Missouri State University
What is going on in the Department of Communication

Five reasons to choose COAL as your college

They are the storytellers. The creators. The visualizers.

The students who make up Missouri State’s College of Arts and Letters take pride in standing out amongst the crowd and making their Missouri Statement a distinct one. How? Here are five ways COAL is making itself known at MSU.

Giving Voice will open your eyes to oppression


Giving Voice, a theatre troupe housed in the theatre and dance department, puts on an interactive performance that is inspired by Augusto Boal’s Theatre. Their goal is to give a voice to those who are oppressed, underrepresented and marginalized.

The troupe helps many groups tackle topics like gender, racial, political and religious discrimination. This is done through a series of presentations and workshops. The Giving Voice facilitator and actors work with participants to explore how to approach taboo situations in a safe environment.

Student Exhibition Center gives you space to exhibit your creativity


The Student Exhibition Center, or SEC, is a gallery festooned with student artwork and funded through the Student Activity Fee.

Think your art should be featured? All you have to do is fill out a proposal form and you have a chance to have your own artwork on display.

You can even hold a reception there (but it does cost an extra fee, so check out the SEC website for more details).

The SEC is located on Historic Walnut Street at the north end of the Missouri State University campus.

But wait — there’s more! The SEC isn’t the only Missouri State gallery looking to display student artwork. The Brick City Gallery features distinguished, as well as up-and-coming artists, in this urban oasis of creativity. Plus, admission is free and open to the public.

You can immerse yourself in TV industry with ‘Show-Me Chefs’


Imagine a television show run by college students. That’s exactly what “Show-Me Chefs” is!

The show is produced by the department of media, journalism and film as part of a class. Students produce and film the whole series — a reality competitive cooking show that highlights local food producers and chefs.

The show’s second season is about to premier on KOZL-TV, and they are already in pre-production for Season 3. On Oct. 22, the show will host a fundraising gala at Springfield’s 319 Event Center.

Untamed Tongues will empower you to use your voice


Untamed Tongues is a poetry collective dedicated to establishing a place on campus for poets and musicians to share their creative works with others, be active servants to the community and maintain high academic achievement.

The group was co-founded nearly a year ago by Taylor Vinson, an MSU junior in communication. To celebrate this organization’s first birthday, a poetry slam is being held at 7:30 Oct. 3 in Plaster Student Union, room 400. There will be three rounds with three different time limits: Free topic, no props. Everyone with an original poem is welcome to participate

Study Away will take you around the world


We encourage our students to travel the world. There are several COAL faculty-led study away opportunities, including a few listed here:

  • In summer 2016, Dr. Andy Cline, a media, journalism and film associate professor, led a group of students on a 10-day train ride to the Trans-Siberian Railway. The goal was to create a documentary film as they travelled through Moscow, Vladivostok and Lake Baikal.
  • In another summer adventure, Dr. Cameron LaBarr, choral studies director, and the MSU Chorale took an 18-day tour of South Africa. Highlights included performing at the American Embassy, hiking in the mountains and attending a safari ride.
  • Center for Dispute Resolution took a 10-day study away trip to Ireland in June 2015. The program explored the country’s historical and cultural roots of conflict and the subsequent peacemaking processes and reconciliations. This cultural experience toured students around Dublin, Belfast and Derry/Londonderry.
  • For the last several summers, art professor Gwen Walstrand has led students on a trip to Florence, Italy. The courses offered abroad range from drawing, photography and general education options. For more information about the summer 2017 Italy trip, attend one of the info sessions on Oct. 5, Oct. 19, Nov. 14 or Nov. 23, each at 7 p.m. in Brick City, building 1, room 211.
Posted in andy cline, Art + Design, Art and Design, cameron labarr, Center for Dispute Resolution, Communication, giving voice, gwen walstrand, Media Journalism & Film, Media Journalism and Film, mjf, msu chorale, Music, News, News Releases, poetry slam, SEC, show me chefs, Student Accomplishments, Student Exhibition Center, Student News, study away, Theatre and Dance, Theatre and Dance Department, tv series, untamed tongues | Comments Off on Five reasons to choose COAL as your college

MSU Talks hosts debate on two-party system

On Tuesday, Sept. 13, the Missouri State debate team will host an open-forum MSU Talks debate on whether the U.S. should keep its two-party system or explore expanding into multiple parties.

