Future Students

Welcome! We are pleased that you are considering Oregon Tech's Communication Studies Major. We consider communications the cornerstone of the human experience. We invite you to learn more about our program. The information you will find at this site should answer most of your questions. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

What Are Our Graduates Doing?

Liz Watterberg

Liz Watterberg, 2003, Communication Studies graduate, is currently teaching 4th grade at Henley Elementary School.  She credits much of her success in mediation with a three-course sequence in mediation at Oregon Tech.  She firmly believes she has the skills to let students solve their own problems instead of just telling them the right way from an adults perspective.  She feels fortunate that her senior project has helped her in learning and recognizing communication apprehension in the classroom.  Watterberg states, I am more aware from my project that just because a child cant answer a question, doesnt mean that that student hasnt learned the answer.  I can assess learning styles of my students more effectively from my communication degree courses at Oregon Tech and my senior project. She shared her paper at the Northwest Conference in Coeur dAlene, ID and felt this was a rewarding experience as an undergraduate student.  She also says, So many of us didnt understand why we needed so many writing courses [at OIT].  However, as a classroom teacher, Ive seen that writing is one of the most critical and difficult skills to teach younger students.  I am certainly more prepared to teach writing than many of my colleagues in my Master of Arts in Teaching program from SOU.

Carola Rouls

Carola Roufs, 2003, Communication Studies graduate, is currently working as a Media Consultant for Wynne Broadcasting. She writes press releases and proposals, and creates advertisements for a wide variety of clients. She attributes her success to strong technical writing skills learned from taking several technical communication courses; and her active participation in Oregon Tech student media. Carola was involved in the student radio station, KTEC, where she worked as a DJ and station manager; and The Edgestudent newspaper, where she worked as a staff writer and photographer. In addition to her full-time position at Wynne, she uses her communication skills as a freelance writer and designer. In particular, Carola credits the Document Design and the Visual Communication courses for her freelance success. She has produced brochures and PowerPoint presentations for the public school district, created a logo for Modoc Northern Railroad, written and published news stories for MSN.com and the local community newspaper, [Herald & News], and published her photographs in newspapers and two photography journals.

I thought my degree would help me get a job in one particular area, but I have had the opportunity to use a variety of the knowledge I gained, such as technical writing, journalism, public relations, desktop publishing, and broadcasting to market myself in several venues.

What Are Our Students Doing?

"The biggest thing you can do as a freshman," Chris Frazier declares, "is to get involved."

And she should know. Now president of Oregon Tech's student government, Communication Studies major Honor "Chris" Frazier started Oregon Tech as a psychology major, who lived and worked off-campus. She was not excited about school, work, or life in general.

A visit to her ACAD class from Kevin Brown changed her mind. She changed majors, ran for a minor ASOIT office, and the rest is history.

Chris "loves" her major, due to its versatility and her conviction that technology can never replace face-to-face communication. Her work at ASOIT, she explains, is a "lab setting," where she can practice for the real world and adapt to many different possibilities presented daily, without being fired if she makes a mistake.

Chris finds the communication major a "perfect fit" that allows her to interact with multiple audiences: students, teachers, administrators. "If you dont have the people skills," she proclaims, "you are bankrupt."

What is a Focused Sequence?

The focused sequence of electives totals 30 or more credit hours, with a minimum of 3 upper-division credits.

Working with your Communication Studies advisor and a secondary advisor representing the focused sequence area, identify a list of courses from one or more technical departments. The focused sequence allows you to choose career-related areas of application for your communication skills and provides a foundation in technology, science, or business. You will develop a clear plan for the sequence and submit it to your two advisors for approval.

Examples of focused sequences currently available include:

  • Applied Psychology
  • Environmental Sciences
  • Health Sciences
  • Human Resources
  • Information Technology
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Software Engineering Technology
  • Teacher Preparation

What is Communication Studies?

