Faculty Bios

Mark Birschbach, Instructor

Mark joins the faculty of Radford University after more than thirty years in the advertising profession primarily on the creative side of the business. In addition to positions with agencies and Miller Brewing Company, he owned and operated his own advertising agency Zymbok.  He has created and produced print, radio, TV and web-based campaigns. Just a few of the advertising clients Mark worked on include Lawn Boy Lawn Mowers, Sargento Cheese, Kohler Company, Miller Lite and US Robotics. He also taught advertising at Southern Illinois University.

His Masters Degree in Advertising is from Northwestern University, Medill School of Journalism.

West Bowers, Associate Professor
Teaching and research interests: TV production, web design, and pedagogical uses of new media.

Dr. Bowers earned his B.A. in Media Studies and Dramatic Arts from UNC-Chapel Hill, his M.F.A. in Television Production from Loyola Marymount University, and his Ph.D. in Mass Communications from the University of Florida. His research focuses on the uses of various communication systems for teaching purposes.

Courtney Bosworth, Associate Professor
Teaching and research interests: Advertising, media studies

Dr. Bosworth earned his B.S. and M.A. at the University of Florida and his Ph.D. at the University of Georgia, where he wrote a dissertation entitled, “Online computer media use in the home: A study of uses-and-effects." Bosworth has also worked at the Ocala Economic Development Council as a research assistant, promoting the area for business expansion and economic growth. He also worked for the Chain Store Guide Information Services (CSGIS), Division of Lebhar-Friedman Publishing, first as a marketing associate and then as a marketing information editor. While at CSGIS Dr. Bosworth was a member of its strategic planning and horizons planning committees.

John Brummette, Associate Professor/Interim Associate Dean for the College of Graduate Studies and Research
Teaching and research interests: Public relations, crisis communication, issues management and organizational legitimacy

Dr. Brummette earned a B.A. in Communication and Rhetoric from the University of Pittsburgh in 2001, his master’s degree in Corporate and Professional Communication from Radford University in 2003 and his doctorate in Communication and Information from the University of Tennessee - Knoxville in 2008. He taught at Lincoln Memorial University and worked as a community liaison for the Safety, Environment, and Education Center, and has continued that interest as a member of the RU Alcohol/Drug Prevention Task Force.

Kathleen Degnon, Instructor
Teaching and research interests: Communication, public speaking, intercultural communication, and public relations

Ms. Degnon earned her B.S. in Communication and M.S. in Corporate and Professional Communication at Radford University.

Scott Dunn, Associate Professor
Teaching and research interests: Communication, public speaking

Dr. Dunn earned his Bachelor's degree and MA at Virginia Tech, and his Ph. D at the University of North Carolina. He was appointed to the position of Graduate Coordinator for our graduate program  in May 2017. Dr. Dunn also serves as the Faculty Senate representative for the School of Communication.

Sandy French, Associate Professor
Teaching and research interests: organizational communication; business rhetoric; corporate reputation management; leadership.

Dr. French earned her B.S. at Radford University, M.A. at Wake Forest University and Ph.D. at Pennsylvania State University. She currently serves as Associate Editor for the Journal of Business Communication. Her research has been published in the Journal of Applied Communication, the Southern Communication Journal, the Journal of Business Communication, and Business Communication Quarterly. 

Kimberly Herbert, Instructor

Kim Herbert received her Bachelor’s Degree in Communication from Radford University and her Master’s Degree in Public Communication from The American University.  She previously served as the Director of Advising for the College of Sciences at Old Dominion University and an Adjunct Professor of Communication at Old Dominion, George Mason University and Northern Virginia Community College.  Kim also has professional experience in Career Advising, Recruiting and Public Relations. She is currently an advisor for Lambda Pi Eta and Delta Zeta Sorority.

Sam Jennings, Assistant Professor
Teaching and research interests: Web design, social media, digital Imaging, visual communication, computers as social actors (intelligent user interfaces), and instructional technology.

Dr. Jennings earned his B.A. degree in sociology and a second B.A. with a double major in computer science and business administration from Mary Baldwin College, his M.A. in Instructional Technology, and Ph.D. in Instructional Design and Technology from Virginia Tech. He is an experienced webmaster, system engineer, and eLearning consultant for a variety of organizations including industry (fortune 100, 500 and Global 2000 companies), health care, local government, law enforcement, and technical schools. In addition to experience in the field, he has taught computer science at both the high school and community college levels and maintains certification to teach k-12 computer science in the Commonwealth of Virginia. His course website is www.radford.edu/sjennings.

Twange Kasoma, Associate Professor

Teaching interests: Journalism, international communication, development communication, research methods, media and society, and study abroad. Research interests: Journalistic professionalism, development and science communication, gender and the media, role of the media in African society, and media regulation. 

Dr. Kasoma, who is the current Faculty Advisor for The Tartan, earned her doctorate in media and society from the University of Oregon. She also holds a master’s degree in journalism from Arkansas State University, and a bachelor of mass communication degree from the University of Zambia. She has done journalistic work in Zambia, Ghana, and the U.S. Dr. Kasoma has also authored journal articles and a book chapter on journalistic professionalism and the role of the media in society.

Leigh Anne Kelley, Instructor
Teaching and research interests: Advertising, business journalism, copywriting, web design

Ms. Kelley earned her B.A. at the University of Virginia and her M.A. at Hollins College. She was managing editor of Virginia Business Magazine before switching to new media as the first regional content manager for Media General's interactive division. She was also Online Business Development Manager for Roanoke.com before joining the Radford University School of Communication.

Betty Kennan, Instructor
Teaching and research interests: interpersonal communication, teamwork, and communication trends.

