Bob Layne, Executive in Residence, Visits The Hill in October ’16

Last October, Mr. Layne returned to the Hill as the Department of Communication’s Executive in Residence. During his visit, he spoke to several Communication classes, as well as held a campus-wide discussion open for anyone to attend. He explained to students just how valuable a degree in Communication can be, and exactly how to market themselves in a way that highlights this strength as a versatile yet transferable skill. He summed up his discussion with the word “options.” This term describes exactly what a degree in communication provides.bob_layne.png

Bob Layne, an alumnus of WKU, graduated in the first class of students awarded a Bachelor of Arts in Corporate and Organizational Communication. He then went on to study law, and is licensed to practice in Tennessee and Washington D.C. Soon after, he found his way to Dollar General Corporation where he spent more than 10 years as an executive officer managing many functions. Fast forward to 2016, Mr. Layne, the current President and CEO of the Visibility Company, spends his time traveling and aiding companies all over the globe with their marketing, communication, and technology development needs.  Here is a link to his speech: you_more_ attractive_to_ employers.pdf

When asked what advice he would give to young seniors, Mr. Layne advised them to be confident. Confidence is an attractive trait, and with it, students have the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed and conquer.

~ Brittany Holley, Student

WKU Communication Department Awards, Accomplishments & Acheivements: Message from Dr. Jerome

Hey everyone,

I just finished the first draft of our MA Academic Program Review. If the data I have is complete (Dr. Sterk and I believe it is thanks to the tireless efforts of faculty, staff, grad students current and former, and student workers), these are our outcomes:

Since 2011, WKU COMM grad faculty (a small, but mighty crew) have published 1 academic book, 2 edited books,1 scholarly textbook (in App form), 33 academic journal articles, 11 scholarly book chapters, and 4 academic encyclopedia entries. Ten of these publications were co-authored with grad students; one grad student has a solo-authored publication. Five faculty hold/have held significant leadership positions in state, regional, or national associations, one serves as the editor of the Kentucky Communication Journal, and 6 serve/have served on one or more journal editorial boards.

Our students have presented 56 papers at state, regional, national, or international conferences. Of those, 35 were sole-authored pieces largely based on work generated in graduate courses; 19 were co-authored with at least one WKU faculty member.


Further, faculty have been awarded 7 top paper awards, 11 Top paper panel honors, and 4 top panel honors in peer-reviewed
competitions at regional and national conferences. Students have won 8 top paper awards and sat on 8 top paper panels in peer-reviewed competitions at state, regional, and national conferences
Additionally, 7 students have been admitted to top COMM doctoral programs since 2011, one is pursuing an EdD at WKU, and one has been accepted to two programs to pursue advanced study in east Asian languages.

Last, of the 50 graduates (out of 60) on which we have employment data, all have cool, often unique jobs, and several are high-level administrators.


~Dr. Angela Jerome


Communication to Welcome Advertising and Public Relations

Potter College of Arts and Letters is “lifting the ceiling” by combining the strengths of Communication and Advertising and Public Relations through the collaboration of a diverse and talented faculty, under the leadership of Communication head Dr. Helen Sterk. Effective July 1, 2017, Communication welcomes the programs and faculty of the Advertising and Public Relations majors.  Picture1.png

All three areas, Communication and Advertising and Public Relations, will become stronger by the merger. Bringing them together increases access to additional faculty and technological resources. Both 21st -century skills and a solid knowledge base are necessary for student success in a quickly changing world.

Communication will provide a home to an extremely strong faculty in all areas of Communication study, which now will include Public Relations and Advertising. They hold expertise in analyzing messages and audiences; in writing and producing professional messages on topics such as school crises, branding, image repair, and social media; and in developing organizational and intercultural communication strategies.

The programs and faculty of the Advertising and Public Relations majors move their administrative home to Communication.  Students currently enrolled in the Advertising and Public Relations programs will continue to have access to the computer labs and facilities in MMTH as they do now, and major requirements for current students will not change.  A new set of curricula is being developed by a team from all three areas. And until appropriate space for offices and program facilities can be identified, the Advertising and Public Relations faculty members will remain in WKU’s Mass Media and Technology Hall as well.

