The Cadet’s Creed

Critical Discourse in Archives Instruction


  • Kate Donley Norwich University



Critical Discourse Studies, Critical Discourse Analysis, Critical Pedagogy, civil discourse, public speaking, archives instruction, primary source research, Norwich University, eugenics


The Cadet’s Creed was written by a Norwich University professor in 1927 and is a key text for the university’s present-day Corps of Cadets. This autoethnographic essay uses the lens of Critical Discourse Studies (CDS) to reflect on a project in a Public Speaking class that explored the historical and contemporary dimensions of the Creed, particularly the author’s little-known connection to the Vermont Eugenics Survey. This text has a multimedia presence and can be found on the campus website, in published documents, on plaques, and also in spoken performance when cadets recite it to affirm their loyalty to Norwich and the Corps. Today, Norwich University has two student populations, military cadets who study alongside “civilian” students. Both groups were challenged yet ultimately affirmed by this difficult project. Student reflections demonstrate that CDS can draw students into a nationwide conversation that attempts to reconcile historic institutional artifacts with contemporary society.

Author Biography

Kate Donley, Norwich University

Lecturer, Department of English and Communications