The Beginning

Professor Alan Huckleberry poses with a Ball State University student holding a speech chart. March 9, 1979.

Alan Huckleberry

From a few courses in the English Department in the 1920s, to eighteen full-time faculty and a diverse array of course offerings, the Department of Communication has undergone quite an evolution.

The 1929-30 college bulletin for Ball State Teachers College lists three courses in the English department related to what we know today as speech communication. In subsequent years, the number of courses grew, and by 1943, English professor Alan Huckleberry was listed as “assistant professor of speech and director of the Speech and Hearing Clinic.” Two years later came the first “fundamentals of public speaking” course within the English department.

During the 1950s, a growing number of faculty members took up specialties that had something to do with speech and communication, including speech correction, radio, and theatre. By 1963, the Department of English was offering a minor in speech, and in 1965, as the Ball State Teachers College evolved into Ball State University, the Department of Speech and Mass Communication emerged with Huckleberry as department head.

New College, New Building

See what Speech and Mass Communication courses you could have taken if you were a Ball State student in 1968. View catalog.

David Letterman Building

In subsequent years, some parts of the department were spun off into their own separate entities, including speech pathology, journalism and theatre. In 1996, the speech communication department joined journalism, telecommunications, and the Center for Information and Communication Science in the new College of Communication, Information, and Media. Our department became known as Communication Studies in 1998.

Committed Faculty, Engaged Students

In recent years, the department has grown to 18 full-time faculty members, with almost 300 students majoring or minoring in communication studies, 250 minors, and 25 graduate students.

1966 Catalog Cover

See what Speech and Mass Communication courses you could have taken if you were a Ball State student in 1968. View catalog.

In July 2007, our department moved into the state-of-the-art David Letterman Communication and Media Building, joining other units within the college that are housed in the same or adjacent buildings. The move gave us additional classrooms, facilities for the Debate and Speech Teams, a speech lab, a departmental library, a graduate suite able to accommodate 30 graduate assistants, and faculty offices.  

Since this move, the department has continued to foster critical thinking in students, engage with the Ball State and Muncie communities, and contribute to the field of communication.


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