The same holds true for Communication Studies and Corporate and Organizational Communication majors and graduate students. Major requirements will not change from a student’s initial calendar year.  Faculty and facilities in the FAC will remain accessible to all students in both majors and the graduate program.

~Dr. Helen Sterk, Department Head

Presidential-Candidate Tim Caboni: Connected to Communication at WKU

What is the connection between WKU’s preferred Presidential candidate Tim Caboni and WKU’s Department of Communication? 

Dr. Tim Caboni

In 1994, Dr. Caboni earned a MA in Organizational Communication from WKU! Coming to WKU from Louisiana State University with a BA in Speech Communication and Rhetoric, Dr. Caboni chose WKU for his MA. From here, he went to Vanderbilt University to earn his PhD in Higher Education Leadership and Policy.

Dr. Caboni’s skill set grew in each different job he held in higher education—marketing, account executive, graphic designer, teaching, promotion to associate and full professor, deaning and most recently, serving as Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs at the University of Kansas.

Staff alums—mark your calendar for Thursday, Jan. 26. At 9:30, join us in greeting Dr. Caboni in the name of Communication, at the staff meet-and-greet in DSU 3002-3007.

Students—it’s your turn as well to welcome Dr. Caboni in the name of Communication, at the student meet-and-greet at 11:30 in DSU 3002-3007.

Faculty—then it’s your turn—3:00 pm in DSU 3002-3007.

Let’s give Dr. Caboni a strong Communication welcome! Helen Sterk

Alumni Updates

Alumni — Let us know what you are doing. We would love to hear from you, too! Send alumni news to Laura Wagoner at

Amanda Belcher—M.A. Organizational Communication, 2013—Amanda is working as the Sr. Human Resource Business Partner at the  Sarah Cannon Cancer Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

Kirsten Belt—B.A. Communication Studies, 2011 – Kirsten is a Senior Account Executive at OwnerIQ in Kansas City, Missouri.

 Brandon Bowman—B.A. Corporate & Organizational Communication, 2010—Brandon is an Insurance Agent at Bowman Insurance in Louisville, Kentucky.

 Jessica Martin Carver—M.A. Organizational Communication, 20___—Jessica is now Vice President at the WKU College Heights Foundation.

Stephanie Carter—B.A. Corporate & Organizational Communication, 2011—Stephanie is an Association Executive at Edmond Board of Realtors in Edmond, Oklahoma near Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Amanda Daniel—B.A. Corporate & Organizational Communication, 2008—Amanda is a Loan Administration Assistant at Monticello Banking Company in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.

Mackenzie Lee Farris—Communication Studies, 2016—Mackenzie is a Marketing Assistant at Bluegrass Cellular in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.

Tori Hardin Henninger—M.A. Organizational Communication, 2009—Tori is the Executive Director of Barren River Area Safe Space in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Porsha Johnson, PHR—B.A. Corporate & Organizational Communication, 2014— Porsha is a Human Resources Consultant at Confidential Automotive in Atlanta, Georgia.

Jasmine Langley—B.A. Corporate & Organizational Communication, 2015—Jasmine is a Financial Services Specialist at Tri-State Orthopaedic Surgeons in Evansville, Indiana.

John Lynn—B.A. Communication Studies, 2015— John is the Director of Admissions and Marketing at Signature Healthcare in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Alli McClure—B.A. Corporate & Organizational Communication, 2009—Alli is a Purchasing Analyst at All Star Association in Lexington, Kentucky.

Erin Oestringer—B.A. Corporate & Organizational Communication, 2013—Erin is a Territory Manager at Jefferson National Financial Services in Louisville, Kentucky.

Skylar Phaup, B.A. Communication Studies, 2014—Skylar is working at Daymar College as an Assistant Director of Admissions.

Sierra Rhodes—B.A. Communication Studies, 2012—Sierra is a Special Events Coordinator for American Airlines in New York City, New York.

Leigh Ann Rush—B.A. Corporate & Organizational Communication, 2014—Leigh Ann is currently at Junior Strategic Sales Executive at Comdata in Nashville, Tennessee.

