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Welcome and Program Contacts

On behalf of the Oral Communication and Hume Center Staff, we extend our warmest welcome to you!  We have put together these materials for you—which cover all topics relating to OCT work—to be a reference for tutoring advice and content knowledge moving forward.  When you have a question, concern, or simply want to talk about tutoring or oral communication, please don’t hesitate to reach out to one of us. OCTs are at the heart of our program and your success is our reward.

- Doree, Janet, Helen, and Tom

Oral Communication Program and History

The Oral Communication Program provides undergraduates, graduate students, and instructors opportunities to improve their presentation and communication skills.  The program’s beginnings can be traced to a 1994 Committee on Undergraduate Education report, which called for a renewed commitment to “provide students instruction in oral communication.” With the support of the President's Innovation Fund, a new position in oral communication was created at the Center for Teaching and Learning in 1996. Since then we have developed a full-scale program which serves the university in a variety of ways.  In 2014, the Oral Communication Program moved from CTL to Stanford Introductory Studies and the Program in Writing and Rhetoric, which are within the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education.  Our peer tutoring program has been housed at the Hume Center for Writing and Speaking since 2015.

In our efforts to develop a stimulating pedagogy of "public speaking," we hope to move beyond the confines of a superficial skills orientation.  Our expansive definition of oral communication includes learning to listen more intently, analyze more cogently, and trust one's own voice more deeply. To this end, we have committed ourselves to revitalizing a rhetorical tradition at Stanford and to fostering an awareness of the seasoned and fundamental place of oral expression in a liberal education.

Hume Center Mission

The Hume Center for Writing and Speaking (Hume Center) works with all Stanford students to help them develop rich and varied abilities in every aspect of writing and oral communication. In free individual sessions, Hume tutors help students get started on assignments; address and overcome writer's block or performance anxiety; learn strategies for revising, editing, and proofreading; and understand academic conventions in their fields. 

Whether students are working on a written or oral project for a course or applying for a grant or job, writing and speaking tutors help them develop effective strategies and sharpen skills to improve their written or oral communication.

Hume provides support to students with one-to-one tutoring sessions, small group consultations, and workshops.  Hume seeks to foster a lively culture of writing and speaking on the Stanford campus by sponsoring writing boot camps and writing groups for graduate and undergraduate students; by hosting presentations of student research; and by bringing together instructors with students and their parents for celebrations of writing and oral communication done in our community.  Hume collaborates with faculty across the campus to support their use of writing and speaking in a variety of courses. Go to Hume Center for Writing and Speaking site

Oral Communication Program Contacts

Doree Allen, Director, Oral Communication Program,, (650) 725-4149

Janet Kim, Tutor Manager, Hume Center,, (650) 725-7667

Helen Lie, Lecturer, Oral Communication Program,, (650) 723-1792

Tom Freeland, Lecturer, Oral Communication Program,, (650) 736-2337