Banner Text

Department of Mass Communication and Communication Studies

News & Events 2011-2012

LPE hosts annual induction

Posted Aug. 13, 2012

Towson's Eta Alpha chapter of Lambda Pi Eta held its annual induction ceremony banquet at the Towson Marriott on May 24. Lambda Pi Eta scholars received their honors cords, induction pins, and national certificates at the ceremony. Co-Presidents Samantha Sherer and Laura Hager inducted the members. The inductees were supported by parents, family members, Dean Picinich, and MCCS faculty.

Professor Richard Vatz
Dr. Richard Vatz

Vatz honored in NCA's Teachers on Teaching Series

Posted June 4, 2012

Dr. Richard Vatz will be honored during the annual convention of the National Communication Association as an honoree in NCA’s Teachers on Teaching Series. Dr. Vatz received nominations from former chairman, Dr. Charles Flippen and students Jennifer Rudolph, Gboyinde Onijala and John Custer. The students were in Dr. Vatz’s Media Criticism and Persuasion classes in the last two years.


MCCS hosts national debate tournament

Posted May 29, 2012

The Department of Mass Communication and Communication Studies along with the national award winning TU Forensic Team welcomed over 2,000 speech and debate competitors to campus Saturday, May 26, 2012. High school students from around the country competed in the NCFL Grand National Tournament, one of the largest national competitions. There were performances in oral interpretation of prose, poetry, dramatic duo, original oratory and declamation. Performances ran from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. throughout campus and were free and open to the public.

MCCS graduates 244 students at ceremonies May 25

Posted May 25, 2012

Olivia Obineme
Olivia Obineme holds an issue of Baltimore Magazine, where she interned during the 2011-2012 school year.

The Department of Mass Communication and Communication Studies is pleased to congratulate the 244 students receiving diplomas at graduation ceremonies May 25, 2012. Campus wide, Towson University awarded 2,692 baccalaureate degrees, 715 master’s degrees and certificates, and 14 doctoral degrees at its 147th Commencement.

Bill Owens, alumnus and award-winning executive editor of 60 Minutes, received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree during graduation ceremonies for MCCS and the College of Fine Arts and Communication. Journalism and New Media student Olivia Obineme was the undergraduate student speaker at the event.

"We have been labeled as the starving artists, the slaving muckrakers, but we are the doers, the go-getters, the risk-takers, the movers and the shakers. We are people of action, and we stop at nothing to get our message across." Obineme said during the ceremony. "We have the vision, the creativity, and the unique ability to make something out of absolutely nothing. Cherish and take pride in this precious talent that was honed here at Towson University."

Students compete in Russian public relations festival

Posted May 21, 2012

Four Towson University students, accompanied public relations lecturer Garry Bolan, traveled to the International Public Relations Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia, in April. The students Shanna DiSimone, Alison Levy, Samantha Lozano and Jeanina Miniano competed against other universities from Russia and several European countries in analyzing a variety of public relations case studies and exercises. The students also presented a talk to a local public relations agency, C-Mind Bureau, about the application of social media to branding in the U.S. “I will never forget my senior year trip out of the country for the Russian PR festival," said Shanna DiSimone. "I feel so lucky and blessed to have been surrounded by such great people and to have had the experience. The entire process of traveling abroad was overwhelming, exciting, new, different, and more fun than I could have ever anticipated or even imagined.”

PR Students in the Palace Square
Public relations students Shanna DiSimone, Alison Levy, Samantha Lozano and Jeanina Miniano and their Russian student guides in the Palace Square, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Students create campaigns for real-world clients

Posted May 21, 2012

MCCS students in several classes have created social media campaigns for real world clients such as The Recher and Port Discovery. In Dr. Dionne Clemons's PR Writing course, students developed a social media campaign promoting an event using tactics such as blogs, banner ads and ezines. Examples of student projects include: The Baltimore Blast by John Barr, Urbanite Magazine by Olivia Stephens, WAMMFest by Katie Bush, and the University's Asian Arts & Culutral Center by Lura Bobbitt.

In Dr. Stacy Spaulding's Social Media and Strategic Communication course, students wrote a comprehensive social media strategy for comedian Tim Young. Young selected one student, Bailey O'Malia, to intern with him and implement the plan. "It's really great that something for school is translating into real-life experience," O'Malia said.

MCCS honors top students at annual banquet

Dr. Sandy Nichols and graduating senior Samantha Sherer
Dr. Sandy Nichols and graduating senior Samantha Sherer at the 2012 student recognition awards banquet.

Posted May 7, 2012

Over 40 top seniors and scholarship winners were recognized at the department's annual Student Recognition Awards Banquet, held Friday, May 4, 2012. Seniors were chosen by professors based on their GPA (3.25 and above) and their contribution to the classroom. "This is where we get to honor our students who make it fun to come to work everyday," lecturer and banquet chair Jenny Atwater told students at the event. Also honored at the event were departing faculty Teodora Carabas and Dionne Clemons, and Assistant to the Chair Kathy Marsalek.


Eight professors promoted to Adjunct II

Posted May 4, 2012

Eight MCCS professors have been promoted to Adjunct II status. This promotion reflects their consistent record of exceptional, high-quality instruction. Congratulations to: Mark Fernando, Carol Galladian, Sharon Goldstein, Marcy Lightfoot, Sam Rubin, Mark Seaman, Mark Sullivan and Ann Ventre.

