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Communication and Journalism

1000 E. University Ave.

Ross Hall 427

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307) 766-3122

Fax: (307) 766-5293


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Communication & Journalism Department

COJO news

LeFebvre named vice president of RMCA

Dr. Leah LeFebvre has accepted the Rocky Mountain Communication Association (RMCA) Vice President position for 2016-2017. She will move into the Program Planner position for 2017-2018, and then be RMCA President for 2018-2019. "This position should continue to provide great exposure to our Communication & Journalism Department and the University of Wyoming," she said.

Brown to study gulag in Kazakhstan

Professor Michael Brown received a grant from the Wyoming Institute for Humanities Research to research a former Soviet gulag in Kazakhstan. His report:

In 2014 while doing research in Kazakshtan I took a side trip to the village of Dolinka, near Karaganda, to visit the Museum of Political Repression Victim’s Memory of Dolinka. That is the official name. The Dolinka museum is housed in the restored administrative building of Karlag, one of the largest Soviet gulags. The museum offers a powerful display of documents, art, objects, and information about life in Karlag. More than one million people passed through Karlag including a large population of German Russians from the Volga River region near Saratov, Russia. Personally, I found this interesting because my grandfather was Volga German. He left Russia when he was young and I grew up listening to stories about life in Saratov.

                In the mid-1700s approximately 30,000 Germans settled the Volga River area as invited guests of Catherine the Great. They retained much of their German heritage and were an autonomous Soviet republic by the late 1930s. In 1941 Stalin dissolved the republic as German invaders approached, and 400,000 Volga Germans were deported to Siberia and Kazakhstan. Shortly after my visit to Kazakhstan I was contacted by the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia (AHSGR). One primary concern of this group is to locate relatives who were lost during the Soviet years. The AHSDR knows many of the stories about relatives sent to Siberia, but they have little information about those sent to Kazakhstan. The society was interested in establishing contact with sources that might assist them in their search, and the Dolinka museum seemed a good place to start.

                After hearing from the AHSGR I contacted Ashkat Yerkimay, a COJO MA graduate from Kazakhstan, about helping to secure access to Dolinka archives. Askhat is a principle in the Minber Center for Journalism Excellence and has served as a faculty member at the Suleyman Demirel University in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Through the Minber Center we contacted the museum, and Museum Director Svetlana Baynova agreed to participate. We then contacted the Kazakh cultural ministry to get official permission, which was granted. Finally, I applied for a grant from the Wyoming Institute for Humanities Research. The Institute awarded us $3000 to access the archives at the Dolinka museum.

                Our goal is fairly simple. We want to identify Volga Germans who were at Karlag, and construct a story about life there. The project is a collaboration between the AHSGR which will supply background information to guide our search, the Minber Center for Journalism Excellence which provides logistic support and translation services, and the COJO department. In addition, we were contacted by Sagat Batyrhan, Chief Editor of Kazakhstan State Television in Karaganda, who is planning a short documentary about our work in the archives.

                This collaboration offers a very interesting and unique opportunity to find people who were disconnected from their roots, who endured incredible hardships, and largely disappeared. I am told by my Kazakh contacts that there is much to learn about Volga Germans, little of which has gone beyond Dolinka and the Karaganda region. Although this project might have a depressing aspect because of conditions in the gulag, it will provide invaluable information about missing relatives and their lives in Kazakhstan.

Brown receives Top Paper at conference

Professor Michael Brown along with co-authors Askhat Yerkimbay and Karlyga Myssayeva won the Top Paper award in the Radio Division for the upcoming Broadcast Education Association convention in April. Brown, Yerkimbay, and Myssayeva traveled through Kazakhstan interviewing radio professionals about their role in promoting Kazakh as the national language of Kazakhstan. Yerkimbay is an M.A. graduate of the department, a faculty member at the Suleyman Demirel University and operates the Minber Center for Journalism Excellence, an NGO in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Myssayeva is an Associate Dean with the School of Journalism at the Kazakh National University.

Journal accepts Cram article

Dr. Travis Cram's research article, “An Open Door: Responsibility and the Comic Frame in Obama’s Foreign Policy Rhetoric on Iran," has been accepted by the journal Rhetoric & Public Affairs for its volume 1, 2017 issue.

Apply for graduate assistantships by March 10

The deadline for applications for graduate assistantships in Communication and Journalism Department is March 10. Go here for more information.

