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B. Fulfilling the Key Competency in Oral Presentation

Guidelines Relating to the Curriculum

Faculty Handbook Revision October 28, 2003

Each department or program should indicate how it ensures that its majors acquire appropriate oral presentation skills. A department may designate a course, or a set of courses, that will address the goal; or a department may establish options for addressing the goal outside formal coursework (e.g., through presentation(s) at a conference or other public forum).

A description of the means by which a department addresses the oral presentation goal should be included in the major requirements as listed in the Knox Catalog. The specific objectives and rationales that underlie the formulation of this goal might vary from one department to another, but should include the following:

  1. Emphasis upon oral presentation as central to the process of student learning and as appropriate to the particular discipline.
  2. Faculty attention to clarity, substance, and effectiveness in the development of student oral presentation skills. If graded course assignments are involved, clear objectives and grading criteria for each assignment will help achieve this objective.
  3. Student presentations should be structured to assure opportunities for practice and feedback with subsequent application of what has been learned. Presentations may be done individually or in groups.

If a department chooses to designate a specific course as the means through which oral presentation skills are developed, then oral presentation assignments should constitute a substantial part of the course. A minimum of two presentations should be assigned in order to provide an opportunity for growth and development within the course. The quality of oral presentation skills should clearly contribute to the final grade for the course. Normally, enrollment in such a course will not exceed 20 students.

If a department wishes to distribute the means for addressing the key competency goal across several courses, or to establish options which lie outside formal coursework, the department should explain how its plans address (1), (2) and (3) above.

Instructors are encouraged to participate in faculty development activities that will enhance their familiarity with current pedagogical practices in the instruction of oral presentation skills. Such activities could include: workshops offered through the Knox Faculty Development Program and/or the Center for Teaching and Learning, workshops off campus, and extended reading of literature in the field.

Each major program should provide the Curriculum Committee with a description of the means by which its majors will acquire oral presentation skills. The description should consist of (1) proposed catalog copy describing the means chosen by the program, (2) an O-course approval form, if appropriate, and (3) a brief rationale addressed to the Curriculum Committee explaining in detail the program?s proposed approach to this competency.