Greetings from the Communication Department here at Western Carolina University!

It’s Finals Week here in Cullowhee with just a few days more to go before the end of the Fall 2023 semester and graduation!

It was a very busy Fall with so many exciting things happening with the department. Homecoming Weekend proved to be the highlight of the semester! The Department of Communication celebrated the 75th Anniversary of the university’s radio station, WWCU-FM 95.3 during homecoming weekend. As part of the celebration, over 30 communication department alumni met with students at a day-long networking/mentoring event providing career advice. In addition, we held a radio station open house for folks to see the new, upgraded, all-digital control room, and enjoyed a tailgate celebration at the TV Studio. During the weekend, alum Chris Faw (’84) also announced a donation of $100,000 to provide both need and merit-based scholarships to communication students. Most exciting, these scholarships will be awarded and available for students with the Fall 2024 semester!

As I mentioned, it’s also graduation coming up this weekend, and on Saturday, December 16th, we will be celebrating our students that have completed their degrees in both the Summer and Fall semesters. Take the time to congratulate and celebrate this important milestone for our students. The full list of graduates is below.

In addition to our students’ successes, our faculty have been hard at work. Since the end of the Spring 2023 semester, our faculty have been doing important work in their teaching and research. Some of the highlights include:

– Assistant Professor Dr. Vincent Russell and Instructor Mr. Gabriel Wisniewski-Parks recently got a top paper award at the National Communication Association’s annual conference. The paper is titled: Democratic Communication Through Public Speaking: A Review and Advance of Citizenship Preparation for Public Speaking Pedagogy.

– Associate Professor Dr. Mindy Weathers, working with Assistant Professor Dr. Meghan Gangel of the Psychology Department, was awarded a Provost Scholarship Development Award. Their proposal is titled: Assessing College Students’ Perceptions of Digital Dating Abuse and Associated Correlates.

– Associate Professor Dr. Katerina Spasovska was awarded a Fulbright Grant that will have her teaching and doing research in Macedonia during the Spring 2024 semester.

– Assistant Professor Matt Binford spent the Summer of 2024 serving as the Director of Video Operations for Country Music Star Sam Hunt’s North American Tour

– Professor Don Connelly published the fourth edition of his textbook, “Digital Media Production.”

– Associate Professor Dr. Candy Noltensmeyer was named a Faculty Relations Fellow for the university where she will serve as an independent resource for problem resolution working to ensure that members of the university community are treated equitably and fairly.

– The department was also able to pay for students to travel to and participate in the national conferences for the Society of Professional Journalists, the Carolinas Communication Association, and ICON, the international conference for the Public Relatons Society of America.

The Department of Communication had a very busy and productive Fall semester with even more exciting developments coming in the Spring 2024 semester. We wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza, Blessed Winter Solstice, and a Happy New Year!