News & Updates

Communication Studies Graduation Celebration 2019

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Thanks you the hard work of the Communication Studies Student Association and our very own Internship Director, Paloma Mathern, on May 27th we were proud to honor the graduating Comm majors of 2018-19. Photos of the event can be found here.

Alex Bornstein Nominated For Two 2019 Emmys

Thursday, August 01, 2019

We are proud to congratulate Communication Studies Alum Alex Borstein on her nomination for two 2019 Emmys.


More info can be found here.

Call for Letters from Students Supporting Tenure Promotion

Friday, September 06, 2019

This year Samuel McCormick, Lean Wingard and Chritopher Koenig are all up for promotion.The Department of Communication Studies seeks letters from students describing their experience with Professor McCormick as a teacher, advisor, or mentor.  Letters from students are a critical part of the university’s evaluation of faculty members.  These letters are read carefully by the departmental review committee, the dean, the provost, and the president.  Please be advised that Professor McCormick will have access to all letters submitted.  The department has found that the most useful letters are those that provide details about and specific examples of the performance of the professor in question.  Letters must be signed and dated in order to be considered as part of this process.  Emails are acceptable provided that they are sent from an address. More info can be found here (PDF)


Please address letters to:

Dr. Gerianne Merrigan, Chair

Retention, Promotion, and Tenure Committee

Department of Communication Studies

1600 Holloway Ave.

San Francisco, CA 94132


Forensics' 11th Annual Golden Gate Season Opener

Monday, September 23, 2019

The San Francisco State University Forensics is excited to share with you the success of the 11th Annual Golden Gate Season Opener, the largest intercollegiate forensics tournament in the Bay Area hosted at San Francisco State University September 20-22, 2019. Along with our partners from the City College of San Francisco, we welcomed 23 schools from across the Bay, Southern California, Oregon, and Nevada to participate in over 15 categories of speech and debate competition to open the season.


We are so excited to be able to offer students an essential opportunity to showcase hours of research in a format that values critical thinking, applied communication skills, embodied performance, and democratic deliberation. Our students did exceptionally well. Consider just some of the highlights to include:


Patrick Ford WON the open program of oral interpretation on day one… Sabrina Ghidossi WON on day two!

Victoria Meuter-Montijo WON open dramatic interpretation; Zach Water took third

Dan Gabis WON novice impromptu

Zachary Waters  & Victoria Meuter-Montijo - 2nd place in duo interpretation 

Madison Ryan & Juan Campbell – 3rd place in novice parliamentary debate

Raquel Robeson – 3rd place novice impromptu

Elicia Lock – finalist program of oral interpretation.


We could not host such an impressive event without the support of graduate students Oliver Tripp, Philip Enguancho, Brianna Morales, Katelyn Gonsalves & Alex Fagin,  the entire Communication Studies department, the College of Liberal & Creative Arts, and the support of Instructionally-Related Activities.



New Published Poem from Mercilee Jenkins

Monday, November 18, 2019

Recently returned to teaching Professor Emeritus, Merciless Jenkins has published a new poem in revently launched online magazine, Reinventing Home. The piece can be found here, and the magazines home page can be found here.


Look Beyond The Surface, A Whitepaper Written by Jeff Saperstein

Monday, November 18, 2019

Jeff Saperstein has coauthored a whitepaper and webinar on why employers and and recruiters should hire state college graduates. The paper can be found here and the webinar here.

SF State's Forensics Team Scores Major Wins

Monday, November 25, 2019

Help us congragulate the Forensics Team on their revent victories. Click here for the full piece.

In Memoriam

Thursday, January 05, 2017

It is with great regret that we announce the passing of Professor Emeritus Dr. Henry “Hank” McGuckin Jr. who passed away, surrounded by his family at home on December 17, 2016. Hank earned a Doctorate at Stanford University. He taught rhetorical communication at SFSU for 33 years. In addition to being a popular professor and a well-respected colleague, he was a committed activist who participated in the anti-war movement during the country’s involvement in the Vietnam War and the San Francisco State University Strike of 1969. For additional information, please refer to the obituary link from the Democratic Press. 