Under-Represented Domestic Minority Graduate Students teaching assistantship

The Communication and Journalism Department at the University of Wyoming is seeking energetic, knowledgeable, articulate students to apply for an assistantship to teach Public Speaking and enter the Communication and Journalism master’s degree program. This specific assistantship is available to American-born or naturalized citizens who are from the following diverse populations: African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian/Alaskan native, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, or Asian. Unlike most communication teaching assistantships in the United States where the applicant must be a doctoral student, this opportunity is for a master’s degree student. The selected student will be mentored by Public Speaking teaching faculty and will be trained throughout their assistantship through a weekly teaching practicum. The person selected will teach one class his or her first semester, two classes for the next two semesters and one class for the final semester of the program, while the applicant completes his or her thesis. Applicants for the position must meet the entrance requirements for the master’s degree as described on the Communication and Journalism website: 

The University of Wyoming offers Graduate Assistantships that are intended to increase access and opprotunities to graduate education for U.S. students from under-represented/under-served populations and to increase student diversity in our graduate degree programs on a competitive basis. The University of Wyoming is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and institution and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, veteran status, sexual orientation, or political belief in any aspect of employment or services. For more information, see

The incoming graduate assistant would teach public speaking and would receive a stipend, tuition and most fees, and insurance. The student must meet all COJO admissions standards and complete his or her thesis within two years. Deadline for applications is March 10. Contact COJO Graduate Director Cindy Price Schultz,

Professor LeFebvre wins CSCA award

Professor Leah LeFebvre won the Federation Prize from the Central States Communication Association.

Faculty accepted in to leadership program

Professors Kristen Landreville, Cindy Price and Tracey Patton were accepted into the Dean's Leadership Class, a yearlong class for faculty interested in administrative positions.

Dr. Patton receives grants for research project

Dr. Tracey Patton has received $10,500 in grant funding for her transnational research on WWII and Germany, "A Nation's Undesirables - Mischlingskinder and Whiteness:  Post-WWII German Brown Babies." Funding has come from African American & Diaspora Studies, International Programs, The Susan McKay Women's International Research Fund, and The Social Justice Research Center.

Dr. LeFebvre gets top paper honor

Dr. Leah LeFebvre's paper was selected as a Top Four Paper by the Interpersonal Communication Interest Group of the Western States Communication Association. Her paper is titled "Examining individual and relational identities in stressful courtship narratives through the relational turbulence model: Exploring movement and intensity of identity."

Dr. Hsu elected vice chair

Professor Sandy Hsu was recently elected as Vice Chair of the Intercultural Communication Division of the International Communication Association. Also, her co-authored paper, "Understanding Online Writing Apprehension: An Examination of Temperament, Motivation, Fear of Negative Evaluation, and Self-Perceived Writing Competence" was one of the top 4 papers of the Communication Apprehension and Competence Division of the National Communication Association this year.

Debate team finishes fall season

UW debaters had an excellent fall. The Pokes reached the elimination rounds of every tournament they attended during September and October, including reaching the elite 8 during a huge weekend in Las Vegas.  In addition to the student success, Travis Cram was recognized as the 2014-2015 Coach of the Year.

Competition began in Kansas City at the “Baby Jo Memorial Debates,” hosted by the University of Missouri-Kansas City.  The competition was stiff with over 114 teams from around the country in attendance.  The Pokes had 5 teams in attendance and picked up victories against a host of excellent schools, including the University of Iowa, Pittsburgh, Kansas, Kansas State, and North Texas.  The best performance of the weekend belonged to Mary Marcum (senior, Omaha, Nebraska) and Cullen Dilldine (junior, Craig, Colorado) who advanced to the elimination rounds after posting wins against George Mason University, Arizona State, California State-Fullerton, UT-Dallas, and Weber State University.  Dilldine and Marcum finished in a tie for 17th place after losing to UC-Berkeley.

Dilldine and Marcum were back in action two weeks later at the prestigious Val Browning Round Robin, hosted in Ogden Utah by Weber State. The elite, invite-only competition involved 18 of the best teams in the country, including the reigning national champions, the best individual debater from last year, and several other top-10 teams in the nation. While the competition was fierce, the duo did claim a victory over Kansas State University.  Additionally, the Val Browning Foundation honored director Travis Cram, naming him the 2014-2015 coach of the year.

