Christine Bryan & MacKenzie Donovan Win Fellowships

Students in the Communication and Philosophy Department are pursuing their passions both in and out of the classroom. Their hard work is recognized at the campus and the national level.

Christine Bryan was recently named a Newman Civic Fellow for her work with the city of Keene. Melinda Treadwell, President of Keene State College, said of Bryan:

“Christine Bryan, a junior at Keene State College, is a non-traditional student with a passion for working with under-privileged and marginalized populations. A long-time community volunteer, Christine is using her return to higher education as an opportunity to gain a broader view of social issues, non-profit and government organizations that align with her aspirations for the future. She is currently engaged in research that explores correlation between legislation and delivery of social services to populations including persons experiencing homelessness, immigrants and refugees. She is seeking a grant to support further research on attitudes of legislators and providers toward those needing social services, and the type of programs that result. Her engagement also includes serving as a case worker for short-term assistance programs with the City of Keene where she offers instruction, ongoing support, and increased caseworker access.”

MacKenzie Donovan was recently awarded the Landau Family Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship for her research on transmedia storytelling on John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight. She will spend the summer of 2018 working with Professor Amber Davisson to develop a journal article and conference presentation based on her research.


Communication & Philosophy Faculty Scholarship

Communication and philosophy faculty do more than teach. They research! Their research even enhances the classroom because faculty who actively research stay up on cutting-edge ideas in the profession and share that knowledge with students.

In the past year, faculty members have published journal articles, book chapters, academic commentaries, and edited collections.

Listed below are citations to recent scholarship published by our faculty:

Amber Davisson and Aaron Hess (Eds.). (2017). Theorizing Digital Rhetoric. New York, NY: Routledge.

Amber Davisson. ‘Hallelujah’: Parody, Political Catharsis, and Grieving the 2016 Election with Saturday Night Live. Communication Quarterly, 66(2), 196-213.

Amber Davisson (2017). Cases and Commentaries: Autoplaying Murder. Journal of Media Ethics, 32(2).

Amber Davisson (2017). Hunting the Mother Monster. In P. Booth & I. Menichiello (Eds.), Time Lords & Tribbles, Winchesters & Muggles (pp. 129-130). San Francisco, CA: Blurb.

Jamie Landau and Bethany Keeley-Jonker. “Conductor of public feelings: An affective-emotional rhetorical analysis of Obama’s national eulogy in Tucson.” Quarterly Journal of Speech (2018): 1-23.

Emily McGill. Liberal Neutrality and Gender Justice,” Social Philosophy Today, Vol. 33 (2017): 91-111.

Emily McGill. “Feminist Social and Political Philosophy,” co-authored with Elizabeth Edenberg. in Hay Carol, editor. Philosophy: Feminism. Macmillan Interdisciplinary Handbooks: Philosophy series. Farmington Hills, MI: Macmillan Reference USA/Gale, a Cengage Company, 2017.

Research Methods Courses for the Spring Semester

Before taking Senior Project, students majoring in Communication and Philosophy should take a research methods course. Students often pick their research methods course depending on what type of research they want to conduct in their senior project. In the spring of 2018, there are two communication research method classes being offered and one philosophy option.

Communication Methods Courses

In Quantitative and Qualitative Methods (COMM 472), taught by Dr. Jeff Halford, students complete four empirical projects that require research design, data collection, data analysis, and report writing. Skills used in the project include interviews, surveys, naturalistic observations, and a content analysis. The class emphasizes a social-scientific approach rather than a humanities approach to communication research.

Rhetorical Criticism (COMM 473) is the study of persuasion in different formats. These formats include political speeches, advertisements, video-games and music videos. Similarities and dissimilarities between the art of persuasion in different formats are analyzed. Textual analysis and a critical-humanities based approach is emphasized. Rhetorical Criticism is taught by Dr. Amber Davisson.

