Message from Helen Sterk, Department Head

helen_sterk.pngThis fall’s highlights include the promotion of six, count ‘em, six! faculty members and the Department of Communication’s strong contributions to international communication.

First, Dr. Holly Payne was promoted to full Professor. Congratulations, Dr. Payne!

This year marked the first time instructors could be promoted. Formerly, there was only one instructor rank, with no possibility of promotion. As of this year, instructors now have three ranks open to them. Five instructors were promoted to the second rank, all names and records we know well: Gayle Allison, Bruce Crawley , Charlotte Elder , Gary Hughes, and Patricia Witcher. Please join me in congratulating them on their promotions!

The Department of Communication contributes strongly to WKU’s international reach. Donna Schiess and Rita Meredith led Study Abroad courses to Australia and Argentina, respectively. Dr. Kong, from South Korea, and Dr. Ishii, from Japan teach full-time in the department. Dr. Chai teaches COMM 263 and 463 online from Bangladesh. Two years ago, the department hosted a South Korean professor on sabbatical, Dr. Kang. And this spring, we will host a Chinese scholar in intercultural communication on her sabbatical.

This past fall, Dr. Ishii, Dr. Garmon, Dr. Kong, and Ms. Strode led workshops on intercultural communication at WKU’s International Education Week. The first workshop featured on Developing Communication Skills was ‘Cultural 101 Workshop for International Encounters’ and the second was ‘Diversity Management Training.’ A note on Dr. Ishii—she consults regularly on intercultural communication competency with companies such as Sumitomo Electrical Wiring Systems and Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products; speaks for the Japanese Business Association; and mentors WKU’s Japanese Culture Club. Dr. Ishii’s experience-based leadership on intercultural communication is invaluable to our department.

These two highlights show how the department’s quality is built from within. Our full-time faculty members take their work seriously, care for their students, and move learning beyond our six classrooms.



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