Weber State also hosted the “Mukai Invitational” debates immediately on the heels of the round robin and the Pokes again had 5 teams in the field.  Freshman Dallas Coursey (Green River) and junior John Fritz (Fairfield, Texas) had a great showing in the Junior division.  They narrowly missed the cutoff for elimination rounds despite posting a winning record that included victories against Nevada-Las Vegas, Weber State, and Southwestern College. In the open division, Spencer Culver (sophomore, Kansas City, Missouri) and Hunter McFarland (junior, Twin Falls, Idaho) had a break-out performance with preliminary victories over UNLV, Weber State and Puget Sound.  The two faced off with Stanford University in the elimination rounds, narrowly losing on a split decision.  Marcum and Dilldine also rebounded from a tough round robin with a 9th place finish, defeating Liberty University in the first elimination round before bowing out to UMKC in the Sweet 16 on a split decision. 

The Pokes saved their best collective performance for the bright desert lights of the Las Vegas Classic, hosted by UNLV in mid-October.  With 100 teams from around the country in attendance, UW advanced FOUR individual teams to the elimination rounds!  In Junior, Coursey and Fritz assembled a string of wins over the University of Oregon, Johnson County Community College, Cal State-Northridge, Arizona State, and Weber State, eventually reaching the Elite 8.  In the open division, Dilldine & Marcum and Culver & McFarland continued their impressive semester by tying for 17th place in the elimination rounds with wins over academic powerhouses such as USC, Gonzaga, Pepperdine, and Oregon.  Marcum was also honored for her individual speaking prowess and was ranked as the 17th best individual speaker in the field.  By far the biggest performance of the weekend came from seniors Ben Berry (Cheyenne) and Bethany Jones (Green River) who finished in 5th place after storming through the elimination rounds with victories over UNLV and Weber State.

Debates in October came to an end at the Logger Invitational hosted by the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington.  Berry and Jones were in attendance and posted victories against the University of Washington and Gonzaga.  Berry was named the 10th overall speaker in the field.  The sophomore duo of Courtney Thomson-Lichty (Casper) and Carter Henman (Cheyenne) had a monster performance, reaching the tournament’s final four.  Thomson-Lichty also earned honors as the 9th best overall speaker.

This long list of accomplishments would not be possible without the hard work and determination of this group of undergraduate students.  Pokes debaters easily log 20 to 30 hours a week working on research, practicing and strategizing, in addition to their regular schoolwork and competition days.  It is clear that their efforts are paying off in a big way as UW once again is demonstrating that it can compete academically with the nation’s best!

A summary of the semester’s accomplishments thus far:

3rd place, Logger Invitational, University of Puget Sound (Henman & Thomson-Lichty)

5th place, Las Vegas Classic Invitational, University of Nevada-Las Vegas (Berry & Jones)

5th place, junior division, Las Vegas Classic Invitational, University of Nevada-Las Vegas (Coursey & Fritz)

9th place, Mukai Invitational, Weber State University (Dilldine & Marcum)

17th place, Las Vegas Classic Invitational, University of Nevada-Las Vegas (Dilldine &Marcum)

17th place, Las Vegas Classic Invitational, University of Nevada-Las Vegas (Culver & McFarland)

17th place, Mukai Invitational, Weber State University (Culver & McFarland)

17th place, Baby Jo Memorial Invitational, University of Missouri-Kansas City (Dilldine & Marcum)

 9th Speaker, Logger Invitational, University of Puget Sound

10th Speaker, Logger Invitational, University of Puget Sound

17th Speaker, Las Vegas Classic Invitational, University of Nevada-Las Vegas

Grad student added to Central Committee

Jasmine Austin, a graduate teaching assistant in the COJO Department, has been appointed to the Central Committee for the UW College of Arts and Sciences as a graduate student representative. The committee advises the A&S dean on such decisions as sabbaticals and professional development leaves, and central position management.

Brown working on Library of Congress project

Professor Michael Brown was invited to become a Research Associate with the Library of Congress’ Radio Preservation Task Force.  The task force is charged with locating radio recordings and supporting materials from 1922-1970.  In 2000 Cong...ress passed the National Recording Preservation Act which mandated that the Library of Congress locate and archive our culture’s recorded material.  In the field of broadcasting the initial focus was on national networks and their programming.  That focus has now shifted to regional and local archives.  Professor Brown was chosen as one of the Research Associates representing the western US.  The initial goal of the project is to locate regional archives. The long-term goal is to locate and archive as many individual and local recordings as possible.  The project concludes with a media history conference held at the Library of Congress in 2015.

