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Kaitlin Shine ’21 understands the anxiety many of her classmates feel when pressed to make a class presentation.

But the Athletic Training major discovered the new Communication Resource Center (CRC) in Mills Hall, and her fears were quickly relieved.

“I would recommend the Communication Resource Center because it can help improve a grade on a speech and it helps with the anxiety of giving a speech,” Shine says.

The CRC opened in the fall through funding from the Art and Betty Buell Endowment for Communication, which was established by Jack and Andy Hopkins in 2015. The center was officially dedicated during Homecoming 2017.

McCoy Associate Professor of Communication Alane Sanders is excited about the potential of what can be accomplished at the CRC.

“Students can come to the Communication Resource Center for face-to-face peer coaching with a Communication Assistant who can offer guidance in preparing oral presentations for a variety of academic and professional endeavors, including individual and group speeches for classes, conference presentations, capstone and internship presentations, and speech competitions,” she says. “(In the fall) semester, we began offering assistance in the review and printing of professional posters for presentations using a state-of-the-art plotter system.”

Elyssa Ackerman ’19 is one of the Communication Assistants who has been helping students. She started in September after Sanders requested she join the CRC team.

“It has been very rewarding,” Ackerman says. “Right now, I have been working more with groups more than individual students. I mostly assist students with their outlines for public speaking, as well as what they need for works cited and references.”

Shine went to the CRC with a group of other students for a persuasion speech they had to deliver in class. After working with Ackerman, Shine and her group felt more prepared.

“She did a really good job of taking what we already had in our speech and making suggestions on how to make it better,” Shine says. “I think that the CRC is a huge help because I’m not very good at public speaking, much like other people, and it was a lot of help to be able to go in and talk with someone who is good at it.”

Sanders says they are looking at investing in additional training opportunities for the CRC staff.

“We are striving for certification through the National Association for Communication Centers as a Center of Excellence,” she says. “We are working to intentionally develop discipline-specific and campus-wide workshops and assignments in collaboration with faculty across campus to support the communication development of students over the course of their degree. Finally, we are developing a conversation partners program that will encourage students to practice their intercultural communication skills.”

In the end, though, Sanders says the ultimate goal is to help ensure that every Marietta student has strong oral communication skills.

“We know that regardless of major, these communication skills will enhance the life of each student during their academic career here and will set our graduates apart in job interviews, at graduate school and within their communities,” Sanders says.

- Tom Perry

A Marietta College student pulls his poster out of the printer at the Communication Resource Center Alane Sanders of Marietta College meets with students at the Communication Resource Center
A Marietta College student in the Communication Resource CenterAlane Sanders of Marietta College meets with a student in the Communication Resource Center