Previously Announced News Items



Fall 2017

Piyawan Charoensap earned 2017 Top Student Paper Award from the Group Communication Division of National Communication Association. 

Mohamed Ismail earned the top student paper for the Peace and Conflict Communication Division at NCA.  He successfully defended his Master’s thesis in the same day.

Dr. Wendy Atkins-Sayre has a new book out this month.  Written with Ashli Quesinberry Stokes of UNC-Charlotte, the University Press of Mississippi book is titled, Consuming Identity: The Role of Food in Redefining the South.  Read more here.

Fall 2016

The Communication Studies Department welcomes two new faculty members this fall:  Dr. Laura Stengrim (Assistant Professor and Speaking Center Director; pictured below) and Laura Alberti-Strait (Visiting Instructor).

Spring 2016

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Casey Malone Maugh Funderburk (Associate Professor of Communication Studies at the Gulf Park Campus) as Associate Provost for the Gulf Park Campus, effective May 10. The appointment is pending IHL Board approval.

The Department of Communication would like to recognize the faculty and students who received awards at SSCA this year (April 6-10). Dr. Paul Strait received a top paper award for his paper, “Argument Systems and Intersubjective Psychosis: Theorizing Pathological Communication,” in the Argumentation and Forensics Division. Dr. Wendy Atkins-Sayre received a top paper award for her co-authored paper, “Barbecue’s Rhetorical Expression of Southern Identity,” in the Rhetoric and Public Address Division. Piyawan Charoensap-Kelly led the graduate students by taking home the top student paper award in the Communication Theory Division with her paper, “Moving Beyond the Communication Discipline: Identity Management Theory.”.

Additionally, Dr. Charles Tardy was awarded the T. Earle Johnson – Edwin Paget Distinguished Service Award, which honors SSCA members who, through their service and leadership to the Association and the profession, have made significant contributions and merit recognition. Dr. Wendy Atkins-Sayre was awarded the J. Donald Ragsdale Award for Mentoring in recognition of her work with faculty and students on campus.


The Department would like to congratulate all of the faculty and students who have been accepted to present at the upcoming Mississippi Communication Association (MCA) and Southern States Communication Association (SSCA) conferences.

Presenting at MCA on February 19th will be Dr. John Meyer as well as PhD students, Piyawan Charoensap-Kelly, Seth Fendley, Sean Fourney, Brandon Knight, and Carley Young.

The department has several faculty and students attending SSCA this year (April 6-10), making it to be one of the largest representations that USM has ever taken to the conference. Faculty members presenting include: Dr. Kathryn Anthony, Dr. Wendy Atkins-Sayre, Dr. Marcus Coleman, Dr. John Meyer, Dr. Paul Strait, and Dr. Charles Tardy. The Masters and PhD students presenting include: Kevin Bryant, Piyawan Charoensap-Kelly, Seth Fendley, Mo Ismail, Colleen Mestayer, Kaila Moran, Brian Perna, Carrie Reif, Elizabeth Hanson Smith, Carley Young, and Steve Young.

Spring 2015

Doctoral student Angela McGowan received the College of Arts and Letters' first Outstanding Graduate Student Award.  Ms. McGowan has completed her dissertation and will graduate in May. Congratulations, Angela!


 Fall 2014

The Communication Studies Department will offer a course in London this summer as part of USM’s British Studies Program.  The class will examine the verbal and nonverbal communication of social, cultural, and ethnic groups of Great Britain by visiting outdoor markets, public plazas, museums, art galleries, Old Bailey Criminal Court, House of Commons, etc.  The class will also travel to Edinburgh, Scotland.  

For more information, view this video (,

the course website (

and see the British Studies Program website (,

and contact Dr. Tardy (601-266-4278;


Summer 2014

Congratulations to Dr. Casey Maugh who was recently selected as the "Most Helpful Faculty/Staff Member" by the Gulf Coast Student Government Association.

Spring 2014 

Applications for the Elliott and Bonnie Pood Scholarship are due Monday, May 5th.  This fund was established by the late Dr. Elliott Pood, former dean of the College of Arts and Letters, and his wife Bonnie to encourage students to strive for excellence inside and outside the classroom.  It is given to students who maintain a record of academic excellence and demonstrate professional potential.  

