College of Humanities and Social Sciences Achievements and Rankings

GCU has extraordinary students, faculty and staff who achieve success, generously give of themselves and contribute to our amazing academic experience. Here are just a few of their accomplishments. For a wider listing of student accomplishments, visit GCU Today

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Ratings and Rankings

In November 2018, the Senior Speech and Debate Team of Matthew Calderwood and Grace Laidlaw rose to No. 11 out of 250 schools in the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence (NPTE). The new ranking comes after finishing in first place out of 29 teams at the Aztec Invitational in San Diego.

The GCU Speech and Debate Team performed well at the Mile High Invitational at the University of Utah. Ashley Hoftiezer and Grace Laidlaw joined Taylor Alandzes and Matthew Calderwood in the top 16 and octofinal round of the tournament. Calderwood was ranked as the 20th best individual debate speaker in the tournament. Alandzes and Claderwood are currently ranked in the top 20 of all teams in the nation. Hoftiezer and Laidlaw are currently ranked No. 31.

GCU alumnus Juan Juarez, who double majored in communications and digital film with an emphasis in production, was awarded an Emmy from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Juan is a Dreamer success story and is a television journalist for Univision in Nevada. Juan not only thanked his GCU faculty, but also CHSS director Heidi Vogeney, who worked with him during his high school years in the Aguila Youth Leadership Institute. The college is very proud of his accomplishments and for his desire to share his success with GCU.

In March 2017, the GCU Speech and Debate Team were ranked No. 14 out of 179 teams in the Parliamentary Debate rankings. The rankings follow success in several tournaments, including the Winter at the Beach tournament and Sunset Cliffs Classic Invitational.

Five members of the GCU Speech and Debate Team — senior Thomas Rotering, juniors Kara Sutton and Ashley Hofteizer, sophomore Amanda Ostrem and freshman Matthew Calderwood — were named to the Academic All-Conference Team of the Pacific Southwest Collegiate Forensics Association. Qualifications include a minimum GPA of 3.75 and attendance at three conferences. For the first time, the team’s GPA for a semester finished above 3.50, and senior Zachary Kuykendall, junior Joshua Sterkin and Hofteizer, Sutton and Ostrem all earned a 4.0.

Two faculty members from the College of Humanities and Social Services presented at the recent Society for the Teaching of Psychology pre-conference in San Antonio, Texas. Julia Langdal, PhD, gave a talk titled, “Stress Prevention Circuit Training,” and Elizabeth Valenti, PhD, shared her thoughts on “Using Technology and Social Media to Bring Course Material to Life and Increase Student Engagement/Motivation.”

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