Chair: Yeprem P. Davoodian
The Pierce College Communication Studies Department prepares students with both a theoretical understanding and the practical skills needed to succeed academically and professionally. The power to speak well in public is a key skill we teach in one of our popular university-transfer classes.
Building on this, the Communication Studies faculty have hosted an annual competitive Speech Tournament since 2013. Taking place at the end of our spring semester, the tournament is open to all students in our introductory public speaking classes. It provides an opportunity for students to showcase some of their best work prepared and delivered in these classes.
Students choose their own topics in either informative or persuasive speaking categories. Typically 75 to 100 students participate as speakers, and the audience of fellow students cheering them on numbers as many as 300. Throughout the day, the best speakers escalate to the final round in our Great Hall. The top three win cash prizes and trophies awarded from our Associated Students Organization.
Students who initially feared public speaking, but through the course grow in self-confidence, critical thinking and communication skill, step up and challenge themselves to master oratory outside the classroom. Win or lose, everyone reports that the tournament is a great experience.
Ethical public speaking encourages civility and community. People who hone such ability can have great influence, professionally and in the public sphere. The hope is that what students learn in class and in experiences, such as the speech tournament, will stay with and benefit them throughout their lives.