The Communication Studies major at Oregon Tech gives students an opportunity, in collaboration with their advisor, to design a program of study that is uniquely designed for their individual career goals. Students in Communication Studies complete general education requirements, a common core in the basic communication contexts, and 65 credits of electives both inside and outside of the Communication Department. Students and their advisors design a program of study that includes:

  • 27 credits of general electives
  • 30-credit focused sequence of electives outside of department
  • 18 credits of communication electives

These 65 credits represent an individually designed program to help the student attain the skills and knowledge to reach their individual career goals.

The Communication Studies major is a new and growing major at Oregon Tech. The Communication Studies major is in its sixth year as a program and is poised to make the transition to a larger and more widely known program. Currently, students in Communication Studies at Oregon Tech enjoy a 5-to-1 student to teacher ratio. Planned growth over the next 4 years should expand the program to a 10-to-1 student to teacher ratio. This outstanding student to teacher ratio allows Communication Studies students the opportunity to interact with their professors and to have opportunities that are not possible in larger, more rigid and impersonal programs. An example of this is our students participation in the Northwest Communication Association (NWCA). Every year since the inception of the Communication Studies major, several Oregon Tech communication students have presented their research at the NWCAs annual conference. The small size, attention to undergraduate education, and focus on students interests, which are features of the Communication Studies major at Oregon Tech, make these experiences possible.

Who Are Our Faculty?

Linda Young, Professor

Linda Young is currently serving as the Chair of OIT’s Communication Department.  Her research interests include creative communication, Japanese media/anime/manga and media images generally, and communication theory.  Her doctoral work focused on reading theories, the teaching of written composition, and ancient and modern rhetoric.  Over the years, Dr. Young has given workshop presentations on teaching written composition, on institutional assessment, and faculty development.  Her hobbies include traveling, singing, writing, and playing city building games like Caesar IV.  Someday, she would like to design an XBOX game that involves an educational journey instead of people shooting each other.


Marilyn Dyrud, Professor

Marilyn Dyrud is eclectic in her research interests, which include electronic communication, engineering ethics, and the Holocaust. She is active in three professional organizations: the American Society for Engineering Education, Association for Business Communication, and the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics. She has served as chair for the Pacific Northwest Section of ASEE, as well as the chair of ABC’s Teaching Committee, and has been recognized by both organizations for service.  In 2008, she was recognized as Fellow of ASEE. 

Over the years, Dr. Dyrud has given over 100 conference presentations on subjects ranging from business and technical communication to engineering ethics.  She has published in a variety of engineering-related journals, as well as business communication journals and a number of assorted conference proceedings.  She currently serves on the editorial boards for four journals.


Julianne Murray, Professor

Dr. Julianne Murray’s research interests focus on intercultural, interpersonal and group communication.  Her passion for intercultural communication developed out of her overseas experiences, where she worked in Brazil, Germany and Japan and traveled extensively in Europe and Asia.  Her doctoral research was an intercultural study of group dynamics, comparing group behavior in a Japanese and a U.S. college.  Currently, her research focuses on interpersonal communication between faculty and students.  She also has expertise in dispute resolution.


Matt Schnackenberg, Professor

Dr. Matt Schnackenberg's research interests focus on rhetorical theory and on the teaching of writing and speech.  He most enjoys investigating together with his students the interaction of theory and application.  In other words, they argue a lot in class. For his doctoral work, Dr. Schnackenberg researched what the ancient Greeks had to say about the cunning required to capture the fleeting opportunities for successful arguments. So much work, both in the university and out, requires the cunning to fight the right arguments and to fight them in the right ways.


Valerie Vance, Professor

Valerie Vance’s primary area of expertise is technical communication. She teaches both traditional and distance education courses, and has developed three web-based technical communication courses that serve students throughout the United States who are enrolled in Oregon Tech degree-completion programs. Her current research interests include visual communication literacy; and current issues in distance education, in particular plagiarism in the online environment and intellectual property. Valerie has written and published several papers that address her research interests.

Who Can I Contact?

Linda Young, Department Chair


Marilyn Dyrud, Professor and Advising Coordinator


Kevin Brown, Externship


Julianne Murray, Speech Curriculum Coordinator


Maureen Phillips, ACP Coordinator


John Puckett, Curriculum Coordinator


Valerie Vance, Scheduling Coordinator


ADVISORS, Scheduling Coordinator