Expansion rebrands objectives

Department transitions to communication study


Denis Perez / The Advocate

Speech and debate team member Nora Alkrizy rehearses a speech during a practice session in AA-113 on Sept. 16. The speech department will soon expand to communication studies.

By Benjamin Bassham, Staff Writer

The speech department of Contra Costa College is set to transform into the communication studies department and expand its scope to better serve its students.

The process is still in its preliminary phases right now, speech department Chairperson Sherry Diestler said.

“It still has to go through all the channels. We’re hoping by spring or fall,” she said.

Speech professor Randy Carver said the name of the new communication studies department would “better reflect what we do.”

Speech is only one part of what is already being taught and the current name has been a limiter on what the department can provide, he said. 

Wyllene Turner, speech and debate team member, said that people have been confused by the current name of the speech department, thinking that speech is just a part of the English department, or even English as a second language courses.

CCC has been one of the lingering holdouts in California, putting off the upgrade to its antiquated speech department.

CCC’s sister college Diablo Valley College has already made the change to communication studies.

Diestler said she tried to get the upgrade done years ago, but was stymied at the time.

Carver said, “We don’t plan on trimming, or getting rid of any existing classes. It opens up the possibility for additional courses.”

“The hope is that we would be able to begin to merge other departments,” he said. “We would be able to teach classes you would normally see in a mass communications department or a multimedia department.”

Diestler said, “We hope to, for example, have a course in business communication.”

The biggest advantage of the changes is the increased options, transferability of courses and a new communications study major.

Carver said, “This is a change that seems simple, or one that might not seem significant. This allows our department to offer degree programs, certificate programs and courses comparable to other top-notch colleges in the area, or entire Bay Area.”

Speech and debate team member Lerecia Evans said, “I hope it happens by the time I graduate. It’s more representative and clear. With speech, people think it’s just for working with people with speaking disabilities.”

Diestler said the revamped department’s curriculum will be a match for most of the districts in the state. The mechanism involved will be California’s Course Identification Numbering System (C-ID).

The C-ID exists to check that courses of the same name at different colleges are functionally equal, having the same course descriptions.