Department awards over $22,000 in scholarships

Posted April 26, 2012

Ten MCCS students will split more than $22,000 in scholarship money to help pay for their fall 2012 semesters. This spring the department offered 11 scholarships to majors. The winners were chosen out of a pool of more than 100 applications and will receive awards ranging from $250 to $4,218.50.  The MCCS scholarship committee consists of co-chairs Dr. Audra McMullen and Prof. Jenny Atwater and member Dr. Sandy Nichols. Scholarship winners included:

  • Dana Berardinelli, The Brian Billick Sports Communication Scholarship
  • Devin Hamberger, The Chrystal Marie Clifford Memorial Scholarship Endowment
  • Lindzey Galliford, The E. Magruder & Helen M. Passano, Jr. Graduate Fellowship Endowment
  • Meagan Hendrickson, The Elizabeth Wainio Memorial Communication Scholarship and The Steven and Laura Murfin MCCS Scholarship Fund
  • Justin Manry, The Elizabeth Wainio Memorial Communication Scholarship and The
  • Jamie Parker Memorial Scholarship Fund
  • Victor Hanas, The George F. Rogers, Jr. Scholarship
  • Alicia Valko, The George F. Rogers, Jr. Scholarship
  • Ashley Ward, The J. Reg Murphy Scholarship Endowment
  • Alexandra Malcolmson, The Jamie Parker Memorial Scholarship Fund and the
  • Kathryn Dudek Memorial Scholarship Fund
  • Kate Mills, The Patrick J. O’Connell Memorial Fund and The Sam Lacy Sports Communication Scholarship

McMullen promoted to full professor

Posted April 24, 2012

Professor Audra McMullen
Professor Audra McMullen

Audra McMullen has been promoted to full professor. Dr. McMullen joined MCCS in 1998 and has created an impressive record in teaching, scholarship, and service. She has taught over 15 different courses, including study abroad courses on corporate communications in Northern Ireland and Scotland. She has actively engaged in FYE and transfer advising for undergraduates and directing thesis for graduate students. She directs graduate thesis in the area of organizational communication.

Dr. McMullen has published multiple articles in the area of instructional communication. Her research team focuses on student connectedness to each other, their instructors and course material. The work has been recognized at regional and national levels for its contribution to instructional strategies in basic public speaking courses.

On campus, Dr. McMullen served as a member and chair of the Academic Standards Committee for 10 years. Under her leadership, the Communication Studies major has grown over 200% in the last five years. As a coach and the director of the national award-winning speech and debate team, she hosted national high school and college tournaments, led on campus performances and fostered connections with local schools. She also served as program director for the U.S. Department of State Grant for the South Eastern Youth Leadership Initiative bringing in over $350,000 to support students from former Soviet-bloc countries who traveled to campus for a month to learn about democracy and practice debate.

Magazine writer speaks to j-students

Posted April 24, 2012

Cathy Whitlock, the author of “Designs on Film: A Century of Hollywood Art Direction,” discussed art, journalism, stage design and film with Towson students April 23. Whitlock is a magazine writer, and publisher of the blog "Cinema Style." A contributing writer with Traditional Home and The Huffington Post, her design, film, lifestyle and celebrity profiles have appeared in Architectural Digest, American Airlines Celebrated Living, Array, Glamour UK, Capitol File and Veranda magazines among others.

Adjunct professor named keynote speaker at Best In Maryland dinner

Posted April 16, 2012

Adjunct instructor Bill Toohey has been selected as the keynote speaker and guest of honor at the 51st Best in Maryland Awards Dinner of the PRSA Maryland Chapter. The dinner will be held from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday, May 10, 2012, in the 1840s Ballroom, 29 South Front St. Toohey will speak on the "Power of Public Relations," drawing on his own experience--25 years in Public Relations and 20 years in broadcast journalism. Toohey was the face and voice of the Baltimore County Police department during the harrowing Joseph Palczynski hostage crisis in 2000. The 10-day manhunt and four-day hostage siege drew local, regional and national attention.

Towson alumnus and Page One star Brian Stelter returns to campus

Posted April 12, 2012

Students who want to succeed in journalism should write every day, said Brian Stelter, a Towson alumnus who famously leveraged his blog into a job at the New York Times.

"We have the metabolism to just start doing it today and to do it all the time," said Stelter, who wrote 400 to 500 stories for the Towerlight while a Towson student. "It was important to do that because it built up muscle memory.”

Stelter returned to campus April 12 for a screening of Page One: Inside the New York Times. Stelter said the Times feels much more stable than it did in 2009 when the documentary was filmed and the Times cut 100 newsroom jobs. He also said he’d like to see the paper produce more video.

“We’re in exactly the same business these days as CNN, the BBC, ABC … it’s the iPad that caused that to happen,” Stelter said. “We’re going to have to do a lot more video as a result. We’re going to have to do a lot more multimedia as a result.”

Stelter is featured in the documentary, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2011. Before graduating in 2007, Stelter majored in mass communication and served as editor-in-chief of The Towerlight, the university's student newspaper. He was also the founder and editor of, a wildly successful blog about the television news industry. He currently writes about television and the web for The New York Times and is working on a book about morning television.

