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Our Mission

Rooted in the social science perspective, the Department of Communication Studies is committed to preparing students to be competent communicators. Our faculty is dedicated to developing students’ critical and practical, problem-solving and decision-making, and presentation skills with the intent of empowering students to construct and deliver context-specific messages across their personal, social, and professional relationships. To do so, we work diligently to create a communication climate that facilitates respect between and among faculty and students; cultivates a diverse and inclusive culture that allows for the expression of differing thoughts, beliefs, and opinions; and develops student appreciation for lifelong learning.

Our Commitments

The WVU Department of Communication Studies is committed to anti-racism, anti-sexism, anti-heterosexism, anti-ableism, and all other means through which we can directly combat discrimination and bias. We acknowledge the harmful experiences that have occurred in our department over time, and those that are persistent realities for many of our community members. As a department, we co-commit to modeling just, effective, and inclusive communication toward all persons across various identities, experiences, and ideologies. We strive to educate ourselves and others on exclusionary behaviors as well as recognize and act on the effects of systemic oppression that impact our department, college, university, state, and country. We will work together to restructure systems and ways of thinking that are rooted in bias and discrimination. Through this process we aim to make our department more inclusive and equity oriented.

Our History

Born out of programs in English, Rhetoric, and Speech, our department began as a Department of Public Speaking, then the Department of Speech, Speech Communication, and finally Communication Studies. A History of the Study of Oral Communication at West Virginia University was drafted and published by former Professor Leonard M. Davis in 1998 and provides robust historical context of the department up to that time.

Today, WVU Comm Studies remains a top program for undergraduate and graduate education as well as scholarly research. The department has educated and employed some of the most prolific and impactful scholars in the field of Communication. Our faculty have won top teaching awards and are among the most productive in the discipline. In a 2020 article published in Journalism & Mass Communication Educator, the WVU Department of Communication Studies was ranked #5 in research productivity for publications in 182 journals between 1915 and 2018. Our faculty publish in top journals, receive external support from federal funders, and work with diverse publics to have meaningful community impacts.

Our Leadership: