Department Chair of Communications and Media Studies
Brad Van Alstyne will tell you that one of his favorite places to spend time is in the classroom. He fell into teaching quite by accident but has loved every moment of it since his first day in the fall of 1987. He graduated from CSU Chico in 1987 with a B.A. in Organizational and Interpersonal Communications, and finished his M.A in Human Communication Study in 1992. He is completing his Ph.D. at the California Institute For Integral Studies, focusing his coursework on human communication in online educational settings.
Brad has taught and worked in both the fields of communication and business and has over twenty years of experience at the community college, private college, and state university level as an instructor, dean, department director, faculty mentor, student advisor and curriculum author. Brad has also worked as a marketing director, public relations director, business communication consultant and personnel director.
Aside from teaching communication courses at Dominican, he continues to consult in business as well as authoring and creating curriculum for online programs throughout the Bay Area. Brad’s hobbies include spending time with his wife and two sons, or doing anything outdoors with family and friends.
Assistant Professor of Communications and Media Studies
Although he began making movies in elementary school, John never wanted to live in a megalopolis like Los Angeles. But when he decided working odd jobs in Indianapolis wouldn’t get him where he wanted to go, he headed out to L.A. and USC’s film school. Graduating with an MFA in Cinema Production in 1983, John went on to work at most of the major Hollywood studies – Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Disney, and others – creating and editing sound effects for some great movies, including War of the Roses, Awakenings, Heathers, and his crowning achievement, the Academy Award-winning Dances with Wolves.
Finally, other challenges beckoned when John was invited by Elon University in North Carolina to create its new Cinema program. But his heart was still in California, so when Dominican offered him the opportunity to build a new Cinema concentration in its Communications Department, John jumped at the chance. He brings to his teaching not only his years of professional experience, but also his boundless personal enthusiasm, energy, and individual concern for each and every student.
Now the Dominican Cinema program is growing by leaps and bounds, as is the Student Film Club, which John is faculty sponsor for. He also has a passion for environmental activism, so John has served several years on the Greener Dominican Task Force. And ever shooting for higher vistas, he is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at the California Institute of Integral Studies, where he is producing a documentary video about ecological sustainability in the local Marin County community.
Until the front office of the Denver Broncos calls and wants her input, Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann is thrilled to be in Northern California teaching at Dominican. And her love of the Denver Broncos is only matched by her love of all things journalism.
As a strong critic of the presentation of information in the current era, Laurie believes the masses still need trained journalists to sort out the day’s events and help explain their significance. Given the depths to which many news media outlets have plunged (in her opinion, of course), Laurie is determined to teach students how find, report, and love real news (and possibly to even love news quizzes, but that’s not necessary).
With professional experience in reporting and editing plus a research background in media law, Laurie is well-suited to helping students sift through today’s information overload and discover what is truly significant information for our world and culture.
When Bettie Grinnell started college at the University of Maryland, she had no idea what she wanted to study, let alone declare as a major. An “A “in her first Public Speaking course must have helped her make the decision to major in Communications and minor in Sociology. She was fascinated with the many different ways people express themselves and also with the language of “Sociology.” When she earned her B.A. she was not ready to go out into the world to pursue a career. Bettie stayed at the University of Maryland for graduate school and earned an M.A. with a major in Communications and a minor in Education.
She began teaching Speech and Rhetoric and has been teaching students to express themselves, be comfortable in front of audiences, and evaluate what they hear ever since then. She enjoyed being a news reporter on the University of Maryland’s closed-circuit television station. At the same time she received her M.A. she also married and moved to San Francisco. Bettie and her husband raised their family here (a son and a daughter) and now have two granddaughters as well.
San Francisco was a challenge as far as finding a job in commercial broadcasting, so Bettie turned to Education. She spent many years teaching Speech and Rhetoric for Chapman University and Columbia College at various Extended Studies Centers in the Bay Area. Many of the students were in the military, some were adults, some were right out of high school, and some were members of various police forces. All brought life experiences to class and so Bettie was fortunate to learn much from them. She continues to teach with Columbia College on Coast Guard Island in Alameda.
Bettie came to Dominican in 1998 when the school was called Dominican College. She fell in love with the students, the campus, and the feeling of excitement that everyone in the Dominican community seems to experience and express. She enjoys hearing the stories of her students and is always so thrilled by the progress they make throughout each semester. She tells her students that their careers in Public Speaking do not end at the end of the semester and her hope is that they will use what they gained in class to help them be “aware” consumers of communication in today’s world. And she always enjoy seeing former students on campus and hearing how their studies are progressing.
Stuart Horne has been teaching Internet radio for Dominican's Communications program since he served as one of the founders of the successful radio.dominican.edu - also known as Penguin Radio. Prior to his appointment to leadership of the station, he volunteered endless hours of training and broadcasting and contributed equipment to the fledgling station. This student-run station currently beams live university sports and other original content around the world to ever growing audiences.
Stuart brings to Dominican more than thirty years’ experience in sound recording, having worked with top musicians in the recording industry. As the current station director and founder for DU radio, he continues to “gild the lily” and develop this marvelous vehicle for training students and enabling them to find jobs in the broadcast industry.
