WOU's communications department wins award

MONMOUTH -- Western Oregon University's Communication Studies Department has been honored with the National Communication Association's (NCA) Rex Mix Award.



MONMOUTH -- Western Oregon University's Communication Studies Department has been honored with the National Communication Association's (NCA) Rex Mix Award.

The honor is presented to one higher education undergraduate program each year to recognize quality, innovative, theoretical, and practical programs.

This was the first time Western applied for the award. Past recipients include Wake Forest University, Seattle University and Whitworth College.

Western will be recognized during the NCA's national convention in San Diego Nov. 21-24.

The NCA is considered the leading national association in the field of communication studies. Nick Backus, Western's communications chair, said he was thrilled that his department was honored.

"This award increases opportunities for students," he said. "If people heard about the program and that we're nationally recognized for quality, I think that the skills, ideas and knowledge that they bring to a workplace will be more credible."

The communications studies department changed its name from "speech communication" this fall, revised its curriculum to reflect the mainstream elements of the discipline, and expanded its faculty and offerings.

A new hire was Daniel Lopez-Cervallos, who will teach health communication. That program will be part of Western and Oregon Health Sciences University's new nursing program.

Lopez-Cervallos will also provide training and support for students interested in a career in health communication.

Backus believes that much of the department's strength stems from the faculty's ability to work together.

"Professionally we all get along very well and we're on the same page about where the discipline is headed, about where we're headed and about what our students need," Backus said. "We do very direct, in-depth, long-term personal advising."



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