Spring Arbor University

Department of Communication and Media

SAU’s Department of Communication and Media prepares credible, creative Christian professionals for a world where the mastery of communication skills and technologies are essential. Our curriculum fosters critical thinking and creative problem solving. It strengthens speaking, writing, and professional skills, enabling students to produce, perform and publish original work. Students track personal and professional growth using e-portfolios.

Students work in creative teams for real clients and meet real deadlines. Students have the opportunity to study abroad and complete off-campus internships. We foster a strong sense of community through department-wide programs, collaborative projects, and shared course requirements. We showcase and celebrate student work in a variety of venues. Our faculty are practicing professionals who routinely publish, present, and produce original work. All have been recognized by the university for excellence in teaching or scholarship.

Finally, students from all disciplines participate in our extra-curricular opportunities hosting radio shows, playing vital roles in short films or theatrical plays and creating student publications. Each year our students win local and national contests, attend conferences, conduct and publish research, write, produce and direct original plays and short films.

Undergraduate programs

Our mission is to prepare credible, creative Christian professionals for a world where the mastery of communication skills and technologies is essential. We accomplish our mission by helping students produce, publish and perform original work that is both ethical and effective. Even though we have seven undergraduate majors, there is a strong sense of community fostered by department-wide programs, collaborative projects and shared course requirements. SAU offers majors and minors in the following programs:

Master of Arts in Strategic Communication and Leadership

Offered entirely online, graduate studies in communication at Spring Arbor University offers aspiring scholars and working professionals the opportunity to hone their skill sets and advance their careers without interrupting their schedules. The Master of Arts in Communication (MCOM) is a 38-semester hour program which brings both theoretical and Christian perspectives to bear on practical problems and provides you with a foundational understanding of communication through an interdisciplinary foundation and core of 14-17 semester hours. An additional 12 semesters hours (minimum) of coursework will be accomplished in the specific concentration plus appropriate electives and a culminating activity (thesis or portfolio) of two semester hours allows you to design, implement and evaluate a project which effectively applies an interdisciplinary understanding of communication studies to a real-life situation. Learn more about the Master of Arts in Strategic Communication and Leadership.

Hands-on curriculum

Hands-on curriculum

Extracurricular opportunities

The department provides opportunities to students from any major to participate in radio, video, drama, and student publications. This includes a sketch-comedy TV show, a student newspaper, several plays including one for freshmen and transfers only, and a film festival.

Vocational preparation

The curriculum stresses speaking and writing skills but focuses on reality-based experiences with creative teams, real clients and productions. All students create or perform portfolio pieces.

Student achievement

Student achievement

Each year, students win contests, attend conferences, do research, write and direct plays and work with clients. We’ve won as many as 20 state and national awards a year for student work.

Undergraduate Achievements

  • SAU film/video students Karina Mora and Brendan Lay were on set for most of the 31-day shoot for the film, The Job, filming and editing material for the special features track on the DVD release of the film. The film stars Patrick Fleuger (Princess Diaries), Ron Perlman (Hellboy), Taryn Manning (White Oleander, The Twilight Zone) and Joe Pantliano (The Soprano’s).
  • Video/Film student Cy Young completed a year of shooting and editing for a project commissioned by the Dahlem Nature Conservancy. Young shot footage to showcase the Dahlem Environmental Nature Center in all four seasons and show highlights of programs it hosts throughout the year. Young was on-hand when the video was shown to 280 guests at the Conservancy’s first annual Benefit Breakfast and the kickoff of the Conservancy’s capital campaign.
  • Students gained internships at SMILE.FM (Felice Wojewski), Campbell-Ewald advertising (Amanda Philips) Scott Allen advertising (Jaclyn Hildenbrand) (advertising agencies in Detroit) and Three Rivers Community News (Aaron Muller).

Graduate Achievements

  • Rich Mortland was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives (71st District) in 2011.
  • Mark Ward, Sr., graduated from Clemson University’s doctoral program and began teaching at the University of Houston – Victoria.
  • Jillian Moller started teaching at Lonestar College in Houston. She writes, “The department chair was really impressed with how prepared I was—all stuff I learned at SAU.”
  • Christy Mesaros Winckles is completing her doctoral studies at Bowling Green State University in rhetorical studies with an emphasis on the historical rhetoric of 19th century women evangelists.
  • Chad Nelson and Alexandra Wantke, both recent MCOM graduates, started doctoral programs this fall (Chad at Bowling Green State University and Alexandra at Regent University).
  • Annette Ford traveled from Kazakhstan to the main campus of Spring Arbor University in 2011 to speak in chapel on her work and life.
  • Dr. Richard Harris, MCOM student and adjunct professor for SAU’s undergraduate speech class, was recently featured in the Spring Arbor University JournalMCOM student Kelly Skarritt-Williams interviewed Richard and shared his powerful testimony.
  • Candice Harrison has been hired as Director of Health Care Marketing for the University of Toledo Medical Center.
  • Julie Hand received the “2011 Outstanding Administrator Award” at Jackson College where she is the Assistant Dean of Student Service.

MacBook requirement

MacBook requirement

All communication majors are required to have either a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air. For more information regarding this requirement please contact your Admissions Representative or the Department of Communication and Media secretary, Mary Greer, at 517.750.6483 or Mary.Greer@arbor.edu.

SAU Radio

SAU Radio

Spring Arbor University Radio has a long history with multiple radio formats and changes over the years, and currently offering two radio station experiences. The broadcast studios of HOME.fm and The Tune are located on the campus of SAU. Our flagship station, HOME.fm, offers a unique selection of Music That Makes You Feel Good®, by playing a one-of-a-kind blend of positive mainstream and Christian music. 

Our professional part- and full-time staff work alongside SAU students as they learn about broadcasting, both on the air with us and in the community. This tradition of teaching while providing a quality radio station dates back to 1963 when the university first attained a broadcast license to go on the air. 

The station simulcasts both a non-commercial and commercial radio station to cover most of the south-central Michigan area. Listeners can tune in at 106.9 FM Jackson, 98.3 FM Lansing/Chelsea, 99.5 FM Kalamazoo, 97.1 FM Coldwater, 92.3 FM Battle Creek and at 101.7 FM Galesburg. It also streams online from anywhere in the world at www.home.fm or on the free phone app.  

In addition to programming HOME.fm, SAU Radio has an online training station for new students just learning how to go on the air. The Tune can be heard at arbor.edu/radio playing a mix of worship and adult contemporary Christian music. Through a volunteer training program, students can learn the radio business and train to apply for a paid student role at HOME.fm once positions become available. Students interested in learning through SAU Radio come from all majors on campus, but the station primarily attracts those specifically interested in communications and broadcasting.
home.fm logoThe Tune logo

Meet the Faculty