Communication Faculty

Shawn Apostel

Shawn Apostel

Associate Professor / Director for Design, Art & Technology (DAT) / TEDxBellarmineU Licensee and Organizer / B.A. in Journalism, Toccoa Falls College; Professional Communication, Clemson University; Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Technical Communication, Michigan Technological University

Dr. Apostel's research interests include teaching with technology, applied creativity, digital ethos, e-waste reduction, and visual communication. Annually, he leads a team of student, faculty, and community volunteers to conduct a TEDx event on Bellarmine’s campus. His work is published by IGI Global, CCDigital Press, Lexington Books, New Forums Press, and Computers and Composition Online, and he often reviews articles for various journals and conferences.

A graphic designer by trade, Dr. Apostel formerly served as the Communication Coordinator for the Noel Studio for Academic Creativity at Eastern Kentucky University from 2010-2013, and the Information and Graphics Specialist for the City of Toccoa from 2008-2010.

Kyle S. Barnett

Kyle Barnett

Associate Professor, Media Studies / Graduate Coordinator, Communication
B.A., English and Philosophy, Indiana University-Indianapolis; M.A., American Culture Studies, Bowling Green State University; Ph.D., Radio-Television-Film, University of Texas-Austin. Email:

Kyle Barnett’s research focuses on media history, film and media studies, popular music studies, media industries, and sound cultures across media. 

His publications include “Furniture Music: The Phonograph as Furniture,” in the Journal of Popular Music Studies, “The Selznick Studio, ‘Spellbound’ and the Marketing of Film Music,’ in Music, Sound and the Moving Image, “Eat What You Hear: Gustasonic Discourses and the Material Culture of Commercial Sound Recording (with Shawn VanCour), and chapters in several book anthologies. Barnett served as guest co-editor of Creative Industries Journal, and The Velvet Light Trap and a graduate editor for Flow. He has written for Antenna and In Media Res.

His 2020 book is Record Cultures: The Transformation of the U.S. Recording Industry (University of Michigan Press) won an Award of Excellence from the Association for Recorded Sound Collections in 2021.

Barnett served as graduate chair from 2019-2023 and director of the Design, Arts, and Technology Program from 2018-2019. He is the long-standing faculty advisor and occasional DJ for Bellarmine Radio

Gary Fogle

gary fogle

B.A., Telecommunication, University of Kentucky; M.A., Radio/Television/Film, University of Kansas.

Teaching Experience/Interests: Public Speaking, Television Sports Broadcasting and Sports Media Relations.

Work Experience: In his previous position as Sports Director/Executive Sports Producer with WAVE TV in Louisville, KY, Gary Fogle created the daily schedule of sports coverage, scheduled crews and handled all logistical items for the sports department. He produced and often anchored or reported daily sports stories. In addition he supervised and led the five-person sports department and managed their budget.

Fogle also served as Sports Reporter/Anchor and Photographer for WHAS TV in Louisville. Fogle still does some on air work on occasion for both WHAS and WAVE TV. 

Michael LaRocco


Assistant Professor
B.A., Cinema and Media Studies, English Language and Literature, University of Chicago; M.A., Film and Television Studies, University of Warwick; Ph.D., Cinema and Media Studies, University of Southern California.

Dr. LaRocco’s academic research and his creative work as a filmmaker and media artist investigate the evolution of film and video technologies and their application in media practice. His recent publications include articles in Film History and Journal of Visual Culture, and his current book project traces the evolution of digital video camera technology across various communities of practice, from home video to Hollywood. 

Prior to his work in academia, he taught media study and production extensively at community-based organizations, art centers, and schools in Chicago, and served for many years on education advisory boards for the Chicago International Film Festival and the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. He is an active member of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies and recently served on the screening committee for the Peabody Awards. 

As a media producer, he trained at esteemed documentary production company Kartemquin Films and has since worked with many clients both behind the camera and in the editing room, including the Lollapalooza Music Festival, filmmaker Ondi Timoner/Interloper Films, Asylum Entertainment, Oxford University, the Chicago Tribune, and the Bebe Miller Dance Company. 

Academic areas of interest: Film and television history, theory, and aesthetics; Media technology; Production studies; Practice-based theory; Virtual/augmented reality; Video games; Film and media education; Film, video, and music production; Heavy metal music and culture.

Lara Needham   

Lara Needham

B.A., Communication, Hanover College; M.A., Public Communication, American University; Ph.D., Health Communication, University of Kentucky.

Teaching/research interests: Public communication, including public relations and campaigns, media and children, health communication and political communication; Public speaking and rhetoric, including persuasion, business communication and basic public speaking.

Lara Needham has more than a decade of experience in the field of communication as a health researcher, writer, speaker and educator. Her research includes an examination of the impact of physician’s persuasive messages on older women’s mammography noncompliance. She is also the founder and CEO of BabyPro, an award-winning children’s media company that produces sports-themed DVDs for babies and toddlers. BabyPro’s products have appeared in numerous national media outlets including Parenting and Scholastic magazine, and have received fifteen national awards. Needham teaches classes in Public Relations, Children and Media, Mass Media and Politics, Public Speaking and Business Communication. 

