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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

Faculty research: Experiment shows limited influence of news coverage on perceptions of media effects

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Dr. Boyle's research on factors affecting the third-person perception was published in the most recent issue of the Atlantic Journal of Communication. The third-person perception is the persistent finding that we view others as more likely to be affected by negative influences of media (such as video games) than we see ourselves as being affected. This study considered how news story characteristics, such as depictions of who is affected and how they are affected, could have implications for individual assessments of the effects of video games on self and others. The experiment also considering the role of more stable beliefs such as maternalism, paternalism, and assessments of media vulnerability. Results indicate that more permanent factors superseded the effects of the news story manipulations. Ultimately, the data show limited influence of media coverage on effects perceptions and suggest that such person perceptions are driven more by long-standing beliefs. This indicates that perceptions of media effects - particularly whether you think others are more affected by media than you are - are driven more by deeply-held beliefs than news stories that could potentially support or contradict your beliefs. The research was co-authored by Mike Schmierbach from Penn State University and Douglas M. McLeod from University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Boyle, M.P., Schmierbach, M., & McLeod, D.M. (2013). Pre-existing factors or media effect?: Understanding the third-person perception. Atlantic Journal of Communication, 21:230–246.

COM Professor Receives EPA Grant

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The Environmental Protection Agency has awarded Dr. Denise Polk a grant for $14,685 for a food compost pilot initiative. This pilot program partners West Chester Borough Public Works, Borough Leaders United for Emissions Reduction (BLUER), Roots Café, Landmark Americana of West Chester, Thornbury Farm, the West Chester Business Improvement District (BID), and Chester County Solid Waste Authority. It involves a local effort to collect and haul food waste from the two restaurants in order to track the benefits. The goal is to set groundwork to move toward a long-term sustainable Borough-wide food waste composting program. The pilot will take place in 2014.

COM Major Kenny Ayres Wins 2013 Kalas Award

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COM majors in the news! Quad editor-in-chief Kenneth Ayres has been awarded the 2013 Kalas Award, given annually to the Philadelphia-area college student who demonstrates the greatest commitment to a career in sports broadcasting.

If you're around media at WCU, you already know Kenny. You'll find him on the air at WCUR, editing stories for the Quad, and constantly helping fellow students to sharpen their media skills. He's plenty busy off-campus as well: His internships have included stints with the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs and WBCB in Levittown.

As part of the award, Kenny received a $1,500 check and a plaque at a special ceremony preceding the Phillies game on Wednesday, August 21.

When you see Kenny on campus this Fall, congratulate him on the award, and when you see him on a sports broadcast down the road, tell your friends that you knew him when he was an up-and-coming COM major at WCU!

Watch Kenny receiving his award here before the start of the game in this MLB.com video...

Dr. Braz Publishes Article in Human Communication

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Dr. Braz, along with WCU co-author Dr. Chris Stangl, published an article titled Perceived Obstacles to Voting following Superstorm Sandy in Human Communication, a journal of the Pacific and Asian Communication Association. The authors surveyed students of voting age during the week between when the storm hit the area and National Election Day. Students reported perceived obstacles to voting, ranging from physical obstructions of downed power lines and road closures to attending to other higher priority events in the aftermath of the storm. The article offers a unique contribution to understanding how weather related events affect voters.

Stangl, C.A. & Braz, M.E. (2013). Perceived obstacles to voting following Superstorm Sandy, Human Communication, 16(1).

Communication Studies Department Welcomes Future Rams!

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On Monday, February 18, 2013, the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) held an Open House event for all accepted majors and their families. The event included an opportunity to tour the campus, meet with professors and administrators, and interact with current West Chester University students.

Those students who expressed an interest in majoring in Communication Studies had the opportunity to attend a special "mini-class" with Dr. Philip Thompsen in the WCU Digital Media Center. After some welcoming remarks from Dr. Polk and Dr. Mahoney, Dr. Thompsen gave a brief talk about broadcast performance and how to deliver a script on camera. He then demonstrated the use of "green screen" technology for recording video performances over a superimposed background. Many students volunteered to be recorded in front of the green screen reading a brief commercial script on a teleprompter. It was a fun way to learn about broadcast performance, use the instructional facilities of the Digital Media Center, and experience a small sample of the Communication Studies undergraduate program.

The Department of Communication Studies congratulates all the participants on their acceptance to West Chester University. We look forward to welcoming everyone as official WCU Rams in the fall!

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