Missouri State University
What is going on in the Department of Communication

New faculty, staff join College of Arts and Letters

Fall 2014 is well underway and as students begin to find their place at the College of Arts and Letters, so do several new faculty and staff. They will be introduced in more depth in the coming weeks, but to get these profiles started, here is a round up of the new faces that can be seen around campus. Let’s give them a big Bear welcome this week!


Art and Design


Adrienne Boulton-Funke, assistant professor

Adrienne Boulton-Funke completed a Bachelor of Education from the University of Saskatchewan, a Master of Arts in Art Education from the University of British Columbia and is finishing her PhD in Curriculum (Art Education) at UBC. She received the Killam Award for teaching excellence as a graduate teaching assistant. Her research explores contemporary art practices in research and pedagogy through arts-based educational research; she has presented her work nationally and internationally. Boulton-Funke said she wants to help future teachers reimagine curriculum and pedagogy to be able to go beyond the assessment-based learning found in classrooms today. “I hope to develop a methodology of visual inquiry that aims to disrupt our static perceptions of education and through arts-based inquiry and research processes, expand the ways in which we understand and perform curriculum and pedagogy in K-12 art education.”


Media, Journalism and Film

Harrison Witt, Assistant Professor

Harrison Witt, assistant professor

Harrison Witt earned a BA in English from the University of Kentucky and an MFA in Film and Video Production from the University of Texas at Austin. In addition to being an award-winning screenwriter and director, Witt brings more than 20 years of professional production experience in cinematography and lighting to the classrooms at MSU. He is eager to build on MJF’s strong foundation in digital film production, which he admired even before signing on as an assistant professor. “I was impressed with the ambition and execution the students brought to their productions. After seeing this work, I wasn’t at all surprised to find the faculty and staff in MJF to be open, energetic, and creative.”




Cameron F. LaBarr, Director of Choral Studies

Cameron F. LaBarr, director of choral studies

Cameron F. LaBarr comes to the College of Arts and Letters after serving in university choral positions in Tennessee and Texas. He was the founding artistic director and conductor of the Tennessee Chamber Chorus and has been a guest conductor and clinician for institutions and festivals across the United States, Europe, South Africa and China. He’s published articles and reviews in the Choral Journal and The Chorister and also edits a choral series with Santa Barbara Music Publishing. He was recently awarded a fellowship with the International Conductors Exchange Program to Sweden in 2015 and will be among 14 conductors from the United States to participate in the residency. Excited for the changes and additions expected this year, LaBarr encourages students to put themselves out there to see where the world takes them. “I hope to share my professional experiences with our students here on campus, and I plan to get our students out into the world, allowing for strong relationships and greater understanding among cultures.”


Modern and Classical Languages

Melanie Kleeschulte, Instructor

Melanie Kleeschulte, instructor

Prior to joining the MCL faculty, Melanie Kleeschulte was a full-time instructor of Spanish at Greenwood Laboratory School. She received her master’s in Spanish Language and Culture from the University of Salamanca in Spain, Master of Arts in Teaching from Missouri State University and Bachelor of Arts in International/ Multicultural Studies and Spanish from Evangel University. Kleeschulte also holds Missouri K-12 certification in Spanish.


Vanessa Rodríguez de la Vega, Assistant Professor

Vanessa Rodríguez de la Vega, assistant professor

Vanessa Rodríguez de la Vega received her PhD from Texas Tech University and comes to MSU from Missouri Southern State University. She will be teaching a variety of courses, including introductory Spanish, Spanish Phonetics and Phonology, Spanish Peninsular Literature and more. She said she hopes to inspire Missouri State students this year, “by making them aware about the importance and practicality of studying foreign languages.” Her research focuses on postmodern historical fiction.


Theatre and Dance

Melanie Dreyer-Lude, Assistant Professor

Melanie Dreyer-Lude, assistant professor

Melanie Dreyer-Lude is a theatre practitioner and professor of performance, using theatre as a platform for cultural encounters that generate multiple nodes of inquiry. She specializes in international theatre collaboration. Fluent in German, Dreyer-Lude translates and directs contemporary German plays and has directed more than 60 productions throughout the United States, Germany and Turkey. Her continued love of learning and travel has taken her across the world and across disciplines. “I’m a perpetually curious person and I’m always seeking new intersections between theater practice and other disciplines.  I’ve learned about neuroscience, physics, cultural anthropology, business, linguistics, all things German and many things Turkish — all because I was willing to follow my interest into another’s world.”


Other staff additions

Katie McMahon, Costume Shop Manager

Katie McMahon, costume shop manager

Katie McMahon is the costume shop manager for the theatre and dance department. She is an alumna of Missouri State University with a BFA in Theatre and an emphasis in technical theatre and costumes. She also worked as a designer and costume shop manager for Tent Theatre.



Greg Pettus, Distributed User Support Specialist

Greg Pettus, distributed user supports specialist

Greg Pettus served in the Marine Corps before getting a degree in engineering physics from Missouri State. During his time as a student, he was able to start working full-time and has been a distributed user support specialist for 17 years, helping to ensure the technology needed for faculty and students to succeed is in working order. He lives in Springfield with his wife, Julie, and daughters, Reagan and Kenzie.

