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Communication & Performance

College of Arts & Sciences

Department Chair’s Welcome

Amber Kinser, ChairI want to welcome you to the Department of Communication and Performance. We are a vibrant community of students, staff, and faculty who explore and celebrate the understanding, art, and skill of human communication. We are engaged in both study and practice, both contemporary and historical texts, as well as artistic, rhetorical, and social scientific approaches. Whether you see yourself performing for or speaking to publics; behind the scenes writing, crafting, or designing; working with people across diverse populations; or producing work that has an impact on how people think and live, I recommend taking a good look at our programs.

After you have taken a good look through our programs and web pages, please contact us if you have any questions, need more information, or would like to join our department.

Dr. Amber Kinser, Department Chair 

Vision, Mission, Goals, & Values


To offer high demand, high impact communication and storytelling training that is recognized on campus and throughout the region as vital to improving the human condition and creating fulfilling career paths.


The Department of Communication and Performance advances the understanding of communication by focusing on the ways people communicate with each other personally and professionally, embracing the complexity of human diversity, and examining the ways in which identity and meaning are created through the stories we tell and the stories we are told.

We engage our mission by pursuing the goals and upholding the values below.


1.      To ready students for a variety of careers by enhancing their practical communication skills, including both oral and written communication, and by equipping students with the experience, knowledge, craft, and competence of working professionals and leaders.

2.      To facilitate intellectual growth, research training and discovery, critical thinking acumen, and performance craft for students and faculty.

3.      To explore human performance in its many forms and utilize it as a way of understanding and knowing.

4.      To promote civic engagement, social responsibility, and civil dialogue in local, national, and global arenas.

5.      To make vital contributions to liberal arts education at ETSU by offering an exceptional General Education program in oral communication through skilled training provided by recognized experts from the communication discipline.

6.      To support the professional aspirations of our graduates and maintain ongoing relationships with them, while seeking out opportunities to connect our current students with our alumni.

7.      To foster a work environment that values each individual’s contributions, inspires good humor and creative problem-solving, promotes personal and professional growth, and recognizes each person as a member of families and communities beyond work.


  • Relationships—that are healthy, respectful, and mutually beneficial for all members of our department community. 
  • Excellence—in critical thinking, academic endeavor, creative exploration, and artistic expression.
  • Inclusiveness—that fosters respectful, ethical engagements and dialogues across populations and communities, and that advocates for free and open exchange of ideas, sustained democratic values, and working for the public good.
  • Scholarship—that is pragmatic, critical, theoretical, and creative, and that is a product of passionate engagement with important social and research questions.

Messages from our programs:

Communication Studies
Welcome to Communication Studies Message from Dr. Wesley Buerkle, Program Head
Welcome to Storytelling Message from Dr. Delanna Reed, Interim Coordinator

 Communication & Performance welcomes Nancy Donoval
Nancy DonovalThe Department of Communication & Performance is thrilled to announce that storyteller Nancy Donoval will be joining us in August 2019 full time, as Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator in Storytelling. Nancy earned an MFA in Theatre from Northwestern University and has been immersed in the world of storytelling as a performer, teacher, producer/organizer, and story coach for over 30 years. One of her primary interests is in storytelling as it relates to healing professions and law, particularly as they relate to sexual violence, awareness, prevention, and intervention.  Her interests also include story listening, the neurobiology of storytelling, and ways that storytelling can be used to facilitate discourse about difficult topics. Nancy is the winner of Chicago’s 2010 National Storytelling Slam—you can hear her winning story here.  As former director of the Wild Onion Storytelling Festival in Chicago for 9 years, she brings a wealth of organizational and leadership experience, which she will direct in part toward fortifying alliances with the International Storytelling Center, the National Storytelling Network, and other community organizations.

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