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Five University of Wisconsin Oshkosh students received awards for their speeches and written papers submitted for the 2008 Provost’s Summit on Teaching and Learning’s speaking and writing speech contest.

Kira-Lynn Reeves received first place for her speech “Last Bastion: Free Speech and Public Universities,” while Lesley Shreves was awarded second place for “Mahatma Gandhi: Creating a Democratic Government” and Nicholas Mack placed third for “Speak Up, Speak Out.” Final speeches were given to a packed audience in the coffee shop area of Reeve Student Union on Friday, October 31, just prior to the pivotal presidential election.

The semi-finalist speech contestants were Adam Brechtel and Krystal deLeon.

Student speakers addressed the topic “How does speaking sustain democracy?” while student writers responded to the question “How does writing sustain democracy?”

The written paper contest winners were Kate McClellan (first place) and Daniel Stelter (second place). Ken Fager, Grace McMurtrie and Amanda Munger were the semi-finalists.

During the week-long Summit, the UW Oshkosh teaching community worked on teaching strategies and research ideas related to their topic, Sharing Expectations for Student Writing and Speaking. Judges for the final competition included Chancellor Richard H. Wells; Interim Provost E. Alan Hartman; Thomas Wolf, president of the Oshkosh Student Association; Carmen Heider, Communication Department professor and American Democracy Project chairperson; and Tony Palmeri, Communication Department professor and Oshkosh Common Councilor.

The UW Oshkosh teaching community has voted to support a set of learning outcomes for all students. Two of the most critical competencies targeted for UW Oshkosh graduates are spoken and written communication. Educators across the country agree: The ability to write and speak well should characterize an educated person.

During the speech contest finals, UW Oshkosh students had an opportunity to demonstrate their learning. As she addressed the audience gathered to hear the finalists, Lori Carrell, Coordinator of the Center for Scholarly Teaching said, “This event is about more than showcasing exemplary speakers or awarding prize money. Just like the ancient rhetoricians in the public forum and like our fellow American citizens vying for our votes next Tuesday, these student voices are part of a great and mighty chorus that has created and will sustain democracy. So, look up from your latte and listen. These student speakers have something to say.”

The summit is sponsored by the Provost’s Office and the Center for Scholarly Teaching, a faculty development endeavor whose vision is to empower the UW Oshkosh teaching community to maximize student learning.

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