Journal publishes Landreville research on debate

Assistant Professor Kristen Landreville recently had an article accepted for publication in the journal Communication Studies. The article investigates the on-screen visuals presented during the broadcast of the final presidential debate in 2012. Dr. Landreville and her coauthors (Caitlin White, the University of Memphis, and Sam Allen, the University of Pittsburgh) found that on-screen visuals (e.g., tweets and polls) emphasized strategy and “the horserace” over policy debate and issues. They also found a slight Democratic candidate advantage in the on-screen visuals, and they found that media professionals and other “elite” sources were more often referenced that average citizens. Dr. Landreville hopes to continue this line of research in two years during the next presidential election.

Muddiman gets grant for research

Dr. Ashley Muddiman received a grant from the Engaging News Project to analyze online news comments from a national news organization. She is investigating characteristics that make the comment sections more or less deliberative.

Cram receives doctorate

Dr. Travis Cram, a lecturer in the COJO Department and director of the UW Speech and Debate Team, completed a Ph.D. in Communication Studies with honors from the University of Kansas in June.

National Geographic interviews professor, former student

The National Geographic recently interviewed Professor Tracey Patton and COJO graduate Sally Schedlock (M.A. 2005) regarding their rodeo book, "Gender, Whiteness, & Power in Rodeo: Breaking Away from the Ties of Sexism and Racism." The article should come out in the National Geographic Magazine in its January/February edition.

Class selling coffee for Kenyan school

Beginning Nov. 12, Kenyan coffee can be purchased in front of Ross Hall for $1 with donations welcome, and the proceeds go to assisting a school in Kenya.

Cross Cultural Communication students (COJO 3190), taught by Dr. Tracey Patton, are embarking on their class project where they put cross cultural terms, theory, and knowledge to the test in a real world situation. This year they are trying to raise money to assist the Shalom Garden Orphanage in creating a school for the community. Currently, the school will be housed in a church in Nakuru, Kenya—the same city as the orphanage. There are no educational materials in the “school.” The money raised would go toward the purchasing of things like books, pencils, paper, chalk, chalk boards, and one meal a day. For most of the children, this “school” is the only place where they are able to eat a meal of a banana and grain for the day. As the director of the orphanage and founder of the school, Margaret Kanyiri, noted, “The most impoverished children will also receive clothing and shoes and the school fee of $1 per month will be waived. “ She also said that “this would be the only school in her area.”

According to Kanyiri, the nearest primary and elementary school is 100 miles from them—this is quite a distance across sometimes poorly maintained roads. In the past COJO 3190 students worked with the Shalom Garden Orphanage by helping put the orphanage “on the map;” working for their essential needs; helping with education, and partnering with a church in Virginia to help build an orphanage and residence for the children. The next stage is a school (The Shalom Garden Primary & Elementary School) for the entire community. You can help buy merely purchasing Kenyan coffee donated by Coal Creek Coffee.

Professor Patton named to editorial board

Dr. Tracey Patton has been appointed to the Western Journal of Communication editorial board.

Professor Hsu has new publications

Dr. Sandy Hsu has two papers accepted for publication. "Open and positive attitudes toward teaching" will be published in New directions in Teaching and Learning Journal, and "Opposite ends of the same stick? Multi-method test of the dimensionality of individualism and collectivism" will be published in Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology.

COJO seniors named outstanding grads

Three COJO seniors were named College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Graduates. They are Katherine Imig, Kali McCrackin and Kayli Westling.

Dr. Gladney to teach in Kazakhstan; publishes article

Professor George Gladney will be in the Republic of Kazakhstan, in the city of Almaty, where Al-Farabi Kazakh National University is located. It has 19,000 students and is one of the oldest and most established universities in Central Asia. He will be there from March 16 through May 5 and will teach at least one course and probably give some additional lectures or workshops. His trip is in conjunction with a cooperative agreement finalized last year between KazNU, as it is known, and UW.

Gladney also had an article titled, "Legacy of fabrication scandals: Better use of veiled sources," published in Newspaper Research Journal.

