ProfessorLeslie Collins  (she/her)

Leslie Collins
Professor - Communication Studies
Arts, Humanities & Communications
Founders Hall 220D


Hey there. I'm Professor Collins and I teach the class that everyone and their mother hates: Public Speaking. I've been teaching this class since 2005 and I LOVE it.

Hold on a second. Before you close out your browser window because you assume I'm completely unhinged, let me clarify: I don't love public speaking, I love helping others face the challenge of public speaking with poise and confidence. This is a semester-long process which involves many steps.  Some of those steps include:

  • Becoming aware of the way our minds and bodies react when we're nervous
  • Developing a plan to push through those manifestations of nervousness
  • Writing a speech which is well-reasoned and audience-centered
  • Using outlining to keep us organized
  • Identifying our delivery strengths and weaknesses
  • Delivering a speech in a conversational and engaging way

Do these sound like skills you want to develop? If so, sign up for COMM 100 (Public Speaking) with me. After you complete that course, I'd love to see you develop your communication skills in other areas of the COMM discipline like Argumentation (COMM 104). At that point, you'll be halfway towards your Certificate in Communication Studies so you might as well take two more classes to earn that workplace-skills certificate. It's a great addition to any degree. While you're completing your certificate, you can practice your skills by joining MJC's Speech and Debate Team, which is the winningest team in the country! Lastly, I'll encourage you to keep your grades up so you qualify for membership in Sigma Chi Eta, the National Communication Association's community college honor society.


At the end of the day, I'm just a Central Valley farm kid from Reedley. I completed my lower-division GE requirements at Reedley College and I still kick myself for not taking the two PE classes I needed to earn my AA. Then I transferred to Fresno State where I competed on the Speech & Debate Team and earned my BA and MA in Communication. I worked full-time through school so I'm pretty darn good at time management; if you need some help creating a schedule that works for you, ask me and I'll share my favorite techniques.

While in college, I never had a clear career goal but I did know two things: I loved to learn and I wanted a job where money wasn't as tight as it was when I was growing up. Teaching at the college level wasn't even on my radar until I accepted a teaching associateship at Fresno State in 2005 and knew almost instantly that it was the right fit. Teaching college students is the only job I have ever had where I felt continually motivated and inspired and challenged. 

There is nothing quite like a Central Valley community college classroom. It's filled with fascinating people from all kinds of different backgrounds and walks of life who come together in one space with one common goal: to earn an education. Learning my student's stories, supporting them on their journey, and sharing in their successes and failures is an honor and privilege I don't take lightly. This job is not always easy and I'm still recovering from the burnout I experienced while teaching online in the pandemic, but I value my students and I love my colleagues and I am proud to teach at Modesto Junior College.

Courses I Teach

  • COMM 104,  Argumentation
    This course is designed to help you improve your critical thinking skills when analyzing and constructing arguments. In both our personal and professional lives, we are bombarded daily with arguments about what we should think and do. Sometimes those arguments are sound, but other times, we're being manipulated. This class will help you recognize effective arguments so you don't get tricked by bad ones. We all have causes we care about and passionately believe in, but sometimes we struggle to articulate our perspective to others. This class will help you analyze your own beliefs and construct logical, audience-centered arguments about them. These skills will help you speak confidently and competently - in a variety of speaking settings - about the things that mean the most to you.
  • COMM 100,  Public Speaking - Hybrid
    The primary objective of this course is to help you improve and expand your public communication skills. To accomplish this objective, each student will be introduced to public speaking theory and effective practices and will be given the opportunity to apply this knowledge in a series of in-class presentations. This course will also help students develop confidence in their abilities as public communicators as they learn how to manage their individual levels of public speaking anxiety. As this is a hybrid class, class time is divided between the face-to-face and online learning environments.