Frequently Asked Questions

Hours

Fall Semester
Monday-Thursday: 10am-7pm
Friday: 9am-Noon
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: 4pm-8pm

Faculty Tips: Procedures and Operations

University Speaking Center Procedures and Operations Update

Schedule of operation:

The Communication Consultants will return to classes and immediately start attending two weeks of staff training. Consultants can do a center orientation for you soon after the semester starts.  We can schedule in-classroom workshops to begin as early as the second week of the semester (with your request coming to us two weeks in advance and subject to availability). We will reopen the doors of The University Speaking Center for consultations the third week of the semester. Our regular hours of operation will end on the last day of the semester. We will offer very limited hours during exam week. We are closed on reading day.

We support:

Students, faculty, and staff in the areas of public, interpersonal , and group communication.

Face to Face Appointments:

We offer 30 or 60 minute sessions which actually last 20 or 50 minutes. All 50 minute sessions start on the hour because our staffing changes on the top of the hour. When we take appointments we listen to needs identified by the client and schedule a 30 or 60 minute session as we see fit. If you are planning to require your students to come to the center for a consultation, please be sure your students know what you expect of them before they call or stop by to make an appointment. More info: https://speakingcenter.uncg.edu/services/face-to-face-consultations/

Location:

Our face-to-face consultation services take place in 3211 MHRA.

Online Appointments:

The Online Speaking Center offers support for organization or practice of individual or group speeches. We can also help speakers to set goals for their next speech by viewing their last speech together then entering into dialogue about speech making.  More info: https://speakingcenter.uncg.edu/services/online-consultations/

Two day policy:

The latest that we can help a speaker in the form of one-on-one consultation is two days before their final presentation. We schedule all appointments according to this two day policy. Occasionally a student speaker will misrepresent their final presentation date when making their appointment. When this happens we do not proceed with the scheduled consultation. We are happy to give tip sheets to students who stop by. We do not track who stops by for such.

Definition of Presentation as it Relates to Our Two Day Policy:

Speech making has long been identified as a process.  Our primary focus in supporting public speaking is to get folks to understand this fact – it is a process.  A speech cannot be developed at the last minute.  More on the process is outlined on one of our tip sheets. 

Generally, at UNCG, student presentations are extemporaneous oral communication speech acts.  In such they require advanced planning, practice, and are delivered from brief notes.  We can help these speakers at any point in the process – as long as their first visit to work on it is not closer than two days before the speech is to be presented for a grade

Some majors on campus put forth manuscript delivery style presentations (like media studies). The manuscript speech is also planned and practiced in advance then the presenter reads it word for word from a manuscript. We can help these speakers at any point in the process – as long as  their first visit to work on it is not closer than two days before the speech is to be presented for a grade

We do work with poetry students who have to memorize their presentations. Acting students do the same. They practice in advance and then present with no notes.   We can help speakers who need to memorize their presentaion at any point in the process – as long as their first visit to work on it is not closer than two days before the speech is to be presented for a grade

We also support students who will give impromptu speeches in their classes.  In this delivery situation the speaker gets little to no notice of their speaking engagement.  The only way we can help these students is by having them practice impromptu speaking.  We cannot help them with their actual speech – that would not be impromptu. We have somewhat random topics that we can assign to these speakers just before they move to the front of our rooms to give an impromptu speech on the topic.

Low stakes classroom speaking also happens across campus.  It is true that not every speech act which happens for a class needs to be practiced in advance.  If however a student wants to get our support before a low stakes speaking assignment we can help these speakers at any point in their process – as long as their first visit to work on it is not closer than two days before the speech is to be presented for a grade.

Report Forms:

Speakers who come in for face-to-face sessions have the choice of receiving a paper copy or electronic copy of their report. Speakers who utilize our online sessions receive an electronic copy. Faculty who wish to know that their students have participated in sessions need to ask the student to provide proof.  All student speakers can provide faculty with the paper or electronic form.   Electronic forms are sent via UNCG email.  These messages can be forwarded by students. We will provide students with a paper copy of the report form if they stop by looking for it at a later date.

Deadlines:

If you plan to require your students to visit the center and it involves a specific class assignment, please consider setting an early deadline for the student to complete their visit. This will cut down on speakers looking to come in so late that we cannot really offer them much help (see our two day policy). This should also improve the final presentation you experience in your classroom. Some faculty members have reported success with setting a Friday deadline for speeches that start the following week. Most students with a Friday deadline will plan to come in on Thursday.

At the close of all consultations we invite student speakers to make an appointment to come back again. We require that students schedule their appointments to take place no later than two days before the class/final presentation. This would allow two days to incorporate and practice our suggestions.

