Degrees & Programs Communication Studies
Become more eloquent in mind, heart and speech as you learn to communicate well and imitate Christ by practicing reconciliation.
Bring the Scriptures to bear on communication as a moral act. Develop into a wise analyst of human influence in a globally-oriented, media-saturated culture. Explore the difficulty of interpersonal faithfulness in a transient culture, the increasing power of the media, and the role of persuasion and propaganda in social movements. Study verbal and nonverbal aspects of oral, print and electronic messages and discuss questions such as: How do messages lead to meaning—or misunderstanding or manipulation? How has public discourse influenced culture? What are the effects of image-based communication?
The Communication Studies program has 4 specific (required) courses and then students choose 7 courses from different groupings of classes to complete the major.
We do not have a “template” for which courses to take each year, as our program allows for a lot of flexibility. However, we do have some recommendations for when to take some of the classes.
COM 006: All students interested in Communication Studies should take COM 006 (Messages, Meaning, and Culture) their first semester at Westmont (if not then, their second semester at the latest). This course is required for the major and it provides an overview of many areas, theories, and concepts within the communication discipline. It also meets the GE “Understanding Society” requirement.
- If COM 006 is full, then we suggest that first year students take COM 015 (Public Speaking—meets Writing/Speech Intensive GE) their first semester and COM 006 in the Spring.
COM 098: All students are required to take COM 098 (Research Methods in Communication) for the major, and it is a pre-requisite for several courses in the major. We recommend you take this course early—either as a second semester 1st year or the Fall of your 2nd year. Take it the semester after you have taken COM 006.
If you have not taken COM 098 yet, sign up for it as soon as possible. Other than that recommendation, just start taking COM classes that interest you. Think about whether you want to study abroad. In order to earn COM credits, there are 3 approved Study Abroad programs and the San Francisco program. Numerous other study abroad programs also exist (although you earn mostly GE credits for those). Many of our students choose to attend the San Francisco program and an international study abroad program (and they graduate on time).
We advise students to take COM 101 the Fall of their junior or senior year. (It is only offered in the Fall, so students must plan accordingly)
Teaches reconciliation by traveling with students to Northern Ireland
Studies social change and the rhetorical construction of childhood
Wrote two fantasy novels and a book extolling the quieter virtues
Published one of the first scholarly studies about Facebook
- Public Relations
- Business Management
- Event Coordination
- International Development
- Film and Television
Professor Dunn and Caryn Reeder, associate professor of religious studies, led a Mayterm class that traveled to Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and the Camino de Santiago in Spain. Students learned to inhabit spaces, stories, and landscapes marked by struggle and forgiveness and study peace, conflict, memory and place.
Greg Spencer recently presented a Westmont Downtown Lecture, “Wading with (David) Brooks into Virtuous Waters,” delivered a Cosmopolitan Club presentation on “Time is Up and Space is Down,” and a series of speeches to the Azusa Pacific University M.Div. Program Retreat about “Issues for the Church in Our Times.” The Spanish edition of his book Awakening the Quieter Virtues (Cómo despertar las virtudes silenciosas) was published in Colombia by CLC International.
Communication Studies Alumni
What are our alumni doing?
- Paul Angone ’05
- A national speaker and humorist, he has written two best-selling books, 101 Secrets for Your Twenties and All Groan Up. He shares secrets and strategies for honing, owning and articulating the key ingredients in your life on his website, SignatureSauce.com. For more than 10 years, he has researched and engaged millennials, becoming a leading voice to and for the generation. He earned a master’s degree in organizational leadership.
- Anita Perez Ferguson ’71
- She is a speaker, author, international consultant, and trainer in the areas of program planning, evaluation and leadership development. From 1991 to 1995 she served as the president of the National Women’s Political Caucus in Washington, D.C. President Clinton appointed her to serve as chair of the Inter American Foundation and the White House Liaison to the U.S. Department of Transportation. She has served as a director on various national and community boards and as a Visiting Fellow for the Woodrow Wilson Foundation in Princeton, New Jersey. In 1999, Anita translated her experience and enthusiasm into her first book, A Passion for Politics, followed in 2004 by Women Seen & Heard: Lessons Learned from Successful Speakers.
