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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

Senior Reception 2011's picture
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Every year, the Department of Communication Studies host a special reception for our graduating seniors. This year the reception was held on May 5 at the Landmark Americana in West Chester. The theme for this year's senior reception was "Oh the Places You'll Go." Everyone enjoyed great food and refreshment, and many lucky students won gift cards and other prizes donated by local businesses. A great time was had by all!

Click here or on the image at left to view a gallery of photos taken at the event. Click on any thumbnail on the gallery page to view a larger version of each image. You can also see the photos on our Department's Facebook page.

Communication Studies Major Wins National Speech Award's picture
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Sara Franklin, a senior communication studies major from Mechanicsburg, PA, captured the Sixth Place Award at the 2011 Interstate Oratorical Contest (IOC) at James Madison University in Harrisonburg Virginia. Begun in 1874, The IOC is the oldest continuously running national intercollegiate speech contest in the country. Earning a bid to attend this tournament is a prestigious honor. Each year the Interstate Oratorical Association issues invitations to only the top two collegiate persuasive speakers from each state.

Franklin joins a long, rich history of orators who have gone on to make significant contributions to our nation. Those orators include Wisconsin Senator Robert La Follette, who was a founding member of the modern Republican Party; South Dakota Senator George McGovern, who was the Democratic nominee for the US Presidency in 1972; and Vernon Jordan, former Executive Director of the National Urban League.

Franklin’s speech on cleaning up hydraulic fracturing, the process for extracting gas and oil from shale, will be published in Winning Orations later this year.

West Chester Community Television goes online: Check out some of our shows!'s picture
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Communication Studies students have been hard at work creating content for a new video production venture: West Chester Community Television (WCCT). During the Spring semester we have created three shows all shot and edited by students working with Prof. Michael Boyle and graduate student Amy Kaminsky. Coaches Corner features interviews with coaches and players from WCU athletic teams and is hosted by Prof. Boyle. WCU Live is a sports talk show featuring sports reporters from WCUR and The QUAD that is hosted by Communication Studies major Steven Fisher. Both shows are recorded at our campus television studio in Brandywine Hall. The Last Lecture Series features in-depth looks at many of WCU's distinguished professors and was created by Amy Kaminsky as part of an independent study in Fall 2010. The Web site will also feature content from campus activities and events. We'll also air our content on WCUTV5 - the campus television station (Channel #965 if you live on campus).

Watch WCCT online:

Check us out and check back frequently as we add new content!

Faculty scholarship: Understanding perceived effects of video games's picture
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Research has consistently identified that individuals typically think that other people are more affected by negative media and that perceived effects on self are typically minimized - the notion that "it's those other people we need to worry about." A research study co-authored by Prof. Mike Boyle appearing in the April issue of Journal of Communication examines this phenomenon in the context of video games. The findings show that those who play video games frequently estimate greater effects on self and lower effects on others than those who play games rarely. Those who play video games infrequently - or not at all - perceive lower effects on self and greater effects on others. Further, the same people who rarely play video games are also more willing to support censorship of video games. In all, these findings suggest that frequent game players are more likely to acknowledge the negative impact of games but less willing to embrace censoring those games. Citation: Schmierbach, M., Boyle, M.P, Xu, Q., & McLeod, D.M. (2011). “I hate Jack Thompson”: Exploring third-person differences between gamers and non-gamers. Journal of Communication, 61, 307-327.

West Chester University Forensics Wins Big at Nationals's picture
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WCU Forensics Team
Our Award-Winning Forensics Team
(Click thumbnail to view larger size.)

Capturing one of seven highly coveted Superior Team awards, the West Chester University Forensics Team took the competition by storm at the Pi Kappa Delta Biennial National Forensics Championships at Mt. Hood Community College in Portland, Oregon, on March 23-26, 2011. Eighty-four teams from across the country vied for honors in this year’s championships in speech and debate. Fielding a squad of eight students—most of whom are in their first year of competition—WCU swept away their opponents in an upset victory.

The team was led by senior communication studies major, Sara Franklin—the team’s president—from Mechanicsburg, who won Top Superior (national champion) in Broadcast Journalism, Superior in Persuasive Speaking, Superior in Dramatic Interpretation, Excellent in Impromptu Speaking, and Excellent in Program Oral Interpretation. Sara is a four-year team member who significantly improved on her two Excellent awards at the previous biennial competition in Shreveport, Louisiana, two years ago. She plans to pursue graduate work in communication/public relations in the fall.

She was joined by sophomore communication studies major, Lanie Presswood from Bloomsburg, who is in her second year of competition. Presswood was selected to deliver a Showcase Performance in Communication Analysis (in which she earned a Superior award). She also earned a Superior in Broadcast Journalism, and Excellent in Informative Speaking.

  • Dan Hinderliter, sophomore Honors middle grades education major from Allentown—a first year team member—won Superior in After Dinner Speaking, Excellent in Persuasive Speaking, and Excellent in Broadcast Journalism.
  • Daquann Chung, a first year undeclared major from Pocono Mountain, captured Excellent in Poetry Interpretation.
  • Jake Markiewicz, a sophomore communication studies major from Avondale, who is also in his first year on the team, won Excellent in Informative Speaking.
  • Ashley Murphy, a first year Honors English BSED and special education major from Wallenpaupack, captured Excellent in Impromptu Speaking.
  • Joe Tetreault, a sophomore history education major from Burlington County, New Jersey, who is in his first year on the team, earned an Excellent in After Dinner Speaking.
  • Brian McCormick, a first year Honors Biology major from Hamburg, netted preliminary scores high enough to push WCU into the Superior team finish.

Director of Forensics, Mark Hickman, who teaches in the Department of Communication Studies, states that WCU can be very proud of how these students represented the University. This young team’s achievements are a testament to their hard work and their ability to push each other to excel. In capturing this top honor, these students sent a message to the country that West Chester University is an academic leader that can match its students against the very best in the country.

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