Speech lab to expand, add classes

Program to host debates, speaker showcase for 2016 national election

By Efrain Valdez, Advocate Staff

The speech department is planning big events and collaborations with other departments in the coming year.

Speech department Chairperson Sherry Diestler said things like expanding the speech lab and hosting more speech and debate competitions are on her schedule.

“We are expanding our speech lab. Currently we have four tutors and we were hoping to get more classes that involved in using the lab,” Diestler said. “Typically there are other departments that use the speech lab when their students have to do presentations.”

This school year the department is trying to focus on making students comfortable with public speaking.

“We want all of our students to feel confident in all speaking situations, it might be public speaking, interpersonal or intercultural communication,” Diestler said.

Professor Joseph Carver said, “For this semester we are trying to work on taking advantage of the election because that is right up our alley and we should really be focusing on that.”

“I have a couple of students in my argumentation class that are interested in seeing how we here at Contra Costa can take part in the national debate watch party, like many other colleges,” Carver said.

“Professor Diestler encourages us to do a lot of things, and if students are interested in doing something she always tells them to do it,” Carver said.

Diestler said students will compete in debates and competitions, like the speaker showcase on Nov. 9, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Knox Building.

“We’ve had this for a number of years now. The students showcase the skills they’ve developed and we showcase the basic principals that are taught, like persuasive and informative speaking,” Diestler said.

“I used to be shy, and in my first experience in a speech class I cried.” CCC alumna De’Alaundria Gardner, who now attends Cal State-East Bay, said. “I first started off with (former) speech professor Connie Anderson, but I stuck around with professor Diestler because she has been a mentor to me,” Gardner said.

“The speech department helped me better articulate myself and helped me elaborate in a better academic fashion. Now I can perform as a poet.”

Diestler said, “We will host an intramural speech tournament on Dec. 1 at 3 p.m., and we are working on a course with the drama department called ‘Voice for the Professional Speaker’.”

“The (speech department) professors have made me feel more comfortable with a lot of encouragement,” Gardner said. “The real life situations that have been implemented into the classes have helped me with my transfer and in life.”

The extra effort by the professors and tutors in the speech department has really helped many students overcome their fear of speaking in public, Gardner said.