The Speech and Debate program offers practical instruction useful for students in almost every area of study. The program focuses on the use of communication for influence, cooperation and critical decision-making. Students study the theories of using communication through persuasion and argument to influence others, gain compliance and arrive at superior methods and solutions. These theories are then utilized through practical instruction and critiqued performances in practical communication skills, including public speaking, group discussion, message composition, communication criticism, message evaluation and decision-making through complex communication processes such as debates. Students are encouraged to take advantage of additional opportunities for public performance, individually designed study, roles as teaching assistants in basic courses and international performance, competition and training.