Speaking & Listening Center

In order to help students improve their speaking skills, we will dedicate space for and outfit a Speaking and Listening Center in Advent 2016 where students can get assistance in the preparation and presentation of their talks. The Center will be run by a Director, a tenure-track faculty member in rhetoric who will lead the efforts of the center by mentoring and training faculty in the skills needed to teach public speaking effectively.

The Director will also train and supervise student tutors who will work directly with their peers who are developing presentations and speeches for their classes and extracurricular activities and/or will assist faculty who are teaching speaking (SP) courses. Students who exhibit eloquence and poise in public speaking would be identified as potential speaking tutors by faculty members who have taught them in courses that have a speaking enhanced curriculum; students nominated would then be vetted and hired by the Director of the Center for Speaking and Listening to work as tutors.

After receiving training by the Director, speaking tutors can also be assigned to speaking (SP) classes as student speaking fellows. Unlike a tutor who may work with a whole range of students, a student speaking fellow is attached to one specific class during the semester and will work directly with the professor and with those students in the course to facilitate oral presentations. Speaking fellows may also work at satellite centers buildings across campus in order to be more available to the professor and the class.

The Center for Speaking and Listening will have the space, equipment, and materials needed for faculty and students to watch, read, investigate, design, develop, and practice delivering effective, ethical speeches. The Center will have computer equipment, audiovisual equipment, public spaces for meetings and working groups, and small, private spaces for practice and feedback. We are planning to co-locate these “skills centers” of writing- and speaking-across-the-curriculum in the library to encourage easy access, sharing of ideas and “best strategies,” and sharing of resources where possible.

The Center for Speaking and Listening will have a dedicated website. The information available on the website will include the following:

  • essential information about the center including location, hours, the process for making an appointment, menu and descriptions of services offered, profiles of the Speaking Center staff, and FAQs;
  • information on workshops;
  • a running log of upcoming activities and events as well as reports on past activities and events;
  • video examples of oral presentations, speeches, and related activities;
  • tutorials and resources for different forms of oral communication, for both students and faculty.

Satellite practice locations and updated teaching spaces

We will also promote the development of satellite locations in buildings across campus where students will have access to rooms and equipment to practice presentations 24 hours per day, seven days per week. These spaces will have a projector and either a computer or cables needed for students to connect their own laptops to the projector. We have already identified some satellite spaces (e.g., Snowden 215) and will work with faculty across campus to identify spaces in other buildings.

Some of the classrooms in which speaking (SP) courses are taught will also be outfitted with multimedia technology, including projectors, smart boards, and the capacity for video recording.

Center for Speaking and Listening Advisory Committee

The Dean of the College will appoint an Advisory Committee to provide the Director with support and assistance. The Advisory Committee will consist of six faculty members from different disciplines on staggered terms of one to five years each, and will also have a student member. The Advisory Committee’s charge is to advise, assist, and support the speaking center director in her or his efforts to effectively meet college, faculty, and student needs. The Advisory Committee will assist in strategic planning, budgetary decisions (including grant allocation), and assessment Center, while the Director is in charge of day-to-day operations of the Center.