To give prospective students a comprehensive and candid illustration of the work that master’s in communication programs involve, the skills they help students build, and the career support they may offer students, MastersinCommunications.com created a Faculty Interview Series featuring in-depth interviews with professors, program directors, and other faculty members at master’s in communication programs throughout the country. In their interviews, faculty provide important information and insights including:
- The structure of their master’s in communication program, and the core concepts that are covered through classes and projects
- Advice for students on any master’s thesis, comprehensive examination, and/or capstone project requirements
- How students can optimize their applications for these programs
- The pros and cons of pursuing a master’s degree in a traditional campus-based setting, versus hybrid and fully online options
Dr. Almjeld is the Director of Graduate Studies for the School of Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication at James Madison University, where she also teaches courses in digital literacy, community engagement, and online identity as an Associate Professor.
“With a low student-to-teacher ratio, students have the opportunity to tailor the program to their own needs and to focus on areas of writing, rhetoric and technical communication that interest them most.”
Dr. Amsbary is the Graduate Program Director for the Department of Communication Studies at The University of Alabama at Birmingham. He also teaches courses in in health and organizational communication, culture and communication, and persuasion as a Professor within the Department.
“We currently have some of the top scholars in the areas of nonverbal communication, deception, political communication and interpersonal communication.”
Dr. Atouba is an Assistant Professor and the Director of Graduate Studies for the Department of Communication at the University of Texas at El Paso. He advises students in the program, supports the admissions committee, and teaches courses in organizational communication and conflict mediation.
“As a testament to our success in preparing students for various paths forward, our recent M.A. graduates in Communication have gone on to professional positions in a variety of fields, including teaching, research, public relations, business and others and several have gone on to doctoral programs in the Communication discipline.”
Dr. Attias is the Graduate Coordinator of the Communication Studies Department at California State University Northridge, where he also teaches as a Professor. He specializes in cultural and feminist studies, rhetoric, freedom of speech, and the rhetoric of conflict and warfare.
“Our main strength at CSUN is our commitment to student-centered learning. You will find here an extremely supportive and accessible faculty who always make our students our top priority.”
Dr. Bell is the Director of Graduate Studies for the Department of Communication at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, where he also teaches as an Associate Professor. He specializes in the intersections of communication and media with popular culture, race, class, and gender.
“The biggest selling point for our program is its customizability. Because our program is so flexible, our graduates end up in every corner of the Communication field from political, corporate, and non-profit positions to media production, sports management, and entertainment.”
Dr. Bergman is the Graduate Program Director for the Communication Department at the University of the Pacific, where she also teaches courses on persuasive communication and documentary film as a Professor. Her research focuses on memory studies and the use of the documentary form to commemorate historical figures and sites.
“We have a relatively small program, and we try to structure the program so that all faculty are engaged with and supportive of students’ learning both inside and outside of the classroom.”
Dr. Booth is the Graduate Director of DePaul’s Master of Arts in Digital Communication and Media Arts, where he advises students and oversees all administrative aspects of the program. He is also an Associate Professor who teaches courses in media and cinema studies, communication and technology, and new media and culture.
“Students who graduate from the program find themselves well poised to enter or further a career in a variety of fields, from social media management to media director, from content specialist to design strategist.”
Dr. Burke is the Director of Graduate Studies at Texas State University, where she also teaches courses in interpersonal communication, health communication, and empirical research as an Assistant Professor. In her research, she explores how interpersonal and health communication intersect in relationships.
“Students who receive their M.A. from Texas State learn how to analyze and assess messages from different perspectives, which is a valuable tool in both academic and non-academic career paths.”
Dr. Burns is the Graduate Coordinator of the Master’s in Organizational Communication program at Southeastern Louisiana University, where he advises students, supports faculty, and oversees curriculum development. He also teaches courses in communication technology as a Professor.
“We prepare people for advanced careers. We are real-world based. We are a working degree for working people who want to be the best they can for an employer.”
Dr. Collins is the Director of the Online Graduate Program at Purdue University’s Brian Lamb School of Communication, where he is also a professor specializing in healthcare communication, tele-medicine and tele-health, and the connections between health, technology, and education.
“Our faculty have strong industry experiences and academic credentials, and work actively to help students translate theory and research to address real world problems.”
