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.

Professional Organizations

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: Julie Armstrong, M.A. & Corinne Weisgerber, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Communication

PRSSA Photos

Working with the new PRSSA officers for SP17

Working with the new officers for SP17

PRSSA Holiday Party Fall 2016

Flyer for PRSSA Holiday Party Fall 2017

National Communication Association’s official honor society at four-year colleges and universities

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., Associate Professor of Communication




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.


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.

Faculty & Staff

Student Organizations

Communication Society (CoSo)


The Communication Society (CoSo) has a 20-year history on the St. Edward's campus. The organization provides social and networking opportunities for Communication majors, but anyone with an interest in communication is welcome to join. CoSo is active in student life and won the "Student Life Organization of the Year Award" just two years ago. In the past, members have attended the National Communication Association meetings in Chicago and Orlando.

Faculty Advisor: William (Billy) Earnest, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Communication

Topper Radio

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.

Topper Studios

A creative film-making club for students interested in any aspect of film production.

Topper TV

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.

Women Empowerment (WE)

The purpose of Women Empowerment is to foster an environment that promotes empowerment, identity, strength, and unity to lift our voices and express our concerns on important social, sexual, cultural, political, and media-influenced issues through open discussion, activism in the community, and seminars.

Founded in Fall 2013 by Manish Verma (Freshman), Communication Major, Women Empowerment hosts roundtable discussion groups and seminars featuring guest speakers on a variety of issues addressing women today. Women Empowerment will confront the vast gender discrimination facing women and strive to improve St. Edward’s University, the Austin community, and the world, through exercising our strong, unified voice for social activism and promoting humanitarian work.

Information Session Women Empowerment Fall 2016

President, Natalie Sizemore

Primary Faculty Advisor: Teri Varner, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Communication; ROC Representative: Luana Chaires


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.


Alumni Spotlight

Dr. Valerie Thatcher publishes a chapter entitled, "Text + Field Innovations in Rhetorical Method"

Dr. Valerie Thatcher Murphy

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®.

Communication Blog

Careers in Communication, Design & Writing  Spring 2017

Careers in Communication January 2016

Dr. Billy Earnest Announces Publication of New Textbook on Lying and Deception

Lying and Deception in Human Interaction (2015)

2016 Communication Major Meeting

COMM Faculty and Staff 09/2016

More Photos

More photos from 2016 COMM Majors Meeting

Julie Armstrong Talks about PRSSA at 2016 COMM Majors Meeting

Julie Armstrong Talks about PRSSA at 2016 COMM Majors Meeting

Communication Major Christine Mafana Featured St. Edward’s University Scholar

Christina Mafana

Communication major Christine Mafana was one of three undergraduate students featured in a recent scholarship awareness campaign. As a recipient of a Rodeo Austin scholarship, Christine was selected to share her experience with other aspiring undergraduates. Christine’s scholarship was made possible through Rodeo Austin and the Nelson Puett Foundation in partnership with Texas colleges and universities.
We congratulate Christine on her scholarship and thank her for sharing this scholarship opportunity!

Link to the video featuring Christine:


To learn more about this Scholarship:


To learn about more Scholarships: