A Message from Department Head, Dr. Helen Sterk

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During the fall semester and winter term, the Department of Communication crackled with life. We hosted a Scholar in Residence–Dr, Paul Schrodt, held a bonfire and pig roast at Prof. Elder’s house, participated in homecoming activities, developed new graduate program possibilities, and launched a Study Abroad program in Australia.

Probably the biggest news was the roll out of our COMM 200: Foundations of Communication app. Departmental professors, under the leadership of Dr. Thompson, wrote chapters, assignments and applications of key Communication theories. Their writing was transformed into an app, available online, over tablets, or on smartphones. Students eagerly took to the app, finding it something they could read wherever they were, quite unlike a textbook. In the coming years, the authors will look for ways to share this app with other schools beyond WKU.

Students and faculty members engaged in scholarship, earning grants and presenting at conferences. Faculty member Dr. Payne, and graduate students Ivan Gan, Ryan Cummings, and Erin Grenke all won top paper honors at the National Communication Association conference in Washington, D. C. Drs. Thompson, Payne and Jerome won a WKU Research and Creative Activities Program (RCAP) grant to support research into schools’ crisis communication.  Dr. Angie Jerome’s spring sabbatical project on sport communication won a WKU RCAP grant to help her with researching and writing a book on the topic. Dr. Kell received a publication acceptance for his fourth university press book in 15 years on the rhetorical history of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Dr. Schiess took twelve students to Australia during winter term and Dr. Kong taught an online Intercultural Communication class to the same students, offering students a total of six hours of credit during the winter term. Deakin University, in Marrnambool, hosted the WKU contingent, connecting them with Aboriginal leaders.

Each of these events brought a new set of opportunities to our students. No matter whether your interest is social, research, or travel, the WKU Department of Communication has a place for you!

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