John Chapin teaches video editing

Dr. John Chapin: Focused on communication

Professor credits his own teachers for his success both in and out of the classroom

Like many students, Dr. John Chapin, professor of communications, was attracted to Penn State Beaver because of the combination of the small campus setting coupled with the reputation of Penn State.

“Penn State has an international reputation. I like the small-campus feel, while still being part of a large, established system,” Chapin said.

Before coming to Penn State in 1998, Chapin was a teaching assistant at Rutgers University in New Jersey while finishing his doctorate. He also taught part time at two New Jersey community colleges.

Teaching is Chapin’s passion. “I’ve been teaching at some level since 1985,” he said.
Chapin attributes his own success to the influence of his teachers. “I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for a few key teachers’ encouragement and support,” he said.

Chapin teaches several classes a semester at Beaver, some that are mainly for communications students and some that meet general education requirements. He also teaches a class for World Campus.

“Once every three years I get to offer an honors course - Conspiracy Theories,” Chapin said. “That’s hands down my favorite.”

His Conspiracy Theories class covers everything from who shot former president John F. Kennedy to aliens. Conspiracy Theories will be offered at the Beaver campus again in spring 2019.

Although Conspiracy Theories is his favorite, he said he also enjoys Cinema Arts and Video Production.

“Working with students one on one creating videos is fun. I like the film course, because there is always lively discussion,” he said. “Everyone likes movies and has something to say.”

Chapin also enjoys the film class because it stays contemporary since the films change from year to year.

In addition to teaching, Chapin is involved in the community and has turned that work into his research specialty – school violence prevention. He has published more than 50 articles and book chapters on violence prevention.

Both the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and the U.S. House of Representatives have given Chapin legislative citations for his outstanding research and community service in violence prevention.

He has received numerous other awards, including a national research award from the National Office of Victim Assistance and Pennsylvania’s Speaker of the Year from the Pennsylvania Communication Association.


Ph.D. in Communication, Information, and Library Studies 
Rutgers University

Master of Science in Communications Studies/Mass Media 
Shippensburg University

Bachelor of Science in Education 
Bloomsburg University