The debate is part of MSU’s Public Affairs Week. Once the debaters present their arguments, attendees are encouraged to participate in the discussion by sharing their ideas and opinions.

Want to come?

Date: Sept. 13
Time: 4 p.m.
Location: Meyer Library 101

Posted in College of Arts and Letters, Communication, Debate, News, News Releases, speech | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on MSU Talks hosts debate on two-party system

Political discussions can be civil, says professor

As a young child, Dr. Elizabeth Dudash-Buskirk learned about politics handing out fliers for family members running for office or joining her father at political rallies. Now an associate professor of socio-political communication at Missouri State University, she teaches about political messages, commentary, debates and so much more. She’s shares about the shifts in the […]

Posted in College of Arts and Letters, Communication, elizabeth dudash-buskirk, News | Comments Off on Political discussions can be civil, says professor

Debate Bears win 3rd place at national tournament

Missouri State’s debate team won third place at the National Forensic Association’s National Championship Tournament last month.


Students earn individual awards

Other awards included:

  • Joe Hamaker, 4th place in the nation, Lincoln-Douglas Debate
  • Brenden Brower Freeman, National speaker award, 5th place in the nation
  • David Rabbitt, Quarter finalist
  • Clayton Russo, Caitlyn Elizabeth Wicks and Brenden Brower Freeman, double octa-finalists

Join the Debate Bears

The debate team is made up of students from departments across the university. No experience is required. With a student to coach ratio of 4 to 1, each debater receives ample attention from the coaching staff. Debaters are expected to return to campus one week before classes begin in August to prepare for the season.

To sign up or for more information, contact Dr. Eric Morris by email.

Posted in awards, Communication, Debate, News, Student Accomplishments, Student News | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Debate Bears win 3rd place at national tournament

Reunion to bring current and former MSU debaters together

The fifth reunion for the Spicer Debate Forum will be celebrated with a series of events May 13 and 14. Participants will be able to visit with past and present coaches, meet current team members and mingle with former teammates.


Schedule of events

Friday, May 13

6 p.m.
Welcome reception with past and present debate coaches
Home of Don and Vicki Stanton in Nixa. Shuttles will be provided.

Saturday, May 14

12 p.m.
Lunch with the current MSU debate team
Meyer Alumni Center 5th Floor

4 p.m.
Optional wine tasting event (Additional cost)
Tower Club 21st Floor

6 p.m.
Reception and dinner
Tower Club 21st Floor

Register for the reunion

Register for the event with the Alumni Association. The registration fee includes all costs except the optional wine tasting.
Alumni and guests: $50 per person
Current MSU students: Free
Optional wine tasting: $50 per person

Give back to the program

You will have the option to donate to the MSU debate program when you register for the reunion. Please know there is no obligation to give, but we do appreciate the support of those who choose to do so.

Contact Information


Posted in Alumni News, College of Arts and Letters, Communication, Debate, News | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Students compete in Vicki Stanton showcase on May 2

Students in the Fundamentals of Communication classes will compete in this semester’s Vicki Stanton Public Speaking Showcase on May 2 at the Plaster Student Union Theater.

Finalists in the spring 2015 showcase included Lauren Clausen, Tabitha Carroll, Caitlyn Wicks, Emma Hackett and Kalissa Pitts.
Finalists in the spring 2015 showcase included Lauren Clausen, Tabitha Carroll, Caitlyn Wicks, Emma Hackett and Kalissa Pitts.

What is the Public Speaking Showcase?

Communication faculty choose about 60 participants each semester to present a persuasive speech in front of a panel of judges in two preliminary rounds, competing against up to five other students for the top rankings in the round. The overall top five speakers then compete in the final round, scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m.

Winning speech criteria

Students are judged based on speech organization, creation of sound arguments, proving evidential support, creativity, delivery and connection with the audience.

Preliminary judges are communication department instructors and teaching assistants. The final judging panel is comprised of University faculty and community members.

For more information, contact Jerri Lynn Kyle by email or at 417-836-4423.

Want to attend?

Vicki Stanton Public Speaking Showcase

When: May 2, 5:30-7 p.m.
Where: Plaster Student Union Theater
Admission: Free and open to the public
Connect online: #VSPSS16 @VickiStantonPSS

Posted in Announcement, Communication, Event, News, Student Accomplishments | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Students compete in Vicki Stanton showcase on May 2

COM faculty, alumna and student offer advice to first-generation students

A faculty member, an alumna and a student from the communication department will participate in a first-generation informational panel on April 28.


Panelists to share their experiences as first-generation students

The discussion is designed to help first-generation freshmen and sophomore college students have productive conversations with family and friends when they return home for the summer.

The panelists are also first-generation college students or graduates. They include:

  • Dr. Kelly Wood – Professor of communication and provost fellow for student success
  • Trysta Herzog – Alumna, MA in communication and strategic communications specialist for the College of Arts and Letters
  • Desmond Warren – Senior public relations major

First-generation student group organized event

The event is hosted by the newly formed student organization, MSU: I’m First, a group dedicated to helping first-generation college students succeed.

For more information about the group or to join, visit their website.

Want to attend?

Panel: Home for the Summer: Communicating Effectively with Family & Friends
When: April 28, 6:30 – 8 p.m.
Where: Karls Hall Room 101
Host: MSU: I’m First
Admission: Free and open to the public

Posted in College of Arts and Letters, Communication, Faculty & Staff Accomplishments, News, panels, Student Accomplishments, Student News | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on COM faculty, alumna and student offer advice to first-generation students

COAL helps ‘Build Healthy Communities’ at this year’s Public Affairs Conference

The College of Arts and Letters will be involved in several events throughout this year’s Public Affairs Conference, April 5-8.

Communication professor chairing conference

This year’s theme is “Building Healthy Communities: Body, Mind and Spirit. The 2016 provost fellow and conference chair is Dr. Elizabeth Dudash-Buskirk, an associate professor in the communication department.

COAL-sponsored events

The following are events sponsored by COAL or its departments:

The-f-Word-ExhibitThe f Word: Stories of Forgiveness exhibit

April 4-8
7 a.m.-7 p.m.
Meyer Library, rm 107

COAL is sponsoring this banner exhibition, which tells the stories of people whose lives have been shattered by violence, tragedy and injustice, as they learn to forgive, reconcile and move on. The exhibition is the brainchild of British journalist Marina Cantacuzino and photographer Brian Moody who have collected numerous accounts from across the globe, including stories from Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Marianne Pearl.

MarkUmbreit-PACRestorative justice in the 21st century: An international social movement loaded with opportunities and pitfalls

April 6
Noon-1 p.m.
PSU Theater

This plenary presentation, sponsored by COAL, will provide an overview of restorative justice as a social movement, its achievements, opportunities present and a small but growing number of pitfalls involving unintended negative consequences.

From its humble beginnings in the mid-1970s, restorative justice has developed into a worldwide social movement with policies and programs developing in numerous countries and in in nearly every U.S. state, from small pilot projects to major system-wide initiatives.

Presenter: Mark Umbreit, director of Center for Restorative Justice, University of Minnesota

ZackExley-PACInformation, technology and the class gap: How does information sharing affect community health?

April 6
7:30 p.m.- 8:30 p.m.
PSU Theater

The department of communication will sponsor this plenary session that will explore the marginalization of those who are technologically disadvantaged and consider the impact this new class system might have on healthy community building.

A technology gap has been created by a class gap, but the class gap looks different than it used to: Instead of simple economic differences, we now see accessibility differences, technology differences and educational differences that define the “haves” and “have-nots.” Have technology and access become a friend or the enemy to communities?

Presenter: Zack Exley, senior advisor to the Bernie Sanders campaign

PeterGray-PACDecline of emotional resilience among college students: Causes and potential solutions

April 7
7:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
PSU Theater

In this plenary presentation, co-sponsored by COAL and the Student Activities Council, Peter Gray will examine how the overemphasis on academic performance and the loss of free play in childhood and adolescence may contribute to the anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts that plague college students today.

Gray contends that it is in play and adventure, away from adults, that young people practice the emotional, social and practical skills required to become effective adults.

Presenter: Peter Gray, research professor of psychology at Boston College

Show-Me Chefs Show Us How

April 8Show-Me-Chefs-620x413
1:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m.
PSU Theater

The department of media, journalism and film and COAL will team up with community sponsors for this event. Campus nutritionists will join MSU’s new executive chef Quintin Eason to speak with students about eating on campus and campus options in conjunction with the MJF department’s hit reality television cook-off series, Show-Me Chefs. The show’s producers will also host cooking demonstrations, provide recipes and offer a local food perspective on how to eat well on a college student’s budget.

