Wilkes University

Campus Directory

Dr.   Kalen  M A  Churcher

Assistant Professor
Communication Studies

Dr. Kalen Churcher is an assistant professor of Communication Studies. She began teaching at Wilkes in 2014, and also advises the student newspaper, The Beacon.

Dr. Churcher is an alumna of the Wilkes Communication Studies Department, and is the first person to have graduated from the department with four concentrations: journalism, organization communication, telecommunication and rhetoric. After graduating from Wilkes, Dr. Churcher worked in public relations and fundraising for the American Lung Association. She later went on to work as a reporter for the Times Leader in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., where she covered community news for the Times Leader – West Side, and politics, crime and education for the daily paper for nearly six years.

Dr. Churcher received her master’s degree in human resources and organizational leadership from the University of Scranton. She earned her Ph.D. in mass communications from the College of Communications at Penn State University. Prior to coming to Wilkes University, she was an associate professor and Director of Liberal Arts at Niagara University in western New York. 

Dr. Churcher’s teaching and research interests focus broadly on media studies and journalism. More specifically, her research interests lie at the intersection of cultural studies and journalism. She is particularly interested in how journalism can be used to empower underrepresented and/or marginalized groups, and she began conducting ethnographic research at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola in 2007. In addition, Dr. Churcher studies diversity issues (including stereotypes in the media), first amendment issues, and how mass media frames disasters and disease. She teaches courses in multimedia journalism, mass communications law and media/cultural studies.

Churcher, K., Downs, E.P. and Tewksbury, D, (2014). “‘Friending’ Vygotsky: A social constructivist pedagogy of knowledge building through classroom social media use.” Journal of Effective Teaching, 14(1), 33-50.

Churcher, K. (2011).“Journalism behind Bars: The Louisiana State Penitentiary’s Angolite Magazine.” Communication Culture & Critique, 4(4), 382-400.

Churcher, K. (2011). “Hate and speech and bias on college campuses.” In The Multimedia Encyclopedia of Women in Today’s World, Zeiss Strange, M., Oyster, C.K. & Golson, J.G. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Churcher, K. (2011). “Portrayal of women in pornography.” In The Multimedia Encyclopedia of Women in Today’s World, Zeiss Strange, M, Oyster, C.K & Golson, J.G. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Churcher, K. (2009). “Discourse in disaster: Hurricane Katrina and journalist identification in the Sun Herald.” Louisiana Communication Journal, 11, 7-33. (Special edition on Hurricane Katrina discourse). Lead article.

Churcher, K. (2009). “Stokely Carmichael: Black Power Speech (29 October 1966).” Voices of Democracy: The U.S. Oratory Project, online at voicesofdemocracy.umd.edu, (Vol. 4, 132-148).

Select refereed conference paper presentations

Churcher, K. (2013, November). Framing the flu: An analysis of major themes in New York Times coverage of the 2009/2010 H1N1 pandemic. Presented before the National Communication Association, Washington, DC. [Mass Communication Division].

Churcher, K. (2013, November). Locked out: Exploring power and the correlations between journalist access to prisoners and state crime rates. Presented before the Union for Democratic Communication conference, San Francisco, Calif.

Churcher, K. (2011, November). Rehabilitating the Masses: How Mediated Religion at the Louisiana State Penitentiary Translates to More Moral Prisoners. Presented before the National Communication Association, New Orleans, LA. [Critical and Cultural Studies Division].

Churcher, K., Downs, E.P. and Tewksbury, D. (May 2011). “Friending” Vygotsky: A social constructivist approach to collaborative learning through social media. Presented before the International Communication Association, Boston, MA. [Instructional & Developmental Communication]. Top Five Paper in Instructional & Developmental Communication Division.

Churcher, K. (2010, October). You’ve got mail?: A discourse analysis of the move to end Saturday mail delivery. Presented before the Union for Democratic Communications, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA. [The New New Economy and Critical Crossovers].

Churcher, K. (2010, October). (Be)Friending Facebook: From popular social networking site to pedagogical tool. Presented before the Western New York Consortium of Higher Education, Hilbert College, Hamburg, NY.

