The Communications program at Missouri Baptist University builds a strong foundation in understanding the important aspects of the broad field of communications. After taking introductory survey courses, students have the opportunity to pursue personalized study in one of three majors. These majors are designed to recognize competence as well as help students identify and build individual strengths and interests.
A student majoring in Communications must complete 49 semester hours as described below. The curriculum consists of the Communications Core plus a Communications major.
COMMUNICATIONS CORE: 21 hours
The Communications Core, required of all communications majors, focuses on a broad knowledge base, introducing widely divergent areas of the field of communications. In addition, the Communications Core serves as an introduction to the Communications majors.
COEN 223 Basic Reporting and Writing for Journalism
COMM 203 Understanding Human Communication
COMM 223 Intro to Mass Media
COMM 263 Introduction to Audio and Video Communications
COMR 383 Media Technologies
COMM 412 Media Interviewing Theory and Techniques
COMM 461 Senior Communications Seminar
COMM 483 Media Law and Ethics
COMMUNICATIONS STUDIES MAJOR: 30 hours
COMM 333 Small Group Communication
COMR 373 Principles of Public Relations
COMM 473 Communications Studies Internship
COEN 323 Advanced Reporting and Writing for Journalism
COMT 353 Convergent Media
Upper Division Elective Communications Courses: 18 hours
COMMUNICATION STUDIES MINOR: 21 hours
COEN 223 Basic Reporting and Writing for Journalism
COMM 223 Introduction to Mass Media
COMM 263 Introduction to Audio and Video Communications
COMM 313 Applied Public Speaking
COMR 373 Principles of Public Relations
COMR 383 Media Technologies
COMM 483 Media Law and Ethics
DMA in Choral Music, Arizona State University, 1998
MM in Choral Conducting, Texas State-San Marcos, 1986
BME in K-12 Vocal Music from Baylor University, 1979
Dr. Smith serves as Chair for the Fine Arts Division at MBU and Director of the MBU Honors Program. He served public schools in Ft. Worth, Texas and Fullerton, California before embarking on his college teaching career in 1990. He also sang professionally with the Oregon Bach Festival Chorus, Musica Viva of San Bernardino CA, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra Chorus, and the Phoenix Bach Society (now the Phoenix Chorale).
He has been a worship leader for churches in Texas, California, Arizona, Oregon, and currently serves as Director of Traditional Worship at St. Paul’s Evangelical Church in St. Louis. Dr. Smith has directed honor choirs in Texas, California, Missouri, Illinois, and Washington and is a frequent clinician and judge for high school festivals. Most recently, he was the choral clinician and Honor Choir Director for the 2013 ACSI Northwest Musicale in Seattle, Washington. In May 2014, Dr. Smith led members of the MBU Chorale and Choral Society on their fifth European tour, performing and ministering in Austria and Czech Republic.
When Professor Bennett teaches Broadcast Media courses she is drawing upon her 26 years of engineering experience with KSDK, Channel 5—St. Louis. In addition to her work at KSDK, Ms. Bennett has assisted with the production of St. Louis baseball, football, and hockey broadcasts. She also did freelance work on a PBS television series. Besides overseeing Timeline, Professor Bennett supervises the University’s production studio and video projects. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University and a master’s degree from the University of Southern Mississippi.
Cathy Benton serves as Professor of Music and Director of the MBU Ringers. Dr. Benton has a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Murray State University, a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance from Webster University, and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano performance from UMKC. Dr. Benton performs as a soloist and accompanist on the piano, organ and harpsichord and has been an adjudicator and clinician for numerous keyboard festivals and workshops. She is currently organist/pianist at Kirk of the Hills Presbyterian Church in St. Louis. Dr. Benton was honored for her achievements in teaching by being included in several editions of Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. She was also awarded the Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award. Dr. Benton is a member of SLAMTA, MMTA, MTNA, National Guild of Piano Teachers, the Handbell Association of Greater St. Louis, the Handbell Musicians of America, and NAfME. She is the Immediate Past President of the Missouri Music Teachers Association (MMTA) and is currently serving as Missouri State Chair for the Handbell Musicians of America.