Rebecca Cooney is the Director of the Online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication program at Washington State University’s Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, where she also teaches courses in public relations, digital media, and integrated communications as a Clinical Assistant Professor.
“Our MA in Strategic Communication program is also unique because it combines the reputability of our institution with a truly affordable program. All of our degrees are fully accredited and our instruction is high quality and constantly being updated to account for advancements in the field. “
Christine Curtis is the Graduate Coordinator for Washington State University’s Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, where she manages student advising and enrollment for the Master of Arts in Communication and Ph.D. in Communication programs. She also teaches courses in crisis communication and public speaking.
“For our Pullman-based Master of Arts in Communication program, one of the primary draws is our faculty and their research expertise. The students who come into our campus-based program are committing to two years of intensive training and practice in communication research, and the mentorship and guidance they experience thanks to our faculty is truly stellar.”
Dr. Dailey is an Assistant Professor at South Dakota State University’s Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, where he teaches courses in mass communication pedagogy, media management, and cross platform storytelling. He also serves as the Online Graduate Advisor for the Department.
“As the first and currently only online Master of Mass Communication graduate degree accredited by ACEJMC, our program undergoes an extensive and regular review covering both our curriculum and faculty as well as evidence of course goal achievement and degree retention and completion.”
Dr. Denes is the Director of Graduate Studies for the University of Connecticut’s Department of Communication, where she also serves as an Associate Professor. She advises students, oversees updates to the curriculum, and teaches courses in interpersonal communication and gender dynamics in communication.
”One of the most exciting things about our program is that we have state-of-the-art research labs and students are welcome to use the labs and their resources for research (or as part of research projects with faculty).”
Dr. Ding is the Director of the Master of Science in Technical Communication program at North Carolina State University, where she also teaches courses in global technical communication, technical writing theory and research, and writing for publication as an Associate Professor.
“Our program was established over 30 years ago, and during that time we have built a very strong reputation as a program that trains highly skilled and marketable graduates who have a strong understanding of technical communication’s history, as well as current and future developments in the field.”
Dr. Driskill is the Graduate Coordinator for the Department of Applied Communication at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, where he also teaches courses in communication theory, intercultural communication, and organizational communication as a Professor.
“Difference making is at the core of our program. We equip leaders to be more ethical and effective in their communication.”
Dr. du Pré is a Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of West Florida, where she also serves as the Director of the MA in Strategic Communication & Leadership program. She teaches courses in health communication, leadership, and workplace communication and dynamics.
“The curriculum is smart and cutting edge–with a strong foundation in theory and research. But we believe in putting those into practice. Our faculty are extraordinary for their commitment to helping students succeed in and out of the classroom.”
Dr. Farrugia is the Graduate Program Director for Oakland University’s Department of Communication and Journalism, where she oversees all graduate students in the Master of Arts in Communication program. She also teaches courses in media and social identity, critical approaches to popular music, and gender, sexuality, and the media.
”…our students are well prepared for further research at the doctoral level as well as a variety of positions in industry including work in non-profit organizations, public relations, and corporate industries.”
Dr. Davis is a Professor of Marketing and Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) at Eastern Michigan University, where she teaches courses in in IMC strategies and principles, multi-channel media, consumer behavior, and IMC ethics. She also served as the Faculty Coordinator for Eastern Michigan University’s MS in IMC for seven years.
“Students finish the program well-positioned to perform as marketing communication leaders and managers in their organizations, making the IMC Master’s degree at Eastern Michigan University a particularly attractive graduate degree option.”
Dr. Goodman is the Director of the Master of Arts in Corporate Communication program at Baruch College, The City University of New York. He manages recruitment and admission, advises students, oversees curriculum development, and teaches courses in corporate communication and culture.
“Baruch College’s Master of Arts in Corporate Communication provides students with a strong foundation in corporate ethics, leadership skills, and communication dynamics for both internal, business-to-business, and public-facing messaging.”
Dr. Hahn is Director of Johns Hopkins University’s Master of Arts in Communication program. He develops curricula, supports instructors, manages long-term planning, advises students, and teaches courses in media literacy, persuasion, and public address.
“…one of the major things that makes the program stand out is our students. Taking courses in the program means that you will be exchanging ideas with other energetic, creative, and impressive learners.”
Dr. Kang is the Graduate Advisor and an Associate Professor within the Department of Communication at The University of Texas at San Antonio, where he advises students, supports faculty, and manages recruitment, admissions, and curriculum development. He also teaches courses in communication technologies, mobile marketing, social media, and digital messaging.
