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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

Winter Term COM Classes's picture
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Want to get ahead in your program, enjoy a small-class environment and make the most of your upcoming break? Consider a Winter session class in Communication Studies! Here’s what the department is offering – sign up today, or contact the professor listed with the course for additional information!

Writing for Broadcast and PR (COM 202) – The demand for high-quality, fast-breaking broadcast news has never been greater. Nor has the temptation to cut corners and deliver something less than excellent. In this class you will learn the fundamentals of news reporting for broadcast media and writing for public relations. ​You will develop a full media campaign that will allow you to examine how news is both created and reported as well as how public relations plays an integral role in developing relationships between newsmakers, journalists and their audiences. (Dr. Julia Waddell –

The Philadelphia Media Experience (COM 203) – This course traces the past, present and future of mass media in the Philadelphia region. Students will read primary text related to media development in newspapers, magazines, websites, cable companies and radio stations in and around Philadelphia. The class includes a series of trips to media centers and historic locations, including Independence Hall, Benjamin Franklin’s print shop, the Philadelphia Inquirer printing plant and the corporate headquarters of Comcast, the nation’s leading cable company. (Dr. Edward Lordan –

Mass Communication (COM 212) – This course provides an overview of many different modes of mass communication such as television, film, newspapers, and social media, among others. This is an engaging and interactive online class as we focus on thinking critically about the media we use and apply this thinking to becoming more savvy users and creators of media. (Dr. Michael Boyle

Communication Theory (COM 219) – Dr. David Levasseur (

Communication Research (COM 224) – An examination of the nature of inquiry and research in communication. Emphasis on understanding and appreciating the strengths and weaknesses of various methods of research in communication. This is a required lower-level course for all COM majors. (Dr. Ola Kopacz -

Intercultural Communication (COM 250) – This class explores culture and communication within the US and globally. We work individually and collaboratively online to better understand issues of the day and our relationship to them. Both theory and application are part of our examination. (Dr. Anita Foeman –

Communication and Gender (COM 345) – In this course we will look at how meaning is created and maintained in interpersonal communicative interactions between women and men in romantic, friendship, family, and work relationships. We will also explore the messages sent to us from multiple sources throughout our lives about how men and women “should” communicate in both cross-gender and same-gender relationships. COM 345 has an unusual meeting schedule as the class will meet from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. on the following dates: Tuesday, December 15, 2015; Thursday, December 17, 2015; Tuesday, December 22, 2015; Tuesday, January 5, 2016; and Thursday, January 7, 2016. While there will be a 15 minute morning break, a 30 minute lunch break, and a 15 minute afternoon break, COM 345 WILL meet from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. on the above dates. Thus, please do NOT register for COM 345 if you have a trip planned for the holiday and need to leave before the late afternoon of 12/22/15. And please do NOT register for COM 345 if you need to be at work while the class is meeting or right when it ends at 4:30 p.m. There will be graded in-class activities at the beginning, middle, and end of each of the five class days. However, if you’re willing and able to spend five full days of your Winter vacation taking COM 345 [and still have an entire week off before Spring classes begin since COM 345 ends on Thursday, 1/7/16 and the Spring, 2016 semester begins on Tuesday, 1/19/16], you can earn three credits of upper level COM during Winter Session. (Dr. Elaine Jenks –

Public Speaking (SPK208) – Dr. Mary Braz or Dr. Elizabeth Munz ( or

EPA Grant awarded for food recovery's picture
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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded Communication Studies professor Dr. Denise Polk just over $13,000 to continue food recovery efforts in the Borough of West Chester. The pilot project will include up to 10 restaurants or other food generators who will divert their food waste for 12 months. The waste will be collected by the Borough of West Chester's Public Works department, where they will transport it to a permitted compost facility. This pilot also will include other food recovery efforts. Specifically, WCU students will help develop outreach materials to help restaurants reduce their waste and offer extra food to neighborhood organizations that feed hungry families. If you're interested in getting involved in the outreach efforts, please contact Dr. Polk directly by sending an email to

Find out what you can do with a COM degree!'s picture
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Find out what you can do with a degree in Communication Studies! Join us on Wednesday, September 9 and Friday September 11 for two informative panel discussions. There will be sessions at noon (Main 313) and 1 p.m. (Main 402) on both days. See the flyers below, and contact Dr. Kanan Sawyer at if you would like more information.

Lambda Pi Eta Welcomes New Advisor's picture
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With the start of the Fall 2015 semester, new COM faculty member Dr. Roger Gatchet will be serving as the new faculty advisor for the department's active chapter of Lambda Pi Eta, the National Communication Association's student honor society. "I was a member of Lambda Pi Eta as an undergraduate, and I am looking forward to continuing the good work that outgoing faculty advisor Dr. Castle Bell has been doing for the past several years," Gatchet said. "With the coming academic year I'll be working closely with our dedicated student officers to reach out to new students who are eligible to join. I'm also excited to help them develop an even stronger presence on campus and in our local community."

Dr. Gatchet holds an undergraduate degree in Speech Communication from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and he completed his graduate work in Communication Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. His research interests focus on the rhetoric of popular culture and music, public memory, and social movements. A trained oral historian, he also incorporates oral history methods in his work, and he has spent the past several years interviewing blues musicians in Austin, Texas. His current research investigates how authenticity has become a principle category around which people organize and make sense of their lives and identities. His research has appeared in edited collections as well as the journal Oral History Review. In his free time, Dr. Gatchet enjoys cooking, gardening, and playing harmonica.

To get in touch with Dr. Gatchet, swing by his office in Main Hall 317 or email him at

WCU Students Explore Media in Ireland's picture
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A dozen WCU students took a whirlwind tour of the Irish communications world in July, visiting Limerick, Galway and the Dublin as they learned about media systems past, present and future. The twelve, majoring in history, education, English and communication studies, met with authors, on-air personalities, editors and computer programmers along the way. Students visited Google’s European headquarters, the editorial offices of the leading newspaper in Limerick and the broadcasting facilities of rte lyric, the nation’s classical music station. History fans weren’t disappointed, with tours of Kilmainham Gaol and a private meeting in the offices of the General Post Office, the center of the Irish revolution, as well as Bunratty and Dublin Castles. It wasn’t all work, however, as the trip included tours of the Jameson Distillery, the Cliffs of Moher and the Guinness Storehouse. Wish you were with them? Next year the department will run another Media in Ireland course in July – if you are interested, contact Dr. Mike Boyle at for details!

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