Evan Sharp—B.A. Corporate & Organizational Communication, 2011—Evan is working as a Sales Account Executive at Maui Jim & Zeal Optics in Knoxville, Tennessee.

William Skaggs, 2013 – William is the Chief Development and Outreach Officer at SkyPAC of Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Byron Turner—B.A. Communication Studies, 2013—Byron is attending the Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University and works as a student representative to provide customer support to students and faculty.

Shannon White—B.A. Corporate & Organizational Communication, 2013—Shannon is a Service Certified Banker at South Central Bank in Nashville, Tennessee.





The Spotlight Settles on Paige

Paige Settles is a 22 year old senior at Western Kentucky University double majoring in Communication and Political Science. Ms. Settles has set a great example for every student on campus through the prestigious awards she has received, the effort that she has put into the Student Government Association (SGA), and her scholarship for the national award winning forensics team.

Last year Ms. Settles received the Outstanding Undergraduate Student award from the Department of Communication, and this year she received the department’s Undergraduate Research Award. While on the forensics team, she has been a part of four national championship teams, an international championship team, and has won one individual national championship in impromptu speaking at the 2015 National Forensics Association (NFA) national tournament.

Paige Settles

“I love being on the forensics team because it gives me the opportunity to travel all over the country, meet new people from all over the country, and constantly be learning fascinating things.” During her sophomore year on the team she had the opportunity to travel to Paris, France to compete in the International Forensics Association tournament where she was fortunate enough to win the international championship title. Ms. Settles said, “The experience of traveling to Paris was even more amazing than the tournament. We visited historic sites, ate French food, and got to experience a beautiful culture.” She has also had the honor of serving for the past two years as one of two student representatives on the National Forensics Association (NFA) national council. Ms. Settles explained by saying, “It has given me such a unique insight into how the organization works.”

In addition to her awards, Paige Settles is an active member of the Student Government Association (SGA) where she serves as Speaker of the Senate. “As Speaker of the Senate, I chair the Senate meetings each Tuesday, coordinate with each of the senate committees, and set the agenda for each Senate meeting.”

When asked how she handles her busy load, she stressed her reliance on a well-planned calendar, “It’s definitely a lot to juggle. It would be impossible if I didn’t keep a calendar that planned out every minute of my day, but doing so much has taught me that you can pack a lot into a day if you plan and schedule it carefully.”  She also expressed enthusiasm for online classes, and that they are great because they give a lot of flexibility. “I love going to a university that has small class sizes, a vibrant honors college, and a focus on undergraduate research. I feel like I have had so many more opportunities here than I would have at another university.”

The Department of Communication is proud of Paige and wish her the best of luck as she pursues graduate school.  We’re excited to see where life takes her next!


Communication Organization for Graduate Students (COGS)

The Communication Organization for Graduate Students (COGS) is an organization that helps support graduate students through the course of their studies at WKU. We help Organizational Communication students build relationships with their fellow classmates and hold fun events to celebrate our successes. At the end of every semester COGS hosts a small get together for all graduate students to do just that! The end of semester get together has been a great way for graduate students to de-stress and talk about the challenges and successes they’ve experienced over the course of the semester.


Last semester COGS made an active effort to raise money for the end the year shindig for stress relief. We raised $150 and every bit went back to supporting our amazing graduate students. COGS raised enough funds to celebrate the end of the semester with a trip to Mariah’s!

COGS members are busy scholars, too! Daniel Chick and Jessica Cherry went to Central States Communication Association conference, presenting several papers on behalf of the Department of Communication, WKU, and themselves. While we, as a group, do like to have fun we also know how to get down to business and put out some great work.

Finally, COGS would like to offer a big congratulation to all graduate students graduating this spring! Congratulations to ChuChu Xie, Lindsey White, Giang Vo, Mattie Russell, Tyler Rife, Myeongok Lee, Zilai Jia, Derek Irvin, Daniel Chick, and Jessica Cherry! We made it! COGS would also like to congratulate Michaela Ash on her summer graduation!