Stacie Shain

Stacie Shain

B.A. in Mass Communication, Summa Cum Laude, Bellarmine University; M.A. in Journalism, Indiana University; Certificate in Media Management, The Poynter Institute for Media Studies.

Shain is an award-winning communication professional with experience in public relations, corporate communication and journalism.

She began her career as a sports reporter and has written for daily newspapers in Indiana, Kentucky, Wyoming, Colorado and Texas. Shain also was the sports editor and then the managing editor of a daily newspaper in Missouri. 

She worked as a public relations and corporate communication professional for companies such as William M. Mercer (now simply known as Mercer), Community Health Network of Louisiana, Brown-Forman Corporation and the U.S. Army. Shain is also certified in crisis communication by the Institute for Crisis Management.

Working as an advertising and public affairs specialist and a chief of advertising and public affairs in the U.S. Army’s Recruiting Command, Shain earned every civilian award available from the command, including its Program Specialist of the Year in 2008. She also spent nearly two years managing public and community relations for the Warrior Transition Battalion at Fort Carson, Colorado, and worked on the inaugural Warrior Games.

Shain has published research about sports and gender in journals such as Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal, Critical Studies in Media Communication, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, and Newspaper Research Journal. She also co-authored a book, Duty, Honor, Applause: America’s Entertainers in World War II, and has lectured at the National World War II Museum and appeared on “War Stories with Oliver North” on the FOX News Channel. 

Shain is the treasurer for the Association for Women in Sports Media and is also a board member for the Society of Professional Journalists Louisville Pro Chapter and Honor Flight Bluegrass.

Winnie Spitza

Winnie Spitza

B.A., Journalism and Public Relations, Western Kentucky University; M.A., Communications, University of Kentucky; J.D., Law, University of Louisville.

Teaching Experience/Interests:  Public Speaking, Interpersonal Communication, Business and Professional Communication; Public Relations, Communication Theory, Media Law.

Work Experience: Legislative correspondent, United Press International; Asst. Community Relations Manager, Louisville Free Public Library; Editorial Asst., Public Affairs Office, Internal Revenue Service; Private Civil Law Practice, Indiana. 

In addition to teaching a variety of communication courses at Bellarmine, Winnie Spitza’s background is in journalism, public relations, and business communication.  She  has worked as a legislative correspondent for United Press International, community relations manager for the Louisville Free Public Library, and as an editorial assistant for the Internal Revenue Services’ Public Affairs Office. She has also served as an attorney in a private civil law practice in the state of Indiana. 

Professors Emeritae

Gail Ritchie Henson

Gail HensonProfessor Emerita/Communication/ B. A. English and Religion, DePauw University, Phi Beta Kappa; M. A., Ph.D. Renaissance Literature; Rhetoric University of Louisville; St. Mary’s College of Divinity, University of St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland, special student in theology; University of Oxford, England, research fellow in end-of-life communication.

Gail Henson’s research focuses on end-of-life communication; aging (psychosocial aspects, business, ethnic diversity), intercultural communication; children and media; small market radio; and educational policy, especially regarding literacy.

Her publications include articles, such as “Spiritual Care in the Culturally Diverse Eldercare Community:  When All Paths do not Lead to God,” Aging Journal; The Sage Encyclopedia of Advertising:  “Mental Health Awareness Campaigns,”  “Advertising to elderly,”  “Senior Health Campaign Adverting,”  “Safe to Sleep Campaigns,”   The Sage Encyclopedia of Multicultural America Articles on “The Mason-Dixon Line,” “High Context-Low Context Culture,” “Australian Americans,” “Time,” and “Age and Ethnic Diversity,” “Ethnic media,” “Refugee Relief Act” and the book The Gentle Agitator, an oral biography of Dr. Samuel Robinson.

Henson established The Department of Communication in 1987.  She served as adviser to the student newspaper The Concord for 26 years and The Lance yearbook.  As a minority owner of five radio stations, she helped to establish BU radio.  {She taught each required class in the undergraduate curriculum}.   


Ruth Wagoner

Ruth WagonerProfessor Emerita / B.A., History, Bellarmine University; M.A., Rhetoric and Public Address, Western Kentucky University; Ph.D., Organizational and Interpersonal Communication, University of Kentucky.

Teaching/research interests:  organizational communication (how people use communication to get work done), critical thinking skills (identifying most important issues, linking premises and conclusions with evidence), opening statements in trials. 

Ruth Wagoner was inducted into the Hall of Fame for the American Mock Trial Association in 2007. She is Director of Graduate Studies for the Master of Arts in Communication. She has won several teaching awards and is included in Who's Who Among America's Teachers. 

Publications include " “How Supervisors Convey Routine Bad News:  Facework at UPS," Southern Communication Journal, Spring, 1999. Presentations include "Storytelling in Opening Statements of Courtroom Trials,” Speech Communication Association National Convention, Fall, 1992 and “Mock Trial as a Tool for Teaching Critical Thinking,” National Communication Association Meeting 2004.  Wagoner's current research interest is in how mock trial develops critical thinking skills.  