Betty Kennan received her Bachelors of Science in Education and Masters of Arts in Communication from West Texas A & M University.  She has taught basic communication courses in Texas and Virginia and joined the School of Communication at Radford University in 2005.  In addition to supervising students in the School of Communication in their internships, she teaches Listening/Nonverbal, Interpersonal Communication, and Teamwork.  Betty serves as mentor to students presenting research at local, regional, and national conferences.

Bill Kovarik, Professor
Teaching and research interests: journalism, media history, media law, science & environmental writing, visual communication, digital imaging. Research interests - media history, environmental history.

Dr. Kovarik earned his B.S. at VCU, his M.A. at the University of South Carolina and his PhD at the University of Maryland. He has extensive exerience with wire services and daily newspapers, and has written several books about the media, including Mass Media and Environmental Conflict (1996), Web Design for Mass Media (2001) and Revolutions in Communication (2011).

Michael J. Meindl, Assistant Professor
Teaching and research interests: Digital video and audio production, digital photography, motion-capture, interactive media, mediated performance, human-computer interaction, theatre, video games, animation, robotics, puppetry, gender and masculinity studies, and aesthetic philosophy.

Mr. Meindl received his M.F.A. in Dramatic Media from the University of Georgia. He also holds an M.A. and B.A. in Theatre Studies from Oklahoma State University and the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, respectively. He has worked in a variety of areas, including theatre and film and has a special interest in bridging the gaps between these and other areas, including computer science and engineering. As a video artist, he has worked with the National Geographic Channel, providing motion-capture services, as well as the New York Public Library and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, filming special events (some of his footage has been shown to the United States Congress). He has also worked on commercials and short documentaries. Through his own production company, he is currently working on a feature-length documentary investigating the intersection between puppetry and the LGBTQ community. Since its inception in 2014, Michael has been a judge for the International Red Dirt Film Festival held in Stillwater, OK.

Matthew J. Smith, Professor and Director
Teaching and research interests: Graphic storytelling, media history, critical methods

Dr. Smith earned his bachelor’s degree in English from West Liberty State College and his master’s in English and doctorate in Interpersonal Communication from Ohio University. He is the co-editor, along with Randy Duncan, of the Routledge Advances in Comics Studies Series. In collaboration with Duncan and Paul Levitz, he is co-author of The Power of Comics: History, Form and Culture, 2nd Edition. Smith’s previous collaborations include It Happens at Comic-Con: Ethnographic Essays on a Pop Culture Phenomenon and the Eisner-nominated Critical Approaches to Comics: Theories and Methods. Each summer he leads the Experience at Comic-Con, with details at www.powerofcomics.com/fieldstudy. Previously, he was chair of the Department of Communication and Director of Cinema Studies at Wittenberg University in Ohio. 

Joe Staniunas Jr., Instructor
Teaching and research interests: Journalism, digital audio, media law and ethics.

Mr. Staniunas is an experienced television and radio news professional. He is currently researching the media use of cameras in courts in Virginia. His professional career began as a News Director and Announcer for a radio station in the late '70s and moved to positions such as a Contributing Writer for a magazine, a reporter, and most recently an Assignment Editor for the leading television station in the Roanoke market, CBS affiliate WDBJ-7. As an Assignment Editor, Staniunas supervised a news department of 45 anchors, reporters, producers, and photographers. Along with the supervising, he trained student interns and assisted news director with budget preparation and computer system management.

Matthew Turner, Associate Professor 
Teaching and research interests: Media production, Interdisciplinary studies, comedy, semiotics, film and video production and editing.

Dr. Turner earned his B.A. in Communication and B.A. in English at Virginia Tech, and earned his M.A. in Telecommunication and Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Arts both at Ohio University. Dr. Turner also enjoys teaching interdisciplinary classes, such as a course he originated on Brazilian arts and media. Dr. Turner’s dissertation “Signs of Comedy: A Semiotic Approach to Comedy in the Arts” looks at how comedy creates and subverts meaning in a variety of art forms. Dr. Turner has presented at numerous national and international conferences in interdisciplinary studies, theater, art history, philosophy, English, popular culture, and film. He has also published articles and book chapters on comedy Westerns, “Weird Al” Yankovic, and the Marx Brothers. Dr. Turner has worked as an editor and consultant to Jonesfilm Group Ltd. and has edited several documentary films for them. Dr. Turner’s travels and interest in international education have led him to teach students on five continents. Dr. Turner currently serves as Interim Chair of the department of Foreign Languages and Literature at Radford University.

Lisa Baker Webster, Associate Professor
Teaching and research interests: public relations, IMC, gender communication

Dr. Baker Webster is an Associate Professor of Communication at Radford University and the Cordinator for our Communication Studies Degree. She earned two master degrees from The University of Alabama and her doctorate from Bowling Green State University. Dr. Baker-Webster currently serves as the Coordinator for the Communication Studies major in our School.

Shuo Yao, Associate Professor
Teaching and research interests: Communication, research methods, communication theory, persuasion, conflict management, and International and Intercultural Communication.

Dr. Yao earned her B.A. and M.A. in International Relations at Peking University and her Ph.D. at the University of Maryland.

Lynn M. Zoch, Professor
Teaching and research interests: Public relations management, media relations, research methods, nonprofit public relations, pedagogy

Dr. Zoch earned an M.S. in public relations management and a Ph.D. in public communication with an emphasis on organizational communication from Syracuse University. She is the author of numerous published book chapters, articles and reviews and has presented her work at national and international conferences. Dr. Zoch has been a member of the Public Relations Society of American since 1994, and served on the board of the Educator’s Academy. She has worked in nonprofit and educational public relations and continues to consult in those areas.