Dr. Blackmon serves as Associate Professor of Music and Director of Worship Arts at Missouri Baptist University in St. Louis, Missouri. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Dr. Blackmon directs the MBU ministry groups and oversees the Worship Arts program. Prior to his appointment at MBU, he taught at Houston Baptist University in Houston, Texas, and in the School of Church Music at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Dr. Blackmon holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Howard Payne University, a Master of Music degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Church Music and Worship, also from Southwestern Seminary. Dr. Blackmon has served in music ministry in various churches for 20 years and has a passion for church music and worship that is biblically-based and pastoral in nature. He holds memberships in the International Council of Ethnodoxologists (ICE), the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS), Society for the Arts in Religious and Theological Studies (SARTS), and American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). Dr. Blackmon has presented research papers at several major conferences, is active as a public speaker, and has published several articles in print and online journals.
Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities
Jordan Cox is the Director of Choral Activities at Missouri Baptist University. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Music Education with emphasis in Choral Conducting from the University of Missouri and holds a Master of Arts in Religion in Worship Studies from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and a Bachelor of Music Education with K-12 vocal certification from MBU. Prior to joining the faculty of MBU, Mr. Cox taught 6-12 grade vocal music in the Jackson and Cape Girardeau school districts where his ensembles earned top ratings at district and state events as well as received the Outstanding Beginning Teacher award and Southeast District Outstanding District Director award from the Missouri Choral Directors Association. Mr. Cox serves as the Exhibit Coordinator for MCDA and is also an active member of MMEA and NAfME. Mr. Cox has also lead worship at numerous churches, conferences, and events throughout Missouri and currently serves as a worship pastor at First Baptist Church of Ellisville, where he attends with his wife Kasey and two children, Noah and Jobi.
Instructor of Communications & Theatre; Director of In Charactre
Kasey Cox is a 2010 graduate of Missouri Baptist University with a degree in Musical Theatre and a 2014 graduate of Fontbonne University with a Master of Arts in Theatre. She has participated in over sixty full-length productions ranging from high school to community to collegiate to professional. Some of her favorite roles include Sally (You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown), Woman 1 (Songs for a New World), Rosie (Bye Bye Birdie), and Jo (Little Women: The Musical) She was the Artistic Director and founder of Acting Out!, Cape Girardeau, MO’s premiere theatre company, from 2013-2015 and currently serves on the board of Silhouette Productions in St. Louis. She is also an active member of STAM and EdTA and has presented at a local and statewide level. Kasey has been participating as an actor and a director in drama ministry for 16 years, training with nationally recognized ministries such as The Applied Theatre Center, New Life Drama Company, and Youth With a Mission. She has performed in churches across the country using methods ranging from scenes to human videos to Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed. She currently directs In Charactre, Missouri Baptist University’s drama ministry team, and teaches courses such as History of Theatre I & II, Drama in Ministry, Oral Interpretation of Literature, and Introduction to Theatre.
Dr. Ladd Faszold has degrees from Southeast Missouri State University (Bachelor on Music Education–Choral), New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (Master of Church Music with an emphasis in composition), and University of Memphis (Doctor of Musical Arts in Sacred Music–composition). He teaches courses in advanced theory, music history, and composition. He is a composer of choral, chamber, and orchestral works. Twice local orchestras have performed his symphony, London, 1940. Dr. Faszold performs with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra Chorus. With this ensemble he has worked under world-renown conductors, such as Leonard Slatkin, Robert Shaw, and David Robertson, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, and participated in several major label recordings. He is a voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), which annually presents the Grammy Awards. For 30 years Dr. Faszold has conducted various churches as worship leader and choir conductor.
Dr. Means brings more than 25 years of experience to his teaching position at Missouri Baptist University, including 12 in the newspaper business followed by 13 in higher education. After graduating from Baylor University in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in radio/TV/film, Means did nearly everything in the newspaper business from reporter to editor, and all points in between, before going back to school and earning his master’s degree from the University of West Florida in 1998. After teaching and directing journalism programs at Morris College and Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Means went back to school and earned his doctorate in mass communication from the University of Southern Mississippi, where he also taught journalism courses. Dr. Means went on to teach and conduct research at Baylor University before joining MBU in fall 2011. Teaching journalism is Dr. Means’ passion and he is glad to be at a Christian university that cultivates learning and faith.
