Skip to main content
Close Search
Close Search

About the Department

Our Department

The Department of Communication Studies offers a major in Communication Studies with an optional specialization in Speech Education. We also offer minors in Communication Studies and Health Communication. Our graduate program offers a Master of Science in Communication Studies. The generalized graduate curriculum enables graduates to successfully pursue doctoral degrees and professional careers.

The department is staffed by experienced faculty that are nationally recognized for their expertise and teaching ability.

Our Faculty

The department is staffed by experienced faculty that are recognized for their teaching, research, and service excellence.

Barn Kleinjan (second from right) receives award
Teaching Awards

Our outstanding faculty have been recognized for their innovative and impactful teaching. Joshua Westwick (2009), Andrea Carlile (2013), and Rebecca Kuehl (2016) have all received the Outstanding Young Speech Teacher award from the Speech Communication Association of South Dakota (SCASD). In 2013, Carlile also received the Bob Derryberry Award for Outstanding Contributions from a New Forensics Educator from the SCASD. In 2017, Kuehl also won the Outstanding Educator Award for the Experiential Learning Program at SDSU. Barb Kleinjan received the 2016 Edward Patrick Hogan Award for Teaching Excellence from SDSU. Liz Tolman received the 2011 SDSU Faculty Service-Learning Award and the 2007 Service-Learning Teaching Award from the Midwest Consortium for Service-Learning in Higher Education.

Research Awards

Our faculty produce cutting-edge research and integrate it into the classroom, so our students are at the forefront of the Communication discipline. Jenn Anderson spoke about this research-to-teaching integration in both the 2017 David Fee Memorial Lecture (awarded by SDSU) and 2017 Victor Webster Faculty Lectureship (awarded by Phi Kappa Phi). Anderson also received the 2015 Dr. Sherwood and Elizabeth Berg Young Faculty Award for research from SDSU, which recognizes outstanding accomplishments for faculty that are early in their career. Joshua Westwick and Karla Hunter won the 2014 Manuscript of the Year award from the Communication Apprehension and Competency Division of the National Communication Association. Karla Hunter received the 2014 Central States Communication Association Outstanding Journal Award for her work as editor on the inaugural issue of Discourse: Journal of the SCASD. Hunter was also a 2011 SDSU Daschle Research Fellow. Our faculty have also received 8 Top Paper awards and 8 Top Panel awards at the annual conferences of the National Communication Association or Central States Communication Association.

Service Awards

Our faculty are also committed to serving the university and our community. Rebecca Kuehl and Jenn Anderson received the 2017 SDSU Excellence in Outreach and Engagement Award, which recognizes members of the faculty or professional staff individually or as a team who make significant contributions to outreach through service to a community, school, or organization within the state of South Dakota.

Our Students

Students in our programs are recognized for their outstanding academic achievements.

Published Articles

Communication Studies majors Heather Coburn, Ariana Smith, and Kama Konda published academic articles based on their undergraduate research. Communication Studies masters student Andie Malterud published an article, with advisor Jenn Anderson, based on her graduate research. Communication studies graduate students Hanna Holmquist and Kama Konda-Varilek published an article, with advisor Josh Westwick, based on their graduate teaching experiences.

Top Paper Award CSCA
Andie Malterud Receives Top Paper Award
Top Papers & Posters at Academic Conferences

Communication Studies graduate student Andie Malterud won Top Paper in the Health Communication Interest Group at the 2017 Central States Communication Association Annual Conference and Top Graduate Student Poster at the 2016 Health Communication Mini-Conference.  Communication Studies minor Kali Bendix won First Place Poster in the Arts & Humanities category of the 2017 Upper Midwest Regional Honors Council Annual Conference. Communication major Heather Coburn won Top Undergraduate Poster at the 2014 Central States Communication Association Annual Conference. At URSCAD the following Communication Studies majors and minors have won awards: Kali Bendix (2017), Kaitlyn Wheelock (2017), Sarah Reiner (2016), Maggie Stiles (2016), Andie Malterud (2014), Ariana Smith (2013), and Kama Konda (2013).

Schultz-Werth Award Winners

Pharmacy majors Kaya Borg (advisor: Barb Kleinjan) and Allyson Helms (advisor: Joshua Westwick) received the Schultz-Werth award in 2017. Communication studies major Heather Coburn (advisor: Rebecca Kuehl) received the award in 2014.


Communication Studies Major

Graduate Program in Communication Studies