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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

Students in Communication hold "Pie Your Professor" event's picture
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Students in Communication sponsored a fun "Pie Your Professor" fundraising event on Wednesday, April 2. For a small donation, one could push a pie into the face of a professor. Or even two professors at once, as illustrated in this short video clip from the event.

In this video, Mrs. Molly Jochym, our department office manager, appears to take great pleasure in landing pies in the faces of Dr. Ed Lordan and Dr. David Levasseur. It's unclear the extent to which the professors took delight in the facial surprise, although Dr. Lordan appears to be relishing a taste. In addition to Drs. Levasseur and Lordan, Dr. Theon Hill, Professor Mark Hickman and Professor Dawn Pfeifer Reitz also graciously received pies to the face.

The event raised money to help support student travel costs associated with a planned trip in late April to the Eastern Communication Association (ECA) conference in Providence, Rhode Island. Three undergraduate COM students have had scholarly papers accepted for presentation at this annual meeting of the oldest regional professional organization for scholars, teachers and students of communication. In addition to the undergraduate students attending the conference, 8 graduate students will be participating in the conference, along with many COM faculty.

In 2012, COM professor and Students in Communication adviser, Dr. J. Kanan Sawyer, was elected by her peers in the ECA to serve as President of that organization; she is currently First Vice-President Elect, and will formally assume the office of President at the Providence convention. Dr. Kanan will serve as convention planner for the 2015 meeting of the Association, which is scheduled to be held in Philadelphia.

Congratulations to Students in Communication for their successful fundraising event! And thanks to Professors Levasseur, Lordan, Hickman, Hill, and Reitz for their willingness to serve as pie targets.

(Video courtesy of Beth Dagenbach, Students in Communication treasurer.)

Professor Emeritus Jack Orr serves as external evaluator at Frostburg State's picture
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WCU Communication Studies Graduate Program alumni David Stern (M.A. '07) and Professor Emeritus, Dr. C. Jack Orr, prepare to tour Frostburg State University's new Center for Communication and Information Technology (, which is still under construction and expected to open for the Fall 2014 semester. Dr. Orr is serving as the external evaluator for the five year program review of the Department of Communication Studies at Frostburg, where David is on the faculty. Dr. Orr and David were accompanied on their tour by Dr. Elesha Ruminski, the Communication Studies Department Chair.

COM Students Visit Philadelphia Sports Teams's picture
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Students from the Communication Professions in Sports class visited Citizen's Bank Park and the Wells Fargo Center in February to tour stadium facilities and meet with communication professionals from Philadelphia area teams. This photo shows the group in the media room with Chris Ware and Rob MacPherson of the Phillies. Students also visited XFinity Live! and spoke with the Philadelphia Soul's Jessica Devito, a graduate of the Communication Studies program.

COM major named Miss WCU 2014's picture
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Communication Studies major Molly Callanan has been named Miss WCU 2014. Callanan was one of 19 contestants for the title, which was awarded at the annual event on February 15 in Asplundh Concert Hall.

The event was extensively covered by The Quad, the student newspaper of West Chester University. Callanan graced the front cover of this week's issue.

The Quad article reported that West Chester mayor Carolyn Committa was the emcee at this year's Miss WCU competition. Committa explained that 40 percent of the judging was based on an interview each contestant had with the judges before the show, and the remaining 60 percent was dependent upon their performance onstage at the event.

The Quad article quoted Miss WCU 2013 as saying “Molly is an amazing woman; she is radiant, beautiful, brilliant, passionate, inspirational, and so incredibly kind-hearted.” And The Quad quoted Callanan as saying that being awarded Miss WCU 2014 was “a dream come true...something I have been working towards for a few years now, and it was such an honor to be given this opportunity.”

Click here to read the entire article on The Quad's website.
(Photo by Jose Mestre, Assistant Photography Editor of The Quad.)

Forensics Team Brings Home 10 Gold Medals's picture
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WCU Forensics Team
Our Award-Winning Forensics Team
(Click thumbnail to view larger size.)

A year of hard work came to fruition as the West Chester University Forensics Speech and Debate Team dominated the Pennsylvania State Championship Tournament at Bloomsburg University on Feb. 15-16. The team bested second-place finisher Lafayette College by 429 points. WCU speakers took home gold medals in 10 of the 12 individual events, and boasted the top four pentathlon speakers.

Special recognition goes to Jillian Heagerty who earned first place in persuasive speaking and thereby earned a place in the Interstate Oratorical Competition. This tournament is the longest-running speech competition in the United States, and will be held at James Madison University in April.

With only two regular season tournaments left, coach Mark Hickman and graduate assistant Kelsey Hockenberger look forward to achieving victories at the American Forensics Association National Tournament and the National Forensics Association National Tournament in April.

The State Championship results:

Dan Hinderliter, senior Honors middle grades education/communication studies major (Allentown, Pa.): first place, Pentathlon; first place, Informative Speaking; first place, Duo Interpretation with Kellen Kane; first place, Extemporaneous Speaking; first place, Parliamentary Debate speaker; second place, Parliamentary Debate with Ashley Murphy; third place, Prose Interpretation; third place, Dramatic Interpretation; fourth place, Persuasive Speaking.

Daquann Chung, senior communication studies major (Pocono Lake, Pa.): second place, Pentathlon; first place, Dramatic Interpretation; first place, Poetry Interpretation; second place, Prose Interpretation; second place, Rhetorical Criticism; second place, Duo Interpretation with Emily Herman.

Jillian Heagerty, senior English major (Glen Mills, Pa.): third place, Pentathlon; first place, Persuasive Speaking; first place, After Dinner Speaking; first place, Rhetorical Criticism; third place, Informative Speaking; fourth place, Extemporaneous Speaking; fifth place, Impromptu Speaking.

Joe Tetreault, senior history education major (Southampton, N.J.): fourth place, Pentathlon; first place, Program Oral Interpretation; second place, Poetry Interpretation; third place, Rhetorical Criticism; fourth place, Dramatic Interpretation; fourth place, Impromptu Speaking; fourth place, Duo Interpretation with Josh Shapiro.

Josh Shapiro, junior English major (Holland, Pa.): sixth place, Pentathlon; second place, Informative Speaking; second place, Impromptu Speaking; fourth place, Poetry Interpretation; fourth place, Duo Interpretation with Joe Tetreault.

Ashley Murphy, senior Honors English education/special education major (Lake Ariel, Pa.): second place, Parliamentary Debate with Dan Hinderliter; third place, Extemporaneous Speaking; sixth place, Poetry Interpretation.

Kellen Kane, freshman Honors chemistry major (Sunbury, Pa.): first place, Duo Interpretation with Dan Hinderliter; second place, Dramatic Interpretation; second place, After Dinner Speaking; third place, Duo Interpretation with Lauren Christ.

Imani Thomas, junior communication studies major (Wyndmoor, Pa.): first place, Prose Interpretation; second place, Program Oral Interpretation.

Emily Herman, freshman Honors pre-med major (West Chester, Pa.): second place, Duo Interpretation with Daquann Chung; fourth place, Prose Interpretation; fifth place, Persuasive Speaking.

Tarik Williams, junior English major (Effort, Pa.): second place, Parliamentary Debate speaker; sixth place, After Dinner Speaking.

Adam Franklin, freshman Honors communication studies and fine arts major (Mechanicsburg, Pa.): third place, After Dinner Speaking.

Lauren Christ, freshman pre-major (Tamaqua, Pa.): third place, Duo Interpretation with Kellen Kane.

Rebecca Anderson, sophomore Honors economics and finance major (Williamsport, Pa.): third place, Program Oral Interpretation.

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