Speakers Lab to continue under new leadership

Butler University’s Speakers Lab will continue to exist under new leadership next year, despite the death of Paul Sandin, the lab’s former director.

“There has never been someone in the back of our mind, but any of the faculty in the communications department would be awesome,” said Marci Kolb, a sophomore public relations major and the Speakers Lab tutor recruiter. “It’s a wait-and-see process for all of us right now.”

Shelby Long, a junior public relations and communications major and the Speakers Lab manager, said she and other lab managers will be meeting with College of Communication Interim Dean Bill Neher to discuss specifically who will be in charge of the lab, but no matter who is in the role she said she does not expect the lab’s presence to diminish.

“I think it’ll be kind of the same as it was, because it was established so well by Professor Sandin,” Long said.

Kolb said the lab has grown since Sandin helped create it in 1996.

“They had four tutors (in 1996), and then they had like six tutors,” Kolb said. “When they (former tutors) heard we had 26 tutors,  I thought they were going to fall over.”

Kolb said the lab had more than 2,000 appointments this semester and will use between 26 and 30 tutors to meet next semester’s demand.

Long said students from many fields of study use the lab now, and even more may use it next fall if the lab proceeds with plans to add foreign language tutors.

Kolb said all incoming tutors will take a class in the fall about how to be a tutor and shadow an experienced tutor.

Despite such plans for the future, Long said moving forward will be difficult without the presence of Sandin.

“He was kind of my everything,” Long said. “He was my first professor at Butler, he’s my adviser, he’s my boss, so it’s been hard to be professional and carry on with lab while trying to mourn, but we’re trying to do what he would do.”


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