Professor Mark Jones wins CEETL-FYE Excellence in Teaching First-Year Students Award!!

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Mark Jones has been selected by the First Year Experience Committee, Faculty Director of FYE Grace Yoo and Faculty Director of CEETL Dr. Amy Kilgard to receive a CEETL-FYE Excellence in Teaching First-Year Students Award.

Congrats, Mark!! Your contributions make a huge difference to first year students at SF State and to the university community. We are lucky to have you!

Alumna Alex Borstein Wins Two Emmy Awards

Monday, September 24, 2018

In front of an international television audience, actress and comedian Alex Borstein shimmied her way to the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards stage on September 17.

Borstein (B.A., ’92) won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Susie Myerson on Amazon Prime’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Just eight days earlier, Borstein picked up a Creative Arts Emmy Award for Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance for her longtime role as Lois Griffin on Fox’s Family Guy.

These are Borstein’s first Emmy Awards. Previously, in 2008, she was nominated with her Family Guy colleagues for Outstanding Animated Program.

Amy Sherman-Palladino, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel creator, wrote the Susie Myerson character specifically for Borstein. They previously worked together on Gilmore Girls.

“I think she can do everything,” Sherman-Palladino says in an IMDB Live interview conducted backstage at the Primetime Emmys. “ … In the many years that I’ve worked with her, she’s even better than I thought she would be.”

Borstein joined Family Guy at its inception in 1999. She is also a writer for the cartoon. She was a cast member and writer on Fox’s MADtv, where she gained acclaim for her character Ms. Swan. She has also appeared on Shameless, The Cleveland Show, Getting On, Robot Chicken, Workaholics and many more television shows.

Her film credits include Bad Santa, Good Night and Good Luck, Catwoman, Dinner for Schmucks and Ted. The Deerfield, Illinois, native trained in improvisational comedy at the ACME Comedy Theatre in Los Angeles.

While attending San Francisco State, Borstein performed with sketch troupes in Mary Ward Hall and the student union. She also performed stand-up comedy on campus and around San Francisco.

“That was my pulse during college,” Borstein says in a story from the fall/winter 2017 issue of SF State Magazine. “I loved it, performing in the dorms and at the school and other places around the town. It fed me creatively.”

— Matt Itelson


Conflict Resolution Certificate Program Receives Generous Donation

Monday, October 29, 2018

The Conflict Resolution Certificate Program in the Communication Studies Department received a donation of $25,000 from Frank and Linda Kurtz in October 2017. The purpose of their gift is to conduct conflict management workshops that provide an opportunity for SFSU undergraduate students to learn approaches and skills for constructive dialogue in social interactions where diverse viewpoints can create tension and conflict. Dr. Victoria Chen, the Director of the Conflict Resolution Certificate Program, conducted the inaugural workshop in April 2018. The second workshop will take place in November 2018.

Forensics Gators take top ranks, gear up for Nationals!

Monday, February 04, 2019

Please join us in congratulating all the forensics students (and the amazing graduate student coaches) for their successes at competitions supported by the Communication Studies department the College of Liberal and Creative Arts, and Instructionally-Related Activities (IRA) over the last few weeks...

San Francisco Chronicle Publishes Article About Comm Major Garrick Wilhelm

Monday, February 11, 2019

On December 26, the San Francisco Chronicle published a front-page feature on Communication Studies student Garrick Wilhelm. He led the University’s successful get-out-the-vote campaign last fall and was homeless before attending SF State.

Save The Date For Communication Studies Commencement!

Monday, February 18, 2019

We are excited to share the first information for this year's Commencement Celebration!

Jennifer Zenovich On CBC Radio Canada

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Jennifer Zenovich, a San Francisco State University researcher who studies the former Yugoslavia, said small “pockets” of Serbian nationalists might sympathize with elements Tarrant’s alleged manifesto and his use of the country’s history to further anti-Muslim violence.

“But that isn’t the dominant ethos of what is happening in Serbia,” she said.


Inspiring Understanding Through Sponsoring Conflict Management

Friday, May 03, 2019

Our very own Director of the Conflict Resolution Certificate Program, Victoria Chen, has been featured for her work in a news piece that can be found here

The Blue Sky Cafe

Friday, May 03, 2019


The Performance Ensemble Presents:

Blue Skye Cafe

A play that imagineers the future we want from the world we've been given.