Please see the linked form for application details:  pood_scholarship_application_form_-_2014_spring_-_4-28-2014.pdf

The University of Southern Mississippi Forensics Society recently placed 12th in Combined Sweepstakes (Individual Events and Debate) at the 2014 Pi Kappa Delta National Comprehensive Tournament. The team ranked among 79 colleges/universities competing in the competition held at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Thirteen students from Southern Miss competed in team and individual events. Participating students included Skye Gravenstuk, a senior from Long Beach, Miss., Taylor Sandridge, a junior from Coldwater, Miss., Lakelyn Taylor, a freshman from Long Beach, Miss., Mary Beth Wolverton, a junior from Hattiesburg, Miss., April Jackson, a freshman from Hammond, La., Connor Blakeney, a senior from Stringer, Miss., Rachael Reeves, a freshman from Monticello, Miss., Ryan Cone, a freshman from Hattiesburg, Miss., Joshua Von Herrmann, a junior from Hattiesburg, Miss., Austin Allen, a sophomore from Pascagoula, Miss., Meredith McPhail, a sophomore from Mobile, Ala., NeKeshia Ellis, a senior from Quitman, Miss., and Christian Dasher, a junior from Ocean Springs, Miss.

Dr. Susan A. Siltanen. The Communication Studies Department sadly reports the death of Dr. Susan A. Siltanen, Dean of the Graduate School and Professor of Communication Studies.  Dr. Siltanen began her career as a high school teacher in Tampa, Florida and earned an M.A. at the University of South Florida and the Ph.D. at the Ohio State University.  For 32 years she taught and performed administrative duties at Southern Miss.  She served her profession, department, and university throughout her career.  She was Executive Director and President of the Southern States Communication Association.  She was a demanding and beloved teacher who mentored students into a variety of professional roles.  Dr. Siltanen studied language and metaphor throughout her career, specializing in language and gender. As Dean of the Graduate School she was a strong advocate for graduate students, initiated a university-wide research symposium, and led efforts to secure health insurance for graduate assistants.  She will be dearly missed by her colleagues.  She is survived by husband Dr. Lawrence A. Hosman and daughters Sarah Siltanen Hosman and Laura Siltanen Hosman.  









Fall 2014

The Communication Studies Department invites you to a reception honoring the retirement of Dr. Richard Conville. Friday, November 8, 2013; 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.; 3:30 – Remarks; Dean’s Conference Room; 209 Liberal Arts Building


The Department of Communication Studies is taking applications for the Elliott and Bonnie Pood Scholarship.  This fund was established by the late Dr. Elliott Pood, former dean of the College of Arts and Letters, and his wife Bonnie to encourage students to strive for excellence inside and outside the classroom.  It is given to students who maintain a record of academic excellence and demonstrate professional potential.  

Please see the linked form for application details:




Fall 2013


Spring 2013

The Department of Communication Studies announces the retirement of Dr. Richard L. Conville.  Please visit our Facebook page for complete details and to leave comments:  Southern Miss Department of Communication Studies.


Fall 2012.

Communication Studies Newsletter is now out. Check out the link to read and see more:  67334_newsletter_6.pdf

Dr. Richard Conville, Professor of Communication Studies was recently announced this year's recipient of the Humanitarian of the Year award by The Junior Auxiliary. The award comes with a $500 donation, to be given to the charity of Conville's choice. A $500 scholarship will also be awarded in his name to a deserving area high school senior.

Dr. Casey Malone Maugh, Assistant professor of Communication Studies was recently named the recipient of this year's Butch Oustalet Gulf Coast Outstanding Faculty Award for teaching. The award established by the Butch Oustalet family, was created to recognize Southern Miss Gulf Coast faculty who have demonstrated exemplary achievements in one of the three areas of research, teaching and service. 


Spring 2012.

Dr. Casey Malone Maugh, Assistant professor of Communication Studies Department at the University of Southern Mississippi was named recipient of the Teaching Award. Dr. Maugh earned extraordinary student evaluations in all of her courses in 2011 and implemented an innovative approach in her Gender and Communication course, in which she observed the distinctive organizational and collective decision-making skills of groups of male and female students in class. In addition to her challenging public speaking courses, Maugh also served as director of the Southern Miss Gulf Coast Campus Speaking and Writing Center in 2011.

Wendy Atkins-Sayre, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies and Speaking Center Director, recently published a co-edited book on communication centers and oral communication programs in higher education.  The first book to address the role of communication centers in the university setting, the book was recently highlighted on the Chronicle of Higher Education web site. 

Eunkyong L. Yook and Wendy Atkins-Sayre (Eds.). (2012).  Communication Centers and Oral Communication Programs in Higher Education:  Advantages, Challenges, and New Directions.  Lanham, MD:  Lexington Books.  308 pages. 

Dr. Wendy Atkins-Sayre, assistant professor in the Communication Studies Department at The University of Southern Mississippi, was recently awarded the Outstanding Alumni Award from her alma mater, Texas State University at San Marcos.  Read more at


Fall 2011.  News items have not been updated while webpage conversion was in progress.

