Quarter Plus 2018 Instructors

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Ryan Alaniz, Ph.D.

Dr. Ryan Alaniz has a Ph.D. in Sociology and is an associate professor at Cal Poly. He is currently affiliated with the United Nations University-Institute for Environment and Human Security for his work on disaster recovery and resettlement. His current research interests include resettlement, community development, drought, and transformative pedagogy.

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Richard Besel, Ph.D.

Dr. Besel joined the department in 2007. He is director of the Interdisciplinary Studies in the Liberal Arts (ISLA) Program and the Science, Technology, and Society (STS) Program.


His areas of expertise include rhetorical theory, history, and criticism; environmental communication; science communication; media studies; and political communication. He is co-editor, with Dr. Jnan Blau, of Performance on Behalf of the Environment, published in 2014 by Lexington Books. A second book, co-edited with Dr. Bernard K. Duffy, titled Green Voices: Defending Nature and the Environment in American Civic Discourse, was published in 2016 by SUNY Press. His work also appears in a variety of books and journals, including Applied Environmental Education and Communication; Communication Theory; Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture; Journal of Risk Research; Making Connections: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Cultural Diversity; Science in Context; and the Southern Communication Journal. Some of his publications are available at his website.

In 2010, Dr. Besel was the department’s Teacher of the Year and recipient of the California Faculty Association’s Distinguished Educator Award. In 2012, Dr. Besel was recipient of the College of Liberal Arts Richard K. Simon Faculty Award for Outstanding Scholarship. He also received the College of Liberal Arts Early Career Award for Achievement in Teaching in 2016. He is a past president of the National Communication Association’s Environmental Communication Division.

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Jnan Blau, Ph.D.

Dr. Jnan Blau came to Cal Poly in Fall 2008. He is co-editor, along with fellow Communication Studies Department professor Richard Besel, of the book Performance on Behalf of the Environment.


Dr. Blau’s work has appeared in the following academic journals: Liminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies, Trans: Transcultural Music Review, Cultural Studies <> Critical Methodologies, and Popular Music and Society. He wrote the entries on Chilean icons Violeta Parra and Salvador Allende for the Encyclopedia of Activism and Social Justice. He also has contributed essays to the blog section of the music-and-politics website HeadCount.org.

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Bethany A. Conway-Silva, Ph.D.

Dr. Bethany Anne Conway-Silva joined the Communication Studies faculty in Fall 2015. Her research agenda focuses on the intersection of mass and political communication; more specifically, she analyzes the many influences that shape news coverage in an effort to understand “collective sensemaking” in politics. This includes the role of new media in political campaigns and its influence on journalistic outcomes, as well as the networks of sources that journalists turn to for information on elections and government policy. More

As an affiliate with the University of Arizona’s National Institute for Civil Discourse, she is also involved in a long-term project analyzing perceptions of political incivility, including variable tolerance for incivility, and how demographic and political factors, media consumption, and online political engagement are associated with variable tolerance for political incivility. Notable achievements include sole and co-authored articles published in the Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, the American Behavioral Scientist, and the International Journal of Public Opinion Research. In 2014, Dr. Conway and her research team at the University of Arizona received a top paper award from the National Communication Association Political Communication Division for their manuscript “What is Political Incivility?”

Patrick Frisco

Patrick Frisco

Patrick Frisco joined the Communication Studies Department as a Lecturer in 2005. He received his Master of Arts in Communication Studies from CSU, Long Beach in 2006, and his Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication at Cal Poly in 2003. His focus of academic study is primarily rhetoric and persuasion. At Cal Poly, he has taught Public Speaking, Principles of Communication, and Persuasion. He is also active in the wine industry as a commercial producer of small-lot wines in Paso Robles.

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Arlene Grant-Holcomb, EdD, RD

Arlene Grant-Holcomb, EdD, RD is a Registered Dietitian with more than 20 years practice experience in clinical dietetics, community nutrition and foodservice management. Arlene has been on the nutrition faculty at Cal Poly since 2000 and is the Director of the Didactic Program in Dietetics.

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Lauren Kolodziejski

Lauren Kolodziejski began her career at Cal Poly in the fall quarter of 2014, teaching Persuasion, Rhetorical Criticism, and Public Speaking. With a research focus in the rhetoric of science, she plans to bring her passions to the classroom. Whatever their future endeavors may be, students are and always will be consumers. By adding a rhetoric of science unit to her Rhetorical Theory section in the winter, she hopes to bring to light the relevance and impact of science and politics on students as citizens and consumers, as well as the importance of thinking critically about this type of discourse.

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Emma Levine

Emma received her M.A. in musicology from UCSB in 2014 and her B.A. in music (piano performance) from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 2010, graduating magna cum laude. While at Cal Poly she performed as an accompanist and was active in the Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra. More

At UCSB, Emma taught music appreciation as well as music theory, and served as the lead graduate student teaching assistant for the music department. In addition, Emma was the Coordinator for the Teaching Assistant Development Program, UCSB’s campus-wide training program for graduate student teachers, where she led pedagogy workshops and conducted teaching consultations. In 2016, Emma was awarded UCSB’s campus-wide “Excellence in Teaching Award.” She is currently writing her dissertation as a Ph.D. candidate at UCSB and continues to teach private piano lessons.

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Stephen Lloyd-Moffett, Ph.D.

