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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 Professors Publish Article in Communication Monographs's picture
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Drs. Bessie Lawton and Anita Foeman of the Department of Communication Studies, along with Dr. Randall Rieger of the Department of Mathematics, recently published a journal article in Communication Monographs, titled "Questioning Race: Ancestry DNA and Dialog on Race." Communication Monographs is one of the most widely respected journals of peer-reviewed scholarship within the study of human communication, and is published for the National Communication Association.

Here is the abstract for this article: Human genetics and racial identity converge pointedly in the family narrative. Until recently, genetics, racial identity, and family narrative were all rather malleable concepts in the public arena. All were presented in anecdotal form for the most part, and were often based on certain social conventions. The interjection of popularly available ancestry DNA data adds an additional piece of information to the discussion of genetics, race, and narrative. Using the framework of both narrative theory and theory of social construction, this work uses quantitative and qualitative data to explore how individuals react to ancestry DNA findings and to consider if and how this information will change narratives, behaviors, and perspectives. We also explore whether one’s racial identification makes a difference in initial accuracy and if there is a difference among racial groupings in terms of change in census identification based on knowledge of their DNA profile.

Questions about the article may be sent to Dr. Anita Foeman, at

Quad 2014 Election Update's picture
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COM majors Colleen Fox and Anjelica Finore recently recorded a 2014 Election Update video for The Quad, the student news service of West Chester University. Recorded at the Digital Media Center, the video takes advantage of their recently installed "virtual set" technology. The video is being broadcast on Verizon FiOS channel 33. It is also being featured on the digital signage systems on campus, as well as on the University's home page.

Quad editor-in-chief Adam Farance has made a big push this year to increasingly incorporate multimedia journalism into the operations of the student news service. This includes a growing amount of short video reports created using the Quad's mobile journalism kits, as well as producing a video weather forecast three times a week. Check out the growing number of student-created videos on The Quad's YouTube channel.

COM Studies Major To Deliver December Commencement Address's picture
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Was it her thoughtful speech, her charming British delivery, or all of the lessons she learned as a communication studies major? Whatever it was, Madeleine "Maddie" Ball, Communication Studies major, has been selected to deliver the student commencement address in December. Ms. Ball, who also minored in journalism, has taken a variety of presentation-related classes that have prepared her for the challenge, as well as internships that have improved her confidence and professional style.

Congrats to Maddie, and best of luck beyond graduation!

Dr. Castle Bell Publishes Article in Qualitative Research Reports In Communication's picture
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Dr. Gina Castle Bell recently published a journal article in Qualitative Research Reports in Communication, titled "Exploring Black and White Accounts of 21st Century Racial Profiling: Riding and Driving while Black." This article explores the presence of racial tensions and racism in the United States and documents instances of racial profiling, where Black automobile operators are pulled over by White police officers because they have Black skin, not because a traffic violation occurred. In addition to documenting Black participants' voices on this subject, this article highlights experiences by White community members who were riding in the car with Black drivers and who labeled this instance as exemplyfying racism or racial profiling.

Dr. Castle Bell studies domestic race-related social justice issues in the United States. Her research focus centers on intercultural communication in every day interpersonal contexts. This article highlights work in her specific area of expertise, Black and White intercultural mis-communication. In addition to publishing research, Dr. Castle Bell teaches Research Methods, Communication Theory, African American Communication, and Public Speaking as an Assistant Professor at West Chester University. Any comments or questions should be emailed to:

In the news: Professor interviewed about protests in Hong Kong's picture
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Hong Kong has seen a flurry of political protests recently in response to changes made by the Chinese government. Prof. Michael Boyle, who studies how news media cover protest movements, was interviewed for an article on the National Journal website. He discussed how tactics used by protest groups can affect the nature of the coverage the groups receive as well as the difficulty protest groups face in controlling the message they are trying to send. Click here to read the full article.

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