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Zachary T. Smith Professorship Awardee

PhD alumna Jennifer Priem, assistant professor of communication at Wake Forest University, has been awarded the Zachary T. Smith Professorship.  This is a three year fellowship that honors outstanding teacher-scholars on the Wake Forest faculty.

Congratulations, Jen!!

The Penn State Mock Trial Association recieved Honorable Menition Trophy

The department congratulates the Penn State Mock Trial Association on their honorable mention finish at the National Championship Tournament!

Here is the team's description of their experience:

"From the day we learned we were going to Nationals, we began prepping our case. At Nationals, we argued the case Alex Taylor vs Trifecta Entertainment. It was a copyright infringement case in which Alex Taylor was suing Trifecta for allegedly copying her play. We argued this case four times during Nationals: twice as Plaintiff and twice as Defense. At Nationals, we knew the competition was strong. The first day showed us how tough the competition would be; we lost all three ballots to Georgia Tech. Although we were disappointed, we learned from the round and knew that we could make a comeback. Fortunately, we did! We won 6.5 ballots throughout the entire weekend, which earned us 11th place in the 24 team division and secured us an honorable mention trophy. Our team member, Danny Vargas, also won an All-American Witness Award for his outstanding witness performance on the defense.

All in all, our Nationals experience was educational and fun. From every trial, we had the opportunity to see another team’s case theory, hear their objection arguments, listen to the rhetoric in their speeches, and view their character witnesses. In addition, we were able to present our objections, crosses, and directs and receive valuable feedback from real life judges and attorneys.

This experience was invaluable. The six team members who are continuing with Mock Trial next year have gained experience and knowledge that will help guide them through the next years full of tournaments. The three graduating members of the team finished their Mock Trial career on the highest note possible. Our entire team is incredibly grateful for this opportunity."

Mock Trial

Lecturer invited to the Department of State's Global Engagement Center

The department of Communication Arts and Sciences lecturer Kurt Braddock has been invited to the Department of State’s Global Engagement Center in Washington, D.C. to discuss their current online counter-radicalization efforts that are managed by their Digital Outreach Team in multiple countries, as well as his paper, “Towards a Guide for Constructing and Disseminating Counternarratives to Reduce Support for Terrorism”.  Kurt’s paper was featured in the journal ‘Studies in Conflict & Terrorism’ and is a theoretical piece on how to maximize the persuasiveness of narratives intended to counter the radicalizing effects of terrorist messages.


To view the entire paper, please click here.

Congratulations Kurt!

Department Head Elected as Fellow of the International Communication Association

The Department of Communication Arts and Sciences is delighted to announce that Professor Denise Solomon was elected to be a Fellow of the International Communication Association.

One of the highest honors, fellows are selected for their record for distinguished scholarly contributions to the broad field of communication. We are proud to honor her achievement. She will join two other Penn State ICA fellows in CAS: Jim Dillard and Jon Nussbaum and two CAS affiliate faculty ICA fellows: Mary Beth Oliver and Shyam Sundar.

Congratulations Denise!

To read the full article please visit:

Faculty Member Recieves Welch Alumni Relations Award!

The Department of Communication Arts and Sciences, would like to congratulate John Gastil, professor of communication arts and sciences and a senior scholar in the College's McCourtney Institute for Democracy for receiving the Welch Alumni Relations Award at the Annual Awards Ceremony!


To read the full article, click here.

Greg Sam Award Recipient

The department of Communication Arts and Sciences would like to congratulate the winner of the Greg Sam Award:

Christina Bethman


"Greg Sam Award":

A few years ago, the FastStart program received a generous endowment from the Greg Sam family. Greg Sam greatly values mentoring and the role it plays in a young person’s life. Each year, Dr. Ellen Taricani, Senior Lecturer, reaches out to the mentors of the FastStart program to nominate their protégé(s) for this award. The award is designed to honor a protégé based on the following criteria:


•             They have been engaged with their FastStart mentor(s). 

•             They have been engaged with the FastStart program and attended the scheduled events.

•             They are in good academic standing.

Two CAS Faculty Members Honored

Two CAS faculty were recently honored at the College of the Liberal Arts Annual Researcher Appreciation Reception. Associate Professor Erina MacGeorge was recognized among seven faculty who had received their first major grant as a member of the Penn State faculty. Associate Professor Rachel Smith was one of nine faculty honored for achieving five years of consecutive external funding. Congratulations to Professors Smith and MacGeorge.

CAS Students awarded Fulbright Scholarships

Two Senior students in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences have been awarded the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship.  We would like to give a huge congratulations to both recipients!

The goal of the Fulbright program is to increase mutual understanding and support friendly and peaceful relations between people of the United States and people of other countries. The US Department of State sponsors Fulbright program exchanges with more than 155 countries around the world. Fulbright scholars are engaged in projects on environmental issues, food security, public health, education, and other challenges that require innovation, creativity, and knowledge that transcends borders. Fulbrighters are current and future leaders, ready to share their knowledge in culture, open to new ideas, and committed to international engagement.  Fulbright alumni have gone on to become Noble prize winners, heads of state, ambassadors, leaders in scientific research and innovation, educators, artists, business professionals, and civic leaders. Above all, Fulbrighters exemplify the power of international academic exchange to transform lives, bridge geographic and cultural boundaries, and promote a peaceful and more prosperous world.

Matthew Crager a Communication Arts & Sciences major, with Portuguese and Spanish minors will be traveling to Brazil. And Laura Kastner with Statistics and Communications Arts & Sciences majors, will be traveling to Malaysia.

Congratulations Matt & Laura!

Gouran honored with 2017 McKay Donkin Award

Dennis S. Gouran, professor of labor and employment relations and communication arts and sciences in the College of the Liberal Arts, is the winner of the 2017 McKay Donkin Award. Read more here

Professor James Dillard named Distinguished Professor by Penn State University

The Department of Communication Arts and Sciences is delighted to announce that Professor James Dillard has been named a Distinguished Professor by Penn State University. Congratulations Jim!

Distinguished Professors are current, full-time, active faculty members who hold the rank of Professor, and they are acknowledged leaders in their fields of research or creative activity. Their national and international leadership is documented by notable contributions to research published in leading journals and/or books and creative accomplishments widely recognized for excellence;  prestigious awards and citations; and a substantial record of invited lectures or performances delivered at prestigious institutions. These individuals also demonstrate significant leadership by raising University standards with respect to teaching, research or creative activity, and service; cultivating excellent teaching skills; and contributing significantly to the education of students who later are recognized for excellence in their fields. Professor Dillard was selected for this honor as a scholar who whose work has shaped and will continue to direct how people think about interpersonal communication, methods of inquiry and analysis, and the role of emotion in persuasion.