Oklahoma Christian University’s engineering programs have been selected to receive the Corporate Toastmasters International Recognition Award.
According to Roseline Haulsey, administrative assistant for the engineering department, Toastmasters is an educational organization that empowers individuals to become effective communicators and leaders. All engineering students at Oklahoma Christian are required to take Toastmasters.
On an annual basis, Toastmasters International will recognize corporations and organizations for enhancing employee engagement through continuing support of Toastmasters’ Communication and Leadership programs, Haulsey said.
“This organization is not just an Oklahoma Christian thing,” Professor of mechanical engineering Kevin Plumlee said. “Toastmasters is used to give people and students a chance to give speeches and presentations in front of a crowd. Usually, these people will receive evaluations and critiques from their peers simply to better them as communicators.”
Toastmasters International Director for Region 3 presented the award Thursday morning on Oklahoma Christian’s campus.
“This award is given to one Toastmasters branch in each district, whether it be a school, a business or some other larger corporation,” Plumlee said. “There are about 100 qualified clubs that are eligible to receive this award in our district and we were lucky enough to be chosen this year.”
According to Haulsey, Toastmasters’ communication and leadership teaches Oklahoma Christian engineering students how to conduct effective meetings, practice time management, enhance their listening skills, sharpen their presentation skills, boost team collaboration and guide successful teams.
“Personally, I have grown leaps and bounds in my public speaking skills due to the practice and coaching Toastmasters has provided me,” Aubrey Gonzalez, Oklahoma Christian’s Toastmaster’s club president said. “My communication skills have earned me my dream job after graduation, and I believe I largely have Toastmasters to thank.”
“Corporations and big businesses use this organization in their field for the same purpose as we do, but they do things a little different,” Plumlee said. “Our club here is much more informal, friendly and more of a lower-key experience. But with the bigger businesses, employees might be required to wear suit and tie and a job might even depend on quality of participation. We take pride in making our club here at Oklahoma Christian very safe and forgiving for our students.”
Plumlee said Toastmasters and Oklahoma Christian have a respected and back-and-forth relationship.
“The Toastmasters organization respects what we do here at Oklahoma Christian and the hard work we put in to get their name out there and the support we provide,” Plumlee said. “But on the flip side, they do quite a bit for us, giving us more criteria to critique our students and members on. It is truly an honor to receive this award.”
Engineering Professor Pat Smith said this organization gives students excellent experience and credibility for future jobs.
“I worked in an engineering industry for 20 years prior to teaching at Oklahoma Christian and I found out first-hand that an engineering student that can speak orally and communicate at a high level are of extreme value to an organization,” Smith said.
Plumlee said this organization is based and run entirely by students.
“We keep a fair mix of our criticism between light-hearted fun and also constructive criticism. Our students maintain a balance of fun, but also on the other hand they realize being able to communicate is a major key in a job hunt so they know good, critical feedback is only going to help in the long run.”