Catherine Waite Phelan, Chair, Professor of Communication

B.A., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
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Areas of expertise: philosophy of communication, media and society, First Amendment law and how the digital revolution alters the nature of community and identity

Catherine Waite Phelan, chair and professor of communication, earned a doctorate from the University of Illinois, with an interdisciplinary degree in communication and philosophy. Phelan’s work is interdisciplinary, drawing on the traditions of the social sciences and the humanities. Her research focuses on the ways in which the human and technological interface alters the social domain. Phelan’s teaching interests include courses on the role of the press in the American democracy, the First Amendment and Conflict Mediation. Phelan's most recent publication is The Digital Evolution of an American Identity, (Routledge, 2013).


Thomas Phelan, Visiting Assistant Professor of Communication

B.S., State University of New York at New Paltz; M.S. & University Certificate of Specialist, SUNY Albany; Ed.D., Syracuse University
Areas of expertise: disaster recovery planning; emergency management

Tom Phelan has taught communication courses in colleges, businesses and humanitarian organizations, specializing in risk and crisis emergency preparedness, public information and outreach. He authored Emergency Management and Tactical Response Operations: Bridging the Gap (2008, Elsevier) in addition to several articles and blog posts related to disasters, public/private partnerships, and higher education. Tom has decades of experience as a teacher and school administrator. He has held positions as a full professor, department chair, consultant and corporate department manager. His current research is analyzing the gap between literacy levels of critical emergency management messages and the literacy levels of their intended audiences. He earned a doctoral degree from Syracuse University, a University Certificate of Specialist and Master’s Degree from SUNY Albany, and a graduate certificate from Harvard.