Ms. Powell joined the MBU faculty in 2006. She also serves as the Worship Leader for Third Baptist Church, Granite City, IL. She received her B.S. in Musical Theatre Performance at Ball State University, her M.A. in Theatre from Lindenwood University, and her PhD in Theatre at University of Missouri-Columbia. Her favorite directing credits at MBU include Fiddler on the Roof, Steel Magnolias, The Diary of Anne Frank, Little Women, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Other directing credits include Big River (SIUE), The Music Man (SIUE), and Peter Pan (Spotlight Productions). Some of her favorite performances credits include Ensemble in Aida (MUNY), Ensemble in Oliver! (MUNY), Sister Mary Hubert in Nunsense I & II (SIUE), Sonia in Godspell (SIUE), Chiffon in Little Shop of Horrors (SIUE), Georgia in Curtains (Kirkwood Theatre) and as a collaborator/performer in the cabaret shows Two Tables for One (MBU) and Like Totally 80s (Lemming Armada and MBU) as well as several concerts at the Sheldon Concert Hall.
Amanda Staggenborg is an Instructor of Public Relations and communications at Missouri Baptist University. Her research areas of interest are corporate public relations, media strategy, media law, organizational communications, crisis communications and social media ethics. She was nominated for the 2013 Kemper Award for Excellence in Teaching. She is a member of the Public Relations Society of America, the International Public Relations Association, the International Association of Business Communicators, the Central States Communications Association and St. Louis Women in Media. Her experience includes the Missouri Division of Tourism and St. Elizabeth Academy and has consulted for several St. Louis organizations. She proudly directs the Communications Media Talk, which features prominent communications professionals in the St. Louis region.
Shane Williams celebrates his premier season with Missouri Baptist University where he currently holds the post of Director of Bands.
Mr. Williams has guest conducted in Europe with the Zapadocesky Symphonic Orchestra of the Czech Republic and the United States with the St. Louis Philharmonic, the Illinois Symphony, the Kirkwood Symphony, the Gateway Chamber Orchestra, and the Compton Heights Concert Band. As a professional musician, he has performed with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra (noted performances at Carnegie Hall), the Illinois Symphony, the Nashville Symphony, the Joffrey Ballet, Ice Capades, Moody Blues, the Elvis Show, the Three Irish Tenors, Opryland USA, Burt Bacharach, Roger Williams, Dionne Warwick, Tommy Tune, and many others. Mr. Williams was a featured guest artist with the Equinox Players for the Women in the Arts Conference featuring the music of contemporary composer, Beth Denisch. He has served on the faculty of the Masterworks Music Festival for 14 years.
Mr. Williams holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education from Austin Peay State University, a Master of Music degree in Percussion Performance from the St. Louis Conservatory of Music and a Master of Music degree in Conducting from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He is currently completing his doctoral work in Instructional Leadership.
His previous conducting posts include Conductor of the Dayspring Festival Orchestra, Music Director/Conductor of the Alton Summer Chamber Series, Music Director of the Sangamon Valley Youth Symphony, Music Director/Conductor of the Young Peoples Concert Orchestra, Associate Conductor of the Alton Symphony, and Resident Conductor of the Award-winning St. Louis Brass Band. He is a regular guest conductor, performer, clinician, and adjudicator within the region. Symphonic Orchestra.
Keith Boyer, Adjunct Instructor of Voice
Keith Boyer, tenor, is an adjunct instructor of voice at MBU and Jefferson College, and a soloist for the St. Louis Symphony. In 2013, Keith Boyer made his Carnegie Hall debut as Horace Adams in the St. Louis Symphony production of Peter Grimes. Boyer collaborated with a world class cast, which included his son Garrett as Peter Grimes’s Apprentice, under the direction of David Robertson. Boyer was named the Best Male Opera Singer by the St. Louis Post Dispatch on “The Go! List 2014.” In a 2011 concert featuring Christine Brewer, he sang the brief tenor solo in Prayers of Kierkegaard. The following year he had the unique experience of working with Grammy Award-winning conductor Arnie Roth in the concert Final Fantasy: Distant Worlds.
