Published: October 14, 2010
A large room full of faces staring back at Amanda Irwin ’12 waiting for
her to command their attention with a speech does anything but make her
“I love public speaking,” said Irwin, a government and world affairs major. “I love addressing a crowd.”
Kipper ’12, an electronic media art and technology major, has been
speaking in public in one form or another for most of her life. She is
completely comfortable with the stage.
“It’s an adrenaline
rush,” Kipper said. “It’s a performance just like any other, and you
feel better about yourself when it’s over.”
Kipper and Irwin are
just two of the seven tutors who are helping establish the new Speaking
Center on campus. It’s a free service to students (as well as faculty
and staff) to help them improve their speech-making techniques and learn
how to deliver meaningful messages to their audiences. From getting
over the butterflies, to creating an outline and giving a strong
delivery, the center’s tutors can help people from start to finish.
speaking is an essential skill, and that’s why we want to help people
get better,” said Todd Reasonover ’13. “Everyone needs to communicate.
Not everyone connects. We want to help people connect.”
she was so comfortable in front of a crowd, Irwin had no idea how
anxious it could make some people. Not until she was enrolled in a class
last year that required a group presentation did she see how nervous
her teammates were about speaking in front of the class.
never known the depth of anxiety some people feel,” Irwin said. “I get
the butterflies, everyone does, but I didn’t realize how much it could
This is why Irwin joined the Speaking Center as a
tutor, as did all the others – to help their peers relieve anxiety and
to enjoy a task often seen as overwhelming.
Kelly Zino ’13
wanted to be a tutor because she thought it’d help her professionally –
she’s an elementary education major who wants to perfect her teaching,
as well as her presentation, skills. Reasonover, a government and world
affairs major, liked the chance tutoring gave him to be involved on
campus, to help him refine his own speaking skills and to mentor.
hardest thing is being able to connect with your audience, but in order
to do that it just takes practice,” Reasonover said. “Sometimes it
takes just a little encouragement and the motivation to take the first
Ann Marie Coats
an instructor of speech at UT, started the Speaking Center late this
summer as a pilot project with the help of the Department of Speech,
Theater and Dance in the College of Arts and Letters to engage students
in public speaking, a skill required in most undergraduate and graduate
classes though rarely taught in the classroom. With this year’s new
requirement for all Gateways students to make an oral presentation, the
need for Coats’ services grew.
“I started this as a pilot project, and great things have fallen into place,” Coats said. “It’s very encouraging.”
the help of the Academic Center for Excellence and the Baccalaureate
Experience she hired five tutors and found two volunteers who formed a
speech club. Though there is no physical center on campus yet, Coats has
arranged for time at the library and the Academic Center for
Every Monday and Friday between now and Nov. 19
students can come to the library AV Room 1 from 2 to 4 p.m. for small
group workshops with peer tutors.
Kipper, a finalist in last
year’s speech contest, will offer private tutoring every Monday and
Wednesday from 5 to 8 p.m. and every Tuesday and Thursday from 6 to 8
p.m. in the Academic Center for Excellence. Students can walk in for the
first available opening, or e-mail
for an appointment.
staff and students can arrange private sessions with Coats. The annual
Speech Contest for UT students will be held Oct. 21 in Riverside, room
107, at 7:30 p.m. The grand prize is $150. Interested students should
contact Coats at
Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer
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