Andrina McCulloch Public Speaking Competition

Terms of Reference

I. History

Andrew McCulloch (BA 1871, MA 1874) died at Thorold, Ontario in 1929. In his will, he bequeathed to Queen’s University a number of valuable securities. He directed that the income from these securities should be used, in perpetuity, to fund three awards, each to honour one of his three daughters. The Andrina McCulloch Award was first given in 1941 and is still presented annually for the promotion and encouragement of public speaking at Queen’s.

II. Parameters

The Andrina McCulloch Public Speaking Competition occurs annually, normally in late January or early February.

The competition is open to all students of Queen’s University in any program or faculty.

Competition finalists receive monetary prizes from the endowed funds administered by Student Awards. This amount varies annually depending on the interest generated by the endowment.

The competition is jointly administered by the Dan School of Drama and Music and the Student Life Centre and shall operate under the purview of the Provost’s Advisory Committee for the Promotion of the Arts according to the provisions herein.

III. Structure of the Competition

Each competitor will present two speeches: the compulsory speech and an original speech (prepared or impromptu).

Compulsory Speech: The compulsory speech, which will be the same for the preliminary and final rounds.

Original Speech: The original speech categories are:

  • Prepared – an original speech on a topic, chosen, prepared and delivered by the competitor, which may be informative or persuasive in style. Duration: five to seven minutes.
  • Impromptu – an original speech on a topic selected blindly by the competitor from topics presented by the room monitor. Preparation time: five minutes maximum. Duration: three to five minutes.

Each presentation will be assessed by a panel of three judges. A competitor’s score will be a weighted average of the three judges’ marks. The highest and lowest marks will be assigned a weight of one-quarter, the middle mark a weight of one-half. For each panel, the mean of the weighted scores for all competitors judged by that panel will be calculated. A competitor’s final score will be expressed as a percentage of the mean weighted score of his or her panel. In each competition, a competitor’s total score will be the sum of the weighted scores of the original presentation and the compulsory presentation. The original speech will be weighted two-thirds, the compulsory one-third. The finalists will be the top-scoring competitor from each panel in the preliminaries and, depending on the number of panels, the next highest-scoring competitors to a total of six. Ties will be broken by a comparison of the compulsory presentations.

Scores will be confidential and final. However, judges will be available for informal discussion with interested participants following each evening’s sessions.

Each panel of judges will be assisted by a room monitor who will set the order of speakers, time the speeches, present the topics for impromptu speeches and collect the judges’ score sheets at the end of the event.

The Andrina McCulloch Public Speaking Competition welcomes public attendance and the competition shall be advertised as such. Competitors are therefore encouraged to invite family and friends to hear them speak.

IV. Responsibilities 

The Dan School of Drama and Music will assign a faculty member to co-ordinate the competition. The duties of this role include:

  • commencing the annual competition cycle, contacting the Student Life Centre representative prior to that year’s competition (June).
  • contacting Student Awards to determine the amount of money available for prizes (June).
  • determining how many prizes will be awarded and the amount of each prize (June).
  • updating the competition website in preparation for the competition (November).
  • choosing a compulsory speech of appropriate length and difficulty (November).
  • advertising the competition to previous competitors (November).
  • advertising the competition through faculties, departments and other academic units (November).
  • recruiting and instructing judges for the competition (November-January).
  • recruiting and instructing student volunteer room monitors for the competition (January).
  • supporting registration procedures and answering questions from competitors (January).
  • being present at the competition event to ensure the smooth running of all aspects (January-February).
  • reporting the names of student prize winners to Student Awards (February).
  • drafting post-event report for submission to the Provost’s Advisory Committee for the Promotion of the Arts (February).
  • choosing dates for the next year’s competition and co-ordinating room booking in the John Deutch University Centre alongside the Student Life Centre (March).
  • monitoring competition email account (ongoing).

The Student Life Centre will facilitate and provide the following for the competition on an annual basis:

  • facilitating the room booking process alongside the faculty member from the Dan School of Drama and Music.
  • reviewing and approving, as appropriate, an annual budget for the competition at the discretion of the Student Life Centre Managing Director.
  • providing staff for set-up and take-down of the event within the John Deutch University Centre.
  • providing all appropriate audiovisual equipment as determined by the committee and with the approval of the Student Life Centre Managing Director.

The Dan School of Drama and Music and the Student Life Centre will provide all administrative support for the Andrina McCulloch Public Speaking Competition.

V. Committee Composition 

  1. Student Life Centre Managing Director (ex officio)
  2. Dan School of Drama and Music appointee (ex officio)
  3. Student Life Centre Administration Manager
  4. Student Awards appointee
  5. Other who may be added from time to time