- Amanda Wigno Harter ’08
- She works for the UC Davis College Opportunity Programs, also known as College OPTIONS, as the events and marketing coordinator for their five-county service area. She plans educational events for all grade levels and for educational professionals. She earned a Master of Arts in organizational leadership with an emphasis in nonprofit management from Simpson University.
- Liane Koh ’08
- She started as a hotel front-desk agent and concierge in Santa Barbara, earned a diploma in culinary arts from Le Cordon Blue, worked as a management intern for a major resort in Singapore and the Maldives, earned a master’s degree in communication management from the Annenberg School for Communication at USC. She now works in marketing and public relations. She manages five to eight accounts doing traditional and digital marketing, brand strategy, social media and content creation, reputation management, event planning and cause-related marketing activations, hiring, training and managing client brand ambassadors, business development, and mentorship of our interns.
- Hillary McCall ’11
- After an internship at the Santa Barbara Foundation working with the vice president of communications and marketing, she obtained a job doing communications and marketing for the foundation, developing its first online platforms, implementing new branding strategies, and telling the stories of philanthropy taking action. “Seeing the social impact of my work was of high, personal value in my professional development,” she says. Two years later, she became the communications and development manager for a growing philanthropic initiative, the Incredible Children’s Art Network (iCAN). With a dynamic group of passionate teaching artists and a creative leadership team, iCAN serves 3,200 children in six of Santa Barbara’s most underserved, Title I schools. Now serving as director of network relations, she builds sustainable partnerships and collaborations and manages communications platforms, public relations, and development opportunities.
- Joy Eggerichs Reed ’04
- She owns Joy Eggerichs Reed LLC in Portland, Oregon, and describes herself as “a creative and a communicator with a bent towards business.” A speaker and consultant who records a weekly podcast for Relevant Magazine, she is also an advisory board member helping Christian Mingle rebrand and serve people trying to navigate dating and improving their relationship skills. For seven years she served as director of Love and Respect Now, taking the message of www.loveandrespect.com to 18- to 35-year-olds via speaking, writing and www.loveandrespectnow.com
- Kristin Rushforth Ritzau ’04
- After pursuing internships at Westmont that ranged from the film industry to event planning to Amnesty International in the Czech Republic, Kristin realized she was called to work with college students. She earned a master’s in Christian leadership at Fuller Theological Seminary and worked in a church with young adults. She then went to Azusa Pacific University’s Ministry and Service Office to do program coordination, research, student development and community outreach for five years. After she published her first book, A Beautiful Mess: A Perfectionist’s Journey Through Self-Care, she sought certification as a spiritual director. Feeling called to the classroom, she is earning a doctorate practical theology and spiritual formation at Claremont School of Theology.
- Amy Owens Roach ’03
- As vice president of iHeart Media Connections West, she works with the country’s largest advertisers on cross-platform, custom marketing campaigns, reaching more than 243 million people each month. Their portfolio includes Radio, iHeartRadio, digital, social, outdoor and events. “My job is exciting and rewarding, as it allows for me to be creative, meet with clients at the building stage of a campaign and present opportunities that have been customized for them,” she says.
- Jim Roach ’00
- He is an Emmy award winning writer, producer, and owner of Red Parade Music group based in Los Angeles. After years of being on the road and in the studio as a multi-instrumentalist, he switched gears in 2004 to work exclusively in the recording studio. He writes and produces music for film, television, trailers and commercials and works with artists. From 2011-2015, he co-owned Kung Fu Culture Publishing with major motion picture music supervisor Dave Jordan. Jim’s songs have been featured in many major motion pictures, trailers, commercials and television shows. In 2015 he took a job as executive producer for Apple Music and Beats1 Radio with Zane Lowe. He produces Joshua Homme’s (Queens of the Stone Age / Eagles of Death Metal) show The Alligator Hour, St. Vincent’s Mixtape Delivery Service, Ezra Koenig’s (Vampire Weekend) Time Crisis, and Haim’s show Haim Time.
