Meet the MCOM Faculty

Communications Faculty at SAU

Read on to learn a little more about the faculty that make up our Master of Arts in Communication program



Department chair

Paul D. Patton Ph.D., Regent University

Patton teaches courses in media, popular culture, and theater. He is co-author of Prophetically Incorrect: A Christian Introduction to Media Criticism and authored a chapter on evangelical theater in Understanding Evangelical Media: The Changing Face of Christian Communication.

He founded Trinity House Theater in Livonia, Michigan in 1981 and has written over 30 produced stage plays, radio plays, and performance essays, including The Celebrity. He is an active member of the National Communication Association and Christians in Theater Arts (CITA).



Graduate program director

Dr. Wally Metts, Faculty, Online Master of Arts in CommunicationWally Metts, Jr. Ph.D., Michigan State University

Metts teaches journalism and advertising. He has received awards from United Press International and the Educational Press Association for reporting and editing. He is active in College Media Advisors, where he frequently lectures on social media.

He was an associate editor for Guidepost for Kids and is currently working on My First Bible Dictionary, an early elementary reference project for Publications International.  An active blogger (, he recently self-published the Santa Papers, an “unofficial autobiography” of Nicholas of Myra, on Kindle.


Lead faculty

Dr. Robert Woods, Faculty, Online Master of Arts in CommunicationRobert H. Woods, Jr. – Ph.D., Regent University

Woods has written, coauthored or edited nine books. Most recently, he’s co-authored a three-volume collection of essays on Evangelicals and Popular Culture with Praeger publishing due out in late 2012. His articles have appeared in the Review of Religious Research, Journal of Media and Religion, Christian Scholar’s Review, Christian Higher Education, and several other journals.  He recently served as president of the Religious Communication Association (RCA) .


Other department faculty

Mary Albert Darling M.A., Western Michigan University
Darling is co-author with Dr. Tony Campolo of two books: Connecting Like Jesus: Practices for Healing, Teaching, and Preaching (2010); and The God of Intimacy and Action: Reconnecting Ancient Spiritual Practices, Evangelism, and Justice (2007). She is also a frequent seminar and retreat speaker.

Jen Letherer, MFA, Faculty, Online Master of Arts in CommunicationJen Letherer – M.F.A., Boston University

Letherer has directed Crimes of the Heart, The 39 Steps, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Three Sisters, and Steel Magnolias at Spring Arbor and is to direct Legally Blonde: The Musical at the Croswell Opera House. She recently completed work on the short film Derelicts and is currently working on a manuscript regarding television and the seven deadly sins.

Dr. Margaret O'Rourke-Kelly - Faculty, Online Master of Arts in CommunicationMargaret O’Rourke-Kelly (Ph.D., Walden University)

O’Rourke-Kelly teaches courses in research, writing and management.  She recently served as a lecturer at the Wuhan University of Technology in China and also traveled to Africa on a Fulbright Grant to help train teachers of high school English.  She published abiography of the first woman elected to statewide office in Michigan, Dora Stockman.


Adjunct Faculty

Dr. Diane Badzinski - Faculty, Online Master of Arts in CommunicationDiane M. Badzinski – Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison

Badzinski chairs the Department of Communication at Colorado Christian University. She has published in a wide variety of journals and co-authored a book on statistics titled Introductory Statistics for Criminal Justice and Criminology. Her research centers on how persuasive messages are used to promote Christianity and the extent to which such appeals help or hinder the spread of the gospel.




Dr. Debra Buenting - Faculty, Online Master of Arts in CommunicationDebra Kay Buenting – Ph.D., Regent University

Buenting writes, produces and directs videos for Youth With A Mission (YWAM), where she manages their website. Her current interests are the role communication plays in holistic biblical development and pro-social communication campaigns that use an entertainment-education strategy.

Thomas J. Carmody – Ph.D., Regent University

Carmody chairs the Communication Department at Vanguard University of Southern California where he has taught for over 25 years. He entered academia as a forensics coach and served as President of the Pacific Southwest Collegiate Forensics Association. His published book chapters cover topics ranging from the influence of nineteenth-century American sermons to the cultural impact of comics.

