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Timothy J. Brown, Ph.D.
Department Chair
Discover the Power of Communication

Welcome to the website of the Department of Communication Studies at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Whether you are a current student, a prospective student, or just looking for more information about our department, you've come to the right place. Use the drop-down menus above for quick access to our site's content. If you are a student or faculty member, login to access additional content.

Communication is an essential part of human life. It affects how we relate to each other, how we achieve success, and how we view reality. It has shaped the world we live in, and it will shape the world ahead. We invite you to discover the power of communication. Contact us today, and discover how the Department of Communication Studies at West Chester University can be a part of your future.

Department News

Dr. Lawton receives Deans' Award for Teaching Excellence in General Education

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The Department of Communication Studies is very pleased to announce that Dr. Bessie Lawton has won the WCU Deans' Award for Teaching Excellence in General Education. This prestigious honor is awarded to a faculty member who has contributed significantly to the General Education Program at West Chester University. Dr. Lawton, an Associate Professor of Communication Studies, will receive the award from Provost Linda Lamwers at this May's Commencement Ceremony. In addition, she will receive a cash prize, and be permanently recognized for this achievement in the listing of distinguished Faculty Awards in the WCU Undergraduate Catalog.

Dr. Lawton's commitment to the General Education Program at West Chester University has been truly extraordinary. She has served numerous terms as both the Department's General Education Coordinator and Assessment Director, and has also served on the University's Assessment Advisory Committee. Dr. Lawton developed the handbook students and faculty use in SPK 208, Public Speaking, our department's main general education course. In addition to teaching nearly 50 sections of SPK 208 during her career at WCU, Dr. Lawton has also taught multiple sections of COM 250, Intercultural Communication, a diversity course in the General Education Program. She was also part of a team of faculty who developed a hybrid version of COM 250, which combined classroom meetings with a substantial online learning component. Drawing from that experience, Dr. Lawton worked as part of a team to develop a hybrid version of SPK 208, which has received very positive feedback from both students and faculty.

Congratulations, Dr. Lawton, for achieving this great honor!

Communication Studies M.A. is coming to Philadelphia

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The Department of Communication Studies will be expanding to the Philadelphia branch campus in the 2015-2016 academic year. The M.A. program in Communication Studies will offer students in the city the opportunity to study strategic communication. Courses will focus on the three pillars of our discipline: theory, research, and oral communication. Courses will be designed to facilitate learning in leadership, persuasion, business communication, cultural communication competency, and more. Our M.A. program is the third graduate program to be offered at the Philadelphia location.

For more information about application and acceptance, contact Graduate Coordinator Dr. Mary Braz at mbraz@wcupa.edu.

Speech and Debate Team Three-peats as State Champions!

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The West Chester University Forensics Speech and Debate team successfully defended their title as the best team in Pennsylvania winning the championship for the third year straight year when the team traveled to Penn State University on February 14-15.

This victory is particularly impressive given that this is a rebuilding year for the young team. The team finished ahead of Lafayette College, who placed second; University of Pennsylvania, who placed third; Bloomsburg University, who placed fourth; and Penn State University, who rounded out the top five.

West Chester took the top four places in best overall speakers for the tournament headed by first year Honors physics major Rebeka Yocum of Northumberland, who won four individual events to be named Top Overall Speaker. She was also the State Champion in Persuasive speaking, which earned her a highly coveted invitation to compete at the Interstate Oratorical Contest, the oldest continuously running national speech contest in the nation open only to the top two persuasive speakers from each state. West Chester University’s other top speakers were Kellen Kane, sophomore Honors chemistry-biology, premedical program major, from Sunbury, who claimed the Second Place Overall Speaker Award; Imani Thomas, senior communication studies major from Wyndmoor, who took Third Place; and Sigfried Aragona, first year Honors Nursing major from Lansdale, who captured Fourth Place Overall.

Individual awards went to:

Rebeka Yocum, who took First Place in Informative Speaking, First place in Persuasive Speaking, First Place in Dramatic Interpretation, First Place in Duo Interpretation with Kellen Kane, and Third Place in Prose Interpretation;

Kellen Kane, who won First Place in Program Oral Interpretation, First Place in Duo Interpretation with Kellen Kane, Second Place in Rhetorical Criticism, Third Place in Informative Speaking, and Fifth Place in Prose Interpretation;

Imani Thomas, who captured First Place in Prose Interpretation, Second Place in Program Oral Interpretation, Third Place in Rhetorical Criticism, Third Place in After Dinner Speaking, and Fourth Place in Poetry Interpretation;

Sigfried Aragona, who placed Second Place in Dramatic Interpretation, Second Place in Prose Interpretation, and Third Place in Program Oral Interpretation;

Emily Herman, sophomore Honors chemistry-biology premedical program major from West Chester, who was Fifth Place in After Dinner Speaking, Fifth Place in Poetry Interpretation, and Sixth Place in Extemporaneous Speaking;

Shila Scott, first year Honors history BSED major from West Chester, who earned Fourth Place in After Dinner Speaking and Fourth Place in Informative Speaking;

Chloe Neal, Doylestown junior communication studies major, who won Fourth Place in Program Oral Interpretation; and

Richie Fontanet, first year Honors history BSED major from East Stroudsburg, who took Sixth Place in After Dinner Speaking

Celebrate Black History Month with Communication Studies Renowned Guest Speaker

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RESCHEDULED
Due to Weather

Come celebrate Black History Month with renowned guest speaker, Dr. Rachel Alicia Griffin. Dr. Griffin is an Associate Professor of Communication Studies at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, with cross-appointments in Africana Studies and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

"Sport, Gender Violence, and Black Female Survivors:
The Offensive Pedagogy of Mike Tyson's Sustained Fame"

Wednesday, February 18th, 7:15PM
Sykes 252

Light refreshments and dessert will be provided.

WCU Professors Publish Article in Communication Monographs

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Drs. Bessie Lawton and Anita Foeman of the Department of Communication Studies, along with Dr. Randall Rieger of the Department of Mathematics, recently published a journal article in Communication Monographs, titled "Questioning Race: Ancestry DNA and Dialog on Race." Communication Monographs is one of the most widely respected journals of peer-reviewed scholarship within the study of human communication, and is published for the National Communication Association.

Here is the abstract for this article: Human genetics and racial identity converge pointedly in the family narrative. Until recently, genetics, racial identity, and family narrative were all rather malleable concepts in the public arena. All were presented in anecdotal form for the most part, and were often based on certain social conventions. The interjection of popularly available ancestry DNA data adds an additional piece of information to the discussion of genetics, race, and narrative. Using the framework of both narrative theory and theory of social construction, this work uses quantitative and qualitative data to explore how individuals react to ancestry DNA findings and to consider if and how this information will change narratives, behaviors, and perspectives. We also explore whether one’s racial identification makes a difference in initial accuracy and if there is a difference among racial groupings in terms of change in census identification based on knowledge of their DNA profile.

Questions about the article may be sent to Dr. Anita Foeman, at afoeman@wcupa.edu.

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