CSU’s Public Speaking class named among the best nationwide

The National Communication Association named SPCM 200: Public Speaking, a class offered by CSU’s Department of Communication Studies, as a “Program of Distinction” at its 2015 annual convention in Las Vegas last November.

The award recognizes SPCM 200 as one of the most outstanding introductory communication courses nationwide and a model in communication education for other institutions in the United States.

Tom Dunn, right, with communication studies Professor Greg Dickinson
Professor Tom Dunn, right, celebrating the award with communication studies Chair Greg Dickinson

The award was given by the association’s Basic Course Division, which focuses exclusively on research, teaching and curriculum design in introductory communication classes across the country. The division consists of representatives from similar introductory Communication Studies courses at most U.S. colleges and universities. The association also recognized the University of Alabama and University of Kansas alongside Colorado State.

In recognizing SPCM 200, the awards committee highlighted four dimensions of the CSU class that made it excellent and distinctive: an outstanding graduate teaching assistant training program, valuable assessment practices, proactive advocacy and the curriculum’s emphasis on teaching students to explore differences and to disagree without being disagreeable. The committee also applauded CSU’s application for its impressive use of assessment data in making its case.

Tom Dunn, director of SPCM 200 and an assistant professor in the Communication Studies Department, said the award recognizes a strong commitment by the department’s faculty, instructors and graduate students to make their students more confident and effective public speakers. Dunn also said the award demonstrates that CSU continues to prepare students for real-world success.

“We’ve long known that excellent public speaking skills are not only vital to a strong democracy but are among the most important skills sought by employers,” he said. “It’s great that our program has been recognized for delivering those skills to our students.”

For more than 50 years, SPCM 200 has served as a key part of the undergraduate curriculum at CSU. The class is a major or minor requirement for more than 35 programs on campus across five colleges. The class also teaches approximately 2,000 students every semester. In addition, the Office of Institutional Research, Planning and Effectiveness has found that students who complete SPCM 200: Public Speaking in their first year on campus are:

• More likely to be retained from year one to year two at CSU
• More likely to graduate on time
• More likely to succeed on campus than students who do not take the class

The award caps off a strong set of recognitions for SPCM 200 on campus and off. In 2014, the director of SPCM 200 was awarded an “Excellence in Teaching Award” from the College of Liberal Arts, SPCM 200 was identified as a model program by the TILT committee on graduate teacher training, and the Department of Communication Studies was awarded the Outstanding Program Award for its graduate program by the National Communication Association.

For more information on SPCM 200, contact Dunn at Thomas.Dunn@colostate.edu.

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