 Web page:

Over the years, we’ve added a FAQ section, on-line request forms for workshops and orientations, a chat box, and many resources. We hope you and your students find our web site, which can be accessed at speakingcenter.uncg.edu, of use.

Missed Appointments:

“No shows” can be a problem. If we recognize a pattern of no shows for any particular course we will inform the appropriate faculty member.

Procedures in the Center:

We follow the guides set by UNCG’s academic integrity policy. We do not write speeches for student speakers, we support the development of speeches. Each speaker will leave the center with a copy of their report form to aid them in incorporating our feedback. To aid us in offering the best help possible, we ask each speaker to complete a short electronic opinion survey (at the close of their session). We abide by FERPA guides and follow our own Code of Ethics.

Consultant Training:

Our consultants are trained listeners who are prepared to enter into dialogue designed to advance a student-speaker’s oral communication competencies.  They are not subject experts.  They do not have training that correlates with the subject matter which speakers are learning via oral communication activities and assignments. They are not substitutes for subject expert faculty members but rather they work in a place that exists between the student and the faculty member. We see ourselves as working to support faculty when we work with their students.

The consultant training, which is nationally certified as appropriate, comes in the form of a required three credit speaking center theory and practice academic study.  The study includes experiential components which happen in the speaking center itself. Basically, during the course of the semester, the students in the class first shadow our current consultants then they lead sessions with the consultants in the room supporting them, and by the end of the semester they are going solo.  By way of pedagogical design, our consultants have already worked to support nearly all types of assignments before they are hired the following semester.

A Consultant Profile can be obtained on our Web page.

Tip Sheets:

Our oral communication tip sheets have become a popular in-class resource for faculty members. The tip sheets are available on our Web page under resources. We hope you find these useful. Upon your request, we would be happy to send copies for your students directly to your office. Most faculty members instruct their students to access them directly from the web or provide URLs in Canvas. If you need a new oral communication tip sheet created for a course assignment, please let us know. We welcome every opportunity to help in supporting the SI elements of your course(s).

Center Orientation:

Gone are the days when we stood in front of a class and told them how wonderful our services are. We now let students know that speech making is a 5 step process. In doing so we have students participate in a fun activity which ensures that they understand what the process is and they know how we can support them in each step, plus they have had a positive experience in our center.

Workshops:

Complete our online request form early if you wish for us to facilitate a workshop for your class. We fill up fast during busy weeks.  We continue to offer class-specific workshops upon request. Please keep in mind that we need two weeks notice before the scheduled workshop is to be presented. Our student consulting staff is large, but management/leadership remains small, and our budget never gets bigger. We can facilitate only 3 oral communication workshops a week. A list of course specific workshops that we have offered at the request of UNCG faculty in the past can be obtained via our Web page under workshops. To request this service go to speakingcenter.uncg.edu

Center vs. Lab:

Our facility is not designed to operate as a lab. We are a center, we offer support and helpful feedback to speakers who wish to improve upon their oral communication skills. All of our consultations are run as “students-helping-students” sessions. Each session is designed according to the specific needs of the individual speaker (or group of speakers). Those who call looking to practice and are not interested in a helping session are referred to the Jackson Library to take advantage of collaboratories.

Groups:

Group sessions will continue to be scheduled to start on the hour. However, if a group is not ready to start their session by five minutes past the scheduled appointment time, the appointment will need to be rescheduled. Groups of four or more may be scheduled to work with two consultants at the same time.

We can start a group consultation with an incomplete group. Groups can come in ready to run through their presentation or to conduct a planning meeting. We continue to offer conflict management sessions to groups who request such assistance.

For credit:

Some faculty members offer their students extra credit for coming to the center while others require it. We have always thought that these are great ways to get students to learn that speech making is a process. In 2012 research from Southern Mississippi found that students will not go to a communication center unless a faculty members communicates value for doing so.  If faculty at UNCG want their students to come to see us, students need to hear that from faculty.

We ask that faculty who send their students be specific as to what they want students to do. Unlike other support organizations on campus, we are not set up to help student speakers unless they have a specific oral speech/communication improvement goal in mind. For example, they might come in to practice a speech they are working on, view a previously recorded speech, get assistance with choosing a topic, seek strategies for increasing their own interpersonal assertiveness, or want to become a better listener. If students are not clear about what they are to work on when they visit they often tell us that they are just there to get credit.

We have temporarily cut back on our open enrollment evening Strictly Speaking Workshop Series again. We will send a copy of the attendance sheet to faculty members for their records. Seating is limited.

Call to make an appointment:

Please encourage your students to schedule their center appointments as soon as they receive related assignments. This will ensure an appointment that works best around their busy schedules.

E- reserve:

In the resources section of our Web page, you will find chapters from oral communication texts that might serve your class well. Please let us know if you need us to add any additional chapters.

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