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

COAL Homecoming: Former communication professor to be inducted into Wall of Fame

Donal StantonCome celebrate as COAL’s own Dr. Donal Stanton, professor emeritus of the communication department, is added to the MSU Wall of Fame — located outside the ballroom in the Plaster Student Union (3rd floor)— on Friday, Oct. 17 at 4 p.m. Other 2014 Wall of Fame inductees include Linda Johnson, Marty Marty, John McAlear and Dr. George Swales.

About Donal Stanton

Stanton created the socio-political communication major in the College of Arts and Letters at Missouri State. He used his passion for rhetoric and the political process to improve the life of the campus and community at large and led generations of Bears to become great debaters.

Schedule of events

Please RSVP to Dr. Eric Morris by Wednesday, Oct. 15.

Posted in Communication, Event, News | Tagged | Leave a comment

Communication department head to present collaborative research at NCA conference

ShawnWahl-KSMU-InterviewDr. Shawn Wahl, head of the communication department, will be presenting at the National Communication Association’s centennial convention, to be held Nov. 20-23 in Chicago. Wahl will join other panelists in the NCA Department Chairs Forum to discuss the first phase in the Learning Outcomes in Communication (LOC) project, a three-year initiative funded by the Lumina Foundation.

The objectives of the LOC project are to productively support curriculum planning and improvement within the communication discipline, and to help position communication centrally in institutions’ general education curriculum development efforts. In Phase I, the “Tuning” phase, six groups of communication faculty members, including Wahl, worked to identify the disciplinary core and map career pathways, and then sought feedback from various stakeholders, including potential employers, other disciplinary faculty, and civic groups—a process known as tuning.

Wahl and others from those groups will present their findings at the forum scheduled Nov. 21 from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m.

Posted in Announcement, College of Arts and Letters, Communication, Faculty News | Leave a comment

Professor to be awarded for work in mediation

Charlene BerquistCommunication professor and director for the Center for Dispute Resolution, Dr. Charlene Berquist, will be awarded by the Association of Missouri Mediators at its Oct. 17 annual conference in St. Louis.

The non-profit organization, based in Jefferson City, promotes the use of mediation, an alternative dispute resolution, and co-sponsors regional training conferences for students and professionals. President of the association, Jim Reeves, said they chose Berquist for the Association of Missouri Mediators President’s Award because of the strides she’s taken to develop Missouri State’s dispute resolution program and her contributions to the field of mediation.

Posted in Announcement, awards, Center for Dispute Resolution, College of Arts and Letters, Communication, Faculty & Staff Accomplishments, Faculty Accomplishment, Faculty News | 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.

Posted in Announcement, Communication, Event, Guest Scholar, News | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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 | Leave a comment

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

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

Posted in Communication, Faculty Accomplishment | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

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.”

Posted in Communication, News | Comments Off