Philosophy Methods Course:

In Existentialism and Film (PHIL 406) taught by Dr. Sander Lee, students will apply philosophies from the existentialist movement to films from directors such as Woody Allen and Alfred Hitchcock. For example, the existentialist philosophies of Martin Heidegger, Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Paul Sartre are applied to Alfred Hitchcock’s film Vertigo.

For more information, contact your department advisor or the instructor of the course you are interested in.

Professor Deborah Doubleday Wins Teaching Award!

Professor Deborah Doubleday was recently awarded the Adjunct Faculty Performance Award for her exemplary working teaching COMM 171: Public Speaking. She began her teaching career at Keene State College in 1987. Now in her fiftieth semester, Professor Doubleday stated that she feels honored to receive this award and is thankful that she had a great group of students to work with over the years.

Students describe Professor Doubleday’s class as a transformational experience. As one student explained: “When I came into the course, I was so terrified of public speaking that I used to have anxiety attacks before a speech. Now I actually have grown to like public speaking.” The public speaking course teaches students vital public communication skills in a host of speaking situations, allowing students to gain confidence in self-expression. One student described Professor Doubleday’s dedication to the class, saying that she is “very passionate and caring about what she taught. It was honestly inspiring.”

For Professor Doubleday, winning the award, she said, was “a team effort. Without my students and an observer, it is hard to know how effective you really are.” She sees this award as a means of improving her teaching, stating that: “Conversations around teaching make more effective teachers.”

We are truly lucky to have such effective and dedicated teachers in our department. Congratulation Professor Doubleday!

Communication Students Present Their Research

At the end of March, Daniel Stavens (Junior Communication Studies and Film Studies Major) and Olivia Moore (Senior Communication Studies Major) traveled to Boston to present at the James C. McCroskey & Virginia P. Richmond Undergraduate Scholars Conference. The conference, sponsored by the Eastern States Communication Association, features competitively selected scholarly papers by undergraduate students from colleges across the eastern United States.

Moore’s paper, titled “Hey Pretty Thing, How Much? The Problematic Reality of Catcalling,” was based on research she conducted in Dr. Jeff Halford’s (Associate Professor of Communication) senior project course. Moore’s research used a combination surveys and in-depth interviews to delve into the gendered nature of catcalling. Her study “reveals that catcalling is an intensifying social problem in contemporary society.”



Stavens’ paper, titled “Eisenhower’s Civil Religion: Redefining the Relationship Between Religion and Politics in the 1953 Inaugural Address,” was based on research he conducted in Dr. Amber Davisson’s (Assistant Professor of Communication) rhetorical criticism course. Stavens’ research is based on a rhetorical analysis of Eisenhower’s First Inaugural Address. His research, focusing on religious rhetoric and civil religion, argues that “Eisenhower changed the way modern politicians address the complex relationship between religion and government.”

Communication and Philosophy Faculty Present Their Research

Faculty from the Communication and Philosophy Department have been presenting their research on campus this semester.

Jamie Landau, Associate Professor of Communication, was the invited speaker for International Holocaust Remembrance Day at the Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies.  Her presentation, titled “Rehumanization and Emotion and Interventions for Injustice,” focused on Rebecca Skloot’s biography of Henrietta Lacks.

Emily McGill-Rutherford, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, spoke at the Keene State College Teach-In. Her presentation, titled “Grab Them By the Uterus: Reproductive Rights and Freedom,” discussed the current legal status of abortion and birth control access in the United States.

