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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

Good Day West Chester now online

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Students in Dr. Boyle's Communication 317: Advanced TV & Video production are hard at work this semester producing episodes of Good Day West Chester produced at the campus television studio located in Brandywine Hall. Each episode highlights a West Chester faculty member discussing their teaching, research, or other interests and recent episodes have featured Dr. Anita Foeman talking about her DNA research and Dr. Phil Thompsen sharing his insights on technology in the classroom. The show also mixes in field productions ranging from comic takes on The Jersey Shore and Valentine's Day to profiles of members of the campus community. Students take on all roles of the television production including director, camera operator, and host, among others. Episodes of the show can be viewed HERE. You can also sign up for the podcast of the show to receive downloads of new episodes of the show as they are added.

Faculty Scholarship: Evaluating Computerized Speech Analysis

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Dr. Philip A. Thompsen participated in a recent research project that evaluated different approaches to the automatic computerized analysis of speech. A scholarly article based on this research is scheduled to be published in a forthcoming issue of the CALICO Journal, the official peer-reviewed publication of the Computer Assisted Language Instruction Consortium. Dr. Thompsen is listed as a co-author of "Quantitative, notional, and comprehensive evaluations of spontaneous engaged speech," to be published in Volume 29, Issue 1 of the journal (September 2011). Dr. Thompsen worked with lead investigator Dr. Garrett Molholt (a faculty colleague from the Department of English) in the development of web-based technology for experimentally testing the efficacy of three different methods of measuring speech proficiency. Other West Chester University professors participating in this interdisciplinary research effort, and listed as co-authors of the article, include Dr. María José Cabrera (Department of Languages and Culture) and Dr. V. Krishna Kumar (Department of Psychology). The study examined the extent to which quantitative measures, common sense notional measures, and comprehensive measures adequately characterize spontaneous though engaged speech. The article contributes to the growing body of literature describing the current limits of automatic systems for evaluating spoken proficiency, provides examples of the essential nature of various notional and comprehensive variables, supports the continued development of hybrid systems, and includes suggestions for the possible utilization of additional variables for automatic analyses.

Faculty Scholarship: Social ostracism in task groups

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Professor Mary E. Braz has co-authored a publication with Gwen Wittenbaum and Hillary Shulman of Michigan State University on ostracism and group composition. This publication will appear in an upcoming issue of Small Group Research: An International Journal of Theory, Investigation, and Application. In this article, Professor Braz and her co-authors explore the influence of sex and ostracism on communication in task-oriented small groups.

Faculty Scholarship: It's not always what you do, it's how you do it

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Prof. Mike Boyle co-authored the study "Measuring level of deviance: Considering the distinct influence of goals and tactics on news treatment of abortion protests" published in the December issue of the Atlantic Journal of Communication (Vol 17: 166-183). The study assessed news coverage of abortion protests in The New York Times and Washington Post from 1960 to 2006 and found that when abortion protesters used more extreme/aggressive tactics they were more likely to be treated more critically by news media. There were little differences in treatment from before Roe v. Wade to after the court decision suggesting the landmark court decision had a limited impact on how journalists covered the issue. Further, although pro-choice protesters tended to receive more favorable coverage, their tactics tended to be less extreme/aggressive than pro-life protesters. The study also revealed that shifts in public opinion toward abortion rights exerted little influence on how critical or supportive news coverage was. Overall, the findings suggest that it is more the specific actions - whether they hold a peaceful vigil vs. a confrontational rally - of a protest group rather than their goals that influence how journalists treat them.

The Ayer Cup is back in West Chester!

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The Cup is Back!! The N.W. Ayer Cup, the trophy that symbolizes the annual advertising showdown between WCU Communication Studies students and their counterparts from Villanova University, is back in West Chester!

On Wednesday, December 2, five WCU comm majors (Jessica Shultz, Courtney Conigliaro, Don Beaver, Amber Loiselle and Kevin Conner) presented their advertising campaign for the new sport, Kronum, to five advertising executives in the boardroom of the prestigious law firm of Fox Rothschild in Philadelphia. The student team, dubbed ad savvy, promoted their plan to use social media to reach critical audiences around the world, then responded to questions from the panel on everything from audience analysis to their annual budget. When it was all over, ad savvy had won the account, and they brought the hardware back to campus! If you see members of ad savvy around campus, please congratulate them on their big win!

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