MUSCMedical LinksCharleston LinksArchivesMedical EducatorSpeakers BureauSeminars and EventsResearch StudiesResearch GrantsCatalyst PDF FileCommunity HappeningsCampus News

Return to Main Menu

MUSC taps new campus Toastmasters club

by Cindy Abole
Public Relations
Building self-esteem, honing good speaking skills and working with others in a supportive environment describes many of the benefits of Toastmasters International. Beginning last Wednesday, the MUSC campus took a step forward in making an on-site Toastmasters club a reality.

The club will be of particular interest to supportive faculty, staff, students and others who want to practice public speaking and develop leadership skills.

Charleston Toastmaster Larry Fulton, left, MUSC's Susan Brooks, Toastmaster State Governor Geneva Anderson, and Area Governor Dr. Mikhail Agrest.

"Our idea was to work with campus representatives to promote and establish a company-related club at MUSC," said Mikhail Agrest, Ph.D., a College of Charleston Department of Physics and Astronomy and member of the College of Charleston Toastmasters group. "We know how important it is to support people in the community."

The Daybreak Toastmasters, another chapter that meets Tuesdays at the Harper Student Center, has joined the College of Charleston in sponsoring this newly-formed group.

Agrest, who is area governor for Toastmasters supervises seven of 18 chapters in the tricounty, sought the advice of MUSC International Programs and Services Director Susan Brooks a year ago about the idea. MUSC is one of two English as a Second Language (ESL) sites in downtown Charleston organized to teach individuals conversational English and strengthen writing basics. MUSC is supported in this effort  by the Trident Literacy Association.

"Hosting a Toastmasters chapter on campus gives many people a chance to blend basic and intermediate levels of language skills with others in a friendly, supportive environment," said Brooks. 

Brooks' program sponsors two introductory ESL-classes during the week and one advanced intermediate class for many campus internationals, mostly students and researchers. She also assists students needing private tutoring and other customized language programs including accent reduction.

Brooks would like to see an equal mix of local members and ESL students join Toastmasters International MUSC. ESL students on campus consist of Chinese, Japanese, Europeans, Hispanic and some Russians, specifically from many of the Soviet-blocked countries. 

Hayden Shook, who teaches the advanced ESL class on Tuesday evenings, assists about a dozen students. She sees two factorsótime and level of abilityó as a way to gauge the club's effectiveness in helping her students.

 "Toastmasters is not a substitute for ESL, but with the right amount of effort, level of support and commitment, it can be an effective program to help develop skills," Shook said. 

"All of us need practice talking and communicating with others all of the time," Brooks said. ìIt's my hope that people from all walks of life take advantage of this." 

The next meeting will be held at noon March 20. For information about MUSC Toastmasters, contact Brooks at 792-7083.