Communication Student Monique Vachon Interns with Academic and Career Advising

Monique Vachon is a senior here at Keene State College. She is a communication major with a uniquely paired environmental studies minor. The second Monique heard about the internship course, she knew she wanted to be in it. She contacted the professor, who also happens to be her advisor, Dr. Chitra Akkoor. She knew she didn’t want an internship that was outside of Keene. She wanted to find somewhere very local, preferable that she could walk to. They discussed her interests, and from there she got an interview with Good Fortune Jewelry and Academic and Career Advising. She ended up choosing Academic and Career Advising, which happenthumbnail_img_0114s to be right on campus. The internship at Good Fortune was paid, and ACA was not. “I decided to pick ACA over Good Fortune just because I thought I would get more out of it. I just really liked the overall environment of the office. The people I talked to there just really seemed like they wanted to get the full experience. So I did pick an unpaid internship over a paid one, but I think overall, I made the right decision.” She’s not quite sure what she wants to do after graduation, but explains that this experience in general will benefit her greatly one way or another. “I’m kind of in between. I’m not sure if I want to get a job right away after I graduate, or if I want to take a year off and do AmeriCorps, something service related. The past 16 years of my life I’ve been in school and it’s just a lot. For my own personal benefit, just to take a year off and do some sort of service might give me a better sense of direction of what I actually want to do.”

For the past few months, Monique has worked closely with another intern for ACA to plan and organize the career fair, which included multiple employers and graduate schools. With such a big role to take on, she has been fortunate enough to have so many other people in Academic and Career Advising supporting her. “I would say my favorite part of this internship is just the people I work with. They are all so understanding and compassionate. The director is just incredible. Everyone gets along so well. Not to mention, the people I work with are career advisors so it’s pretty cool to have a group or people there supporting you in whatever you want to do but also being able to work directly with them.” Monique explains that before her internship, she wasn’t aware of how much ACA actually does. The only struggle that she had was just adjusting to how much time she had to put into the career fair. “I’m not usually a busy person, so it was a lot to take on. But it was definitely worth it watching it all come together the day of the fair”. The COMM-379 Internship course only meets in class once a week, and Monique explains that it’s beneficial to take the class instead of just doing the internship on your own:  “It’s nice to be able to experience an organization or department first hand, but also integrating course work into it that relates directly to what you’re doing is really beneficial. It’s almost beneficial in a way that you don’t realize until you look back and realize how much you’ve learned.”

To learn more about the department’s internship program, check out this video:

Senior Project Conference Fall 2016

On December 12th, the Communication and Philosophy Department will host the Senior Project Conference for Fall 2016. We are so excited to have this opportunity to celebrate the fantastic work of our seniors. Please check out the video below to learn more about the department’s capstone course. We hope to see you at the conference!



Northern New England Philosophy Association Conference

The annual conference of the Northern New England Philosophical Association (NNEPA) will occur at Keene State College from October 14 to 15, 2016.

The Department of Communication and Philosophy is hosting this event thanks to funding from the Office of Sponsored Projects and Research, the Dean of the School of Arts and Humanities, the Center for Creative Inquiry, and a private donation.

Faculty from multiple disciplines and universities across the country will present their research at the NNEPA conference. Graduate students and undergraduates will also share their scholarship.

The conference will feature two panels of student presentations on Friday October 14th:

Session A: 10-11am Huntress 005

Chair: Allyson Mount (Keene State College)

Deliberative Democracy and Institutions of Higher Education

Sara Jane LaFleur (Keene State College)

Conceptualizations of Schizophrenia

Ambrose DeMarco (College of the Holy Cross)

The Missing Puzzle Piece of Multiculturalism: Education

Rachel Lally (Keene State College)

Session B: 11 am-12 pm Huntress 005

Chair: Nicholas Germana (Keene State College)

Impact of Implicit Metaphysical Commitments on The Theory of Moral Deference

Gabriella Hulsey (Wheaton College)

Outside Fichte’s Wissenschaftslehre

Margaret Del Giudice (University of New Hampshire)

Capitalist Hindrances to Moral Willing: Lessons from Kant and Marx

James Patin (Clark University)

In addition to student presentations, a highlight of the event is the distinguished keynote speaker, Laurence Thomas, who is a Professor of Philosophy and Political Science of the Maxwell School at Syracuse University. Dr. Thomas is an expert in social, political, and moral philosophy, and has published about case studies related to American slavery, the Holocaust, and sexual rights.

A full schedule for the conference is available here, and abstracts for the presentations can be found here.