Ed Pittman, senior Comm Studies major, recently received the Bob and Ann Weiss Undergraduate Paper Award at the National Association of Communication Centers conference held at the University of Richmond. Ed’s paper, “The Best Organizational Communication Practices of Communication Centers: A Case Study of the University of Southern Mississippi’s Speaking Center,” incorporated ideas from organizational communication to explain the communication that he observed in the Speaking Center. Congratulations, Ed!

Dr. Richard Conville recently discussed the university's Carnegie Foundation designation with President Saunders.

August 9, 2010. The university launched its new website today. Click here to see additional information about CMS, including a video by one of our majors.

November 30th, 2009. Our annual newsletter has been published. All alumni should receive a copy in the mail. If you don't get one, please send your address to me so that I can correct our mailing list:

September 17th, 2009. USM's governing body, the Mississippi Board of Trustees of the State Institutions of Higher Learning, approved a request to change the name of our department and degree programs from Speech Communication to Communication Studies.  Administratively this change is very complex and will take some time, perhaps an entire year, before being fully implemented. 

April 21st, 5:30. Speech Communication Department Banquet . Students should make reservations with Ms. McKay in the department office. We welcome as guest speakers alumni Ms. Elizabeth Bachmann, Realtor, Prudential California Realty and Dr. JoAnne Norton, Family Business Consultant, JoAnne Norton and Associates

Friday, February 13th. Graduate students Rebecca Richey and Patrick Richey and faculty member Dr. Charles H. Tardy gave presentations at the Mississippi Communication Association's Annual Convention in Jackson.

October 24, 2008

The department recently published and mailed to alumni a newsletter.

August 2008

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Casey Maugh as Visiting Assistant Professor for our Gulf Coast campus.  Dr. Maugh earned the Ph.D. degree from Penn State University and has been working in Cape Verde for the last three years; two with the Peace Corps and one with a private foundation. She has a special interest in political rhetoric and in women's studies. 


July 22, 2008

We sadly report that Dr. Susan Mallon Ross died recently after an extended illness.


April 14th, 2008.

Dr. Wendy Atkins-Sayre, graduate student Kewanna Daniels, and undergraduate students Hannah Rachal, Magie Pikul, Amanda Newman, and April VanCleave will be attending the National Association of Communication Centers Annual Conference in Colorado Springs, Colorado and presenting a paper: Reducing Communication Apprehension in First-year Students: How Communication Centers Can Aid in Retention.

March 28th, 2008.

Speech Communication faculty member, Dr. Martha Saunders was inaugurated today as the 9th president of the University of Southern Mississippi. We congratulate our colleague on a successful first year in this role.

March 27th, 2008.

Several Speech Communication undergraduate students were honored at Founders Day Celebration. Ashley Cangelosi was inducted into the Southern Miss Hall of Fame while Jeanette Johnson and Vince Fabra received the citizenship awards. Outgoing President of the Student Government Association, Mr. Fabra gave a great speech, as did fellow major and incoming President, Melissa Cirino.


February 15th, 2008.

Dr. Wendy Atkins-Sayre, Ms. Hannah Rachel, and Dr. Charles H. Tardy made presentations about the Southern Miss Speaking Center at the Annual Convention of the Mississippi Communication Association.


February 7th, 2008

Dr. Eura Jung's article, " The Role of Identity Gaps, Discrimination, and Acculturation in International Students' Educational Satisfaction in American Classrooms, " was published in the January issue of Communication Education.


January 8th, 2008

Faculty and students participating in the 2008 Annual Convention of the Southern States Communication Association Annual Convention:

  • Wendy Atkins-Sayre, Attacking Food Radicals: The Center f or Consumer Freedom Reacts to Animal Rights Campaigns
  • Richard L. Conville, Service-Learning in Real Time: SCM 305 Interpersonal Communication, Fall, 2007
  • Keith V. Erickson, panel chair (Arguments and the (Re)Creation of Community).
  • Yan Guan, Facial Expressions on Chinese and American Magazine Covers: A Cross-Cultural Study
  • Erin Brining Hammond, Racist Speech: A Right or Too Wrong?
  • John C. Meyer, Integrating Theory in the Humor and Communication Course. Member of the Executive Committee and the Executive Council.
  • David Robert Nelson, Rejoinder Rhetoric: Bringing Remedies to Misunderstandings
  • David Robert Nelson, Baseball: American as Apple Pie or Is It?
  • Susan Mallon Ross, Vice Chair of the Gender Studies Division.
  • Charles H. Tardy, panel chair (The Job Search: Advice for Candidates and Employers from New Faculty) and participant (Quality, Cost, and Compromise: Enrollment Limits and the Public Speaking Course). Immediate Past President; Member of the Executive Committee and the Executive Council.


November 19, 2007

The department hosted a reception at the recent convention of the National Communication Associations.