Posted in Announcements, Art + Design, coal, College of Arts and Letters, Communication, Faculty & Staff Accomplishments, Faculty News, faculty staff news, Media Journalism & Film, Media Journalism and Film, Modern & Classical Languages, Modern and Classical Languages, Music, new faculty, new staff, News Releases, Theatre and Dance, Theatre and Dance Department | Leave a comment

International guest scholar to present cross-cultural analysis of ‘Ugly Betty’ TV series, tour MSU facilities

The departments of communication and media, journalism and film will welcome international guest scholar, Dr. Enrique Uribe-Jongbloed, during the week of September 18—22, with a formal research presentation at noon, Sept. 22, in the Plaster Student Union Parliamentary Room, as well as a film screening that night of his documentary, “Rito y Medio,” in the PSU Theater.

In his presentation, the Columbian communication professor will detail his cross-cultural analysis of the television series, Ugly Betty, whose American version was adapted from the Colombian telenovela soap opera, “Yo Soy Betty, La Fea.”

Connecting with Dr. Uribe-Jongbloed

Throughout his visit to Missouri State, Uribe-Jongbloed will also be made available to speak with students and faculty, both formally and informally. On-campus events are as scheduled:

  • Guest scholar office hours: Sept. 18 and 23, 1:30 p.m., Craig Hall 375
  • Class visits: Sept. 18, 9:30-11:20 a.m., MED 466 Advanced Editing; Sept. 19, 2:30-3:20 p.m., COM 307 Gender and Communication
  • Facility tour: Sept. 19, Ozarks News Journal, during production hours
International visiting scholar Dr. Enrique Uribe-Jongbloed will be on campus Sept. 18-22.

About the visiting guest scholar

Uribe-Jongbloed has been on the communication faculty at Universidad de La Sabana for more than seven years, teaching research methods at the undergraduate and postgraduate level. He is currently researching television and other audiovisual adaptations, especially looking at contraflow adaptation (those products from Latin America adapted in the U.S. and Europe), and leading a research group on audiovisual culture. He has also worked on projects involving identity, language and media.

Uribe-Jongbloed holds a B.A. in film and televisión production from the National University of Colombia, an M.A. in world heritage studies from the Brandenburg Institute of Technology Cottbus in Germany and a Ph.D. from the department of theatre, film and television studies at Aberystwyth University in Wales.

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Center for Dispute Resolution seeks volunteers for weeks-long project with area middle school girls

The Center for Dispute Resolution will host a free training session this Saturday, Sept. 6, for women who wish to learn more about and/or volunteer to co-facilitate in the program Circles for Girls, a structured educational group for girls and young women. The training will take place from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at the CDR offices in downtown Springfield, located at Park Central Office Building, room 209, and will include a light breakfast and lunch.

Group focuses on communication skill development

Circles for Girls brings together a group of 4-10 girls with trained facilitators over an 8-10 week-period to explore topics relating to social, emotional and physical well-being. The CDR conducts groups in area middle schools during the school day and in the evening for youth referred by the Greene County Juvenile Office and from other sources. The program is designed to help the girls develop effective conflict management and communication skills and to realize their strengths, withstand social pressures and maintain healthy relationships.

Register for free training today

Many circle facilitators take part in this program as a part of their internship experience for the Undergraduate or Graduate Certificate programs in Conflict and Dispute Resolution. However, other young women work with the program as volunteers. If you are interested in learning more or participating in the training, please email CDR@missouristate.edu or register online today!



Posted in Center for Dispute Resolution, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Making signature contributions in COM

ShawnWahl-KSMU-InterviewGreetings from Craig Hall 375 and Happy Summer!

While we have numerous online and face to face classes being offered in the Department of Communication, summer is about rest and renewal. The new academic year is fast approaching and I wanted to take a few moments to share some of my summer thoughts with you.

As summer continues to tick away and we all begin to think about our teaching, creative and service projects for the year, I would like for everyone to reflect on what I call, “Signature Contributions.” What is your signature contribution? This might be something you have been working on for years or a project that you hope to jump start in the next few months. Our department has a rich history and we need to continue to work collectively and individually to make signature contributions of excellence that support student recruitment/retention, high quality undergraduate and graduate teaching, faculty and student scholarly/creative activity, public scholarship, meaningful service as well as projects that help COM connect and support Missouri State’s public affairs mission.

We also need to consider how we might integrate global perspectives in our teaching, research and service—these contributions can happen locally via a service learning experience, during a future Study Away trip with your students or by online course innovation. As you finish your summer of personal renewal and professional reflection, think about your signature contribution and let me know what I can do to make it happen. I will propose two areas that call to me as signature contributions in our department: 1) Verbal and Nonverbal Communication Skills; and 2) Cultural Competency.