Mr. Boyer has numerous opera and theatre credits, including Nepomuc in The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein with Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Ferrando in Cosi fan tutte with Union Avenue Opera, Sister Act and South Pacific with STAGE St. Louis, and Jean Valjean in Les Miserables with both MBU Theatre and Alpha Players.
Mr. Boyer also maintains a private voice studio and lives just south of St. Louis with his wife Amanda and their three sons.
Adjunct Instructor of Voice, Director of Opera Theatre
Kristen Frost, Soprano, has performed more than 50 works as a guest soloist under the baton of such notable conductors as Nicholas McGegan, Harry Christophers, Hans Vonk, Amy Kaiser and John McDaniel. She has been a featured soloist with the St. Louis Symphony in Handel’s Messiah, Faure’s Requiem at the Cathedral Basilica, Handel’s Israel in Egypt, Haydn’s Heiligmesse and Mass in Time of War, Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion and Christmas Oratorio and Holiday Pops Concerts. She has also performed with the St. Louis Symphony and Chorus at Carnegie Hall. Ms. Frost has soloed with Elgin Symphony, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Bach Society, Masterworks Chorale and From the Garden Live series among others. Recording credits include Faure’s Requiem with Tower Chorale, Joy for Every Age (Oxford University Press) and Gloria! Christmas with the Bach Society. She is a recipient of the 2013 American Prize National Finalist Award, two prizes from the Metropolitan Opera National Council, the Verna Ross Orndorff Career Grant, Artist Presentation Society and Pi Kappa Lambda Awards. She recently sang the Dew Fairy in Hansel and Gretel and La Prima Cercatrica in Suor Angelica with Northwestern University. Favorite leading roles include Adele, Gilda, The Countess, Miss Silverpeal and Fiona in Brigadoon. Ms. Frost holds a M.M from Southern Illinois University and a B.M. from Millikin University with further studies at Northwestern University. She has served as a master teacher and adjudicator for NFMC and ISMTA and has been published in Classical Singer magazine.
Tina Sayers, Instructor of Voice
A classically trained soprano, Tina Sayers has sung on both opera and musical theater stages, and enjoys performing chamber concerts and art song recitals. Her voice has been described as “…bright and melodious; perfect for the colors of Bach, Handel and Mozart, but with the intonation and exquisite phrasing necessary to perform modern repertoire with skill and grace.” She has performed as a soprano soloist with the Redlands Symphony Orchestra and the Cabrillo Chamber Orchestra, and has premiered compositions by Dr. Alexandra Pierce. First and foremost, Tina is a teacher at heart. This is made evident in her most recent performances, which have been collaborative recitals that aim to educate her audiences on opera, art song and musical theatre repertoire.
Tina holds a masters degree in music (M.M.) with an emphasis in vocal performance from the Manhattan School of Music. While there, she studied voice with Patricia Misslin, and diction with Palma Toscani, Robert Cowart, and Kathryn LaBouff. Prior to her time in New York, Tina completed her Bachelor of Music degree in Musical Studies from the University of Redlands. Her degree work focused on vocal performance, conducting and composition.
In 2004 Tina joined the faculty of Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego where she served as an Assistant Professor of Vocal Studies for twelve years. In 2010, she created the Community Center for the Arts (CCFA), a non-profit arts outreach program in south San Diego, that provides a place for community members to teach, learn and experience music, dance, art and theatre. In 2016 Tina and her family relocated to St. Louis where she now lives with her husband, Jay, and children Sedona and Porter. She is currently on the voice faculty at Missouri Baptist University and maintains a private studio of voice students.
