Thank you for visiting my site! I’m a professor of speech communication and chair of the Humanities Division. I am absolutely humbled to be teaching at such a fine academic institution as Westminster College.
I grew up as a Southern California beach bum in Garden Grove, CA. When I entered college, I had no idea where my life direction would take me. After wandering about aimlessly for a couple of years taking various classes at a local community college (Golden West College in Huntington Beach), I enrolled in an interpersonal communication course just prior to my moving on to a four-year university. My dynamic professor, Jon Smedley, may not have known it at the time, but he inspired me to follow in his footsteps and become a college professor in the field of speech communication. (I also had another pretty good personal and academic role model, my father, who was a decorated history professor and scholar for over 35 years.)
I earned my bachelor's and master's degrees from California State University at Long Beach
, and I taught for two years as a teaching fellow at CSULB. When I finished graduate school, I abandoned the beach for Iowa cornfields to join the faculty at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. I’m still an avid UNI Panther football
and basketball fan
(in addition to following my SoCal teams, the Lakers, Dodgers, Angels, Long Beach, USC, and UCLA). I met my wife in Iowa, and we got married three weeks before I came to Westminster College in August 1990.
I’m very passionate about my teaching. My areas of specialty are interpersonal communication, business communication, and public address. I've taught various courses in each of those areas, and I've extended into public relations and occasionally dabbled in political communication. However, interpersonal is my favorite. In any class I teach, I definitely believe in the "students learn best by doing" method as a teaching philosophy. For example, my public address students write and perform speeches. Public Relations students conduct an on-campus PR campaign. Students in Business and Professional Communication interview and give sales presentations, often to off-campus professionals. I love teaching at Westminster College.
There’s no question that the best education comes from maintaining the consistency of a well-qualified faculty. Therefore, I am a proud member of the American Association of University Professors
. I recently finished serving two terms as president of the Missouri AAUP
, and I’m continuing on the MOAAUP Executive Board as immediate Past-President.
Since professionals and those entering the workforce are probably evaluated on their communication abilities
as much as anything, my goal is for my students to establish strong skills in public speaking, interpersonal communication, leadership, and listening. I strongly encourage students to put forth their best efforts not only in my classes but also in every class they take. Sadly, education seems to be the one industry in which many "consumers" actually try to get the least they can for their money. However, “student as consumer” is a metaphor I would never use in reality. Students are not customers, and professors are definitely not in the customer-service business. A college degree must be earned with a student’s hard work. It can’t be purchased, and there can be no shortcuts. Students who are prepared for college already know this. There are things students need to know that they can only learn in college.
My research interests focus mainly on speech education and other higher education issues in academic freedom, tenure, and faculty governance. I enjoy presenting at professional conferences, and I’ve had academic articles published in state and national journals.
On the personal side of things, I’m a Seinfeld and ESPN junkie. My wife and I have two teenagers, a daughter in college and a son in high school. I love the outdoors, and, in particular, I very much enjoy biking on the Katy Trail
and hiking. By far, my favorite hike culminated in making it to the top of Half Dome
in Yosemite National Park in Northern California. I’m also fortunate to get back to Southern California occasionally where I love going to the beach to ride waves on a bodyboard.
I’m heavily involved in community service. I’m a regular blood donor for the American Red Cross
, and I’ve donated more than 120 pints of blood. In addition, since I’ve lost a number of friends and family members (including my father) to cancer, I do a lot of volunteer work with the American Cancer Society
. In fact, I’ve captained the Westminster College ACS Relay For Life
team for 14 years. In that span, we’ve raised over $67,000 for the ACS. If anyone reading this would like to support our RFL team and join in the fight against cancer, please send your check made out to the American Cancer Society to me in care of Westminster College at any time.
While I love being active, some of my favorite times are spent relaxing alone at Panera Bread. There’s just something about that place that infuses my spirit with a sense of calm. You’ll often find me there in the early morning munching on an everything bagel or pumpkin muffin, drinking piping hot coffee, and losing myself in a book while listening to rock or contemporary jazz on my iPod.