Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
June 26, 1998

Speakers Bureau reaches almost 10,000 in first two years

by Linda Charles

A lot of people don't tap into the expertise at Iowa State because they don't know it's here, says Jerry Stubben, Extension communities specialist with the Institute for Social/Behavioral Research.

"The Speakers Bureau gives us another way to get out and be identified, to be in the public, to share our expertise with the people of Iowa," Stubben said.

Operated through the Office of University Relations, the Speakers Bureau was created nearly two years ago. Since then, bureau speakers have visited civic organizations, schools, businesses, churches, conferences and workshops, reaching a total of 9,500 people, said Glenda McIntire, bureau coordinator. Another 1,300 people, mostly elementary school students and adult groups, have visited campus for bureau- organized tours.

"Our speakers enjoy getting out and meeting people," McIntire said. "We're grateful to the Iowa State faculty and staff who so willingly travel to perform this community service and share their expertise with Iowans."

Much of their expertise is job-related, McIntire said, but some of the speakers listed with the bureau share more personal experiences. For example, Barbara Matthies, associate English professor now retired, traveled extensively and often was called upon to discuss traveling Europe as a single person.

McIntire and Huang Tan, who also works with the Speakers Bureau, have compiled an extensive speaker database, which is growing.

"When we are asked to provide a speaker on an issue, we identify the person or people at Iowa State who best can speak to the topic and ask them if they're willing to talk to the group," McIntire said. The speakers list currently includes more than 300 speakers who can address more than 500 topics.

Stubben's talks to youngsters at Youth and Shelter Services about conflict management and substance abuse have proved rewarding for both speaker and audience. Because of drug and alcohol problems, the youth are very receptive to a blunt, honest approach, Stubben said.

He tells the youth that it is up to them to turn their lives around, that if they want to get ahead, they'll need a college education. Several of the youngsters told him they didn't know that they could go to Iowa State. He assures them they can.

While the target area for the Speakers Bureau is central Iowa, speakers have traveled to such cities as Dubuque, Sioux City, West Okoboji, Fort Dodge, Wapello and Winterset, McIntire said.

Charles Wright, professor of electrical and computer engineering, does his speaking stints closer to home, handling groups that come to campus.

Wright often uses Legos and computers to give his visitors a hands-on look at mechanical, electrical and computer engineering, as well as computer programming

The tours also provide a learning experience for Iowa State students, who handle most of the presentation.

"My role is modest," Wright said. "A lot of the success of the program has to do with the students who run it."

Wright and his students average about one tour group every two weeks, with visitors ranging from elementary to college age.

Those seeking a speaker can access topics and a speaker request form on the bureau's Web site at

Faculty or staff who would like to be a part of the Speakers Bureau are encouraged to contact McIntire, 217H Communications, 4-6136, or e-mail:

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