Speech Center offers help for midterm presentations


Cassie Long

Speech Consultant Jordan House works with sophomore Skye VanLanduyt at the Speech Center in Parmenter Hall. Image by Cassie Long.

Story by Julia Sanders, Writer

The Speech Center is now open for the fall semester. Originally opened in fall 2013 under the direction of Assistant Professor of Communications Kim Schaefer, the Speech Center is a resource for all students on campus doing any kind of oral presentation.

While attending the University of Richmond for her undergraduate degree, Schaefer fell in love with the Speech Center there. Upon her arrival at Baker, she realized that there was no Speech Center. She soon used her alma mater’s Speech Center as an inspiration when creating the one here.

Located on the lower level of Parmenter Hall, the Speech Center has the ultimate goal of creating more competent communicators and does so by giving consultations to those who sign up.

To sign up for a consultation, students can go online to the Baker website at bakeru.edu/speech-center to book an appointment. However, as the year gets busier, the spots tend to fill up more quickly.

“We have between 150-200 appointments every semester so we get very busy, especially around busy times of the semester,” Schaefer said. “Toward the end of the semester, appointments are usually booked out weeks ahead.”

From a speaking component of a Quest class to a presentation in a business course, the Speech Center can be helpful to students in a range of classes or majors.

Junior Mackenzie Brock used the Speech Center when she had to give an informative speech in her Intro to Communications class.

“I found it very helpful because I actually got to perform my speech for whoever was helping me,” Brock said. “They recorded me while I gave the speech, and when I was done I got to watch my speech and get critiques about how to do better.”

The center has six consultants, all of whom are taught by Schaefer.

“I teach the student speech consultants how to conduct an effective speech appointment,” Schaefer said. “So we go through how they would give effective criticism, and how to give effective information to the students on how they can improve their speech.”

Student consultants listen to the speech or presentation, take notes and ultimately give suggestions on how to improve it.

Those who work in the center, or the speech consultants, are dedicated to the success of the students they help. In fact, for speech consultant Michaela Jamison, checking to see how those she helped did on their presentation is her favorite part of working in the center.

“I love touching base with the group afterwards and seeing how it goes because really what we do in the center is give suggestions,” Jamison said. ‘It’s just cool to take our knowledge that we’ve gotten from being in communications classes and being able to help other people with that knowledge and seeing them improve because of our help.”

The Speech Center is open this semester until Dec. 9.