“It was Stuart’s expertise that transformed us from ordinary to extraordinary and earned rankings as high is ninth in the nation among University Internet stations. We are all delighted by the number of students currently working in the marketplace at high paying jobs, due to the cutting-edge training designed by Stuart in a program that compels students to begin broadcasting their own shows only weeks after they enter class,” says Melba Beals, Chair Emeritus, who was also one of Stuart's early mentors at Dominican.
The live broadcasting of athletics play-by-play through Penguin Radio is spearheaded by Horne who has become known as the voice of Dominican’s Penguin athletics program through his endless hours of on-air training of students. As he likes to note, radio.dominican.edu beams broadcasts from the "from the Yukon to the Euphrates."
Stuart is always gratified to see students move through the program and get great internships and go on to find jobs in radio once they've graduated.
Horne currently lives on a boat, which includes a full-sized, professional recording studio where he produces music and voice-over sessions for and with many clients. As a drummer, bassist, and keyboard player, he has worked with such notables as The Neville Brothers, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, X, and many others. These experiences, along with his contagious positive energy and his undeniable love for Dominican, make him a favorite among faculty and students - so much so that he was nominated for, and won, Dominican's 2012 Adjunct Teacher of the Year Award.
Frankie grew up in the South, a place rich in culture. In 35 years of photojournalism, he has photographed fires and floods, princes and popes, presidential campaigns and the everyday lives of countless people.
Every day he plans or spends shooting is a play day for him. “I can’t believe I get to do this,” he says. “They give me all these cool cameras to play with and I get to find the most interesting people I can and hang out with them.”
He enthusiastically shares his experiences with Dominican students.
“My photojournalism class is more about life than photography,” he says. “You need to understand what is going on around you and have the desire to document it for history’s sake.”
Lise loves solving communications problems with energy, elbow grease, and effective, targeted design. Whether the process involves leading a team of journalism students in defining the look and layout of the campus newspaper, The Habit, launching an interactive webzine, whycantistop.com, with contributions from alumni, faculty and students, or working for her design clients, Lise is passionate about the creative possibilities that happen when collaborations bring design thinking together with technology to generate change, tell a compelling story, or report the latest news.
It started in the late ‘80s when Lise got her first Mac. The world of typewriters, correction fluid, and paste-up gave way to easy editing and expanded possibilities for creative expression. Photoshop meant that word ideas and picture ideas were never easier to combine and manipulate. For the first time, an entire studio on a desktop! Lise, a generalist, who loved studying art,history, and literature at UC Berkeley found the new technologies liberating. They helped her build a diverse portfolio of award-winning projects and programs for her corporate, institutional, and nonprofit clients. From the ‘90s on, Lise also developed the voice and the look of many community projects by writing op-eds, articles, and positioning pieces and by serving as creative director, consultant, designer, strategist and team member to campaigns for candidates, open space, habitat restoration, parks and recreation, and public safety.
In Dominican’s Mac Lab, her excitement about technology is infectious. She encourages students to “embrace technology.” Whether students are first-time digital art makers, or have dabbled a bit, in her classes they always experience growing confidence and competence through exposure to design fundamentals and industry standard processes. “My favorite thing is when one student concept moves the entire team to discover and develop a new process or explore an untried technique or technology. This is where things get exciting and team chemistry takes off,” says Lise.
Today, when not working with students, she collaborates with husband David in their home-based, award-winning design firm Torme Design where she tells clients' stories in words and pictures, color and movement. Teen daughter Danielle rounds out the creative home environment where she pursues fashion and accessory design when not practicing for soccer games at Redwood High or training and riding horses with her mother.
Chair Emeritus (Retired) Communications and Media Studies
During her time as Chair Emeritus of the Department of Communications at Dominican, Beals taught her students learn to present themselves and their opinions with clarity and authority. Under her care her students gained hands-on experience producing campus media, including Dominican’s award-winning Internet radio station, journalism projects, and student film productions. Students also learned how to work in media across the industry from radio, television, and movies. Beals helped promote and develop a wide variety of internships to provide the students with real-world experience.
"I love teaching students to speak and to write because I know that these skills will serve them forever, no matter what profession or vocation they choose. If one knows how to say what one means, one is able to get what one wants, convince those who need persuading or supply a valuable service to those looking for information or knowledge. Communication is the key to success in all societies."
Ms. Beals is one of the Little Rock Nine, the group of African-American students who, following the defeat of separate-but-equal schooling laws in Brown v. Board of Education, braved violent resistance to the integration of Little Rock Central High School. After Little Rock segregationists closed the city’s public high schools, violent death threats from the KKK compelled her to leave her home in 1958. Beals was taken to California where she was adopted by the McCabes, a Quaker family in Santa Rosa, California. She gained a BA from San Francisco State University and became an NBC news reporter and staffer for People magazine. Ms. Beals tells the story of her civil rights triumph in her best-selling book “Warriors Don’t Cry”, which is translated into 20 languages and used across the U.S. as a textbook.
In addition to the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor awarded Ms. Beals by the U.S. Congress, she holds more than 100 other awards. The U.S. Mint recently issued a coin in her honor and a postage stamp was issued by the U.S. Post Office in May of ’05 in honor of the Little Rock Nine.
In 2014, upon her retirement and in honor of her lifetime's work, Dominican's Office of Diversity and Equity and its advisory board, the Diversity Action Group, created an award in her name, the Melba Beals Award for Excellence in Diversity, to recognize significant contributions to diversity work by individuals, groups (including student organizations and honor societies), and programs from the Dominican community.