Visit the website for a complete schedule

Students interested in arts and letters will find many events at this year’s conference appealing. From discussions on how healthy communities are impacted by social media or the arts, to the importance of civil discourse in a democracy and the role of language in our emotional well-being.


For a complete conference schedule, visit the Public Affairs Conference website.

Posted in Communication, elizabeth dudash-buskirk, exhibition, f word, information sharing, mark umbreit, Media Journalism & Film, Media Journalism and Film, meyer library, News, News Releases, peter gray, public affairs, Public Affairs Conference, Public Event, restorative justice, show me chefs, social media, zack exley | Comments Off on COAL helps ‘Build Healthy Communities’ at this year’s Public Affairs Conference

Graduate students help plan regional conference

Missouri State’s communication department has led the planning efforts for the Central States Communication Association’s 2016 conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on April 13-17.

Back row: Blake Miller, Cassie Sherwood, Janet Glaser and Angela (Yingyuan) Zhang Front row: Nick Nickols, Shawn Wahl and Shaley Moore
Back row: Blake Miller, Cassie Sherwood, Janet Glaser and Angela (Yingyuan) Zhang
Front row: Nick Nickols, Shawn Wahl and Shaley Moore

Department head offers students opportunity to plan conference

ShawnWahl-KSMU-InterviewDr. Shawn Wahl, communication department head, is the CSCA first vice president. He and his team of graduate student interns worked tirelessly over the last year to plan the 2016 conference, themed “Foundation.”

“We are of proud of the COM graduate student interns who have helped with the conference planning process,” Dr. Wahl said. “The conference planning experience has given our graduate students the experience to network with communication scholars across the nation. Our graduate students have created a national teaching and learning experience that will be attended by more than 1,000 faculty and students. 

“The conference planning experience brings a great deal of visibility to Missouri State University. This project has allowed us to make a statement: Our graduate program in communication at Missouri State University continues to thrive on the national stage. I am grateful for their service and dedication to our department and the communication discipline.”

Those students involved in planning the conference include Nick Nickols, Janet Glaser, Blake Miller, Cassie Sherwood, Angela (Yingyuan) Zhang and Shaley Moore.

Moore to be honored with prestigious award

Moore will also be awarded the 2016 recipient of the Cooper Award at the CSCA conference.

The award is named after former CSCA President Pamela J. Cooper. It is highly competitive and is presented to one M.A.-level graduate teaching assistant and one Ph.D. level graduate teaching assistant in recognition of outstanding teaching.

Students reflect on their experiences in planning process

The six graduate students remarked on the relationships and lessons they will carry with them beyond college.



Nick Nickols

“(We) learned how to each apply our strengths in ways that contributed to both our team’s success and ultimately the success of our conference. Also, during this process I have built lasting relationships with various peers and professionals within our field.”


Janet Glaser

“Seeing everyone’s hard work come together to create such an amazing event will be great. I am so thankful for the opportunity and look forward to everyone being a part of and experiencing the Grand Rapids conference.”


Blake Miller

“It has been great to work on such a great conference and to learn how much time and effort goes into each and every CSCA conference. I have learned valuable lessons about creating and maintaining a conference, but even more valuable connections and friends throughout this project.”


Cassie Sherwood

“The programming process provided us, as a team, an opportunity to learn from one another and grow closer. And at the end of the day isn’t that what graduate school is all about? Learning and growing because and with your colleagues.”


Angela (Yingyuan) Zhang

“It was like putting together a giant puzzle, and it’s exciting that I contribute to it by putting a few pieces of it on the right spot. I hope the conference would bring more inspirations to the discipline of communication!”


Shaley Moore

“Being a part of the CSCA planning team has been such a rewarding and eye-opening experience. … As a student it is such a unique opportunity to get an inside perspective on all of the work that goes into planning a conference … and (it is) an experience I will not soon forget.”


Conference details

Dates: April 13-17
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Website: http://www.csca-net.org/

Posted in Announcement, College of Arts and Letters, Communication, Faculty Accomplishment, News, Student Accomplishments | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Graduate students help plan regional conference