The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Speaking center staff receives national recognition

2 min read
The University of Mary Washington’s Speaking Center was recently recognized for becoming the eighth university in the nation to receive certification from the National Association of Communication Centers (NACC).



The NACC is an organization dedicated to advocating the presence of communication centers on college campuses in the U.S.

Hall since 2002. The Center will move into the Convergence Center this summer.UMW’s Speaking Center started nearly twenty years ago and is located in Combs

“The Speaking Center’s primary mission is to support UMW students as they complete their Speaking Intensive requirements,” said Anand Rao, director of the Speaking Center and associate professor of communication.

The speaking center provides workshops and classroom visits to develop effective communication practices and has consultants available to meet with students to help them prepare for presentations, interviews, discussions and online communication, according to Rao.

Rao has served as director of the speaking intensive program since 2002, and this is his first year also serving as director of the Speaking Center.

“We can also help students produce attention-getting presentation visuals and develop effective communication practices for interpersonal, group, public speaking and mediated communication settings,” said Rao.

The certification allows the Speaking Center to be recognized by top communication centers.

“Certification by the NACC means a great deal because it means that our consultants’ training program meets national standards, and it puts us in good company with the top communication centers in the country,” said Rao.
Senior Abbie Boaduwa Yirrah, is a student consultant in the Speaking Center of four years.

“Hopefully this new certification will allow UMW to host national communication conferences and increase the potential for a communications major in the future,” said Yirrah.

She admitted that working with students greatly improved her own communication skills while also instilling a sense of confidence in terms of future employment opportunities.

According to Yirrah, the most gratifying aspect of working in the center is having the opportunity to witness improvements in students’ individual confidence, demeanor and professionalism. Yirrah advises against letting the fear of public speaking limit what one can do.

According to freshman Maggie McMaken, who utilizes the speaking center is offering, going to the speaking center helped her to actually focus on what she was saying.

“They helped to give great tips on how to make nervous habits improve my approach when giving presentations,” said McMacken.

Rao said that receiving the certification will help the Speaking Center gain more attention.

“This certification is really a reflection of the hard work being done by our consultants and the potential that the Speaking Center has to go further in supporting all of the communication needs of our students,” said Rao. “Too many students and faculty only think of the Speaking Center as the place to go to prepare a speech-we have so much more to offer, and this certification helps to demonstrate that.