- Felicia Wright ’07
- A registered lobbyist in Texas, she works as a government affairs specialist for the Texas Association of Builders for a non-profit trade association. She opens lines of communication between local and state government to promote a positive business environment for clients. “I developed this career by working for three state elected officials and serving as a policy analyst on health care, veteran affairs, natural resources, transportation, and education,” she says.
- Justin Zoradi ’04
- He is the founder and CEO of These Numbers Have Faces, a global education organization investing in Africa’s brightest students to lead and empower their countries. Started from the couch of his apartment with one student in 2008, Justin’s organization now provides education loans, along with leadership and entrepreneurship training, to hundreds of students every year in four African countries. He also writes at justinzoradi.com on issues of entrepreneurship, leadership, and doing work that matters. His first book, Doing Work That Matters: A Small Guide to Making Big Change in the World, was released in 2013. See more about him at JustinZoradi.Com.
Westmont Alumni Teaching Communication at the College Level
- Lauren Cano Amaro ’06
- She is an assistant professor at Pepperdine University teaching courses in relational and health communication, conflict transformation, family communication, communication theory, and research methods. Her research projects address this question: How do families “heal and deal” in the wake of major traumas? She has worked toward developing health communication interventions for family caregivers, children of alcoholics, and parents of children with severe allergies, focusing on the role of sibling relationships and the importance of positive communication practices such as gratitude and communal coping. She earned a doctorate in communication at Arizona State University.
- Mark Fackler ’69
- He teaches communication ethics at Calvin College and specializes in development communication in East Africa. He has lectured and traveled throughout North America, Africa, and Europe. He earned a doctorate in communication from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. He writes radio dramas and biblical commentaries as well as scholarly and general-interest articles and officiates baseball. He son also graduated from Westmont with a degree in communication. He has written a book, Ethics and Evil in the Public Square.
- Douglas L. Kelley ’80
- Douglas Kelley received his doctorate from the University of Arizona and his master’s from Arizona State University, where he teaches. He studies interpersonal communication processes, focusing on marital communication and how couples negotiate privacy and relational expectations. His 1998 study, The Communication of Forgiveness, launched a decade’s worth of work with colleague, Vince Waldron, focusing on various processes of forgiveness. He co-wrote “Communicating Forgiveness,” an interdisciplinary that offers a hopeful framework for negotiating healthy and just responses to relational disappointments.
- Megan Moe ’88
- She teaches communication at Lee University, overseeing the communication discipline (advertising, journalism and communication studies) within the department of Communication and the Arts. She studies women who were targets of domestic violence, both physical and emotional. She earned a master’s at UC Davis and a doctorate at Penn State. Previously, she worked as a reporter in New Jersey, a market researcher in Delaware, a floor director and camera operator for television in Buffalo, N.Y., and a public service announcement writer for the PBS station in San Francisco.
- Dave Tell ’98
- He teaches rhetoric at the University of Kansas, specializing in postmodern theory and the place of religious discourse in public life. After graduating from Westmont, Dave earned his master’s degree and doctorate at Penn State. His current work focuses on the intersections of rhetorical theory and cultural politics. He published a book, Confessional Crises: Confession and Cultural Politics in Twentieth-Century America (Penn State Press) in 2012.
- Don Waisanen ’02
- An associate professor in the Baruch College School of Public Affairs at the City University of New York, he teaches courses and workshops in public communication, including executive speech training, campaign and advocacy strategies, media analysis, and seminars on leadership, improvisation, and humor. All his research projects seek to understand how communication works to promote or hinder citizens’ voices. His recent publications have focused on the functions of political language, the increasing role of comedy in public culture, and the factors that can best sustain a deliberative democracy. He earned a doctorate in communication from the University of Southern California.