TU PR group holds networking fair

By Julia Watkins, MCCS student and TU PR Group Historian | Posted April 13, 2012

Networking Fair speaker Ron Owens
Networking Fair speaker Ron Owens, co-founder of Laughlin, Marinaccio & Owens Advertising.

The Towson University Public Relations Group hosted the annual Networking Fair April 12, 2012. With resumes in hand, 98 students came to the University Union's Potomac Lounge to meet potential employers.

The speakers panel featured Ron Owens, co-founder of Laughlin Marinaccio & Owens Advertising; John Clemmons, interim executive director of the International Association of Business Communications; and Rebecca Buscemi, founder and social media marketer for

Students listened as the panel gave advice on how to become a professional in the competitive job market. “Walk into an agency with something you think they need,” advised Ron Owens. “It’s not one size fits all, and added diversity and experience gives you leverage.”

Top recruiters included Himmelrich PR, IMRE, Clapp Communications and Media Works, all of which were recruiting for internship positions.

Black Hawk Down author Mark Bowden speaks to j-students

Posted April 11, 2012

A writer’s curiosity can make an ordinary story extraordinary, said journalist and author Mark Bowden at a gathering of about 50 MCCS students, faculty and staff. “The deeper you go, the more interesting the stories become,” Bowden told Towson j-students. “Stories become extraordinary by what you make of them.”

Bowden spoke on campus at the Cook Library and Towson Literary Reading Series April 11, 2011. Before the event, he spoke with MCCS j-students about his life as a reporter. The 39-part story that eventually became the book Black Hawk Down taught him about the capabilities of the Internet, he said.

“I saw it as a remarkable tool for storytelling, one that utilized every medium,” he said. “If you don’t think in terms of how to utilize that, you’re going to be left in the dust.”

Bowden was a reporter for the Baltimore News American and the Philadelphia Inquirer. He is a regular contributor to The Atlantic Monthly and Vanity Fair. The original story that became the book Black Hawk Down can be found at The Inquirer’s website, along with the original multimedia.

"Beauty Is a Verb" author speaks to j-students

Posted April 15, 2012

Kathi Wolfe
Writer Kathi Wolfe spoke to journalism students March 27.

Kathi Wolfe, a finalist in the 2007 Pudding House Press Chapbook competition and a contributor to the anthology "Beauty Is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability," read from her work at an event at the Cook Library March 27. The event was sponsored by the Library, the MCCS Department and the English Department. Wolfe, who is a Book Reviewer/Op-ed Writer for The Washington Blade and a freelance writer for many publications, also spoke to Joanne Broadwater’s Feature Writing class. She covers aging, disability, spirituality, LGBT issues, the arts and other social/cultural issues in her work. Wolfe, who is visually impaired, wrote a 2008 poetry chapbook about Helen Keller, Helen Takes the Stage: The Helen Keller Poems.


MCCS faculty participate in 2011-2012 COFAC colloquiums

Posted April 11, 2012

Professor Beth Haller will speak on the impact of social media and the Internet on sources of disability information at the April 13 COFAC colloquium. Haller will address how online media such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are revolutionizing the lives of disabled people, especially those who work as rights advocates. Although the Internet does not create a barrier-free utopia, Haller said these technologies give disabled people more access to the world around them and enable them to tell the world about their own lives and experiences.

Assistant professor Stacy Spaulding gave a paper at the Nov. 11, 2011, colloquium titled “ ‘Love Letters to Baltimore’: Civic Memory, Citizenship and Urban Community Narratives.” Using the work of Baltimore Sun journalists Rafael Alvarez and Michael Olesker, Spaulding’s paper identified “urban community narratives” as a regional genre of literary journalism that creates civic memory and reinforces urban community and citizenship.

Comm honor society raises money for Komen Maryland

Posted April 3, 2012


Lambda Pi Eta members
Lambda Pi Eta members at a Feb. 18 Applebee's fundraiser.


Lambda Pi Eta hosted a flapjack fundraiser at Applebee's in Towson Feb. 18, 2012. Students raised over $450 to benefit both the honor society and Komen Maryland. Lambda Pi Eta is the official communication studies honor society of the National Communication Association. The faculty adviser of the Towson chapter is Carol Norton.

Professor publishes research on public opinion of same-sex marriage debate

Posted March 26, 2012


Dr. Amy Becker
Dr. Amy Becker

Dr. Amy Bree Becker recently published two peer-reviewed journal articles on public opinion of the same-sex marriage debate. The first piece, What’s marriage (and family) got to do with it? Support for same-sex marriage, legal unions, and gay and lesbian couples raising children, was published in Social Science Quarterly and examines the impact of marital and family status and views on the purpose of marriage on support for gay marriage, legal unions, and gay and lesbian couples raising children. The findings of the research suggest that while ideological and religious values still matter most when it comes to predicting opinions on gay civil rights issues, it's also important to look at the role that marriage, family, and views on the purpose of marriage have in shaping the debate. The second piece, Determinants of public support for same-sex marriage: Generational cohorts, social contact, and shifting attitudes, was published in The International Journal of Public Opinion Research. The article examines the influence of generational affiliation and rates of social contact on support for same-sex marriage. The results show that social contact is an important predictor of support for same-sex marriage irrespective of generational affiliation. Both pieces extend Dr. Becker's previous research on the public opinion toward this controversial issue.