Where is home? What provides the department with a strong foundation? In my opinion, COM 115 is essential—the Basic Course is one signature contribution that must continue to thrive on campus. I also think that much of our curriculum, research, and public service projects (such as those accomplished by the Center for Dispute Resolution) help COM make a signature contribution in the area of cultural competency. I had the opportunity to share my thoughts in a recent radio interview with our local NPR affiliate (KSMU)/Missouri State Journal. Take a moment to check out the interview in which I comment on the importance of communication skills and cultural competency as informed by two of my recent book projects. Enjoy the summer that remains. I look forward to supporting your signature contributions in the future. Go Bears!

Shawn Wahl
Professor/Department Head

MSU Department of Communication

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Communicating across an ever changing landscape

As a corporate trainer and executive coach for a variety of organizations, Dr. Shawn Wahl, head of the department of communication at Missouri State University, trained individuals how to listen, communicate their needs, persuade co-workers and bosses, motivate teams and navigate through difficult situations with customers and clients. He discusses his book, “Communication and Culture in Your Life.”

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COAL faculty honored during recognition reception

The Dean of the College of Arts and Letters (COAL) is proud to list the following faculty honored at Missouri State’s All-Faculty Recognition Reception held April 21, 2014:

Faculty Recognition Awards

Stephanie Norander, CommunicationProvost Fellow for Faculty Development – Writing

Stephanie Norander, Communication


Steve Willis, Art and Design

Provost Fellow for Diversity

Steve Willis, Art and Design


Provost Fellows is a program designed to recognize outstanding faculty who have a special area of interest that is related to the mission, priorities and goals of the Office of the Provost. The position provides faculty with the opportunity and support to become engaged in an administrative, research or outreach activity. The term of the appointment varies with the type of assignment.


Excellence in Study Away Programming

Gwen Walstrand, Art and DesignGwen Walstrand, Art and Design

In 2014 the Study Away Advisory Committee created the Excellence in Study Away Programming award to recognize Missouri State faculty members who demonstrate excellence in developing and leading short-term study away programs. The recipient will receive $1,500 in professional development funds and an award.



Honors College Awards for Teaching, Research and Service

Larry George, Modern and Classical LanguagesMarcia Morriset Award for Outstanding Service to Honors Education

Larry George, Modern and Classical Languages

The Marcia Morriset Award for Outstanding Service to Honors Education recognizes the exceptional service, mentoring and advising accomplishments of MSU’s Honors College faculty and affiliated staff. The award was created in recognition of Marcia Morriset’s many years of service to the Honors College. The award is presented to a faculty or staff member who had contributed broadly to the advancement of Honors education at Missouri State University and has excelled at undergraduate mentorship and advising of Honors College students.



Citizenship and Service-Learning (CASL) Faculty Awards

Emanuelle Wessels, Media, Journalism and Film2013-2014 Research Stipend Award

Emanuelle Wessels, Media, Journalism and Film

The Research Stipend Awards recognizes faculty who have been awarded CASL Research Stipend Funds for direct service to the community, including community-based research involving students. Faculty selected for the CASL Research Stipend Award will present their findings at the FCTL Showcase in August.



Additional Recognitions

Margaret Weaver, EnglishA 2014 Mentoring, Support and Partnerships Program Mentor

Margaret Weaver, English

The University-based Mentoring, Support and Partnerships Program was created to increase the recruitment and retention rates of junior faculty/staff. Overall objectives of the program are for exceptional mentors to provide on-going support for outstanding faculty/staff from historically underrepresented groups to advance their success in the trilogy of scholarship, heighten their professional development and help them establish a sound identity and amiable sense of well-being at Missouri State University and in the Springfield community. Dr. Sabrina Brinson is the program coordinator and Dr. Julie Masterson is the program administrator.


Faculty Service Awards

10 Years of Service

Andrew Cline, Media, Journalism and Film
Marcus Howell, Art and Design
Timothy White, Media, Journalism and Film

15 Years of Service

Tracy Dalton, English
David Hays, Music
Michael Stowe, English
Steve Willis, Art and Design

20 Years of Service

Randy Dillon, Communication
Mary Harges, Modern and Classical Languages
Sarah Perkins, Art and Design
Margaret Weaver, English

25 Years of Service

James Baumlin, English
Mary Baumlin, English
Joel Chaston, English
Randy Hamm, Music
Jane Hoogestraat, English
Vonda Yarberry, Art and Design

35 Years of Service

Kristene Sutliff, English

40 Years of Service

Jerry Hatch, Art and Design

Service Awards honor faculty members who have reached a five-year longevity milestone in their years of service to Missouri State University. To qualify for a service award, employees must have worked full-time at Missouri State and reached a five-year milestone (10, 15, 20, etc.) within the 2013-2014 academic year to be honored at the April 2014 reception.


- Information courtesy Missouri State University’s 2014 All-Faculty Recognition Reception program

Additional faculty/staff/student accomplishments are featured throughout the year in COAL and departmental blogs.

Posted in Announcement, Art and Design, Communication, English, Faculty & Staff Accomplishments, Media Journalism and Film, Modern and Classical Languages, Music | Comments Off