Associate Faculty

Matthew Childress

Matthew ChildressMA in Communication, Bellarmine University, 2018; BA in Communication, University of Louisville 2015. 

Matthew Childress’ research interests include Communication and Rhetoric, Media Literacy and Education, Political Economy, and Political Communication. 

Childress teaches public speaking classes at Bellarmine and is a media and communication lecturer at Kentucky Community and Technical College and high schools in Kentucky. Matthew is currently pursuing his PhD in Education and Social Change at Bellarmine University. 

Charisse Levine

Charisse LevineB.A., Government, Harvard University; M.S. in Journalism, Columbia University.


Charisse Levine was born in Montreal, Canada and came to the United States to pursue her education at Harvard University and Columbia University. She is an award-winning broadcast journalist who has worked as a producer for NBC News Channel, and as a newscast producer, field producer and reporter for CBS, ABC and NBC network affiliates across the Southeast. Levine was nominated for an Emmy for hurricane coverage. She has produced and reported on major national events, including the World Series, presidential elections, and the Olympics. Prior to coming to Bellarmine, she served as an Assistant Professor of Communication on the faculty of Pfeiffer University in North Carolina.

At Bellarmine, Levine teaches a variety of Communication courses, including Public Speaking, Feature Writing, Media and Society, Grammar and Editing, Writing for Mass Media, and Speechwriting.

Her areas of teaching and research include the intersection of media and politics, the impact of popular culture on society, the agenda setting function of news media, and applications of tease writing and promotional writing across various media platforms. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Harvard Club of Louisville.

Angela D. Miller

Angela_Miller-webB.S. Psychology, Xavier University; M.S. Forensic Science, University of San Diego;  M.C.A. Theatre (Directing), University of Tasmania, School of Visual and Performing Arts, Australia; M.S. Digital Media, Bellarmine University


Scholarly interests: Arts Marketing, Digital Media and Design, Digital Portfolio Development, Advanced Public Speaking (TED talks), Directing, Radio Plays, and Technical Theatre.

Angela has worked at Bellarmine since 2009 and has experienced the good fortune of serving as both faculty and staff over the years, in Communication, Design, Art, and Technology (DAT) and Theatre.  She has an eclectic background and holds three masters degrees with publications ranging from the Journal of Forensic Sciences to aired commercials on Southern Cross Television: ABC, Australia. 

Angela has served as faculty adviser and co-coordinator of the TEDxBellarmineU annual conference since 2019. She directs theatrical productions and radio plays. Angela takes great interest in connecting students with local small businesses for internships and employment opportunities. 

Miller’s undergraduate courses include: Multimedia Communication, Digital Portfolio, Media & Society, Public Speaking, Perspectives on Digital Media, Acting, Arts Entrepreneurship & Technology.

Anita Tyler

Anita Tyler

BA in English, Hanover College; MA in Marketing Communications, Webster University.


Anita Tyler brings over twenty years to college-level teaching, with a focus on Advertising and Communication.  She created what was likely the first-ever college course in the Louisville area in which advertising students work with area business professionals to create a real campaign for a company or non-profit.  In addition to teaching, Professor Tyler owned her own advertising agency. Her writing has garnered awards from the American Advertising Federation. Tyler’s commonly-taught classes at Bellarmine include Advertising, Business Communication, and Public Relations.


Jan Walther

Jan Walther

B.A., Education, Purdue University; M.A., Communications Management, Webster University


Jan Walther is the founder of Jan Walther Consulting, a brand and marketing strategy consultancy. Before transitioning to consulting, Jan served as Vice President of Marketing and Communications at the Community Foundation of Louisville, a $800 million+ philanthropic service organization. In addition to the multitude of foundation initiatives, Jan and her team spearheaded year-over-year growth of the community-wide celebration of giving, Give for Good Louisville, raising over $22 million for local nonprofit organizations during her tenure at the Foundation.

Jan’s teaching, research interests, and professional experiences are focused on building brands in both the non-profit and commercial sectors. With an education degree from Purdue University, Jan pursued opportunities that evolved to marketing roles with GE, created one of the first marketing strategies and teams for a public accounting firm in Louisville, and consulted with law firms as they embraced how marketing could help their firms grow.

In 2008, she was recruited from her role as Marketing Communications Director at the YMCA of Greater Louisville to a marketing executive position at YMCA of the USA in Chicago. Her primary responsibilities provided the opportunity to spearhead the Y’s brand revitalization, which launched in 2010. Re-envisioning such an iconic and historic brand led to growth for the organization and provided the opportunity for her to lead the development of the organization’s first national marketing strategy. She has also served as Senior Vice President of Marketing for the Presbyterian Foundation, Marketing Communications Director for the Louisville chapter of the American Red Cross, Executive Director in Kentucky for the American Cancer Society, and Director of Brand Strategy for Humana.

Jan received a Masters of Arts Degree in Communications Management from Webster University. She is the chair of the board for IDEAS xLab, a local nonprofit focusing on using art to drive change. She has also participated in the Encore Louisville team in support of the St. John’s Center and is on the marketing committee of the Louisville Ballet.