Taylor Hallabuk ’20 is one example of our students finding their voice. A recent graduate with a POE in Strategic Communication, Taylor won first place in the Bailey Oratorical in 2019 and competed in the finals again in 2020. Taylor was actively involved across campus as an Orientation Leader, Writing Center Tutor, Campus Tour Guide, and more. Beyond that, Taylor completed her honors thesis, which included vlogs that explored the persuasion of humor based on gender. In Episode 2, Taylor recreated a day at Juniata from her home during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Throughout her college career, the Communication Department encouraged and supported Taylor’s creative side.
“Not only are all of the professors incredibly helpful and knowledgeable, but they also really care about their students. They’ve helped me do internships and immerse myself in a real work environment.”
Noelle Bradley ’18 Management, with a secondary emphasis in Communication
The Communication Department inspires students to graduate as effective communicators across all professions. Our Program of Emphasis (POE) is created by professors, who focus on theories, methods, and practices within the field of Communication. We challenge students to go beyond “obvious everyday talk.” Our program encourages students to think about who they are and find their voice through community-engaged learning, critical analysis, and audience adaptation in speaking and writing.
Unique Areas of Study
Students interested in studying Communication take core courses within the designated program of emphasis (POE). This designated POE is most similar to a prescribed major. There is flexibility to choose electives, research, experiential learning, and capstone experiences. Juniata students also have the opportunity to design their own Individualized POE based on their academic interests, combining communication with other fields of study. In fact, almost all of our Communication students individualize their POE. For example, in 2020, all of our 80 students had Individualized POEs.
- Communication combines the studies of interpersonal, intercultural, group, and mass communication.
- Health Communication is the study of communication as it relates to health professions and health education.
- Integrated Media Arts is an interdisciplinary POE that combines the studies of art, communication, information technology/computer science, and English.
- Theatre Arts is a collaborative form of performing art that uses live performers to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience.
Professor Sarah Worley teaching a class on group dynamics.
A Distinct Experience
Click on the banners below and learn more about what makes a communication experience unique at Juniata College.
No matter your POE, the Communication Department equips you with cultural competency, audience adaptation, and ethical persuasion skills in a hands-on learning environment to succeed. You are prepared for a professional career whether you attend a prestigious graduate school, become your own boss, or work for an organization. We excel at finding your professional niche, since communication is essential in all fields.
Juniata’s Communication Department is flexible and intersects with multiple departments on campus to create customized POEs and interdisciplinary projects. For example, we partner with the Integrated Media Arts (IMA) Program, the Peace and Conflict Studies Department, and the Business Department. We excel at refining your focus, since each student’s approach to their education is unique.
Since personal and professional experience is valuable, Communication students explore ideas and practices inside and outside of the classroom. These include:
- Practicums and internships in local and global communities
- Study abroad programs related to your POE
- Independent research, honors theses, and capstone projects with faculty
- Professional presentations and networking at conferences
Through these hands-on experiences, the Communication Department is committed to working with community partners at all levels. We excel at guiding you towards lifelong learning, since your success is defined by global citizenship and commitment to the common good.
Donna Weimer, Thornbury Professor of Communication and Department Chair of Communication and Theatre Arts, answered the call to teach—but not before hanging up a few times.
Now Every Course Counts More—Toward Life After College
While many schools are revisiting their curricular model these days, Juniata saw an opportunity to do something more.
- Allison Goulden '19
- is a policy intern for the People For the American Way and is pursuing her MA in political management at George Washington University.
- Allison Goulden '19
- Sydney Spicer '19
- is a Beach Sisters Fellow at Massachusetts Promise Fellowship and published a book of essays called Bloom.
- Sydney Spicer '19
- Katie Dickins '18
- is a human resources leadership and development professional at Eaton and is pursuing her PhD in global leadership and change at Pepperdine University.
- Katie Dickins '18
- Megan Myers '16
- is a magazine coordinator at Retail Business Services and graduated with her MBA in digital marketing from Messiah College.
- Megan Myers '16
Juniata communication faculty are teachers, scholars, researchers, consultants, and practitioners of both human and mediated communication, especially in the classroom. They also present at conferences like the Council of Independent Colleges and College-wide Assessment. They each study the scholarship of teaching and learning. And, they conduct research on language and empowerment; communication and diversity; teaching and ethics; film; women, work and identity; transactional listening; and more. Together, they’ve won 10 teaching awards.
“There is a lot of involvement outside the classroom with lectures and assignments, and a lot of application in the classroom, which I think is important for fully grasping the concepts.”
—Paul Alicea ’20
Clubs and Events
Help spread the word about communication to campus through the Communication and Media Club, which holds several events for the Department. Or, join Lambda Pi Eta, the national communication honor society.
- The Bailey Oratorical Contest: Participate in the Bailey, which was established in 1910 and encourages students from all areas of study to present persuasive speeches on a topic that changes annually. On average, forty students participate in the preliminary round. Seven finalists are chosen by independent judges and coached by faculty mentors to prepare for the final round. The contest, which is streamed live on Juniata’s YouTube page, features prizes of $1,000, $500, and $300 for the top three speeches. Audience members are encouraged to participate in a text-to-vote poll for the People’s Choice Award.
- Homecoming and Family Weekend Alumni Panel: Attend our alumni panel where former students return to network with current students, talk about their experience at Juniata, and provide insight into their lives after graduation.
- Free Speech Week and Soapbox Speeches: Voice your opinions, ideas, and beliefs in safe spaces. Students share impromptu personal speeches, poems, stories, dance, and music based on reflection on the annual prompt.
- The Communication Department Senior Picnic: Salute our seniors and wish them the best at our picnic before we go on break for the summer.
- Multicultural Storyfest: Engage in and learn from an event that takes place during the Liberal Arts Symposium and invites international students as well as other interested students to share parts of their heritage with the community.
- Board Game Nights: Relax and enjoy a night out where CMC members hang out with our professors and friends, eat pizza and snacks, and have fun playing board games.
Take an active role in your education while studying abroad. Juniata has established strong exchanges with universities throughout the world with programs on every continent except Antarctica. The Communication Department has partner programs with:
- Westfälische Hochschule Gelsenkirchen in Germany,
- Shih Hsin University in Taiwan,
- East China Normal University in China, and York St. John in the United Kingdom.
Also, students can participate in a short-term study abroad trip over the summer to Germany.
Community-engaged learning courses (CEL) help students to connect to our community and grow as students and global citizens. Research shows that community-engaged classroom experiences lead to higher GPAs, enhanced leadership skills, and positive student-faculty partnerships. Juniata College's mission is to empower our students to develop the skills, knowledge, and values that lead to a fulfilling life of service and ethical leadership in the global community.
Conduct research on a topic of your choosing with the guidance of a faculty member. Then, present at conferences—like Juniata’s Liberal Arts Symposium, the National Conferences for Undergraduate Research, or conferences and conventions specific to Communication. Faculty–student collaboration often results in a capstone project or graduation with distinction after completing an honors thesis.