A Welcome from the Chair


As we enter the new academic year, I would like to welcome you to the first edition of the new Communication Department alumni newsletter.  COMMunity is an e-newsletter, designed to keep us in touch in a convenient, interactive manner.   It is my hope that we can reconnect to form a community of our alumni, faculty, and students.

There have been several changes in the administrative personnel of the department and college in the last few years.  After Dean David Johnson returned to our faculty, we welcomed Dr. Dan O’Hair as Dean of the College in Fall of 2009.  Dan joined us from the University of Oklahoma.  In addition to leading our college, he conducts an active research program in Risk and Health Communication, Business Communication, and Media Management.  Dr. Tim Sellnow and Dr. Deanna Sellnow came to the college in 2007 from University of North Dakota. Dr. Deanna Sellnow, whose focus is in Instructional Communication, became our Director of Undergraduate Studies.   Dr. Tim Sellnow, who also conducts research in Crisis Communication, currently serves as the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs. I joined the faculty in 2008 after several years at The Ohio State University.  Then, following Dr. Nancy Harrington’s service of an incredible 12 ½ years as chair, and her return to our faculty ranks, I began my term as chair last year.

One of the exciting developments in our program is our recent changes to update our major to be more career focused.  Students can specialize in “Corporate Communication,” “Health Communication,” “Mass Communication,” or for those interested in a broader orientation, “Human Communication.” See link: http://comm.uky.edu/student-info/career-paths/.    We also now offer students a minor in Communication.

I am proud to say our college has grown. We currently have 350 undergraduate majors and premajors and 75 minors, as well as approximately 50 MA and PhD students working towards their degrees in Communication.  The Graduate Program approaches the study of Communication as a social science with an emphasis on both theory construction and practical application through empirical research methods in order to generate new knowledge about communication as a core process.

Our internship program has also grown. These are vital to helping our student’s in their careers.  In the late 1990’s we offered 20 to 30 internships a year.  Under the direction of Cyndy Miller, we have grown to where we are averaging between 125 and 150 internships a year.  We have over 300 organizations across the country with which our majors can intern.  We’d like to thank Cyndy Miller for her outstanding work directing this program as well as all of you who have sponsored one of our interns.

Finally, we’d like to hear from you.  To provide us with an update, click here.  We are happy to have you as part of our COMMunity!

Laura Stafford, Chair

Department of Communication