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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

"A World of Difference" unveiled at President's Council Retreat's picture
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At the annual West Chester University President's Council Retreat on August 15, Dr. Anita Foeman and Dr. Philip A. Thompsen unveiled "A World of Difference at WCU," a free online course on diversity and intercultural communication for students, faculty and staff. Over the summer, Drs. Foeman and Thompsen worked as a team with Dr. Bessie Lawton to develop and deploy a substantial amount of online learning content for this self-registering course on the Brightspace Learning Management System (formerly known as Desire2Learn, at Anyone with a WCU email address can login to D2L and self-enroll in the course, which can be found in the directory of self-registering courses by clicking "Search Organizations" on the D2L homepage.

The course includes instructional videos on intercultural communication, online learning activities, readings and short quizzes. It also features recordings of a variety of faculty, staff and students who volunteered to share their experiences and case studies on diversity issues. Many of the videos produced for the course were recorded over the summer at the Digital Media Center in Brandywine Hall. The WCU Office of Social Equity and The College of Arts and Sciences provided development support for the project.

Many of the videos used in the course are also available on a public MediaSpace channel at MediaSpace is WCU's internal video portal, based on the Kaltura platform, and is available to all students, faculty and staff at West Chester University.

COM Major Creates Service Learning Video's picture
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Communication Studies major Anjelica Finore recently created the above video about Service Learning at West Chester University. Drawing from her technical expertise from working as talent and crew at WCU Weekly, Anjelica contributed many hours of her personal time in creating this video, itself an excellent example of service learning in action. The video features many examples of service learning, including projects mentored by Professor Anne Walsh, Professor Mark Hickman, Dr. Meghan Mahoney and Dr. Bessie Lawton in the classes they teach in the Department of Communication Studies. The video opens with some comments from Jodi Roth-Saks, Director of Service-Learning and Volunteer Programs, who notes that "the Communication Studies Department has done a great job this year with creating new service learning courses, and creating things that are really going to work, really high-impact practices when it comes to service learning."

COM Faculty Mentor Two SURI Fellows's picture
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Faculty members from the Department of Communication will serve as mentors this summer to two Undergraduate Research Fellows during West Chester University's first Summer Undergraduate Research Institute (SURI). The SURI is designed to allow current WCU students to pursue a significant research question, contribute to a scholarly endeavor, or to produce an artistic or creative work while being mentored by a WCU faculty member.

Dr. Elizabeth Munz will be working with senior Communication Studies major Zachary Wooten on a research project surrounding Family Systems Theory. Zachary is interested in the origins and evolution of Family Systems Theory as well as applications of the theory by academics and practitioners (e.g., Marriage and Family Counselors). This in-depth exploration of Family Systems Theory will be beneficial for Zachary as he prepares to pursue a Master’s of Divinity at the Princeton Theological Seminary after he graduates from WCU in August, 2014.

Dr. Philip A. Thompsen will be working with Andrew Rufo, a Professional Studies major with minors in Web Technology and Graphic Design. Andrew will be working on developing a new interactive website for the DNA Discussion Project (at He will be working with Dr. Thompsen in implementing a new content management system, promoting the project through search engine optimization and social media marketing techniques, and using adaptive design principles to make the site more "mobile-friendly."

The Summer Undergraduate Research Institute runs for four weeks, from May 27 through June 23.

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.

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