Barry McNamara  |  Published February 03, 2016

Public speaking text

Timmerman, dean of faculty, co-authors public speaking textbook
Public Speaking and Democratic Participation: Speaking, Listening, and Deliberating in the Civic Realm is a 432-page book co-authored by ...
“Public Speaking and Democratic Participation: Speaking, Listening, and Deliberating in the Civic Realm” is a 432-page book co-authored by David Timmerman and published this year by Oxford University Press.
David Timmerman, dean of Monmouth College’s faculty and vice president for academic affairs, has co-authored a new book about public speaking.
  Titled “Public Speaking and Democratic Participation: Speaking, Listening, and Deliberating in the Civic Realm,” the 432-page book was published this year by Oxford University Press. His co-authors are Jennifer Abbott, Todd McDorman and Jill Lamberton, who are all faculty members at Wabash College.   “Public discourse can often be polarized and unproductive,” said Timmerman. “In this textbook, we differentiate between what is productive discourse and what is unproductive discourse in the public realm. The focus on deliberation in public speaking classes is a response to the polarized discourse we see so often in politics,” which the authors call “a climate of vindictiveness.”   In the preface, the authors write, “Our goal is to help prepare students to join and improve the quality of public dialogue and, in so doing, to contribute to the betterment of society.”   “This is a college-level textbook geared toward liberal arts colleges and honors sections of larger universities,” said Timmerman, who joined Monmouth’s administration in 2010 from Wabash, where he was a professor of rhetoric. “There is a plethora of books out there on public speaking, but that’s the unique niche we were after. It was purposely pitched higher than the normal public speaking textbook.”   In the quest to find professors who are using the book, Timmerman need look no farther than the mirror. He has twice taught one of Monmouth’s fourth-year Citizenship courses, “Building Communities,” as well as a section of the introductory communication studies course, required of all incoming students.   “How do you build up your local communities?” asked Timmerman. “One way is to get discussion about important issues started in the community. Students in my class led deliberations with citizens in the Monmouth community on such issues as dilapidated housing and the best way to teach second language learners in the elementary schools. In my communication class, we used information from the book as we deliberated issues, such as the positives and negatives of joining a fraternity or sorority and issues of race in America. The Laquan McDonald video from Chicago came out right during our discussion of that topic and the discussion was heartfelt and engaged.”   Timmerman not only collaborated with his three co-authors, but he also pointed out that a photo taken by Jeff Rankin, Monmouth’s director of college communications, appears in the book.
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