Professor Carol R. Norton

Carol R. Norton


Professor leads workshop for NSF's young scholars

Posted March 13, 2012

Carol R. Norton led a workshop on “Impact Presentations” for the CoSMiC Scholars Program March 6, 2012. The U.S. Government’s National Science Foundation S-STEM Scholarship program awards young scholars in the computing, sciences and mathematics field with scholarship funds. Norton gave the students tips on technical presentations and leadership communication.

Towson debate team advances to national Debate Tournament

Posted March 5, 2012

In February, Towson University students traveled to compete at the District VII tournament in an attempt to qualify for the National Debate Tournament, the most prestigious tournament in the debate community. Each year universities from all over the country send teams to their district tournaments to try to qualify for one of 40 national spots for the National Debate Tournament. This year Towson took two teams to our district qualifier at the University of Mary Washington. At the end of eight debates, Towson seniors Ignacio Evans and Benjamin Morgan were ranked fourth in the tournament. With wins over University of Mary Washington, Rutgers, and Georgetown University, Towson advanced as one of only seven teams in our district to attend the National Debate Tournament. Since 2007, TU has had the privilege of sending at least two students to the National Debate Tournament. This will be Ignacio and Benjamin's second time representing Towson at the tournament. Ignacio and Benjamin are ranked as one of the top 20 debate teams in the nation. The team will travel to the National Debate Tournament at the end of March to represent the university.

Russian PR students visit MCCS classes


LETI students visit Towson
Nine public relations majors from St. Petersburg, Russia, visited MCCS classes in March.

Posted March 5, 2012

Nine public relations majors from St. Petersburg Electrotechnical University in Russia are participating in public relations and mass media classes this week at Towson University. Students are discussing public relations, social media and mass media with our students over the course of their stay from March 1 to March 13. They are also presenting an analysis of a public relations case study about John Deere forestry and construction products in Russia created by IMRE in Sparks, Md., a public relations agency. The campaign analysis, presented at the agency, is the culmination of a semester-long effort carried out by the students as part of their final year of studies. Dr. Tatiana Sheremetieva, professor of public relations at St. Petersburg Electrotechnical University, is accompanying the students.

Debaters Evans, Morgan make it to quarterfinals in California tournament

Posted March 5, 2012

The Towson University debate team traveled to California State-Fullerton for the Fullerton Winter Tournament Kathryn Klassic in January, and found themselves in late elimination rounds for the second year in a row. At the end of six preliminary debates, Towson students Ignacio Evans and Ben Morgan had a 4-2 record and were the 24th ranked team at the tournament. In the first elimination round, Towson faced Harvard University's top debate team (one of the top 16 teams in the country). In a crushing upset TU defeated Harvard on a 2 to 1 decision. With this win, Evans and Morgan debated 8th ranked seed Emporia State University (another top 16 team) and defeated them on a 2 to 1 decision. This set up the quarterfinal round between TU and the tournament’s top ranked seed, Northwestern University. In a well-fought debate, Evans and Morgan lost on a 2 to 1 decision to Northwestern University. Seniors Ignacio Evans and Ben Morgan’s quarterfinal round was their season high elimination round showing.

Students study corporate communication in London during minimester


Senior debate student Jean Michel Habineza
MCCS students and faculty pose in front of Tower Bridge during the Corporate Communication in the UK study abroad course.


Posted Feb. 20, 2012

Nineteen students traveled to London, England, as part of the Corporate Communication in the UK study abroad course Jan. 2-22, 2012. This study abroad course provided an analysis of corporate communication strategies in the UK used in developing internal and external communication plans. Guest lectures were presented by experts in public relations, marketing, advertising, media and politics. Excursions to related enterprises and facilities were a major focus of this course, including visits to The Guardian, Bloomberg Television and a tour of the BBC Studios. The trip was led by professors Maggie Lears and Lisa Turowski.

Communication students participate in Tiger Pride Day

Posted Feb. 16, 2012

Communication Studies students joined university leaders to lobby Maryland state legislators during the 13th annual Tiger Pride Day in Annapolis Feb. 15. Fifty students from the advocacy and argument and advanced public speaking classes joined the TU Student Government Association in accepting a proclamation to Towson University from the Maryland House and Senate. Pairs of students met with state delegates, senators and their aides to discuss the importance of funding higher education, supporting Towson capital projects such as the Osler Drive pedestrian bridge and to disway the passage of the proposed gas tax. The students joined TU President Loeschke, school administrators, alumni from the Towson Advocacy Program and state legislators for lunch and speeches. The day took classroom communication concepts and put them into practice, SGA vice president and Communication Studies major Nick Hoagland said. Tiger Pride Day gave students experience in advocating for Towson and higher education, senior Communication Studies major Bryan "CT" Sartory said. The communication delegation was led by Professor Carol Norton.

Debate team will host three debates on campus

Posted Feb. 13, 2012

The Speech and Debate Team will host three public debates this spring. On Feb. 29, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in WC 306, members of the debate team will debate the utility of Black history month. On March 14, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in WC 306, students will debate about women in combat. On April 18, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in UU 204, students will debate whether marijuana should be legalized.