Dr. Terri Cornwell, Faculty, Online Master of Arts in CommunicationTerri Lynn Cornwell – Ph.D., University of Maryland

Cornwell currently teaches for Lynchburg College and for Liberty University. She has served as Legislative Director for the Congressional Arts Caucus in the U.S. Congress, Director of Communications and Development for the College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University, and Director of the Ohio State Commission on the Public Service. Her publications include Democracy and the Arts: The Role of Participation and scholarly publications on arts policy, quality of life studies, and advertising.

Paul A. Creasman – Ph.D., Regent University

Creasman is a communications professor at Arizona Christian University. He has contributed to several volumes including More Than “Precious Memories”: An Exploration of Southern Gospel Music, and Understanding Evangelical Media: The Changing Face of Christian Communication.

Reginald Ecarma- Ph.D., Regent University

Ecarma is a professor of communication at North Greenville University. He worked as managing editor of Insider Report and did public relations and coordinated local political.

Linwood Hagin – Ph.D., University of Tennessee

Hagin chairs the Department of Mass Communication at North Greenville University. He is an active member of the National Religious Broadcasters and has served as Chair of the INRB (Intercollegiate National Religious Broadcasters). His work has been featured in The Journal of Media Economics, College Media Review, the Encyclopedia of Radio, Case Studies in Telecommunications Management, Feedback, Historical Dictionary of American Radio, The Vindicator, and NRB Magazine.

Terrence R. Lindvall – Ph.D., University of Southern California

Lindvall is the C. S. Lewis Chair of Communication and Christian Thought at Virginia Wesleyan College. He has taught film at Azusa Pacific University, Wheaton College, Regent University, Duke University, and the College of William and Mary. He has published The Silents of God, Sanctuary Cinema, and other books and articles, and co-authored Celluloid Sermons: The Emergence of the Christian Film Industry, 1930–1986. Lindvall will keynote our biannual conference, FORUM4:15, in the summer of 2013.

Elizabeth McLaughlin – Ph.D., Regent University

McLaughlin is a professor of communication at Bethel College. She has served in four advertising and public relations agencies, as well as four not-for-profits in public relations. Her research interests include the integration of faith and gender; C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien; visual rhetoric and women and quilt making as expression of religious faith. She believes Star Trek and science fiction are essential to a well-lived life.

Quentin J. Schultze – Ph.D., University of Illinois

Schultze has consulted with Spring Arbor University on several projects and developed and taught a hybrid course on the essentials of faithful communication. Schultze is the Arthur H. DeKruyter Chair in Faith & Communication at Calvin College, has written over 100 scholarly and general-interest articles and has been quoted in most of the major North American media, including The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, Fortune, the New York Times, and the Chicago Tribune.

His books include American Evangelicals and the Mass Media: Perspectives on the Relationship Between American Evangelicals and the Mass Media, Televangelism and American Culture: The Business of Popular Religion, Habits of the High Tech Heart: Living Virtuously in the Information Age, Christianity and the Mass Media in America: Toward a Democratic Accommodation.
[wpcol_1third id=”events” class=”” style=””]

Where You Can Find Wally on Tour

  • March 23-24 Campbell University (Lillington, NC)
  • March 25-26 North Greenville University (Greenville, SC)
  • March 27-28 Bryan College (Dayton, TN)
  • March 30 Carson Newman College (Jefferson City, TN)
  • May 9-11 Evangelical Press Association (Colorado Spring, CO)


[wpcol_1third id=”about” class=”” style=””]

About MCOM


[wpcol_1third_end id=”” class=”” style=””][form mcom-tour][/wpcol_1third_end]

About SAU Online

Since 1873, Spring Arbor University has helped students pursue wisdom by offering an education grounded in the Christian faith. What began as a small elementary and secondary school in the late 1800s has evolved into a premier private Christian university that offers engaging online programs designed to meet the unique needs of busy, working adults. While we’re not the only university to offer online degree programs, our distinction lies in our total commitment to providing educational excellence within a Christ-honoring and supportive online community.

Featuring Highly-Ranked and Respected Programs

HLC NCAccne-logo US News Best Colleges Badge Best Christian Colleges and Universities Best Christian Colleges and Universities Best Christian Colleges and Universities Best Online colleges

The baccalaureate degree program in nursing and master degree program in nursing at Spring Arbor University are accredited by
the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street, NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202-887-6791