

Q. What are the prerequisites for RHET 351?
ARHET 351 has two prerequisites, both of which must be met in order to enroll: A grade of ‘C’ or above in RHET 102 or equivalent and forty-five (45) hours of college course work.

Q. How do I know which Rockford University courses can satisfy a rhetoric requirement? 
A. Rhetoric courses are identified in two ways. First, their four-letter course designator is ‘RHET.’

Second, the course description includes the course listing code ‘Rh’ (fulfills rhetoric sequence requirement). 

Q. Is there a test I can take to place out of any rhetoric classes? 
A. Yes. If you received a 4 or 5 in the Advanced Placement (AP) English Language and Composition exam, you will place out of RHET 101.

Q. May I use transfer courses to fulfill the 100-level rhetoric courses?
A. Yes. If you are a new transfer student, registering for the first time at Rockford University, your transcript will be reviewed to determine whether or not you have fulfilled the requirements for RHET 101 and/or RHET 102.

If you are a continuing student at Rockford University and want to transfer a course to satisfy the RHET 101 or 102 requirement, you must have approval on file with SAS before you take the course. To secure approval, pick up a “Transfer of Credit” form at SAS and return the completed form with the appropriate authorizing signatures to SAS before you take the course. 

Q. Can transfer courses fulfill the 300-level rhetoric course?
A. No. Transfer credit is not accepted to satisfy the 300-level course.   

Q. When is the best time to take the rhetoric courses?
A. For most students, two options seem to work equally well. Most students take RHET 101 and RHET 102 in their freshman year and RHET 351 at the end of their sophomore or in their junior year. Some students take one course per year: RHET 101 in freshman year, RHET 102 in sophomore year, and RHET 351 in junior year.

Q. What if I am not a very good writer? 
A.  At Rockford University, we set high standards and work with you to achieve them. To complete RHET 101 and RHET 102, you have to earn a ‘C’ or above in each course, but should you happen to fall short in either, you can repeat the course. If you think you might need to take advantage of this repeat opportunity, do not put off taking these courses. In other words, especially when you are not confident about your writing skills, take these courses as early and as soon after each other as possible. As any smart coach knows, steady and focused practice works. 

How do I get help with writing outside of class?
A. Three great resources are available:  

  • Take advantage of one-on-one discussions with your professor about your writing. Your 
    professors hold office hours that they set aside to work with their students.
  • Check out free peer tutoring available in the Writing Center.  
  • Visit the Center for Learning Strategies in Starr Science, which provides yet another approach to individualized instruction.

Q. Are all the sections of a rhetoric course the same?
A. Yes and no. Every rhetoric course has a core syllabus that explains the shared descriptions, policies, goals, requirements, or assignments that students taking any section of that course may expect. These core syllabi are posted on the portal. Uniformity is greater in RHET 101 and 102 than in RHET 351 courses. For example, RHET 101 and 102 use the same texts across their respective sections. 

While all the RHET 351 courses share core goals, types of assignment, and policy, they deliver this core through different content. The RHET 351 courses provide an interesting menu from which students may choose the topic in rhetoric that they will be investigating over the course of the term. Click on the section to read the section content description.

Q. Why do all the rhetoric classes have the same attendance policy?
A. Students called attention to the potential unfairness in having different attendance policies in the rhetoric courses. Attendance is important because one key to academic success in the rhetoric courses is student participation in workshops, presentations, peer review, and in-class writing exercises. The English Department agreed that concerns about fairness across sections would best be addressed by establishing a uniform attendance policy for all.

Q. How do I take a rhetoric course that includes community-based learning (CBL)?
A. Refer to the individual section description of RHET 351 to determine if it contains a CBL component. 

Q. Which 300-level course fulfills the all-university, general education rhetoric requirement? 
A. All RHET 351 courses fulfill the 300-level, all-university, general education requirement. 

Q. When are RHET courses offered?
A. RHET 101 and 102 are offered during fall and spring semesters. RHET 351 is offered in fall and spring semesters, and in the summer when staffing allows.

Q. What if I want to take a rhetoric class that is closed?
A. The course instructor cannot add you to the waitlist or to the roster of a class; you need to add your name to the waitlist through Self-Service. Once you are waitlisted, plan to attend class as if you were enrolled, otherwise you risk being dropped for non-attendance. When spots open in a section, students are enrolled in accordance with their position on the waitlist (first on the waitlist, first off the waitlist). The English Department discourages over enrollment in rhetoric classes.

Q. What can I do if I am dissatisfied with the content, grading, or teaching in a RHET course?
A. We hope that speaking to the course instructor will address your concerns, but when it does not, you are strongly encouraged to speak to the English Department Chair or to the Arts and Humanities College Dean. 

Q. What if I have more questions about the rhetoric sequence?
A. Please contact any full-time faculty member of the English department with your questions and suggestions.

Department Information

Scarborough Hall
5050 E. State St.
Rockford, IL 61108

William Gahan, Ph.D.