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Home / Our Collections / University Archives / History of Colleges and Departments / Language, Literature, and Speech Department Names

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


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