Fri-Sat, May 10 & 11, 7pm

Preshow Cafe opens at 6:30

Hum 133

Rudolph Busby, in memoria

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Rudolph Busby, Professor of Communication Studies, died on May 9, 2019. He was teaching half-time at the time of his death. Rudolph received his BA (1974) and MA (1980) in Speech Communication from the University of Houston. His MA thesis set out his commitment to social justice:  "Public school teachers: verbal expression which may result in employment dismissal until declared constitutionally protected."  His PhD (1983), in Rhetoric and Communication Theory, was from the University of Texas, Austin, with a dissertation on "Myth and political rhetoric: a content analysis of keynote and presidential nomination acceptance addresses." 


Rudolph Busby joined the SF State faculty in 1983.  He was co-author of Basic Speech Communication:  Principles and Practices (1978, 1987).


One of Rudolph Busby’s areas of greatest service to the university was his work for the Sally Casanova Predoctoral Program. The CSU pre-doctoral program supports the academic and intellectual aspirations of students who have experienced economic and educational disadvantages. Dr. Busby was its Campus Coordinator from 1989 to 2006 and served on the Selection Committee and the Board from 1994 – 2006. In that capacity, he mentored undergraduate and graduate students who applied for competitive awards to attend professional association meetings and visit PhD programs.


Rudolph Busby served as Department Chair from 1999-2003. He was a member of the Academic Senate, served on the University Budget Committee, and many other college and campus committees, and his was the sonorous voice of SFSU commencements for several years.


Rudolph Busby taught Advanced Public Speaking, Communication Criticism, Communication and Rhetorical Theory, among other courses. He was a careful and caring advisor and a consummate editor/writing coach to many undergraduate and graduate students. He will be deeply missed by current and former students and his faculty and staff colleagues at San Francisco State University.

Professor Emerita Sally Gearhart Featured in 'A Great Ride' Documentary

Monday, June 10, 2019

A new documentary has been posted on Amazon Prime looking at the lives of folks in an LGBTQ+ friendly retirment home, featuring Sally Gearhart. Gearhart was the first openly queer woman to receive a tenured faculty position at SFSU and renowned activist known for her close association with Harvey Milk.

You can find the film here.

Comm Faculty on The Kelly Clarkson Show

Monday, September 23, 2019

Cat Brewer will be on The Kelly Clarkson Show this Friday discussing her upcoming documentary Sign the Show: Deaf Culture, Access & Entertainment. The episode will air 9/27 at 3pm on NBC (in San Francisco), please tune in and support our amazing faculty.

Curriculum Redesign in the Works

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Communication Studies department has been awarded a Teagle Foundation grant to work on redesigning the curriculum for the undergraduate Communication Studies major. Under the leadership of Drs. Mindi Golden, Javon Johnson and Amy Kilgard, the department will focus on updating course offerings, ease pathways to graduation, and update advising materials for our undergraduate majors and minors.

Welcome to our New Director of Forensics!

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Communication Studies department has hired Theodore (Teddy) Albiniak to be its new Director of Forensics, starting in the 2015-2016 academic year. Teddy, who completed the SFSU MA in Communication Studies in 2007, joins us from the PhD program in Communication Studies at the University of Texas, Austin. A nationally ranked competitor himself, Teddy has worked with some of the top forensics programs in the country and looks forward to “coming back” to SFSU this year and working with our own growing and nationally competitive speech and debate team. The Forensics team has already started work for the year’s competitions and will host the annual Golden Gator Invitational tournament in speech and debate at the end of September.

Communication Studies has Relocated

Friday, August 28, 2015

After many years in HUM 282, the Communication Studies department offices havemoved! Please come to visit us in HUM 289, where you can always find Donna Smith, the department’s Academic Office Coordinator and two new staff members: Heidi Ng and Stacie Guam. We are located directly across from HUM 290, which is the new Performance and Forensics space.

Western States Communication Association (WSCA) 2017 annual convention wrap-up!

