Student Chapters

RSA Student Chapters provide a forum for gathering locally as rhetoricians and can serve a variety of rhetoric-related functions. Many established student chapters have created or are creating rhetoric colloquia. Some chapters use these colloquia as a speaker series to bring in rhetoric scholars from other universities; others use them as a forum to discuss matters of professionalization such as publishing in the field; applying for fellowships or jobs, and navigating the complexities of interdisciplinary research. Existing chapters also focus their efforts on their own institutions and communities, discussing, for example, matters related to graduate curriculum or creating plans for rhetorical community activism. If your student chapter is planning activities other than those discussed here, we'd love to know, so drop an email to the contact the RSA membership officer, Jordynn Jack, rsamembership@gmail.com.

To submit an application for establishing a Student Chapter CLICK HERE

Student Chapter Guidelines

In an effort to foster a growing community of rhetorical scholars, RSA strongly encourages student chapters implement the following practices: 

I. Establish a mission statement

A mission statement provides a sense of purpose, direction, and unity for graduate student chapters.  The adoption of a chapter specific mission statement allows each chapter to develop to meet their unique needs, taking into account that chapters are sometimes comprised of students from various departments, with different commitments and goals. 

Example:

The CU Student Rhetoric Society of America chapter provides a forum for gathering as rhetoricians and serves a variety of functions related to the study of rhetoric and the practice of scholarship. Its goals include advancing scholarship among the graduate community, as well as providing fertile ground for discussion and support among students of rhetoric. 

II. Select a Chair

Chapters can choose the method of selection (appointment, volunteer, election, etc.), but the selection of a chair is necessary for the logistics of the chapter.  The Chair will be responsible for reporting on the chapter's activities and membership to the graduate student members of the Board of Directors in the fall and spring, prior to meetings of the RSA Board of Directors.  The Chair should serve as a contact for other RSA student chapters (in addition to the sponsor faculty member) so that chapters can network with each other. 

III. Hold a minimum of two (2) chapter meetings per academic year

Chapter meetings allow students to meet new members, discuss activities for the quarter or semester and academic year, engage in discussion, and build a sense of community.  Chapters are, of course, encouraged to meet more than the minimum. 

IV. Hold a minimum of one (1) event per academic year

The purpose of RSA student chapters is to provide a "forum for gathering locally as rhetoricians."  As such, requiring that active chapters organize and facilitate an annual event helps to meet this basic goal and helps graduate students develop as scholars.  RSA does not require a particular type of activity, but will supply a list of recommendations and contact persons for those interested in pursuing similar activities. 

V. Collect dues (if they so desire) not to exceed $10 per academic year

In an effort to generate funds for the chapter and display a sense of commitment to the national organization, chapters have the opportunity to collect dues from their members.  Dues should be reported to the national organization, but will be used by the specific chapter.  Dues can support colloquia, the purchase of reading materials, social gatherings, or other expenditures deemed fit by the chapter.   

Examples of possible chapter activities: 

  • Colloquia - Sponsor colloquia with local or visiting scholars. Chapters can provide Podcasts, webcasts, streaming video, or other access to chapters. 
  • Professionalization talks - Sponsor professional talks with local or visiting scholars.  Topics might include CV preparation, interview skills, publishing, and so on. 
  • Reading groups - Establish reading groups centered on rhetorical concepts or scholars.  Many chapters hold Rhetoric Society Quarterly reading groups. 
  • Scholarship Development - Present work in progress, workshop conference papers, or hold other activities designed to improve scholarship and become more familiar with the work and ideas of peers. 
  • Abstract writing groups -  Meet prior to RSA and related CFP deadlines to workshop abstracts.  Members are encouraged to collaborate with members from other student chapters on panel presentations. 
  • Graduate seminars - Sponsor 1-2 hour seminars for chapter members and/or members of the graduate student body.  Seminars can invite faculty members to discuss various topics with graduate students such as developing CVs, getting published, presenting at conferences, obtaining grants, applying for academic and non-academic positions, and any other topics from which the graduate students would benefit.