Start with Speech

start with speechStart with Speech is a learning community designed to encourage first-semester Mt. SAC students to enroll in SPCH 1A sections linked to a course designed to improve student success.

The designated Start with Speech sections are taught by full-time Mt. SAC faculty members who customize aspects of these course sections to extend the students’ orientation experience, activate essential academic skills, and strengthen initial engagement in the College. For instance, guest speakers from across the campus will be called upon to provide sample informative and persuasive presentations about campus resources and personal well-being. Additionally, assignments will require students to write speeches or outlines about campus life, success strategies, transfer, emotional development and other topics closely tied to their first-semester experience. Both of the linked courses will utilize extensive group work to help students develop peer relationships. Tutoring support will be provided by the Speech and Sign Success Center.

The program began in Fall 2011 for students who had earned zero units as of their fall registration date at Mt. SAC. The program has continued in its second year in Fall 2012. Student eligibility for these sections will be confirmed and ineligible students will be dropped from the rolls.

Why should students Start with Speech in their first semester at Mt. SAC?

  • SPCH 1A builds student confidence (source: SLO data). This should help improve term-to-term persistence.
  • SPCH 1A students demonstrate competence in organizing ideas and basic speech delivery skills (source: SLO data). These skills will help them succeed in subsequent Mt. SAC courses that require both writing and oral presentations.
  • SPCH 1A students have high retention and success rates. Students will benefit from having a successful first semester experience in a required course. Completing the class would give students significant progress toward graduation and CSU transfer.
  • SPCH 1A teaching methods include significant peer interaction. Students struggle with socialization experiences at Mt. SAC due to limited opportunities for peer-to-peer interaction. The positive sense of community created in SPCH 1A classes would help students develop friendships and social networks that should improve their engagement, persistence, and overall experience.
  • SPCH 1A assignments allow a high degree of flexibility in allowable topic areas while still meeting departmental and curricular requirements. This allows for extended orientation to the College through significant in-class peer presentations about student services, academic programs, clubs, activities, policies, and other important content.
  • SPCH 1A students will have the support of the Speech and Sign Success Center (SSSC) facility and tutors. Students will be required to utilize the technology in the SSSC for class assignments and will be able to work closely with specialized tutors in the Center on all assignments, as needed.

Email Professor Liesel Reinhart at if you have additional questions.