Love for speech, debate embodied

Assistant professor encourages importance of communications


Christian Urrutia / The Advocate

Newly hired full-time speech professor Randy Carver embodies and embraces the diversity found at Contra Costa College and is able to relate to speech and debate members. Carver hopes students think his method of teaching is immersive and passionate.

By Marlene Rivas, Staff Writer

Last fall the speech department was on a search to find a skilled speech professor who embodied certain characteristics so that they would perfectly meet the needs of the students of Contra Costa College.

The criteria was someone who loves students, the campus and all aspects of it, speech department Chairperson Sherry Diestler said.

The position was geared toward speech and forensics. No, not the kind of forensics you get in CSI, Diestler said. In speech, forensics is the evidence brought into speeches.

Assistant professor Randy Carver won a couple of American Forensics Association District titles in oral interpretation events, and he was also a finalist for New Forensics Coach of the Year.

The department seems to have struck gold when it chose to hire Carver to replace the departed Connie Anderson.

Carver is originally from San Antonio, Texas where he resided for the first 30 years of his life. After attending Texas State University for undergraduate and graduate school, Carver taught four years at Prairie View College, and served as a part-time teacher at Lone Star College.

During his time at Prairie View he was awarded the Prairie View A&M Teaching Excellence Award. Outside of the time spent in his classes and on campus, Carver plays for a men’s hockey team and works on his comic book collection. His move to California was brought by the chance to complete his doctorate at USF.

He fits well at CCC because of his love of collaboration and dedication to students, Diestler said. She said the unique thing about Carver is that he too has experienced being on a speech and debate team.

After a chance to teach a class at CCC in the summer of 2013, he was hooked, so, naturally, when a full time position opened up he was on it.

Carver was first nudged in the direction of speech and debate by a ninth grade teacher. From that point on he continued to participate in speech and debate teams throughout his high school and undergraduate college years.

The shift from team member to team leader came in graduate school.

“I left my bachelor’s program as a competitor and first started formally coaching in graduate school,” Carver said.

CCC reminds him of home and his previous colleges. He embodies the diversity that CCC offers. Open enrollment allows for the privilege to work with so many different students, Carver said.

He wants students to remember the crucial concepts he teaches them and for them to walk away with skills that can be applied to the real world.

“I hope that students sit back and think ‘this guy is way too into this’,” Carver said with a smile.

Student Marcella Navas said, “He is really passionate about his subject and always emphasizes that Speech 120 is not only about giving speeches but more about learning to communicate verbally and nonverbally.”

He hopes that students do not just do well on the speech and debate team, but also that they look back on their speech and debate days and say it was fun and they took some things away from it all.

Carver is well-rounded in his speech skills and gives the best of both worlds. He can do debate, which requires more brain, and oral interpretation, which is more on the dramatic side, Diestler said.

Speech and debate coach can be an all-consuming job, she said. Carver is always willing to stay late with students or meet early with them. He wants students to do the best they can and feel confident about their work.

In order to help them achieve that sense of confidence, particularly his speech and debate members, he teaches them the etiquette involved with good presentation. He wants his students to feel “up there” with their competition, Diestler said.

Student Michal Sarang said, “I love his class and his way of teaching. He is an excellent teacher with a great sense of humor. He knows how to catch the attention of his students. No one is bored in his class and he makes sure to make himself available to all.”