Churcher, K. (2009, November). Governing oneself for life: Situating Michel Foucault’s governmentality at the Louisiana State Penitentiary. Presented before the National Communication Association, Chicago, IL. [Critical and Cultural Studies Division].

Churcher, K. (2009, August). Free your mind and your soul will follow: Advocating reform from the Louisiana State Penitentiary. Presented before the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, Boston, MA. [Mass Communication & Society Division].Outstanding Scholar-to-Scholar poster.

Churcher, K. (2009, May). Cyberculture and the construction of antilanguage. Presented before the International Communication Association, Chicago, IL. [Language and Social Interaction Division].

Churcher, K. (2009, May). Justice from within: Criminal Justice(?) and Media through the Eyes of Angola’s Inmate-Journalists. Presented before The International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, Urbana-Champaign, IL.

Churcher, K. (2008, July). ‘Media’ting Control and Reality. Presented before The Association of Cultural Studies Crossroads in Cultural Studies, Kingston, Jamaica.

Churcher, K. (2008, May). Breaking in to the Louisiana State Penitentiary. Presented before The International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, Urbana-Champaign, IL.

Churcher, K. (2007, November). Problems in utopia: The other side of gURL.com. Presented before the National Communication Association, Chicago, IL. [Feminist and Women Studies Division].

Churcher, K. (2007, August). A rebirth of the prison: Foucault's governmentality and inmate-produced media. Presented before the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, Washington D.C. [Cultural and Critical Studies Division].

Churcher, K. (2006, November). Media discourse in disaster: Hurricane Katrina and journalist identification in the Sun Herald. Presented before the National Communication Association, San Antonio, TX. [Mass Media Division].

Churcher, K. (2006, August). You have the right to remain silent or you may choose to put your words into print: The Rikers Review and the prison press as advocacy journalism. Presented before the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, San Francisco, CA. [History Division]. Third place History Division paper.

Churcher, K. (2006, April). Fragrance speaks louder than words: The use of smell as a communications device in Intimate Brands’ Bath & Body Works. Presented before the Eastern Communication Association, Philadelphia, PA [Top Papers Nonverbal Division].

Select refereed conference panel presentations

Research Panel. “Social Justice, Service Learning and Assessment: Applying Lessons from Our Past to the Hopes to of Our Future.” (2014, November). Presented before the National Communication Association, Chicago, IL. [Applied Communication Division].

Research Panel. “Learning from Past Experiences to Promote Faculty-Student Research and Creative Collaboration at UCUS Universities.” (2014, November). Presented before the National Communication Association, Chicago, IL. [Undergraduate College and University Section].

Research Panel. “Under the covers with magazine research: Refining our methodologies.” (2014, August). Presented before the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, Chicago, IL. [Magazine and Cultural & Critical Studies divisions].

Research Panel. “Mediating the athletic-education complex: Discursive Approaches to the Penn State Scandal.” (2013, August). Presented before the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, Washington, DC. [Cultural & Critical Studies Division].

Research Panel. “What Small Programs Do Best: A Panel Discussion of Effective Strategies for Strengthening Each Student’s Writing.” (2012, November). Presented before the National Communication Association, Orlando, FL. [Undergraduate College & University Section].

 “Multiple Discourses in Media Literacy: Where to from Here?” (2009, November). Presented before the National Communication Association, Chicago, IL. [Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Division].

 “Designing and Teaching a Degree Program in Communication for Social Justice.” (2009, May). Union for Democratic Communications, Buffalo State University & Niagara University, Buffalo, NY. [Critical Pedagogy].

Niagara University “Excellence in Teaching” award, (2013, April).

AEJMC Promising Professor Award – second place. Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, Mass Communication and Society Division, (2012, August).

Scripps Howard Academic Leadership Academy, (2012, June).

Top five paper commendation, International Communication Association, Instructional & Developmental Communication Division, (2011, May).

Outstanding Scholar-to-Scholar poster award, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, Mass Communication and Society Division, (2009, August).


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