“Our program takes pride in the one-on-one mentorship between faculty and students. Our faculty are experts in their fields, fascinated with the multifaceted field of communication, and committed to their students’ success.”
Dr. Knobloch is the Director of Graduate Studies for the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she also teaches undergraduate and graduate courses as a Professor specializing in interpersonal communication, health communication, and conflict management.
“Our curriculum is helpful for students who are planning careers in education, business, government, public policy, health care, and many other areas.”
Dr. Kumar is the Graduate Program Director for Cleveland State University’s School of Communication, where he advises students, manages recruitment, and oversees curriculum development for the graduate program. As an Associate Professor, he also teaches courses in media theory, political communication, and media ethics.
“I believe that our focus on applied communication theory and methods makes us an excellent option for students who want a pragmatic degree that still allows them to delve into advanced academic concepts in communication. This balance between the professional and the academic I believe is what makes our program stand out.”
Dr. Lammers is the Director of the online Master of Science in Health Communication program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he supports faculty, develops the curriculum, and also teaches courses in advanced organizational communication and health communication as a Professor.
“Our program is designed for busy health care professionals seeking an advanced degree. It is flexibly administered, high touch, and relevant to a wide range of communication occupations and health care functions.”
Dr. Lee is the Director of Graduate Studies for the Department of Communicology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where she also teaches courses in persuasion and social influence, political communication, and health communication as a Professor.
“We are very highly ranked in terms of faculty research and scholarship, and we provide excellent preparation for individuals who are thinking about entering a Ph.D. program. And at the same time, we also provide applied projects and other opportunities for students who are more interested in pursuing a career in industry, and are invested in developing their professional portfolio and skills set.”
Dr. Lindemann is the Director of Graduate Studies for San Diego State University’s School of Communication, where he advises students and runs the comprehensive exam colloquia. He also teaches courses in organizational communication, qualitative research methods, and performance studies as a Professor.
“I would say that our summer abroad program makes us unique, in that students can get “hands on” experience doing communication research in the field and apply communication theory in unique settings.”
Dr. Liu is the Graduate Director of George Washington University’s MA in Communication Management, overseeing graduate admissions, student advising, and assessment. She is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Organizational Sciences and Communication, where she teaches courses in negotiation and organizational and intercultural communication.
“One of the major appeals of this degree is the wide variety of career paths that students can pursue. Students with an M.A. in Communication Management enter careers as Project Managers, Communications Managers, Brand Specialists, Market Research Analysts, and so on.”
Dr. Loeb is the Graduate Coordinator for the Master of Arts in Communication program at the University of Louisiana, where she advises new students, manages recruitment, and also teaches courses in qualitative research methods and intercultural communication as an Associate Professor.
“Our program prepares students to represent themselves very well to prospective employers. With a strong base in theory and research practices and proof of their abilities through either the Exit Project or Thesis route, they have evidence of their capabilities.”
Dr. Lynch is the Director of Graduate Studies for the University of Cincinnati’s Department of Communication, where he advises students, oversees recruitment, and supports faculty and program development. As an Associate Professor, he also teaches courses in narratives in medicine, rhetorical methods, and gender in communication.
“Our program features strong mentorship from nationally and internationally recognized communication faculty. We provide support to help students choose between a doctoral or professional path.”
Dr. McArthur is the Director of Graduate Programs at Queens University of Charlotte’s James L. Knight School of Communication, where he is also an Associate Professor specializing in the use of physical and digital spaces in the design and dissemination of information. He is an author of a book on proxemics, and has published numerous articles on strategic communications and information design.
“The Knight School’s MA in Communication uses innovative methods to study current and emerging media conversations through digital strategic communication.”
Dr. Meyer is the Graduate Coordinator for Illinois State University’s School of Communication, where he advises students, supports faculty, and teaches courses in instructional communication and communication education as an Associate Professor.
“Our alumni attend the best doctoral programs–and rise to the top of their cohorts, establish exciting careers in the private sector, and remain engaged after they leave because they cherished their time here.”
Dr. Mills is the Graduate Program Director for Norfolk State University’s Department of Mass Communications and Journalism, where she also teaches courses in communications research, mass communication, and film criticism as an Assistant Professor.