First-year debate student wins third place speaker award at tournament


First-year debate student Kevin Whitley
First-year student Kevin Whitley won third place varsity speaker at a debate tournament held in West Point, N.Y.

Posted Feb. 6, 2012

Towson University Debate Team took four teams to West Point, N.Y. to debate at the United States Military Academy Oct. 21-23. At the end of six preliminary debates, first-year students Kevin Whitley and Ameena Ruffin had a 4-2 record and had to debate top ranked team Rochester in elims. While TU juniors Sofi Martinez and Lucas Oliveria had 3-3 record debated Liberty University in elims. At the end of their the octofinal debate, both teams were on the bottom of a 2-1 decision (two votes against and one vote for). Although, the loss was a disappointment, first year Kevin Whitley stated that he learned a lot from the lost. Whitley was third place varsity speaker at the tournament.

Debate team makes it to elimination rounds at hardest tournament of the semester, Harvard University

Posted Feb. 6, 2012

Towson University took seniors Ignacio Evans and Ben Morgan to Harvard University to debate against the toughest teams in the nation Oct. 28-31. During the eight preliminary round debate tournament, TU beat top teams Stamford University and Missouri State University to make it into elimination rounds. Boasting a 5-3 record, seniors fiercely debated their way into the sweet sixteen. They were one of only 16 teams out of 80 teams to “break” or reach elimination rounds at the prestigious debate tournament. Both seniors received speaker awards and were ranked in the top two percent of the tournament. Ignacio Evans was 13th place speaker. Ben Morgan was the 11th place speaker. With this elimination round showing TU is now one of only five schools in the country to have a team in elimination rounds at the Harvard Tournament four years in a row.

Debate team seniors reach elimination rounds at Wake Forest University, win apeaker awards at Appalachian State Tournaments


Senior debate student Jean Michel Habineza
Senior debate student Jean Michel Habineza won the eight place speaker at the Applachian State Tournament.


Posted Feb. 6, 2012

Towson University Forensics team took 10 students to two different debate tournaments in Winston Salem, N.C., Nov. 11-14. At the end of both tournaments three students earned awards. TU senior Jean Michel Habineza won the eighth place speaker at the Appalachian State Tournament. Two other seniors, Ignacio Evans and Benjamin Morgan, debated in elimination rounds at Wake Forest University. The pair were double octofinalist. They lost on a 2 to 1 decision to top ranked team Northwestern.

Debate team defeats Harvard

Posted Feb. 6, 2012

Towson University Forensics took our annual mid year trip to California to debate at Cal State Fullerton’s Fullerton Winter Tournament Kathryn Klassic Jan. 6 and for the second year in a row placed late in the elimination rounds. At the end of six preliminary debates, Towson students Ignacio Evans and Ben Morgan had a 4-2 record and were the 24th ranked seed. In the first elimination round, Towson faced Harvard University's top debate team (one of the top 16 teams in the country). In crushing upset TU defeated Harvard in a 2 to 1 decision. With this win they debated 8th-ranked seed Emporia State University (another top 16 team). In another upset, TU defeated Emporia State on a 2 to 1 decision. TU debated and defeated two of the top 16 teams in a row, setting up the elite eight match up between TU and the tournament’s top ranked seed Northwestern. In a well-fought debate, TU lost in a 2 to 1 decision to Northwestern. Seniors Ignacio Evans and Ben Morgan’s quarterfinal showing is their season high elimination round showing.

Professor to receive literary journalism research award

Posted Feb. 6, 2012

Assistant Professor Stacy Spaulding will receive the 2012 Susan L. Greenberg Research Prize for Literary Journalism Studies. Spaulding will receive the award in May at the annual conference of the International Association of Literary Journalism Studies where she will present her winning research paper, "Reality Boundaries: A Narrative Analysis of Author Interviews in The Paris Review." Additionally, a separate paper authored by Dr. Spaulding has been accepted for publication in American Journalism. That paper is titled: "As Though the Sixties Never Happened: The Newspaper Coverage of a First Amendment Battle over Baltimore's Last Blackface Act."

Professor recognized for research excellence

Posted Feb. 2, 2012

Audra L. McMullen and her co-authors will will be recognized at the Eastern Communication Association Conference for the top competitive paper in the basic course division for their research entitled "Instructor Compliance to Student Requests: An Examination of Student-to-Student Connectedness as Power in the Classroom". This article has been accepted for publication in the national journal Communication Education.

Scholarships available for Fall 2012

Posted Jan. 26, 2012

Nearly $24,000 in scholarships will be awarded to qualified MCCS students for the fall 2012 semester. The awards range from $249 to over $4,000. The application deadline is Feb. 22. Application instructions are available on our scholarship page.

Faculty tour social media marketing agency

Posted Dec. 20, 2011

The advertising and public relations unit faculty recently toured the MGH agency, meeting with the founder and four other media specialists. The faculty discussed the latest research and evaluation techniques for both traditional and alternative media with an emphasis on social media strategies. The agency provided examples of creative briefs, media planning maps, scripts and case studies based on recent campaigns along with an insider's view of the skill set that agencies are looking for in interns and recent graduates.

