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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

WCU Forensics team dominates the state championship tournament!'s picture
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A year of hard work came to fruition as the 15 students on the West Chester Forensics Speech and Debate team absolutely dominated the other schools at the Pennsylvania Forensics Association State Championship, held here on West Chester's campus on February 16th and 17th. The team bested the second-place finishers, rival St. Joseph's University by more than 150 points. WCU speakers took home gold medals in 6 out of 11 individual events, and boasts the top two debate teams and top four pentathlon speakers as well. With only two regular season tournaments left, coach Mark Hickman and graduate assistant Kelsey Hockenberger look forward to achieving victories at the Pi Kappa Delta national tournament in March and the National Forensics Association Championship in April.

Special recognition goes to Jillian Heagerty and Dan Hinderliter, who earned respective first and second places in persuasive speaking and thereby earned places in the Interstate Oratorical Competition. This tournament is the longest-running speech competition in the United States, and will be held in Shreveport, LA in April.

Individual awards were as follows:

Dan Hinderliter, senior Honors Middle Grades Education/Communication Studies major: first place, Pentathlon; first place, dramatic interpretation; first place, program oral interpretation; second place, after dinner speaking; second place, persuasion; third place, duo interpretation with Lanie Presswood.

Jake Markiewicz, senior Communication Studies major: second place, Pentathlon; second place, Parliamentary debate speaker; first place, Parliamentary debate with Jill Heagerty; first place, after dinner speaking; first place, informative speaking; third place, impromptu speaking; third place, program oral interpretation; fourth place, duo interpretation with Carl Sandberg; sixth place, extemporaneous speaking.

Lanie Presswood, senior Communication Studies major: third place, Pentathlon; first place, Impromptu Speaking; third place, Persuasive speaking; third place, after dinner speaking; third place, extemporaneous speaking; third place, rhetorical criticism; third place, duo interpretation with Dan Hinderliter.

Joe Tetreault, senior History Ed. major: second place, dramatic interpretation; second place, poetry interpretation; second place, rhetorical criticism; fifth place, program oral interpretation.

Ashley Murphy, junior English Ed./Special Ed. major: first place, Parliamentary debate speaker; second place, Parliamentary debate with Erik Starn; third place, informative speaking; fourth place, program oral interpretation; fifth place, rhetorical criticism.

Carl Sandberg, junior philosophy major: fourth place, duo interpretation.

Jillian Heagerty, sophomore English major: fourth place, Pentathlon; first place, persuasive speaking; second place, informative speaking; fourth place, rhetorical criticism.

Imani Thomas, sophomore Communication Studies major: fifth place, poetry interpretation; seventh place, duo interpretation with Carla Agbiro.

Erik Starn, sophomore Communication Studies major: second place, Parliamentary debate with Ashley Murphy.

Carla Agbiro, freshman Psychology/Political Science major: seventh place, duo interpretation with Imani Thomas.

Congratulations to our nationally-recognized speech and debate team!'s picture
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The WCU Forensics Speech and Debate team split up to conquer two different tournaments on the east coast last weekend. The team seniors went down to Virginia and finished the weekend with the distinction of second place overall team sweepstakes winners, bested only by the reigning national champions. The rest of the team traveled north, to dominate the Wilkes University Wilcox Invitational Tournament in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. The team was thrilled to walk away with many top awards for individual speaking. Some highlights of the individual awards include:

Lanie Presswood, senior Communication Studies major: 1st place, impromptu speaking; 2nd place, persuasive speaking; 4th place, extemporaneous speaking; 5th place, individual sweepstakes.

Dan Hinderliter, senior Honors Middle Grades Education/ Communication Studies major: 1st place, persuasive speaking; 3rd place, Dramatic Interpretation; 4th place, after dinner speaking; 4th place, individual sweepstakes.

Jake Markiewicz, senior Communication Studies major: 2nd place, Informative speaking; 4th place, after dinner speaking.

Joseph Tetreault, senior History Education major: 6th place, Poetry Interpretation; 6th place, Communication Analysis.

Ashley Murphy, junior Honors English Education major: 1st place, Extemporaneous Speaking; 1st place, Informative speaking; 2nd place Communication Analysis.

Imani Thomas, sophomore Communication Studies major: 4th place, Poetry Interpretation; 6th place Speaker in Parliamentary Debate.

Rebecca Makar, first year Political Science major: 3rd place, Extemporaneous Speaking.

Rebecca Anderson, first year Honors Business major: 1st place, Persuasive Speaking; 3rd place, Dramatic Interpretation.

Ahleah Miles, first year Honors Psychology major: 2nd place Informative speaking.

Royce Peterson, first year Political Science major: 6th place, Impromptu Speaking; 5th place with Josh Shapiro in Parliamentary Debate.

Tarik Williams, sophomore English major: 4th place Parliamentary Debate with Ashley Murphy.

Next week, February 16-17, the team is excited to host the Pennsylvania State Forensics Association 2013 State Tournament right here at West Chester University. The university community is welcome and encouraged to attend the event, headquartered in Main Hall, to support these champions of West Chester University! For more information contact Mark Hickman, Director of Forensics, at

Study in Poland this summer!'s picture
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WCU students: Are you looking for an exciting and affordable study abroad experience this summer? Join Dr. Ola Kopacz in Bialystok, Poland, for an unforgettable summer experience this July 2013!

During this special summer learning experience, you'll take two classes: SOC 200, which can fulfill a general education requirement, and COM 224, which meets a requirement for COM majors and minors (and makes a great elective for non-majors). You'll also build international communication skills by completing team projects with University of Bialystok students and learning from Polish faculty. And you can earn 6 WCU credits -- but only pay for 3.

To learn more, please visit the program website and like our Facebook page. Hope to see YOU in Poland this summer!

Faculty Research in the News's picture
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Dr. Mary Braz co-authored an article published in the January 2013 issue of Human Communication Research. The research investigates how social norms messages influence behavioral change in hand washing among men in public restrooms. The findings of the journal article were widely reported in the popular press, including articles in Discovery News, MSN Health, U.S. News and World Report, and The Examiner. See for example this article in The Examiner.

Here is the full citation of Dr. Braz's published scholarship:
Lapinski, M. K., Maloney, E. K., Braz, M. and Shulman, H. C. (2013), Testing the Effects of Social Norms and Behavioral Privacy on Hand Washing: A Field Experiment. Human Communication Research, 39: 21–46.

Graduate Students Host Spring Social Event's picture
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Graduate students! Please join grad students from across the University at the Spring Networking Social...

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