Center created to help presentation skills

Shippensburg University’s Human Communications Department created a communications center for students to better their presentation skills and provide guidance for problems they may be having.

The center was created about two years ago by students after human communications students were tutoring in the learning center. However, there were too many students for the learning center to handle, and it asked the department to take on a separate center similar to the writing center, according to human communication studies professor Misty Knight.

“I was thrilled because that’s the direction I really wanted to see, too,” Knight said.

Knight and the students got an academic innovation grant to begin researching how to create their own center. The center now has a room in the Dauphin Humanities Center, which will be renovated. They have currently been working out of classrooms and offices that are open.

The center assists students with anything related to presenting, from coming up with a topic to practicing their final presentations. It does not have to be for a human communications class, and students can receive help for any presentation. There are also open walk-in hours for students to come in and get help.

“Most of our students right now are from the HCS 100 intro class, but it’s open to anybody working on any presentation for any class,” Knight said.

Knight would like the center to be as widely known as other centers on campus. She wants students to gain confidence by using the center.

“A lot of people feel like you’re either a good speaker or you’re not. Anybody can be with the right tools, and that’s what we want to offer — the tools that they need to be successful,” Knight said.

SU human communications major Tori Campbell is one of six consultants at the center. She said most students come to the center for outline help. 

Currently, more than 12 students visit the center per day, but when larger projects are due there is usually an influx of students.

Campbell participated in speech competitions in high school and decided to apply for the consultant position. Her involvement with the center influenced her to change her major to human communication studies.

She advises students to come in at least a week or two in advance to get help.

“I think the big thing is realizing that speeches aren’t as scary as you think they are,” she said.

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