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Department of Communication Staff

Helen Sterk, Ph.D.

Helen Sterk, Ph.D.
- Department Head and Professor


Years ago, when I was a graduate student in WKU’s Department of Communication, I discovered several things—a love of Communication as a discipline, a desire to be part of this department, and a recognition of myself as a scholar. My wish for students today is that you find these things here, too.

I come to WKU from Calvin College, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where I chaired the Communication Arts and Sciences department for six years and taught for eight. Before that, I taught at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Before that, I earned my Ph.D. at the University of Iowa in Rhetoric. And before that, I received my M.A. in Speech and Theatre here at WKU. And before that, I taught high school for three years and earned a B.A. in Speech and Theatre at Calvin College.

I care about research and writing. Currently, I’m finishing a book on mother and daughter communication. It should be out late this year. My daughter is doing the final edits on its bibliography and citations. With my daughter-in-law, I wrote a chapter on what happens to mother-daughter relationships when a daughter becomes pregnant and has a child of her own. I’m also writing a journal article on women’s leadership in higher education and one on how birthing is an heroic act.

I’m interested in a million different things, but first and foremost, in students. Your lives enrich mine. From students, I’ve learned about Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeroes, the “Twilight” series, men’s movement rhetoric, “Arrested Development,” and many more things. On Facebook, I interact with former students from all the phases of my life—one goes back to 1978 with me. Through Twitter, I keep up with others, including one who now works on “Modern Family.”

The Department of Communication can be your home within the university, a place where you develop talent, increase learning, make friends, find a mentor, develop an identity, and get a headstart on life. This is a place where you matter.


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 Last Modified 4/4/18