Office: Capin Hall
Dr. Jane M. Elmes Crahall
Dr. Jane Elmes-Crahall, Professor of Communication Studies, is affectionately known as “Jane” amongst the close-knit communications studies majors on campus. She has been an instrumental force behind the quality, hands-on approach that is the Communication Studies program since she joined the faculty in 1985. She teaches in both the Organizational Communication/PR and Rhetoric concentrations. A practical approach to teaching is what Jane underscored when she proposed starting a student-run public relations agency on campus. The proposal became a reality in 2000 and Zebra Communications was formed.
“The proposal was supported by the University from day one,” said Jane. “I had very clear goals in mind for Zebra.” Those goals, which include growing a client base of local non-profit organizations for which Wilkes students would provide publicity, media relations and marketing assistance, have exceeded even Jane’s expectations.
Today Zebra Communications enlists 30 students each year who represent as many as 14 clients, and while Jane serves as advisor to the staff, she readily stresses that it is student run. “The board members – all students – make the decisions,” said Jane. Since its founding, Zebra has raised over $50,000 for its many non-profit clients.
Beyond the success of Zebra, Jane is regarded as an expert in political rhetoric by print and broadcast media. She has negotiated and moderated nearly 20 political debates, including those at Mayoral, Congressional and Gubernatorial levels. She regularly provides expert analysis on political speeches, debates and policy statements for regional and national media including various Associated Press reporters, USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, The Philadelphia Inquirer, MSNBC, NPR, The Congressional Roll Call and even Bill O’Reilly’s nationally syndicated radio show.
A frequent speaker, Jane was a featured lecturer at the Chautauqua Institution’s prestigious Amphitheater on three occasions in 1996 and 2000.
Dr. Elmes-Crahall holds a B.A. in Political Science from Bloomsburg State College (now Bloomsburg University) and a Ph.D. in Rhetoric/Communications from the University of Pittsburgh.
In her words...
“I enjoy the very personal interaction that I have with the students the most. I feel that the students appreciate that relationship, too. That’s what is very unique about Wilkes.”
Major Lectures and Keynote Speeches
- “Presidential Campaign Rhetoric: New Media Channels, Same Words, New Ideas,” lecture presented to The Ft. Worth, Texas Foundation’s Lecture Series, Ft. Worth, TX, April 2007.
- “Understanding the Language of Spin: News, Politics and PR,” lecture presented at the Hadley Memorial Fund Lecture Series, Kennett Square, PA, March 2007.
- “Let Your Life Speak,” Commencement Address, Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, PA, January 2006.
- “Controlling Spin: News, Politics and PR,” Keynote lecture presented at The International Convention of Torch Clubs, Wilkes-Barre, PA, June 27, 2004.
- “Creating a Civil Space: Chautauqua Debates Woman’s Suffrage,” Keynote for Week Nine Lectures, Chautauqua Institution’s Amphitheatre Platform, Chautauqua, NY, August 2000.
- “William Jennings Bryan: Eloquence at Lake Chautauqua and Under the Tents,” Presented Lecture composed by Paul H. Boase, Chautauqua Institution’s Amphitheatre Platform, Chautauqua, NY, August 2000.
- “Persistent Voices: Lessons about Leaders and Ladies,” Keynote Speaker, Luzerne County Commission for Women’s annual Women’s History Month Dinner, Wilkes-Barre, PA, March 1999.
- “Rhetorical Savvy and Political Campaign Civility,” Final Word Lecture at Faculty Recognition Day, Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, PA, May 12, 1997.
•Published by Wilkes University Press, 1997.
- “Rhetorical Savvy and Political Campaign Civility,” Featured Lecture at Chautauqua Institution’s Amphitheatre Platform, Chautauqua Institution, Chautauqua, NY, August 16, 1996.
•Text published in The Chautauqua Daily, April 17, 1996.
- Editor-in-Chief, Chautauqua Oratory: The Impact of Eloquence, Texts in Support of Arts and Humanities Week, Wilkes University Press/Chautauqua Institution, 2000. (Booklet includes 7 texts and 8 photographs that had not been previously published.)
- Co-author with Jan Kelly, “A Case Study of Improving the Status of Women in the Academy through Collective Action: Northeastern Pennsylvania Women in Higher Education.” Published in Proceedings of the 8th International Conference of the American Association of Women in Higher Education. University of Texas Press, 1995.
- “Converting Copperheads: Anna E. Dickinson’s 1863 Campaign Speeches o the National Crisis.” The Pennsylvania Speech Communication Annual, 56, October 1995, 27-44.