Dr. Stephen Lloyd-Moffett is an internationally known Religious Studies scholar and Professor in the Religious Studies Program at Cal Poly. More

Author of Beauty for Ashes: The Spiritual Transformation of a Modern Greek Community (St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press) and the forthcoming The Soul of Wine: Finding Religion in the Fruit of the Vine, Professor Lloyd-Moffett holds a B.A. in Economics and Film Studies from Claremont McKenna College, a Master of Theology degree from St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from University of California, Santa Barbara. A dynamic, popular community lecturer, he is the recipient of the Cal Poly College of Liberal Arts teaching award and the President's Community Service Award.

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Jenell Navarro, Ph.D.

Jenell Navarro received her Ph.D. in Cultural Studies from Claremont Graduate University in 2011. Her expertise and publications fall within the fields of Indigenous Studies and Hip-Hop Studies.

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John Patrick, Ph.D.

Dr. John Patrick, Ed.D. is the assistant director of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s nationally ranked debate team. In addition to running weekly practices for Cal Poly students, Dr. Patrick is a member of the United States Universities Debate Association’s advisory board, and he has teamed together with Kenneth Newby, director of the Morehouse College Debate Team, to bring debating workshops to colleges in developing nations as a way to promote nonviolent conflict resolution practices in countries where democracy is trying to flourish.


Dr. Patrick’s relationship with university debating has a long history. As an undergraduate communication studies and journalism major, he joined his college’s debate team in 2004 and went on to debate at the Oxford IV, two World Universities Debate Championships, and win the US National Debate Open and Pan Pacific Debate Championships in 2006 & 2007. Dr. Patrick built upon that success in graduate school by taking a position coaching the Cal State Fullerton debate team while earning his masters in communication studies, with an emphasis in rhetoric and persuasion, and a sub-emphasis in organizational communication.

After his masters, Dr. Patrick read for his doctorate in organizational leadership at the University of La Verne, ultimately writing his dissertation on the researching and knowledge development practices of successful World Universities Debate Championship debaters. During this time Dr. Patrick became the coach of the University of La Verne Debate Team, which accrued numerous national and international titles under his direction. Dr. Patrick is a regular curriculum consultant for Cogito Debate, an education service provider that provides debate training to charter and home schools in Southern California, and is routinely invited to lecture for Cal Poly Pomona’s international education programs in leadership and organization communication.

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Emily Ryalls

Dr. Ryalls joined the Department of Communication Studies in 2017. Her research and teaching interests are in the areas of cultural studies and feminist media studies, with a focus on popular culture and issues of race, gender, class, and sexuality. Her book, The Culture of Mean: Representing Victims and Bullies in Popular Culture, is part of Sharon Mazzarella’s Youth and Media series at Peter Lang. She has also published articles in journals such as Critical Studies in Media Communication, Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, and Communication Culture & Critique.

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Keri Schwab

Dr. Keri Schwab is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Experience Industry Management (formerly Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Administration) at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, CA. She completed her graduate degrees at the University of Utah in the same field, and taught there as a lecturer for two years. Her research interests include youth development, community recreation, teaching and learning, and social justice. In 2016, she was awarded the New Scholar award from CAFES, and in 2015, she was named a Future Leader in the field by Parks & Recreation Magazine (part of the National Recreation & Parks Association).

At Cal Poly, Dr. Schwab teaches in the undergraduate core, including Introduction to Program Design, and Evaluation and Assessment Methods. In these courses, she facilitates Learn by Doing by working with students to implement community programs and evaluate community/customer needs and agency/company outcomes. She also developed and teaches a special topics course; Sustainable Tourism in the Dominican Republic, and travels with students to the DR during spring break to study tourism, and tourists’ impacts on a developing country. She also last year co-developed and began teaching a GE course; Socio-Cultural Dimensions of Work and Leisure, which looks at the impact of leisure on humans, cultural and social assumptions about leisure, and equity in leisure. Locally, Dr. Schwab serves on the San Luis Obispo Parks and Recreation Commission, advising city council on park and open space use and future planning.

Dr. Schwab’s research and writing interests are wide, but always relate back to teaching and learning, or equity or sustainability in leisure. Current research projects include how to better engage urban, minority youth in the outdoors through social media messaging, motivations for altruistic behavior on the Pacific Crest Trail, and motivation and retention of charity event participants. In her time at Cal Poly, Schwab has helped edit or write three books and co-authored a dozen peer-reviewed articles. She served as co-editor for two undergraduate texts; A Career With Meaning: Recreation, Parks, Sport Management, Hospitality, and Tourism, and Just Leisure:Things that We Believe In. She is currently writing case studies for a book about Learn by Doing, titled: More than a Motto: The Meaning Behind Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing Signature. Dr. Schwab has also presented at state, national, and international conferences on a variety of topics ranging from best practices for social media use in parks and recreation to conceptualizing parks and recreation’s contribution to human and global health.

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Christopher Skiles

Mr. Skiles is the Interim Director of Forensics. His research interests include argumentation, cultural studies, and rhetorical theory and criticism.

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Sheree Twisselman Davis

Sheree Twisselman Davis is a Lecturer in the Communication Studies Department. She graduated from Cal Poly with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Communication and from Fresno State with a Master's degree in Communication. She has also studied Public Administration at the University of Southern California. More

Sheree has taught courses at Cal Poly such as Public Speaking, Small Group Communication, Public Relations and Media Relations. In addition to her twenty plus years of teaching experience, she has worked in the banking, electronic and telecommunications industries. More recently she served as Director of Government Relations for the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce and President and CEO of the Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce. She is a fifth generation native of San Luis Obispo County and is active in her community and family's cattle ranching business.

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