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Communication Skills Center valuable resource

19 Nov 2015 | Ida Irby Marine Corps Base Quantico

A fortunate group of international spouses from The Marine Corps University will visit the White House Nov. 20 as part of the Leadership Communication Skills Center community outreach program.

The LCSC faculty will facilitate the travel to provide a “positive and memorable experience of American culture,” said Stase Wells, communications instructor. We understand that “fostering international cooperation and good diplomatic relationships are important.”

The center’s faculty provides communication support to more than 300 students from the Marine Corps War College, the School of Advanced Warfighting, and the Marine Corps Command and Staff College. The efforts extend far beyond the educational needs of the school, however.

An English conversational course for international students’ wives is available at the Gray Research Center while their spouses attend school. “The goal is to promote English in the home, in order to help the husbands write and speak better while attending the college,” said Wells.

The LCSC department is comprised of a limited faculty, which includes a director, Linda Di Desidero, P.h.D, and two communication instructors, Stase Wells and Andrea Hamlen. Each summer, the faculty is responsible for supporting an influx of students. An intern also provides support in those peak seasons.

In 2007, the communication center was designed to fulfill the high priority of improving writing and speaking instruction. This supported the school’s accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, said Di Desidero. A quality enhancement plan was set into action with the development of the Leadership Communication Skills Center.

Di Desidero holds a doctorate in linguistic theory, and has directed the center for three years. Under Di Desidero’s leadership, the LCSC has introduced a series of studio writing classes and workshops. Student visits have increased by nearly fifty percent. Additionally, the LCSC updates and publishes the Marine Corps University Communications Style Guide on an annual basis. The guide serves as the official writing resource for all degree-granting programs at MCU and follows Chicago Manual of Style conventions.

Students from the three degree-granting programs attend lectures, workshops, and open studio classes. A key element to student success is provided through one-on-one mentoring, which improves individual writing and speaking skills needed to complete assignments at the university.

Although open studio classes are not required, according to Di Desidero, Command and Staff students attend them voluntarily because students are “focused on speaking and writing well.” Marines, international students and university staff also benefit from the tools at the center.

Maj. Saul Manzanet and Maj. Jeffrey Patterson, Marine Corps Command and Staff College, visit the center weekly for feedback on assignments, and to consult the advisors about organizing their research into quality writing.

— Writer: iirby@quanticosentryonline.com

Marine Corps Base Quantico