“Our faculty are really dedicated to giving students a great experience, and are available to provide feedback, insights, and connections that are relevant to students’ interests and goals.”
Dr. Munday is former Head of the Department of Professional & Technical Communication at Montana Tech. As a Professor of Science & Technology Studies, he also helps design the Department’s programs and teaches courses in science and environmental communication as a Professor.
“The communication profession is incredibly competitive and rapidly changing. We graduate students with state-of-the art skills in the software and hardware that they will use in the workplace, as well as the conceptual skills to know how best to communicate with particular audiences and for particular purposes.”
Dr. Murphy is the Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies for the Department of Media Studies and Production at Temple University, where he oversees curriculum development and student advising for the Master of Science in Globalization and Development Communication and Master of Science in Communication Management.
“Within the College of Media and Communication, we have done a great job of hiring some incredible new faculty–both bright and young faculty, and established faculty who are full professors and have spent a decade or more in the field. We’ve worked hard to provide innovative future-thinking programs, and we’re committed to sustainable programs that stand the test of time.”
Dr. Nastasia is an Associate Professor and the Graduate Program Director for the Department of Applied Communication Studies at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, where he advises students and teaches courses in international public relations, persuasion, and technology in public relations.
“Our specializations are devised to allow students to acquire knowledge and skills in various areas of communication and to put to work their expertise through hands-on activities, service learning, and internships.”
Dr. Niles Goins is the Graduate Coordinator for California State University, Fresno’s Department of Communication, where she advises students, supports faculty and recruitment, and teaches classes in organizational communication, gender communication, and small group communication as a Professor.
“Our faculty are what make our program stand out. Their genuine investment in students, and their diversity in terms of race, gender, ability, interests, industry experience, and research expertise means that we are able to serve a broad range of students in a very individualized and productive way.”
Dr. Ott is the Chair of Texas Tech University’s Department of Communication Studies, where he supports faculty, oversees curriculum development, and also teaches courses in communication, technology, and popular culture as a Professor.
“One of the greatest strengths of our program is its flexibility; we are committed to a model that allows students to craft a degree program suited to their personal interests and needs.”
Dr. Parmelee is the Chair of the University of North Florida’s Department of Communication, where he also teaches graduate courses in journalism, political communication, and media theory and research. He specializes in how communication technologies such as social media have shaped political communication and its effects on society.
“UNF is currently the only school in the state to offer a master’s degree that has communication management as the primary focus.”
Dr. Perry is the Associate Dean for Academics at Regent University’s School of Communication and the Arts, where he also teaches classes in strategic communication and communication studies as a Professor. He also oversees the School’s Master of Arts in Political Communication and the Master of Arts in Journalism programs.
“Regent University is the premier place for students who specifically want to integrate faith and a Christian perspective into their learning experience.”
Dr. Red is the Academic Director for the Master of Arts in Communication Management program at the University of Denver’s University College, where she also teaches courses in interpersonal, organizational, and mass communication as an Assistant Professor.
“This applied program is ideal for current communication professionals who need to build more specialized skills or career changers who want to pursue communication roles.”
Dr. Rhodes is the Director of the Master of Arts in Health and Risk Communication at Michigan State University, where she also teaches the program’s course in mass communication and public health and conducts research on media and consumer behavior as an Associate Professor.
“HRC-MA graduates get jobs. Because students are able to customize the program to meet their needs, our students have been very successful and building the knowledge and skills they need to be successful.”
Dr. Rountree is the Graduate Director of the Masters in Professional Communication program at The University of Alabama in Huntsville, where he also teaches courses in rhetorical theory, rhetorical criticism, and legal argument as a Professor of Communication Arts.
“We are a small, close-knit department that fosters good faculty-student relationships. And all graduate faculty are talented teachers who earn very high marks from students, even though they approach teaching in ways that match their particular subject matter and personalities.”
Dr. Sohn is an Associate Professor and the Director of Graduate Studies for the Department of Communication at the University of Louisville. He supports and advises graduate students in the Department, and teaches courses in international communication, research methods, and media management.
“Our curriculum is structured in a way to help students in different situations, whether they have a specific goal or are more open to exploring different areas of communication and potential career paths.”
Dr. Cylor Spaulding is the Faculty Director of Georgetown University’s Master’s in Public Relations & Corporate Communications program, where he supports faculty in their development of course curricula and teaches the capstone course as an Assistant Professor.