Adjunct Instructor of Theatre
Jason Stahr is entering his 30th year of working in professional theater. His list of professional credits include that of designer, director, actor, and playwright. He has his MFA in Theatre from Lindenwood University. Currently, Jason is the Director of Operations and Stage Services at the Touhill Performing Arts Center. He has also been the scenic designer for many MBU Theatre productions, including The Diary of Anne Frank, West Side Story, The Crucible, Guys & Dolls, and Les Miserables. Jason is an adjunct in the Theatre Department and teaches classes such as Stagecraft, Stage Management, Theatre Media, and Stage Makeup.
Adjunct Instructor of Voice
Michael Šust studied voice, piano and composition at the National Conservatory of Music in the Czech Republic and in the United States where in 1997 he earned his doctoral degree from Boston University. During his earlier operatic career, he performed in opera theaters and concert halls in Central Europe, Canada, in the eastern states of the U.S. and in Texas. Most recently he appeared as Javert in Les Miserables as well as Elijah in Mendelssohn’s oratorio as a part of the Missouri Baptist University fine arts productions, sang Melchior in Amahl and the Nightvisitors with the Messiah Project in Springfield, MO, and in Handel’s Messiah with the Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra of Fayetteville, AR. He has toured extensively in central Europe as a singer and conductor and had the honor of performing for the Czech President, Vaclav Havel as well as the former U. S. President, George H. W. Bush. He is the founder and director of the Czech Symphony Project, a Christian non-profit organization facilitating international exchange for Czech and American music students for the past 20 years. His greatest passion is teaching and proclaiming God’s Word; he is currently the Senior Pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel St. Louis.
Violinist, Conductor, Arranger
Mary Sweetin is a classically trained violinist, with Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Music from SIUE. Mrs. Sweetin performs with numerous ensembles in the St. Louis area, including the Bach Society Orchestra, St. Louis Ballet Orchestra and the American Chamber Chorale Orchestra, to name a few. She has been the first violinist with the Landolfi String Quartet for over 15 years, and has written over 75 string arrangements for this ensemble. Mrs. Sweetin recently accepted a post as Concertmaster of the University City Orchestra.
As an Adjunct Faculty Member SCC, Sweetin serves as Orchestra Director, Violin Instructor, and teaches several sections of Music Appreciation. Since accepting the position at SCC in 2008, the SCC Symphonic Orchestra has performed a major symphonic work every semester, including such works as Scheherazade, by Rimsky-Korsakov, Symphonie Fantastique, by Hector Berlioz, and Holst’s The Planets.
Mrs. Sweetin enjoys private teaching at SCC, and offers lessons to music majors and beginners, alike. Sweetin performs an annual Faculty Violin Recital at SCC, performing many of the standards of the violin repertoire, including Bloch’s Baal Shem, Suite Italienne, by Igor Stravinsky, Violin Sonata in G minor by Claude Debussy, and The Lark Ascending by Ralph Vaughan-Williams, to name a few.
In May 2012 Sweetin was named Adjunct Faculty of the Year in the Humanities Division at St. Charles Community College.
Most recently, Sweetin accepted a position here at MBU as the String Ensemble Director. Her goal is to expose students to the greatest musical literature for string and full orchestras. To that end, in 2016 Sweetin began a new musical venture, in collaboration with St. Charles Community College; an annual Solo Concert, hosted by MBU, assisted by players of the SCC Symphonic Orchestra.
Adjunct Instructor of Art
Bert VanderMark is an adjunct instructor of Art Appreciation at MBU. He received a formal BA/MA from the Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague, the Netherlands, and an MFA in Fine Arts and Graphic Design from Washington State University, Pullman, Washington. He has extensive teaching experience in Graphic Design and Illustration techniques, and has been on the faculty at both Washington University and Webster University.
Brett VanderMark is the founder, President and Creative Director of Studio Montage in St. Louis, Missouri. Studio Montage creates innovative graphics with unique treatments both photographically and typographically for educational book products in need of strong visual appeal. Visual Parables, a ministry of ACT Artists in Christian Testimony International combines the powerful teaching of Christ’s parables with an understanding of the importance of visual communication, encouragement and spiritual discernment during this critical time of visual warfare and world media.