- “Deborah Sampson Gannett,” chapter published in Women Public Speakers in the United States, 1800-1925: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook, Karlyn Kohrs Campbell (Ed.), Greenwood Press, 1993, 380-392.
- Editor-in-Chief, This is Luzerne County, 1992 Edition. League of Women Voters of the Wilkes-Barre Area and The Wilkes University Press, 1992.
- “An Analysis of the Form of Enactment in Convention Speeches by Barbara Jordon and Geraldine Ferraro.” The Pennsylvania Speech Communication Annual, Vol. XLV, 1989, 39-50.
Selected Conference and Convention Presentations, 2001-present
- “Recovering Discourse of Belva Lockwood: The First American Woman Lawyer to Argue before the U.S. Supreme Court,” at the annual Women’s /Gender Studies Conference, King’s College and Wilkes Univesity, King’s College, March 2013.
- “What Small Programs Do Best to Improve Each Students’ Writing: Integrating the PR Agency into the PR Writing Classes,” at the annual meeting of the National Communication Association, Orlando, FL, November 2012.
- “A Woman Who Would Lead Without an Analog: Belva Lockwood’s 1884 and 1888 Presidential Campaigns,” at the annual Women’s Studies/Gender Studies Conference, Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, PA, April 2012.
- “Words Do Matter: An Analogic Analysis of Legislative, Judicial and Advocacy Rhetoric on Behalf of Disability Rights,” co-presented with M. Congdon, Jr.* at the annual meeting of the National Communication Association, New Orleans, LA, November 2011.
- “Integrating Social Media into PR Agency Campaigns,” co-presented with M. Flannery* at the annual meeting of the National Communication Association, Chicago, IL, November 2009.
- “Teaching Civic Engagement in the Controlling Spin Class: A Cross-Generational Focus Group in the 2008 PA Primary,” co-presented with J. Gwynn and A. Fusco* at the annual meeting of the Eastern Communication Association, Philadelphia, PA, April 2009.
- “Public Service Announcement Project Enhances Awareness of Medical Communication Fields and Creates Interdisciplinary Learning Experience,” poster co-presented with D. Longyore, D. McCune and C. Tondrick* at meeting of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, Indianapolis, IN, July 2008. (Abstract published)
- “No Where to Hide: A Strategic Problem-Solving Approach to Client Conflicts in a Student PR Agency,” co-presented with C. Zavaskas* at annual meeting of the National Communication Association, San Diego, CA, November 2008.
- “Multi-Layered Mentoring in Zebra Communication,” at the annual meeting of the National Communication Association, Chicago, IL, November 2007.
- “Practicing Rhetorical Criticism as a Media Commentator: Moving Beyond Competitive Forensics,” at the annual meeting of the National Communication Association, Chicago, IL, November 2004.
- “One Small Program’s Response to the Growing Culture of Lying and Cheating,” co-presented with C. Baysinger at the annual meeting of the Eastern Communication Association, Boston, MA, April 2004
- “Best Practices in PR: Zebra Communications—The Student-Run PR agency at Wilkes University,” co-presented with J. Pezolano* at the annual meeting of the National Communication Association, Miami, FL, November 2003.
- “Out of the Home: The Transformation of American Motherhood to Womanhood in Chautauqua Speeches by Shaw, Catt, Willard and E. Roosevelt,” at the annual meeting of the National Communication Association, New Orleans, LA, November 2002.
- “A Tribute to Paul H. Boase—His Scholarship and the Chautauqua Archival Project,” at the annual meeting of the National Communication Association, Atlanta, GA, November 2001.
- “Discovering Better Ways to Deliver a Holistic Undergraduate Communications Curriculum at a Small College,” roundtable presentation at the annual meeting of the Eastern Communication Association, Portland, ME, April 2001.
(The research papers marked with (*) were co-authored by Dr. Elmes-Crahall and one of her Communication Studies students or recent graduates.)
- Six time recipient of six Outstanding Faculty Merit Awards, Wilkes University, 1993,1995,1998, 2001,2002 and 2012.
- Outstanding Alumni Mentoring Award, Wilkes University, 2008
- Carpenter Outstanding Teacher Award, Wilkes University, 2005
- National Speakers Association’s Robert Henry “Outstanding Professor Award,” 2001
- Final Word Lecture Award, Wilkes University, 1997
- Young Alumna of the Year, Bloomsburg University’s Alumni Association, 1986.
- Commonwealth Teaching Chair, 1980 (highest award for teaching excellence given by the PA System of Higher Education)
- Commonwealth Teaching Fellow, Clarion University of PA, 1979.