Hsu's article wins top award

Dr. Sandy Hsu's article, "The Influence of Vocal Qualities and Confirmation of Nonnative English-Speaking Teachers on Student Receiver Apprehension, Affective Learning, and Cognitive Learning," published in Communication Education, won the top article award of the year for the Communication Apprehension and Competence Division of the National Communication Association.

Patton, Schedlock publish book on rodeo

Professor Tracey Patton and COJO graduate Sally Schedlock (M.A. 2005) have published a book, "Gender, Whiteness, and Power in Rodeo: Breaking Away from the Ties of Sexism and Racism."

Landreville studying presidential campaigns

Dr. Kristen Landreville received funding from The Malcolm Wallop Fund for Conversations on Democracy to study Wyoming residents’ feelings of connection and engagement, media use, and political knowledge. The project was titled “Small Town, Big Election: A Look at New, Alternative, and Emerging Media Sources Used by Rural Residents during the 2012 Presidential Campaign”.

The study took place over the summer at various communities within Wyoming. The focus groups revealed where Wyoming residents learn about politics through media, including how residents use new media for politics. The study also showed how residents use and negotiate information within a rural state during a presidential campaign. A second part to the study will examine how 2012 presidential debates influence young Wyoming voters and how these voters use new media to communicate about the presidential debates. The findings will be reported to a symposium on Nov. 14 that will be held in the Wyoming Union.

Professor Price named visiting prof

Dr. Cindy Price is a fellow for the Advertising Education Foundation's 2012 Visiting Professor Program this summer. "I was one of 16 professors selected out of 78 applicants for the program," she said. "I will spend two weeks at an advertising agency in the United States to learn more about what advertising agencies are doing in this new media era. I will also present a Lunchtime Lecture titled, 'Reaching Your Target: Lessons from the Middle of Nowhere,' which will also be recorded and used online.

"I also was named to the Editorial Board of Electronic News, a journal for the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication."

Graduate student wins teaching award

Julianne Friesen, a graduate teaching assistant in the COJO Department, has received a Promoting Intellectual Engagement in the First Year (PIE) award for her efforts teaching freshmen classes.

Professor Brown visits Kazakhstan university

Professor Michael Brown went to the Al-Farabi Kazakh National University in Kazakhstan for two weeks.  He taught a series of classes and workshops.  Brown taught a class about media and society to 20 undergraduate students, a research class for 15 Master’s and Ph.D students, and an academic writing seminar for 20 faculty members.

Professor Patton co-authors journal articles

Dr. Tracey Patton co-authored an article "Re-envisioning Bakhtin's Carnivalesque through America's Next Top Model" in Media Research. Dr. Tracey Patton also co-authored an article "Roles, Rules and Rebellions: Creating the Carnivalesque through Judges' Behaviors on America's Next Top Model" in Communication Studies. Both journal articles were co-authored with Julie Snyder-Yuly of Iowa State University.

Faculty attend communication conference

COJO faculty members Beau Bingham, Rebecca Roberts, Eileen Gilchrist, Sandy Hsu and Ken Smith attended the Western States Communication Association's annual conference in Albuquerque, N.M., last week. At the conference, Gilchrist was elected vice chair of the Health Communication Interest group.  She will be vice chair in 2012-2013 and chair in 2013-2014.

Professors publish journal articles

Professor Sandy Hsu published a book review, "R.C. Gardner Motivation and Second Language Acquisition: The Socio-Educational Model" in the Journal of Language and Social Psychology. Professor Gracie Lawson-Borders published "Making the Connection: Digital Media and Intelligent Networking" in the Global Media Journal.

Professor named to editorial board

Dr. Gracie Lawson-Borders was recently appointed to the editorial board of the International Journal of Media Management.

Ron Franscell signs a book at a recent signing at UW.
Ron Franscell autographs a copy of his latest book for Sarah Skinner's sixth-grade students at Centennial Valley Elementary School.

Newsletter features COJO alum Franscell

The annual issue of the COJO Department newsletter features an interview with 1979 journalism graduate Ron Franscell about his latest book, "Delivered from Evil." The newsletter also includes stories on UW/CC lecturer Carol Tarantola's retirement and Professor Frank Millar's battle with cancer, as well as alumni, student and faculty news.

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Communication and Journalism

1000 E. University Ave.

Ross Hall 427

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307) 766-3122

Fax: (307) 766-5293


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