Student Success’s Blythe Taylor (assistant director for academic support) and Lorraine Raper (director of online teaching) saw their dream come true with the grand opening of the Oral Communications Center.

It was held in the Willis N. Hackney Library at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016. Barton President Douglas Searcy gave an introduction speech, followed by George Loveland (director of Hackney library), Dr. Jane Webster (professor of religion) and Taylor. The opening event held food and refreshments for students and staff.

Those involved with the opening of Barton’s Oral Communication Center and those who will work with it include, left to right, Lorraine Raper, Blythe Taylor, George Loveland, Anna Batts. President Douglas Searcy, Luisa Torres and Tyler Dew.

The Oral Communications Center is for students and staff that have problems with speeches. Taylor said the goal is to help students learn by doing and improving their speaking. She said through collaborative concentration and communication, the oral communications center plans to help students with the skills they need to move forward.

The Oral Communications Center provides peer-to-peer feedback and guidance. They try to help students with preparation and delivery in the areas of public speaking.

She said she wants to have workshops on teaching students how to overcome anxiety during speeches, how to persuade their audience with their speech, what questions to ask and analyzing. Taylor said there will be a room for faculty meetings, an area of oral communication, and a conference room for videotape lectures, as well as video conferencing.

Taylor said she wants students to earn the, “value of excellent communication.”

The Oral Communications Center is not just for students wanting to improve their communication skills, but also for students who have problems delivering a speech for class, students who have projects due and final presentations. Any student needing help with anything communications will be welcome.

Taylor said public speaking is important and a skill all students should acquire. She said she wants to improve and introduce new ways of teaching. Students learn by doing and by practicing out loud, they start to gain confidence as well as grow as public speakers. Public speaking is a beneficial skill in all employment areas and is a proficiency Taylor believes all students should possess.

Taylor said the Oral Communications Center was made possible by the faculty. She said the faculty committee as a whole agreed on the Oral Communications Center in a way to center more on learning and teaching.

She said they wanted to support and help students. According to Loveland, the Oral Communications Center would not be possible without Taylor and Raper. He said they did research, reviews, and literature reports. They tried hard to make the center possible until they succeeded.

There are three main tutors in the Oral Communications Center. They are junior Luisa Torres, a broadcast video major, senior Anna Batts, a gerontology major and sophomore Tyler Dew, a broadcasting major. Torres and Batts are drop-in tutors for students who simply drop by with any questions or wanting to help with their public speaking.

Dew is an appointment tutor. Sessions are open for drop-ins from 5 to 7 p.m. from Sunday through Thursday. If any students want to make an appointment, Taylor said there is a link under the Academic tab on Campus Connect for the Oral Communications Center.

Students with questions can go to Taylor’s office in Student Success located at the back of the Willis N. Hackney library or contact her through her email

By Kimberly Olivera