Lara Needham, Ph.D.
Dean, School of Communication / Director of Graduate Studies / 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.
Winnie Spitza, J.D.
Department Chair / Chair of Undergraduate Studies / 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.
Michael G. Strawser, M.Div., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor / Director of Graduate Programs / B.A. in Comprehensive Communication, Cedarville University; M.A. in Communication and Leadership, Gonzaga University; M.Div. in Christian Ministry, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; Ph.D. in Instructional and Organizational Communication, University of Kentucky
Teaching/research interests: Instructional communication, including distance learning and instructional design, instructional pedagogy, organizational communication and leadership; Public speaking; intercultural communication, communication ethics, leadership communication.
Dr. Strawser’s research areas of interest include Instructional and Organizational Communication as well as Distance Learning. Michael began teaching communication courses at Bellarmine University in 2011. In addition to teaching a variety of communication courses, Dr. Strawser has worked as a communication trainer and consultant.
Shawn Apostel, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor/Instructional Technology Specialist / B.A. in Journalism, Toccoa Falls College; M.A.in Professional Communication, Clemson University; Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Technical Communication, Michigan Technological University
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.
Dr. Apostel's research interests include teaching with technology, applied creativity, digital ethos, e-waste reduction, and visual communication. He is chair of the Visual Rhetoric Panel for the South Atlantic Modern Language Association and serves as a reviewer for various journals and conferences. His work is published by IGI Global, CCDigital Press, Lexington Books, New Forums Press, and Computers and Composition Online. His co-edited book Online Credibility and Digital Ethos: Evaluating Computer-Mediated Communication was published by IGI Global in December, and his co-authored book Teaching Creative Thinking: A New Pedagogy for the 21st Century will be published by New Forums Press this Spring.
Kyle S. Barnett, Ph.D.
Associate Professor / 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.
Kyle Barnett’s research focuses on media history, cultural industries, and sound practices 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, and chapters in several book anthologies. Barnett is a former co-editor of the Velvet Light Trap, graduate editor and columnist for Flow, Antenna and In Media Res. Barnett serves as faculty adviser for Bellarmine Radio. His forthcoming book is Sound Business: The Transformation of the U.S. Recording Industry, 1920-1935.
Barnett’s undergraduate courses include: Media and Society; History of Broadcasting; Film and TV Studies; The Film Musical; Popular Music and the Recording Industry; and Sound Studies. His graduate courses include Introduction to Media Studies and Cultural Industries.
Instructor / 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 occassion for both WHAS and WAVE TV.
Michael LaRocco, Ph.D.
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 Spectator, 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.
Rain Wuyu Liu, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor / B.A., English (Translation and Interpretation), Southwest University, China / M.A., Public Relations, University of Miami / Ph.D., Communication, Michigan State University
Rain Liu was born and raised in China. After receiving her Bachelor's degree from her home country, she came to the United States in 2010.
Her research interests span the areas of interpersonal communication, intercultural communication and social influence. Specifically, her research focuses on the impacts of social norms in health and environment information processing, attitude change, and health and conservation behavior promotion. She is also interested in the interplay between cultural values and beliefs with persuasive messages in shaping individuals’ attitudes and behaviors. Other research interests include research methods and statistics, strategic communication and campaign designing.
Teaching interests: intercultural communication, interpersonal communication, persuasion, research methods, communication campaign design and analysis.
Rain has an extensive experience of working on grant funded research projects including an interdisciplinary behavioral and social science research (IBSS) project conducted among Tibetan herders in Qinghai-Tibetan plateau, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Other projects are funded by agencies such as Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) and Sparrow/MSU Center for Innovation and Research. Her work is published by Intercultural Communication Studies, American Behavioral Social Scientist, Communication Research Reports and Computers in Human Behavior.
She has won multiple Top Paper Awards from National Communication Association (NCA), International Communication Association (ICA), Outstanding Paper Award and Outstanding Young Scholar Award from the International Association for Intercultural Communication Studies (IAICS), and multiple research excellence fellowship awards from Michigan State University and Association for Chinese Communication Studies (ACCS).
Moira O’Keeffe, Ph.D.
Associate Professor / B.A., Liberal Arts with a concentration in Media Studies, New School for Social Research; M.A., Broadcasting, Telecommunication and Mass Media, Temple University; Ph.D., Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania.
Teaching/research interests: Visual communication, film and media studies, science in popular culture, digital media.
Moira O’Keeffe’s research deals with the cultural influence of popular entertainment media. Currently, she is interested in exploring how science is portrayed in popular contexts. She also works in the areas of visual communication and digital media studies. Dr. O'Keeffe's publications include "Science Fiction and the Big Questions," forthcoming from the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, "Lieutenant Uhura and the Drench Hypothesis: Diversity and the Representation of STEM Careers," published in the International Journal of Gender, Science, and Technology, and “Evidence and Absence: Documenting the Desaparecidos of Argentina” published in Communication, Culture and Critique.
Instructor / 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.
Regular Part-Time Faculty
Regular Adjuncts include (but are not limited to): Marcia Boone, Jeanne Ferguson, Gail Henson, Charlotte Hubrich, Charisse Levine, Anthony Perugini, Josh Sewell, Paula Spugnardi, Anita Tyler and Lisa Wieland.