“It’s a standout aspect of our program to have working professionals teaching for us, because some fields within PR and corporate communication evolve so quickly, and with our faculty, we are equipped to handle these changes and incorporate them into our classes.”
Dr. Stalter-Pace is the Director of Graduate Studies for Auburn University’s English Department, where she advises students across all of the Department’s graduate programs, supports faculty and TAs, and teaches courses in early twentieth-century American literature, drama, and critical theory.
“I think our strength comes from the combination of focus and breadth. Everyone in the MTPC cohort shares some core skills, but then they can create their own context for applying them.”
Dr. Stormer is the Chair of the Communication and Journalism Department at the University of Maine, where he also teaches as a professor of feminist and medical rhetoric. He is the author of numerous research articles on cultural rhetoric, health and medical discourse, and feminist communication, and has published two books on the role of cultural and medical rhetoric on women’s reproductive rights.
“As a sign of our success, we have over a 90% completion rate of our graduate students.”
Dr. Strawser is the Director of Graduate Programs at Bellarmine University’s School of Communication, where he also teaches courses in organizational, instructional, strategic, intercultural, and leadership communication as an Assistant Professor. Dr. Strawser also served as an Instructional Designer for Bellarmine University’s online and hybrid courses.
“Our degree program is unique to each student in that students can select courses (i.e. special topics course) like strategic communication, podcasting, communication campaigns and analysis, digital portfolio, data visualization and storytelling, etc. that resonate with them.”
Professor Tag is the Program Director of the City College of New York’s Branding + Integrated Communications (BIC) Master of Professional Studies. She helps design program curricula, advises students, supports faculty, and teaches courses in advertising, public relations, and idea development.
“As the only MPS program to teach branding and integrated communications in an integrated way, BIC is a terminal, professional degree – like an MBA – that can turbo-charge your career.”
Dr. Thompson is an Associate Professor and the Graduate Program Coordinator for Western Kentucky University’s Department of Communication. He teaches courses in instructional communication, family communication, and communication theory, advises students throughout their enrollment, and supports the graduate teaching assistants in the program.
“I believe that one of the core things that makes our program stellar is that students feel a real connection with the faculty. They feel like we are accessible, that we care about how they’re doing, and I believe that’s why our program has grown.”
Berit Van Neste is the Academic Program Specialist for the University of South Florida’s Zimmerman School of Advertising & Mass Communications, where she advises current students of the Master of Arts in Mass Communication program, manages recruitment, and maintains contact with alumni from the program.
“Our program has two concentrations that prepare students for a wide range of careers in both industry and academia.”
Dr. Vujnovic is the Director for the Master of Arts in Public and Corporate Communication program at Monmouth University, where she also teaches courses as an Associate Professor. As Director, she advises students throughout their enrollment, manages recruitment, oversees changes to the curriculum, and supports faculty. She teaches classes in global communication, journalism, public relations, and the emergence of new communication technologies.
“Another element of our program that is really important to us is our ethics as a Department, and as a program. One of our central aims is empowering students to give back to the community, and also teaching them how to think about communication and its role in organizational culture.”
Dr. Weissman is the Director of the Online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication program at American University’s School of Communication, where she is also a full-time professor of Public Communication. She offers insight into the curriculum and research requirements of the Online MA in Strategic Communication, as well as the aspects of the program that make it unique.
“Our reputation has earned us many accolades… Students leverage this reputation and strong network in their careers.”
Dr. Yueh is the Director of the Master of Arts in Communication program at Northeastern State University, where she oversees recruitment and admissions, and advises students throughout their enrollment. She also teaches courses in intercultural communication and minority studies.
“The biggest selling point for our program is its flexibility. Although the program is not completely online, students do have options to take online courses, hybrid courses, and distant learning courses to make their course schedule more flexible.”
Professor Zajack is the Faculty Director of the Master of Professional Studies in Integrated Marketing Communications at Georgetown University, where she also teaches graduate courses in collaboration and ethics in communication, we well as the capstone course. She has over 20 years of experience in the corporate communications space, working for companies such as Reuters, Nokia, and Alcatel-Lucent.
“The professional strength and breadth of knowledge of our faculty, their willingness to connect with students, and the powerful networks they bring have proved time and time again to be a great launching pad for our students.”