Students plan, host Comm Studies conference

Posted Dec. 15, 2011

Connecting with COMMunity, a conference meant to bring together professionals and Communication Studies students, was held Dec. 2. The conference was planned by students in COMM 422/522 Conference and Meeting Management. The event included a research poster session along with student and professional panels. Speakers included: Comcast Sports Net broadcaster Brent Harris who advised students to write everyday (view the video); Baltimore Ravens marketing coordinator Matt Little, who told students to follow up on every opportunity (view the video); Attorney Susan Green, who suggested students be prepared to answer tough questions during interviews (view the video); and FX Studios co-founder Neil Westburg, who told students to do what you love, but always be professional (view the video).

Book review commends professor's "nuanced analysis"

Posted Nov. 29, 2011

Professor Beth Haller's book Representing Disability in an Ableist World was called "sophisiticated and highly readable" in a recent Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly review. "Haller demonstrates a formidable expertise at deconstructing ableist narratives while showing the readers the stakes involved in their deconstruction," wrote reviewer Neil Patrick Shepard of Davenport University. Shepard commended Haller's use of resources and scholarship, overall tone, discussion of research methods, and her "nuanced analysis." The review appeared in the journal's Autumn 2011 issue.

Student lands job in PR firm where he interned as a student

Posted Nov. 16, 2011

Austin Rotter '10 is successfully working in the PR industry after only one year after graduating from TU, Professor Dionne Clemons reported . Rotter serves as an Account Executive at 5W Public Relations, where he interned while he was a student. Rotter serves in the Corporate Division and specializes in marketing and branding. Clients include Hanft Partners, a full-service branding agency in NYC; Meteor Games, one of the leading independent social gaming companies; and DLB Group, a full-service Hispanic advertising agency in Miami, FLa. He has successfully placed features for his clients in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Mashable, New York Daily News, New York Post, LA Times, Reuters, Forbes, BusinessWeek and CNN.

Meeting management class to sponsor conference

Posted Nov. 14, 2011

The Communication Studies, Conference and Meeting Management class will host a conference titled “Connecting with the COMMunity” Friday, Dec. 2, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Van Bokkelen 204. The conference will showcase successful communication professionals and Towson scholars. Speakers include attorney Susan Green, sports broadcaster Brent Harris, Ravens marketing coordinator Matt Little, AOL technical recruiter Paris Pittman, founder Neil Westford and meeting planner Kelly Snyder. Students are encouraged to fill out an application to present their research at a panel session during the conference.

Potter defends comprehensive exams

Posted Nov. 14, 2011

Senior Lecturer Lester R.Potter successfully defended comprehensive exams Nov. 13, 2011. Potter is a candidate for the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Instructional Technology at Towson University. Potter will now begin his dissertation research under the direction of advsier David Wizer. Potter is interested in technology's effects on the interpersonal communication of millenial-generation students.

Students tour Mencken House, Poe grave on "Reporters' Tour of Baltimore"


Mark S. Sanders as Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe, aka poet and actor Mark Sanders, poses with a Towson University thank you gift given to him by students.


Posted Nov. 14, 2011

Journalism students learned about urban landmarks and history on a field trip dubbed "The Reporters' Tour of Baltimore." The 24-student tour was led by David Ettlin, a Towson University graduate who worked at the Baltimore Sun for 40 years. While at the Sun, he often gave a well-known tour of the city for new reporters. "Most of the people who worked for the Baltimore Sun weren't from Baltimore," Ettlin said. "The point of my tour was to give them a sense of the city, its history." During the trip, Oleg Panczenko, secretary of The Friends of Mencken House, gave students a tour of H.L. Mencken’s home and garden. And poet and actor Mark S. Sanders met students at the Edgar Allan Poe's grave at Westminster Hall--dressed as Poe. Students finished the trip at Lexington Market, known for Faidley's crab cakes and Berger cookies. The tour was organized by Stacy Spaulding and was co-sponsored by the Towson chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

PR Group will bring "Intern Queen" Lauren Berger to speak to Towson students


Lauren Berger, CEO of
"Intern Queen" Lauren Berger will speak to TU students Dec. 5.

Posted Nov. 4, 2011

The PR Group has invited Lauren Berger, CEO of Intern Queen Inc., to speak to student Dec. 5. Berger's site,, helps students find and apply for internships while also educating them on how to make the most of their experiences. Berger earned a degree in Organizational Business Communications at the University of Central Florida and interned for top-notch companies across the country such as MTV, FOX, BWR Public Relations and NBC. Berger participated in 15 internships during her four years of, hence the title "Intern Queen." Berger will speak to students Monday, Dec. 5, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Main Stage Theater in the Center for the Arts.


Faculty member wins NCA award

Posted Nov. 1, 2011

An article co-written by Assistant Professor Erich Sommerfeldt has selected selected by the NCA Public Relations Division's PRIDE Committee as the Best Article of the Year. The study is titled, "A Social Capital Approach to Improving Public Relations' Efficacy: Diagnosing Internal Constraints on External Communication." Sommerfeldt will travel to New Orleans for the 97th annual NCA convention this month.

Faculty speaks at Journalism Interactive conference

Posted Nov. 1, 2011

Assistant Professor Stacy Spaulding was one of 14 presenters selected from over 90 applicants to speak at the first-ever Journalism Interactive teach-a-thon. The Ted-style teaching presentations were given Oct. 28 in College Park, Md. The title of Spaulding's talk was, "Interactive Grading for Interactive Journalism: Teach Students More While Doing Less Work." During the presentation, she shared the peer-grading rubrics she uses in MCOM 407. Other faculty and students attending the conference included Jenny Atwater, Thom Lieb, Lauren Slavin and Olivia Obineme.

