Date of Conferral







John W. Flohr


Research demonstrates a widening gap between verbal communication skills expectations of employers and the perceived abilities of higher education graduates. Recent studies have also suggested that the art of acting is an effective pedagogical tool for developing oral communication skills; however, investigations of a beginning acting class in a higher educational setting are limited. The research question examined undergraduate students’ perceptions of the influence of a beginning acting class on the development of their verbal communication skills for future employment. This generic qualitative inquiry investigated and analyzed 8 undergraduate students’ perceptions of how an acting class helped improve their verbal communication skills for future work after graduation. Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory and Giles’ Communication Accommodation Theory acted as a conceptual framework. Data were collected through 2 semi structured in-depth interviews and a focus group discussion of 8 participants. The participants were undergraduate students who had taken a beginning acting class in a liberal arts university in the northeastern United States. NVivo 12 was used to organize and manage the collected data. Data were analyzed through coding, from which themes emerged. The participants perceived that an acting class positively affected an undergraduate student’s verbal communication skills to help them gain employment after graduating. Positive social change may come from students who successfully build their oral communication skills during their college years, find a job after graduation, and become contributing members in their community.