Conversion of SPCH to COMM Courses

The Speech and Communication Studies Department has merged with the Communication Studies Department. Starting Summer 2016, Speech and Communication Studies (SPCH) Department courses are being taught in the Communication Studies (COMM) Department. Get more information, including a chart that explains the change of SPCH courses to the COMM Department.

Mission Statement

The Communication Studies Department at Ohlone College is committed to the study of human communication in various culturally and socially diverse contexts from multiple perspectives. It is our belief that communication is the very fabric that connects us to each other and to the world in which we live, and through critical examination of our communication practices we can begin to understand our role in the construction of our social reality. Through Communication Studies, we reflect upon our identities, cultures, politics, experiences, and relationships, and we interpret the patterns of events that connect us with one another. There are four cornerstones that guide the philosophy of our department, in instruction, theory, and practice:

  • Diversity - We communicate to create community. We acknowledge and appreciate the influence of our values, beliefs, and perceptions upon our communication practices.

  • Praxis - Academic theory and philosophy has maximum potential when strongly tethered to the lived experience of us all.

  • Critical Thinking - Examining research and evidence to explore logical argumentation, both written and spoken, is crucial to the betterment of our communities.

  • Social Justice and Equality - It is imperative that we employ ethical and compassionate communication practices that are sensitive to differences in cultural privileges and power.

The Communication Studies Department offers a wide range of courses to advance every student's quest in finding their voice, through the practical application of a variety of communication theories. The Communication Studies courses we offer will satisfy student's goals for continuing education, will meet students' general education requirements for transfer to California State University (CSU) and University of California (UC), as well as earn Communication certificates and AA degrees from Ohlone College.

Year Summary
1967-1972 College opened at Serra Center where Drama Instructor Craig Jackson taught the first section of Public Speaking.  

First Fulltime Speech Instructor Hired, Maggie Morrisson, Ph.D

Two classes offered:  Public Speaking and Group Discussion


By the spring of 1976, Maggie Morrison was teaching five SPCH classes and had two, part time faculty in the evening. Course offered included: 

  • Public Speaking
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Introduction to Speech Communication Skills
  • Oral Interpretation of Literature
  • Critical Thinking and Decision Making
  • Voice & Diction
  • Persuasion
  • Basic Pronunciation of English
  • Intercultural Communication (1997?)
  • Forensics (1987?)
  • Communication Skills for the Workplace (1,2 and 3 unit)
1976 In the Fall of 1976, Kay Harrison was hired half time to teach SPCH.
1982 Kay Harrison became fulltime in SPCH

We offered eight courses:

  • Public Speaking
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Basic Communication Skills
  • Oral Interpretation of Literature
  • Discussion and Decision making
  • Voice & Diction
  • Persuasion
  • Basic Pronunciation of English
  • First Grant request was written for a Speech Communication Lab
  • Continued writing grant proposal for the lab through 2006
1995 SPCH Department offered 24 section of SPCH classes.
1996 Meg Laxier, Fulltime SPCH Faculty.
  • Lisa Benedetti, Director of Forensics
  • Forensics courses written
  • CSU Hayward approved 12 semester units of SPCH form Ohlone toward the Speech Communication major
1998 First Annual Speech Night began and continues today .
1999 Kelly Hughes, Director of Forensics.
  • Maggie Morrisson retired
  • Brenda Ahntholz and Teresa Massimo hired fulltime
2000 Teresa Massimo became the Director of Forensics.
2000 WSCA Model Teaching Award given to Ohlone College’s Community College “Most impressive about this program are the breadth and depth of the curriculum and the programs ability to encourage and facilitate connections between the academy and the community” February 28, 2000.
  • Brenda Ahntholz began the Speech Speakers Series that was co-sponsored by ASOC
  • Brenda and Kay wrote Family Communication
  • Teresa and Kay wrote Argumentation & Debate
2001 Wrote the SPCH 190 courses, Skills for Peer Consulting with Speech Communication Students.
2002 First SPCH COMM AA Degree (2002).
  • First Communication Lab open in Building 1, 4th Floor, Library Storage Room
  • Sigma Chi Eta was chartered
2005 Sigma Chi Eta students presented at NCA in San Francisco.
2005-2006 Submitted an instructional equipment request for the lab for cameras and computers for approx. $12,000.
2005-2006 Kay Harrison became Director of Forensics.
2006 Speech Communication Lab Hyman Hall, 216.
  • January Speech Communication Lab was named in honor of Maggie Morrisson
  • AAT in Communication Studies
  • Wrote three Interdisciplinary certificates:  Mass Communication, Gender & Women’s Studies and International Business
  • Wrote Listening Course
2010 Kay Harrison and Brenda Ahntholz each taught one section of Public Speaking with an International Negotiation Model, INMP and participated in four ninety minute negotiations with 18 other colleges.  Harrison’s class was Vietnam and Ahntholz class was Egypt.  This was sponsored Title VI Business and International Education Grant.  This led to a study abroad trip to Egypt.
2010 NCA Sigma Chi Eta Charter of the Year, November.
2010 Kay Harrison retired and continued as adjunct until 2015.
2010 Brenda Ahntholz wrote Introduction to Communication Theory and Gender Communication.
2011 In January, Harrison and Ahntholz led 16 students on a business related study abroad trip to Egypt during the Arab Spring revolution in Egypt.
2013 Speech Speakers Series changed to the Communication Colloquium Series.
  • Hired Larissa Favela
  • Opened second Communication Lab at Newark Campus, LRC-111
2015 Wrote Health Communication and Introduction to Performance Studies Spring 2015, our Communication Labs and tutor training program received NACC (National Association of Communication Centers).
2015 Communication Department along with Human Resources held a community-wide Dialogue on Race and Social Justice.
2016 White Privilege Communication Colloquium Series in combination with ODIAC (Ohlone Diversity and Inclusion Committee) (Brenda Ahntholz). 
2016 Communication Colloquium Series in combination with ODIAC (Ohlone Diversity and Inclusion Committee) sponsor first Asian American Panel Discussion (Larissa Favela).
2016 Hired Shelly Spratt.
2016 Started the Social Justice Conference (Teresa Massimo).
2017 Ohlone College's first TedX Event Theme: “Embrace the Unknown” (Larissa Favela).