Who We Are

COMM Centers on Messages and Meanings (Yes, the acronym is intentional!). Communication is a dynamic process involving the effective creation, sharing, management, and analysis of messages in various settings such as conversations, workplaces, public forums, and online platforms. It is a crucial skill for building meaningful relationships and achieving success in one's professional life. Our department is dedicated to equipping students with the knowledge and ethical framework necessary to become proficient communicators, both as creators and consumers of information. We cultivate an inclusive environment that values diverse perspectives in the pursuit and generation of knowledge, all while fostering personal growth, professionalism, and responsible citizenship.

We Know

Speech is powerful, relationships matter, and effective messages and actions are key. Therefore, everyone needs to be able to create, analyze, manage, connect, improve, critique, influence, solve, persuade, advocate, and lead.

Why Communication Studies

We are the perfect academic home for students with multiple interests and diverse talents because we offer a toolbox of theories, techniques, skills, and experiences that are at the core of every relationship and industry

We Value

  • Student-Centered Learning
  • Scholarly and Creative Discovery
  • Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
  • Community Engagement
  • Collaboration
  • Ethics and Professionalism

What We Do

  • Shue, C. K. & Stamp, G. H. (2019). Measurement in interpersonal communication. In E. E. Graham & J. P. Mazer (Eds.), Communication research methods III: A Sourcebook (3-19). New York, NY: Routledge.
  • Conner, B., Shue, C., McCauliff, K., & Stamp, G. H. (2018). Explaining mansplaining. Women & Language.
  • Denker, K. J., Manning, J., Heuett, K. B., & Summers, M.E. (2018). Twitter in the classroom: Modeling online communication attitudes and student motivation to connect. Computers in Human Behavior, 79, 1-8.
  • O'Hara, L. L., & Shue, C. K. (2018). Discourses of diabetes management in patient-physician interactions. The Qualitative Report, 23, 1282-1300. Retrieved from https://nsuworks.nova.edu/tqr/vol23/iss6/2.
  • Jenkins, E. M., & Stamp, G. H. (2018). Sexting in the public domain: Competing discourses in online news article comments involving teenage sexting. Journal of Children and Media, 12, 295-311. doi: 10.1080/17482798.2018.1431556
  • Westerman, C. Y. K., Reno, K. M., & Heuett, K. B. (2018). Delivering feedback: Supervisors’ source credibility and communication competence. International Journal of Business Communication, 55, 525-546.
  • Friedman, R.; McNabb, N.; McCauliff, K. L. (2017) Listening to Women on the Right: Communication Strategies of Today’s Female Republican Politicians. Jefferson, NC, McFarland Press. 
  • Levine, K. J., Heuett, K. B., & Reno, K. M. (2017). Re-operationalizing established groups in brainstorming: Validating Osborn’s claims. Journal of Creative Behavior, 51, 252-262.
  • Messner, B. A. (2018). Questioning my way to queer. In Facing LGBTQ Pride. Muncie, IN: The Facing Project.
  • Messner, B. A. (2018). A teacher’s heart. In Facing Teaching. Muncie, IN: The Facing Project.
  • Meyer, M. (2017). Concrete research poetry: A visual representation of metaphor. Art/Research International: A Transdisciplinary Journal, 2, 32-57.
  • O’Hara, L. (2017). Discursive struggles in ‘diabetes management’: A case study using Baxter’s relational dialectics 2.0. The Western Journal of Communication, 81, 320-340. doi: 10.1080/10570314.2016.1241425.
  • Stamp, G. & Shue C. K. (2017). Interpersonal communication. In M. Allen (Ed.), The SAGE Encyclopedia of Communication Research Methods. Sage Publications, Inc.

For more information on the specialties, publications, and course taught by faculty members, check out their full bios on the faculty and staff page.

  • Ashley Coker, 2019: High Technology Award, CCIM
  • Kendra Mann, 2019: Professionalism Award, CCIM
  • Kathy Denker, 2018: Outstanding Service Award, Central States Communication Association
  • Peggy Fisher, 2018: Community Connections Award, CCIM
  • Michael Storr, 2018: Core Competency for Teaching Award, CCIM
  • Kyle Heuett, 2018: Outstanding Faculty, Ball State Women's Soccer Team
  • Abby Erpelding, 2018: Faculty Teaching Award, Department of Communication Studies
  • Abby Erpelding, 2018: High Technology Award, CCIM
  • Laura O'Hara, 2017: Outstanding Teaching Award, Ball State University
  • Mary Moore, 2017: I.E. Norton Award, Bradley University
  • Kristen McCauliff, 2017: Outstanding Social Responsibility Award, CCIM
  • Marcy Meyer, 2017: Diversity Research Award, Office of Inclusive Excellence 
  • Michael Bauer, 2017: President’s Award for Outstanding Service, National Educational Debate Association

Undergraduate and graduate students have opportunities to present their research at regional and national conferences. Recent examples include:

Departmental History

The Department of Communication at Ball State Teachers College has evolved significantly since its inception in the 1920s. The department began with three courses related to speech communication, and by 1943, English professor Alan Huckleberry was listed as "assistant professor of speech and director of the Speech and Hearing Clinic."

The department also introduced the first "fundamentals of public speaking" course. In the 1950s, faculty members took on specialties related to speech and communication, including speech correction, radio, and theatre. In 1963, the Department of English offered a minor in speech, and in 1965, the Department of Speech and Mass Communication emerged as Ball State University. The department later split into separate entities, including speech pathology, journalism, and theatre. In 1996, the department joined journalism, telecommunications, and the Center for Information and Communication Science in the College of Communication, Information, and Media. In 1998, the department became known as Communication Studies.

In 2007, the department moved into the state-of-the-art David Letterman Communication and Media Building, providing additional classrooms, facilities for Debate and Speech Teams, a speech lab, a departmental library, a graduate suite, and faculty offices.

1929 - 1946

1929: English Department of Ball State Teacher’s College offers Speech Communication courses

1943: English Department hires Assistant Professor of Speech Alan Huckleberry

1945: Fundamentals of Public Speaking course offered for the first time

1946: English Department offers journalism, speech, and speech correction areas of study

1965: Department of Speech and Mass Communication is formed 

1967: Center for Radio and Television is created

1968: Department renamed to Speech and Journalism

1969: Department splits: The Center of Journalism and the Speech Department are created

1976: Department renamed and split again into Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology and Department of Speech and Theatre

1982: Department of Speech and Theatre separate to Department of Theatre and Department of Speech Communication

1996: New College of Communication, Information, and Media (CCIM) is formed

1998: Department changes name to Department of Communication Studies 

2007: Department moves to the new state-of-the-art David Letterman Building


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