Rod Library--Special Collections

Language, Literature, and Speech Department Names

Descriptive Overview

Instructional departments offering language, literature, and speech classes have gone through a number of significant changes over the course of UNI history. As the instution has undergone administrative re-organization, as curricula have developed, and as the school has faced financial pressures, departments have emerged, combined, and then re-emerged under a number of different names.

When the institution was founded in 1876, as the Iowa State Normal School, courses in language, literature, and speech were offered in the English Literature Department. This name lasted until 1884 or 1885 when it changed to the Language Department. In 1892, at the time of the school's first significant differentiation of subjects, the Language Department split into the English Language and Literature Department, the Latin Language Department, and the Elocution and Physical Culture Department. This last department was an odd combination. Elocution was certainly an important part of the early school curriculum. The school expected its graduates to be able to speak well both in the classroom and in public. Physical Culture was the school's earliest attempt to bring physical education into the curriculum. The two courses of study may have been combined simply because the instructor, Margaret Baker, had training in both areas. The history of Physical Education department names is noted elsewhere.

The English Language and Literature Department and the Elocution and Physical Culture Department merged in 1896 to become the more simply named English Department and kept that name until 1909. The Latin Language Department became simply the Latin Department in 1897 and also lasted until 1909. The German Department began offering courses in 1900 and also persisted until 1909.

1909 marked the beginning of the school's second major wave of administrative re-organization. In this round of change, the new departments began to look more like the academic departments of today, complete, for the first time, with appointed department heads. In 1909, for just one academic year, the English Department became the English Language and Literature Department. In 1910, it reverted to the English Department. This name persisted until 1946. Also in 1909, the Elocution and Public Speaking Department emerged for one year before it was folded back into the English Department in 1910. The German Department, recognizing expanded curricular offerings, became the German and French Department in 1909 and kept that name until 1918, when it split into the German Department and the Romance Languages Department.

Likewise in 1909, the Latin Department became the Latin and Greek Department and persisted until 1927, when it merged with the German Department. This department became the Latin and Greek--German Department from 1927 through 1929 and then the Latin, Greek, and German Department from 1929 through 1934. This last change almost certainly represents a distinction without a significant difference. In 1934, with the retirement of Professor Merchant as head of the Latin, Greek, and German Department, the Languages Department was organized. The Languages Department incorporated the Latin, Greek, and German Department and the Romance Languages Department. The Languages Department persisted until 1954.

This brings us to a time when language and literature departments again became commingled. In 1946, the English Department became the English and Speech Department. In 1954, with the end of the Languages Department, the English and Speech Department became the Languages, Speech, and Literature Department. The Speech Department split away in 1964 to leave the Languages and Literature Department. Languages split away in 1966 to become the Foreign Languages Department and to leave behind the English Language and Literature Department, a name which survives to this day.

The Foreign Languages Department became the Modern Language Department in 1976 and then the Modern Languages Department in 1979. The Speech Department persisted until 1981, when it became the Communication and Theatre Arts Department. In 1992 this department split into the Communication Studies Department and the Theatre Department. Both of these names survive to this day.

Also along the way, in 1972, the Speech Department spawned the Speech Pathology and Audiology Department, which became the Communicative Disorders Department in 1980.

All of the currently existing departments are part of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts.


Chronology

1876-1884 or 1885
English Literature

 

1884 or 1885-1892
Language

1892-1896
Elocution and Physical Culture
English Language and Literature
Latin Language

1896-1897
English
Latin Language

1897-1900
English
Latin

1900-1909
English
German
Latin

1909-1910
Elocution and Public Speaking
English Language and Literature
German and French
Latin and Greek

1910-1918
English
German and French
Latin and Greek

1918-1927
English
Latin and Greek
Romance Languages

1927-1929
English
Latin and Greek--German
Romance Languages

1929-1934
English
Latin, Greek, and German
Romance Languages

1934-1946
English
Languages

1946-1954
English and Speech
Languages

1954-1964
Languages, Speech, and Literature

1964-1966
Languages and Literature
Speech

1966-1972
English Language and Literature
Foreign Languages
Speech

1972-1976
English Language and Literature
Foreign Languages
Speech
Speech Pathology and Audiology

1976-1979
English Language and Literature
Modern Language
Speech
Speech Pathology and Audiology

1979-1980
English Language and Literature
Modern Languages
Speech
Speech Pathology and Audiology

1980-1981
Communicative Disorders
English Language and Literature
Modern Languages
Speech

1981-1992
Communication and Theatre Arts
Communicative Disorders English Language and Literature
Modern Languages

1992-
Communication Studies
Communicative Disorders
English Language and Literature
Modern Languages
Theatre


 Links to Other Pages about Subject Area Department Name Changes


Links to Pages about Instructional Department Names


Rod Library Special Collections and University Archives
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, Iowa 50613-3675
Telephone: (319)-273-6307
Fax: (319)-273-2913
Email: Gerald.Peterson@uni.edu