A graduate assistantship in the Communication program offers students many wonderful experiences and opportunities that might not happen any other way. GA’s are uniquely positioned between professors and students, allowing them to catch a glimpse of what it might look like to be a professor, while being able to mentor undergraduate students through the process of learning as you are learning yourself. GA’s work closely with professors in the department on research projects and assisting in classes. They develop both professional and personal relationships that serve them well in various ways as they journey down their career paths in order to reach professional goals. A graduate assistantship is a great financial investment. GA’s receive a discount on their tuition and are paid a monthly stipend. There are many opportunities to travel to conferences to showcase your research through presentations or panel discussions.
Assisting and Teaching
A major part of the graduate assistants job is to assist the department and professors in facilitating COMS 211: Speech and Rhetoric, the public speaking course required of all students. In your first year you will be assigned to aid a professor who teaches the course. Your job will be to help them keep up with student assignments, grade tests and speeches, and to be available if students have questions or concerns. This introduces you to the basics teaching, lesson planning, and running a classroom.
In your second year of graduate school, GA’s may be presented with the opportunity to teach one or more sections of COMS 211. Whether you are working towards a Ph.D. or not, the teaching experience can help to equip and prepare you to be a more effective communicator and public speaker. It is also a unique way to be involved in the lives of undergraduate students, supporting, encouraging, and ministering to them.
The Speaking Center
Situated upstairs in the library, The Speaking Center is a part of ACU’s new AT&T Learning Studio. The Speaking Center is one of the major tools the Communication program uses to enhance student comprehension, practice, and execution of public speaking skills. As a GA you are the major player in the success of The Speaking Center.
The Speaking Center is a place for anyone on campus to come and receive help and training on any public speaking assignment they have, though it is required for COMS 211 students. GA’s in the Speaking Center assist with thesis writing, outline formation, visual aids, and developing delivery style.
The Speaking Center is also a great way for GA’s to be exposed to lots of different speeches and the many issues students face when they are writing them. It gives you real practice in walking students through the process of writing and delivering a successful public speech which benefits you when you have your own classroom with your own students.