PITTSBURG — If you’ve been to college, you know all about speeches — particularly if you were a communication student. 

There are now tutoring and mentoring services available for Pittsburg State University students who are preparing to present speeches. The Communication Center was created through a partnership between the Pittsburg State University Department of Communication, PSU Student Success Programs and the Axe Library. The center is located in Axe Library Room 026 and its grand opening was on Monday. 

“In the last year or so, Dr. (Shirley) Drew really put it on the front burner of what she hoped to get done,” Department of Communication Chair Cynthia Allan said. “It’s very exciting that you’ve been able to bring this to fruition and I think this is going to create a tremendous amount of aid to our students.”

According to Allan, the center is a nearly decade-long desire of the department and a frequent request from students. 

Drew is a longtime professor in the Department of Communication. She collaborated with Heather Eckstein, director of PSU Student Success Programs and Randy Roberts, dean of the Axe Library.

“We are very excited to have you here in the library,” Roberts said during the center’s grand opening on Monday. “That is one of our goals, to invite as many students in and try to serve them in any way we can. 

“On behalf of the library we're happy to partner with you in any way we can to support you and your programs in this way.”

Eckstein shared Roberts’ sentiment. 

“It’s this type of collaboration which means we can support students at a greater level,” Eckstein said. “It doesn’t just take one department, it takes multiple departments to really put together something students are going to benefit from.”

The College of Arts & Sciences Dean Mary Carol Pomatto gave her perspective and applauded everyone’s efforts of making the Communication Center come to fruition. 

“I’m so proud of you for engaging in this kind of support for students,” Pomatto said. “You’re taking an innovative approach and I think that is very important and is something that within our college. 

“Our departments really are known for that strong, strong foundational support they provide for our students at Pittsburg State University as they journey through degree programs as well as our PittState Pathway courses. 

“Thank you for going one step extra on behalf of students.”

This semester, the center will focus on speech students but other students will not be turned away, Drew said. 

“Right now if it goes through word of mouth and other students want to come by [they won’t be turned down], we just need to see what we can handle,” she said. 

Speech tutors — Department of Communication graduate teaching assistants — trained by Communication faculty, will be available to help students in the following areas: choose and narrow topics for their speeches; organize their messages effectively; research and support their messages effectively; create and integrate visual aids, including PowerPoint presentations; use grammatically correct and audience appropriate language; format speeches and papers according to APA style; rehearse their speeches; critique their speeches, and help with outlines and bibliographies. 

The center is a room in the newly renovated section of the library and it includes a table, chairs, a computer and a podium. The students can speak to tutors on a one-on-one basis, which is something some students prefer, Drew said. 

The center will be open at 11 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m on Mondays; noon to 1 p.m. and 2 to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays; and from noon to 2 p.m on Thursdays. Walk-ins are welcome and appointments are not required. 

“I love doing this, I missed teaching those individual speech classes the way I used to so this has been really fun for me,” said Drew, who will also be staffed for the center. 

Students have already come in for help, “speeches don’t even start until next week,” Drew said.