The Department of Communication at St. Edward’s University prepares students for a creative career in one of today’s most challenging and rapidly changing fields — the global and interactive world of media and communication.
Communication is the cornerstone of everything we do, and one of the oldest disciplines, relying on rhetorical principles that date back over 2,000 years. It also is one of the newest academic fields of study, encompassing media, technological, organizational, intercultural, cultural, gender, health, political, interpersonal, family and group communication, as well as public speaking and rhetoric. Students explore these and other areas of study by focusing on complex ideas, such as how reality and cultural knowledge is produced, shared, maintained, repaired and transformed through the symbolic process of communication.
Through coursework and an internship, students explore the many aspects of verbal and nonverbal communication and how it influences human behavior and shapes society. Studies also prepare students for successful communication using a variety of mediums, including print, television, radio, film and the Internet.
Why Comm and not Comms?
You may wonder why we call ourselves the Department of Communication and not Communications. The simple answer is that we use the term “communication” to reflect our department’s focus on the social scientific and humanistic study of communication—specifically, the process by which humans use symbols, verbal and nonverbal, to create meaning and form relationships with other humans in face-to-face or mediated environments. This is the essence of what we teach, research, and do in our department. “Communications,” in contrast, is often used to refer to the products—the messages that are transmitted or distributed—or to the equipment (like wireless or fiber optic cables) that conducts the transmission. While these are integral elements of communication study, they do not form the basis for our program. People tend to use the terms interchangeably, and even some social science departments like ours use communications with the "s." But we prefer “communication” to emphasize our focus on the scientific study of communication rather than the more applied “art” of communicating.
Scholarships and Awards
The Marion Albert Leadership Scholarship
The purpose of the Marion Albert Leadership Scholarship is to assist Hispanic/Latina/o American students in completing their higher education at St. Edward's University. This scholarship is available on a competitive basis to undergraduate students of Hispanic/Latina/o background. Awards have ranged from $500-$2,500 (pending funding).
The Marilyn Schultz Scholarship
The purpose of the Marilyn Schultz Journalism Scholarship is to assist Journalism minors and Communication majors specializing in Media Arts and Broadcast Journalism in completing their higher education at St. Edward's University. This scholarship is available on a competitive basis to undergraduate students who have completed at least one year of study.
Associate Professor of Communication, Marilyn Schultz helped launch the careers of many young journalists at St. Edward's University. She was also the faculty adviser for the campus television station at St. Edward's. Dr. Schultz brought practical experience, scholarly credentials and a burning enthusiasm to her work as an associate professor of communication at St. Edward's University until her untimely death Sunday, January 10, 2013 after a brief illness. Dr. Schultz also worked as a reporter for an NBC affiliate in Washington that led to a class-action lawsuit against NBC and its affiliates in 1971 seeking equal opportunity and pay for women.
AWARD: Outstanding Communication Major
Every April at the St. Edward's Honors Night, the Communication faculty selects one or two students to receive the Outstanding Communication Major award.
This award is determined on the following merits:
- Student demonstrates consistently high-quality, polished, and insightful assignments.
- Student exemplifies excellence in the ten learning outcomes expected in Communication.
- Student serves as role model and representative inspiration for Communication majors.
Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA)
The Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) is the foremost organization for students interested in public relations and communications. This student organization seeks to advance the public relations profession by nurturing generations of future professionals. PRSSA has a rich history of support from its parent organization, which offers professional development and networking opportunities to help students launch a career in public relations.
Faculty Advisors: Nancy A. Reiter-Salisbury
Lambda Pi Eta (LPE)
Lambda Pi Eta (LPH) is the National Communication Association’s official honor society at four-year colleges and universities. LPH has more than 450 active chapters at four-year colleges and universities nationwide.
Lambda Pi Eta is designed to:
Recognize, foster and reward scholastic achievement
Stimulate interest in the field of communication
Promote professional development and interest in graduate studies among communication majors
Faculty Advisor: Teresita (Tere) Garza, Ph.D., Professor of Communication
Topper Radio is a student-run radio station which serves as an active channel of communication for students and faculty of St. Edward's University to express the University's values of high individuality through music, open dialogue and entertainment.
A creative film-making club for students interested in any aspect of film production.
Topper TV is a student-run broadcast network that offers entertainment for viewers at St. Edwards University. They can be found on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, where they provide news updates.
Brother Dunstan Bowles Persuasive Speaking Contest
The Brother Dunstan Bowles Persuasive Speaking Contest is held in honor of Brother Dunstan Bowles, who was famous for his dramas, humor, and dedication to faith. The contest is usually held the first Friday in April and is open to all students at St. Edward's University. Students perform in front of a panel of judges and a live audience. Each contestant must present an original seven to eight minute persuasive speech on a current social problem and advocate for change. Cash prizes are awarded to the first, second, and third place winners, but all contestants who participate will receive a certificate for their participation. View photos from the most recent contest.
The Communication Speaker Series
The Communication Speaker Series brings esteemed thinkers from a variety of disciplines to the St. Edward’s University community to encourage new thinking perspectives and critical thought. This program supports the mission of the university and the Communication department by promoting lifelong learning and encouraging the pursuit of social justice. Attendees are exposed to social and cultural issues and challenged to think critically about them. Attendees will enjoy this celebration of creative expression.
Communication majors who have completed high quality research and are interested in attending the National COMM Association (NCA) or Southern States COMM Association (SSCA) conference need a faculty mentor’s approval and supervision. You can find more information on the NCA's website and the SSCA's website.
Marlisa Goldsmith '11
Santino Fernandez '17 [bachelor's degree]
One of our international students from the Philippines was featured along with his Hot Pot Comedy group. They are creating a movement spotlighting Asian and Asian American struggles through comedy.
Hot Pot performance (Sat. 2/17/2018) at The New MovemenTheater: 616 La Vaca
Dr. Valerie Thatcher publishes a chapter entitled, "Text + Field Innovations in Rhetorical Method"
Valerie Thatcher, Ph.D., esteemed COMM alumna & award winning contingent faculty member has published a chapter in the new Penn State University Press book entitled, Text + Field Innovations in Rhetorical Method
Victoria Gutierrez Pineda '00 [bachelor's degree]
Victoria Gutierrez Pineda '00 [bachelor's degree] was awarded the St. Edward’s Alumni Achievement Award. Victoria majored in Communication and particularly enjoyed classes in rhetorical and cultural studies. After graduation, she combined her passion for communication and service with philanthropic work as a professional fundraiser. During the last decade, Victoria has conducted over 500 charity auctions, raising more than $40 million for nonprofit organizations. Previously, she served as the director of development for the University of Texas at El Paso in the College of Science. Now she serves as the assistant vice chancellor for institutional advancement at Texas Tech Health Sciences Center.
Shayma Abu-Esba '13 [bachelor's degree]
Shayma Abu-Esba was an intern in the Marketing Office for three years and graduated in 2013 with a Communication degree. She is now a marketing project manager at CLEAResult, a company that designs, markets and implements energy efficiency programs for utilities, businesses and residential energy customers.
Melinda O'Cañas '10 [bachelor's degree]
Melinda O'Cañas graduated in 2010 with a Communication degree. She found a rewarding job helping others as a diabetes care specialist at Novo Nordisk, a multinational pharmaceutical company listed on the 2015 FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For®.
Dr. Billy Earnest Announces Publication of New Textbook on Lying and Deception