Monday, March 27, 2017

This year the Western States Communication Association (WSCA) annual convention was held in Salt Lake City, Utah. Read below to hear about the experiences of our faculty members and lecturer's who attended the conference.

Dr. Amy Kilgard – A tenured faculty member and advisor for the Communication Studies Department recently attended the WSCA conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. She has attended this conference since 2004. She was part of a performance that dealt with feminist interventions in masculinist films. An example of that is the new “Ghostbusters” and how the main characters are all females. Dr. Kilgard explored 4 movies: Fight Club, The Godfather, Full Metal Jacket, and Dirty Harry.  In her performance on these films, her group did a panel about dominant masculine discourse on film and they wanted to interrupt that idea and do a feminist remake of masculine films. Fight Club was converted to Fight “Book” Club, The Godfather turned into The “Godmother”, Full Metal Jacket transpired into “Full Figured Jacket” and finally Dirty Harry was turned into Dirty Harriet. She enjoyed her experience at WSCA 2017. And expect to see her at WSCA 2018 in Santa Clara!


Dr. Suzanne Pullen – First off, congratulations to Suzanne's interest group Top Debut/Top Student/Top paper for winning the Top Debut paper award! Dr. Pullen, a lecturer and the current Chair of the Performance Studies Interest Group, has been attending WSCA since 2008. When asked about her experience at WSCA, Suzanne mentioned one positive was seeing old friends, while one negative was not being able to see all the performance panels she wanted to because being Chair of the Performance Studies Interest Group came first. She did, however, manage to see two performance panels: “Indigenous Digital Story Telling” and “Queer Masculinities.”  Next year WSCA will be held at Santa Clara,CA and Suzanne hopes for more students to participate and explore their horizons!


Nicholas Chivers— A Communication Studies lecturer has been attending WSCA since 2013 and he says every year that he attends, he always feels "reinvigorated, energized and repassionate.” WSCA is a smaller conference and more intimate than most. He likes the fact that WSCA is more about “what WE do” rather than “what I do”. Prof. Chivers is interested in possibly taking on a leadership role in the interest group at a community college level. Not this year he said but is definitely exploring and gathering more data and content to pursue the leadership role. He is looking forward to attending WSCA in the upcoming years because it gives him a renewed passion in the communication discipline and encourages those who are interested to attend WSCA in Santa Clara in 2018!

Three Cheers for Gust!!!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Dr. Gust Yep has been awarded the Outstanding Mentor in Master’s Education Award by the National Communication Association (NCA). Way to go, Gust. Hip hip hooray!! 

Professor Joe Tuman Invited to Speak at a NATO Conference about Terrorism and Media in Ankara, Turkey

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Professor Joseph Tuman has been invited to make two lectures to a special NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) conference on Terrorism and Media, to be held in Ankara, Turkey, December 7-11th. Joe will speak about

* News, Newsworthiness and Terrorism: How Terrorists/Terror Groups Manipulate News Media Coverage And Are In Turn Manipulated by News Media; and
* Roles, Responsibilities and Realities: News Coverage When Nation States Sponsor or Engage in Terrorism

Then, in January of 2016, Professor Tuman will be the featured speaker at the Linguistic Society of America conference in Washington D.C., where he will address “Balancing Competing Interests: Combatting Hate and Hate Speech while preserving Freedom of Expression and Political Speech.”

Lindsey Ayotte awarded Coach of the Year by the Northern California Forensic's Association (NCFA)!!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Lecturer and Assistant Director of Forensics Lindsey Ayotte was recognized by the Northern California Forensic's Association (NCFA) as the Coach of the Year! Candidates were highly competitive and each displayed exceptional skills in competitive speech instruction. Lindsey, however, was recognized for her deep commitment to Forensics education and the sacrifices needed for her student success.

Lindsey excels equally at perfecting national caliber speeches as she does at introducing and motivating new students. Her attention to detail and balancing of multiple responsibilities is just another hallmark of her skill base. One recommender wrote, "She not only guides each of us to flourish, grow, and preserve through the stressful times but bestows us with her wealth of knowledge."

From all of us involved in Forensics and the entire Communication Studies Department - Congratulations, Lindsey!!