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!


Staying Connected — #WKUCOMM


Social media is taking the world by storm, and the WKU Department of Communication is keeping you in the loop. Taking advantage of nearly every social media platform available, the Department of Communication can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, WordPress, LinkedIn, Tumblr and YouTube. The variety of platforms allows for alumni, current students, and prospective students to stay connected with the department at their convenience.

The Twitter and Instagram pages are linked—meaning what is posted to Instagram is also shared on the department’s Twitter feed.  This allows for users to follow the department on the social media platform of their preference, and not miss out on any information. Arguably, the two most intriguing social media accounts for the department are the YouTube and Pinterest pages. There you will see our students in action, on and off campus, through various videos and photos. It is safe to say no matter which social media account you are following (all of them, we hope!) you are able to experience all that the department has to offer, right at your fingertips.

WKU senior and Corporate and Organizational Communication major, Allan Moreno, praised the Department of Communication’s twitter stating “[it] offers the opportunity for the department to shine light on special events, and most importantly helps myself and other students to feel a part of the community within the department.” Social media is not only a great tool for getting content to the alumni, students and staff whom are always on-the-go; but it also creates and maintains a community within the Department of Communication.
Be the first to know what’s happening in the Department of Communication by following along on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram @WKUDeptofComm. Follow, like, or hashtag #WKUComm to help spread the word about the great things going on in the Department of Communication!


Catching up with Communication Alumnus, Ryan Cummings

The M.A. Program in Organizational Communication boasts an accomplished record of Alumni  accomplishments, professionally and academically.  We caught up recently with Ryan Cummings who is currently wrapping up his graduate school career at Purdue University and finishing up his dissertation  focusing on interpersonal communication, specifically analyzing how smartphones play a role in today’s face-to-face interactions. While at Purdue, Ryan has also taught various courses, researched with teams, and successfully completed coursework within the field.

Ryan Cummings

Combined with the hard work on his end, Ryan gives credit for his success to the great faculty here on the hill! Ryan gives a lot of credit to Dr. Thompson in thoroughly prepping him for instructing Communication courses. “I found myself better prepared than most other graduate students because of this training,” claimed Ryan. He also stated that Dr. Mize-Smith and Dr. Ishii helped tremendously by instilling solid theoretical and research related skills. And even to this day, Ryan said he “still cannot use ‘to be’ without cringing a little thanks to Dr. Garmon.”

Looking back at his career here  at WKU, Ryan did mention a few facets of our campus that he dearly misses. Most importantly, he misses the people, the size, and the overall atmosphere of life here at WKU. Due to the smaller population here on the hill, he pointed out how it was nice to have the opportunity to form closer connections with the faculty and students. In contrast, Ryan noted “Purdue is so much  bigger than WKU that I go months without seeing certain faculty and graduate students, often making it difficult to establish relationships.” And surprisingly enough, Ryan stated “Purdue is so flat that I often long for that tiresome walk up the hill at WKU!”

After this summer, Ryan will be ending his time at Purdue, and     beginning work at a congregation in Louisville, Kentucky. Although this path is a change from what he saw himself doing after getting his PhD, Ryan knows it is the right path for him to take in life. This line of work is not as directly related to academia as some of the work he has done in past years, but will still allow a great opportunity to put the communication research into greater practice.  Like Ryan has, we invite our alumni to get back in contact with us in the Department of Communication: send us an email, or simply stop by and come catch up!