Faculty, students present research at national conference

Posted Oct. 20, 2011

Ten faculty and students will be representing Towson University at
the 97th annual National Communication Association conference in New
Orleans, La., next month. Research presentations and panel discussions include:

  • "Stigma or Empowerment? What do Disabled People Say about their
    Representation in News and Entertainment Media?" and "Consuming Image: How mass Media Impact the Self Image of People with Disabilities,"Beth Haller and Lingling Zhang
  • "Playing the Field: A Post-structural Critique of Gender by Analyzing the
    Depiction of Female Athletes on the Cover of Magazines," Kate Harman
  • "An Inside-Out Exploration of Contemporary Chinese Public Relations
    Education,"Hua Jiang
  • "Voices of the Instructor: New Research on Effective Communication Choices, Strategies" and "My Friends with Benefits Relationship is My Little Secret: A Test of the Revelation Risk Model," Shannon Maki
  • "Marginalized Voices in the Debate Space," Jillian Marty
  • "Not Everyone Gets a Trophy: How to Coach Generation Y and Millennial
    Students" and "Developing Student-to-Student Connectedness: An Examination of
    Instructors’ Humor, Nonverbal Immediacy, and Self-Disclosure in Public
    Speaking Courses," Audra McMullen
  • "Brown-Skinned Outlaws: An Ideographic Analysis of 'Illegal(s),' " Jennifer Potter
  • "The Dynamics of Activist Power Relationships: A Structurationist Approach to the Segmentation of Activist Publics," "Voices from Across the Atlantic: Reflections on U.S. and European Public Relations Scholarship" and "The Current Status of Social Media Research and Practice in Public Relations," Erich Sommerfeldt
  • "Dead Silence Rather than Debate? Affirmative Action Critique and Analysis in the Post Civil Rights Era," "The Tucson Shootings: Caused by Political Motives or Mental Illness?" and "The Conservative Voice and the National Communication Association," Richard Vatz

Students, faculty participate in Maryland communication conference


four students presented papers at MCA
Four students presented papers at the Maryland Communication Association conference Oct. 15. From left: Dana Schroeder, Andrew Ames, Jayce Price and Ashleigh Payne.


Posted Oct. 18, 2011

MCCS faculty and students traveled to Frostburg State University for the 27th Annual Maryland Communication Association conference, titled “Communicating Politically, Engaging Civilly” on Oct. 15. Professor Richard Vatz participated as a debater on the topic “Resolved: Maryland and the nation would benefit from a healthy dose of conservatism over the next two years.” Professor Dionne C. Clemons presented her paper “An Examination of the 2011 Wisconsin Protests Using the Situational Theory of Publics.” Professor Jennifer Potter moderated a panel titled “Rhetorical Criticism as Cultural Engagement” that featured individual papers from Towson students Andrew Ames, Jayce Price, Ashleigh Payne and Dana Schroeder.

Evans, Morgan named among top 10 speakers at Kentucky tournament

Posted Oct. 11, 2011

Eight Towson students debated at a national tournament held at the University of Kentucky Oct. 1-3, 2011. Four students made it to the tournament's elimination rounds: Ignacio Evans, Ben Morgan, Ameena Ruffin and Kevin Whitney. Ignacio and Evans became the 7th seed out of 156 teams in elimination rounds, and were named among the tournament's top 10 speakers. Evans was ninth speaker out of 300 and Morgan was named sixth. The team travels to West Point Oct. 21 and Harvard University Oct. 28. The team is managed by Director of Debate Jillian Marty. Read more at The Towerlight.

High School Journalism Day attracts largest crowd ever

Posted Oct. 11, 2011

Over 286 students from 15 schools attended High School Journalism Day Oct. 7, 2011, the largest crowd in the workshop's 10 years. Guest speakers included Peter Daddone, the current president of the Maryland DC Scholastic Press Association; Mary Hartney, the former director of audience engagement at The Sun; and Nick DiMarco, editor of Lutherville-Timonium Workshop titles included Reporting 101, Best Practices for Online Video, Investigative Story Ideas and Hands-on With Adobe InDesign.

Towson debate team competes in Georgia

Posted Sept. 27, 2011


Benjamin Morgan and Ignacio Evans
Benjamin Morgan (left) and Ignacio Evans were among the top 32 of 132 teams to compete at Georgia State University Sept. 24-25.


Eight students competed a t Georgia State University's "NCAA national debate style tournament" Sept. 24-25.

At the end of the seven preliminary debates Towson team Ignacio Evans and Benjamin Morgan won five debates and lost two. This record allowed them to debate in the elimination rounds where the top 32 of 132 teams competed to win the tournament. In double octofinals, Towson (28th seed) debated Samford (5th seed). After 30 minutes of deliberation by the judges, Towson lost to Samford on a 3 to 0 decision. Although the loss was disappointing, Director of Debate Jillian Marty said the students understood why they had lost and are working out the kinks in their arguments.

