Presentation Skills Center officially opens in Park Library

Dr. Lesley A. Withers, right, accepts a Ribbon Cutting certificate from Mount Pleasant Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bret Hyble, left, for the opening of the Presentation Skills Center in the Park Library on Nov. 8.

A new Presentation Skills Center in the Charles V. Park Library is officially open for students to improve their communication skills.

The new space was unveiled Wednesday at a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Park Library room 319. 

Students can book consultation appointments at the center on the College of Communication and Fine Arts’s website. The free center is open from Sunday to Wednesday 3-8 p.m. 

Sessions can also be done online through Skype and WebEx. Students are encouraged to bring any relevant materials to their session. 

The center was created by College of Communication and Fine Arts and was spearheaded by communication professors Lesley Withers and Shelly Hinck.  

“If we want our students to lead, they need opportunities to practice,” Withers said.

Withers spoke during the ribbon-cutting event. She remarked on the center’s performance during the seven-week-long soft opening. She said the center has already done 77 consultations. 

“Both Dr. Withers and Dr. Hinck have worked tirelessly to acquire the space and furniture at no cost," said Darcy Orlik, marketing and events coordinator for CCFA.

The major aim of the center is to provide students with opportunities to improve presentations and other speeches.

“It was a matter of everything being in the right place at the right time,” Withers said. 

The center also gives general advice to students who need help in communication. It also assists students with a wide variety of subjects. 

The center is staffed by consultants who have experience in the subject. 

"We teach classes so we know what professors are looking for," said Jalynn Bruske, a graduate student and consultant in the new presentation center.

The consultants start the session by drafting a "game plan,” Bruske said, that is followed up by an outline, schedule, and other tips that consultants might have for students. 

"We always recommend they come back," Bruske said. 

The space also features a virtual reality headset intended to give students who are nervous in front of groups an opportunity to get comfortable. 

“CMU recognizes and has long recognized that the leaders of tomorrow are going to be built here today,” Withers said.