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Changes for Comm & Theatre Department

BY JULIANA VERHAGE | STAFF WRITER

Professor Kathleen Czech is leaving PLNU after this fall semester making her the fifth full time professor to leave the Communication and Theatre Department in the past two years. Czech teaches Managerial and Organizational Communication.
Czech is leaving the department at the end of this fall semester and will be teaching at San Diego State University in its School of Communication.
“I feel there are more opportunities for growth there in my field, as cuts and support have been extreme to our department at PLNU,” Czech said. “While I cannot speak for all who have left I know that a general sentiment has been the school’s choice to focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and cut humanity programs.”
This will leave the department and students without yet another one of its professors following the death of Dr. G.L. Forward in August.
“We know it’s been tough on her having G.L. gone but we’re happy for her that she got this new job at San Diego State, we’re excited for her,” said senior Andrew Borland, MOCM
major and Associated Student Body president, “but we’re going to miss her a lot.”
In the Spring, Czech’s classes will be taught by adjuncts until a permanent replacement is hired by next fall.
“In general adjuncts do not usually hold a doctoral degree and in this case many of the adjuncts teaching in the spring do not hold a degree in communication,” Czech said.
Junior MOCM major, Brett Bey shared his thoughts about Czech leaving.
“She has inspired more of a passion in me for my vocation than I thought I ever could possess. For all her work and dedication to the Communication department, our field of research, and our success as students and human beings. I am eternally grateful to Kathleen Czech.”
Leaving at the end of the 2014 school year, Dr. Clark Greer accepted a position at Liberty College in Vir- ginia. Greer taught classes for Broad- cast Journalism, a joint major with the Department of Communication and Theatre and the Department of Lit- erature, Journalism, and Modern Languages (LJML).
His position has not since been permanently replaced with a full time professor, only adjuncts. “What hap- pens long term, I don’t know,” said Dr. Skip Rutledge, current Chair of the Department of Communication and Theatre and Director of Forensics.
Both the Communication and Theatre and LJML are undergoing a program review. Because of this, re- placing Greer in the Broadcast Journalism major is “one of those things that has been put on the back burner,” said Rutledge.
In the spring, Dr. Paul Bassett, stepped down as Chair of the Department and retired, after 37 years of teaching at PLNU. He was also the theater director.
His position has not been filled either. With the recent reprioritization on campus, every department on campus went through an in depth review to “determine whether current expenditures were legitimized,” said Rutledge, “to trim areas that could be trimmed.”
It was decided that a major in Theatre would no longer be offered. At that time, Bassett made the decision to retire. Now, three other professors in the department cover the theatre classes – Dr. Wally Williams, Dr. Ronda Winderl, and Professor Brian Redfern
Professor and Assistant Director of Forensics Melissa Lazaro left last semester, after about 15 years teaching at PLNU.
“She was kind of lured away by is God’s dream come true when we recognize that there exists no daylight between us,” and them.
Bom works at RefugeeNet in San Diego, formerly known as the Episcopal Refugee Network, whose online mission states that they are “a non-profit organization that has been helping the refugee community for over 20 years.” RefugeeNet provides families with assistance in obtaining social security cards, driver’s licenses, schooling, health care, food stamps and household goods.
Bom moved to the United States as a refugee from what is now South Sudan, in 1992, and has not returned since.
“It was not easy to come to the U.S,” said Bom. “When we first came here, we were in City Heights. Ten people in a two-bedroom apartment.” She shared her experience working 16 hour days in order to move her family into better housing and how the food
private industry,” Rutledge said. “A lot of professors who are here could be making a lot more in the private industry.” Lazaro worked in consulting and training before coming to PLNU.
A job application to fill her position has been posted and Rutledge hopes for good responses. Currently, she is replaced by non-permanent visiting professor, Lorina Schrauger. Schrauger will only be at PLNU through spring semester because her husband, who is in the military, is set to be stationed elsewhere, according to Rutledge.
Following his death in early Au- gust, Dr. Forward’s position was filled by Professor Melissa Newman. For- ward taught MOCM alongside Czech.
“The hand of God was so appar- ent in bringing Dr. Newman here with G.L.’s situation,” Rutledge said. A friend of hers suggested she apply for an adjunct position in the depart- ment, but they had all been filled by the time her application came in. “But I read her application and thought ‘Oh my goodness, she would be absolutely amazing if for some reason we had any difficulties in our organizational communication area.’”
With Forward’s death, she was contacted and hired immediately. She was hired as a non-permanent visiting professor.
Borland shared his thoughts about Newman.
“With GL passing there is no good way to bring in a new professor, it’s just going to be a tough situation. Luckily,
Dr. Newman came in and handled it with a lot of grace. She’s been very respectful of the situation and she’s also a great professor. So far the students have connected with her very well.”
According to Rutledge, the loss of these staff members will not affect which classes will be offered, the amount offered, or any student’s ability to graduate.
“We trust in the department and in the administration that they’re going to bring in great professors, like the professors that we already have,” Borland said. “We know it’s a process, but I think people in the major are excited to see who our new professors are going to be.”

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Jordan Ligons

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