After every major national tournament, coaches rank the top 25 debate teams and debate squads in the country. The Towson team of Ignacio Evans and Ben Morgan received an honorable mention. This honorable mention pushed the Towson debate squad as a whole to be in the top 25 policy debate schools in nation.

Online News Association selects Towson j-student for student newsroom

Posted Sept. 26, 2011

Junior Jeremy Bauer-Wolf attend the annual conference of the Online News Association Sept. 22-24 as a member of the organization's student newsroom.

Bauer-Wolf collaborated with a team of 20 students to provide real-time news coverage of the event. He wrote the stories Facebook Premiers Archival "Timeline" of all Users and Low moments in Journalism Careers. He also wrote about his experience for The Towerlight.

"I would encourage all students to participate in the ONA newsroom because of the fantastic networking opportunities it provides," Bauer-Wolf said. "The newsroom was especially receptive to unique story ideas, but I also found that professionals listened to you and treated you as their equal. At ONA, you are a member of the greater journalism community, with no focus on age or credentials."

Department accepting applications for tenure-track, lecturer positions

Posted Sept. 12, 2011

The MCCS Department is pleased to announce three openings in the Communication Studies major for 2011-2012. "We are excited about the growth in the Communication studies major and the University's recognition of our needs and support of our award-winning Speech and Debate Program," said Dr. Audra McMullen, unit coordinator for the Communication Studies program. The open positions include:

Department welcomes three new faculty members

Posted Sept. 6, 2011

Three new tenure-track faculty members joined MCCS this semester. Dr. John Kirch, formerly an adjunct professor in the department, is teaching MCOM 257 and MCOM 101. He graduated with a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 2008. Shannon Maki, also a former adjunct professor, is teaching COMM 480. She is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of West Virginia. Finally, Dr. Erich Sommerfeldt is teaching MCOM 357. He graduated with a Ph.D. from the Univeristy of Oklahoma in 2011.

Professor authors "The Only Authentic Book of Persuasion"


Book cover of The Only Authentic Book of Persusasion
The Only Authentic Book of Persuasion, by Dr. Richard Vatz, was published in August.


Posted Aug. 31, 2011

A new book by Dr. Richard Vatz argues for a paradigm change in the field of persuasion. The text, The Only Authentic Book of Persuasion, will resonate with undergraduate and graduate students who tend to take persuasion and rhetoric courses and yet, only six months later, still cannot explain what persuasion means, Vatz said.

"The work will offend many people who have accepted the predominant perspectives on persuasion offered in our field," Vatz said. "I should hope that criticisms of this short work will focus on the accuracy of its claims, the explanatory value of its approach, and how well it establishes principles and predictions for how persuasion works."

Professors present research at AEJMC

Posted Aug, 24, 2011

Several MCCS professors presented peer-reviewed research at the annual convention on the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication held in St. Louis August 10-13. The research presented included:

  • "Learning From the Competition: Analysis of Advertising Appeals for Healthy Foods and Unhealthy Foods," by Dr. Jung-Sook Lee
  • "When Does Green Advertising Work? The Moderating Role of Product Type," by Dr. Ying Kong and Dr. Lingling Zhang
  • "Not Just David Simon: Baltimore Through the Eyes of Richard Ben Cramer, Rafael Alvarez and Michael Olesker," by Dr. Stacy Spaulding
  • "Turning a Blind Eye: Why Reporters Ignore Third-Party Candidates," by Dr. John Kirch

McMullen published in national communication journal

Posted Aug. 1, 2011

Dr. Audra McMullen's study of instructor misbehaviors has been published in a national scholarly journal in the communication field. The study is titled "When Instructors Misbehave: An Examination of Student-to-Student Connectedness as a Mediator in the College Classroom." The study concludes that when instructor misbehaviors occur in the classroom, students may still experience positive learning outcomes through a connected classroom climate. The study is available in volume 60, issue 3 of Communication Education.

Becker attends Twitter Town Hall at the White House

Posted July 18, 2011
Dr. Becker shakes President Obama's hand
Dr. Amy Becker shakes President Obama's hand during a Twitter Town Hall held at the White House July 6, 2011.


Dr. Amy Becker was one of 35 “tweeps” invited to attend the Twitter Town Hall in the East Room of the White House July 6, 2011. During the live event, President Obama sent the first official Presidential tweet and then answered questions posted online by Twitter users to the #askobama hashtag. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey moderated as Becker and and other attendees tweeted their thoughts in real time. Afterwards, Becker participated in a discussion of the use of social media with Dorsey, White House Director of New Media Macon Phillips, and Aneesh Chopra, the first federal chief technology officer of the United States. A highlight of the event, Becker said, was shaking the President's hand. Read more on Professor Becker's blog: Fresh Media, New Politics.

More news


Department of Mass Communication and Communication Studies
Media Center, Room 114 (map)
Mailing address: 8000 York Rd., Towson, MD 21252
Phone: 410-704-3431
Fax: 410-704-3656

Advising and Program Information:

faculty on twitter

Jenny Atwater
Beth Haller
Thom Lieb
Lester R. Potter
Stacy Spaulding

faculty bloggers

Jenny Atwater
Beth Haller
John F. Kirch
Lester R. Potter

faculty bloggers

Segue, the MCCS alumni newsletter



University Police

Closings & News
410-704-NEWS (6397)

Text Alerts
Sign up now