Meet the Faculty & Staff
- Amber Worthington, Department Chair
Amber Worthington, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor and Department Chair
Dr. Amber Worthington, Assistant Professor, earned her PhD and MA in Communication Arts and Sciences from Penn State University and her BS in Health and Exercise Science from Wake Forest University. Amber's primary teaching and research areas include oral, interpersonal, small group, health, and lifespan communication.
- Teresa Barton
Teresa Barton, Ph.D.
Prince William Sound College, Office 161
Dr. Teresa Barton earned a BA in Advertising/Public Relations from Pennsylvania State University, an MA in Rhetoric and Philosophy of Communication from Duquesne University, and a PhD in Cultural and Educational Policy Studies from Loyola University Chicago. Dr. Barton teaches communication courses at UAA's Prince William Sound College in Valdez. Her courses often incorporate communication practices in outdoor recreation and themes particular to living and working in Alaska.
- Mark Bruner
I have been a faculty member in the Department of Communication for the past 23 years. I teach Interpersonal Communication, Fundamentals of Oral Communication, Collaboration and Group Decision Making and Small Group Communication courses. My courses are structured to provide a dynamic classroom environment with active student participation and engagement. Class time is spent presenting and exploring communication theory and principles in a manner that encourages students to apply the principles to their own group environments. Classes include group activities and projects and students are encouraged to participate in each class period to fully benefit from the course materials.
I have lived in Alaska since 1993 and when I’m not on campus I enjoy hiking, fly fishing, floating rivers and exploring the 49th state. Sometimes I let my wife, three boys and Labrador puppy come with me.
B.A. 1989, Rhetoric and Communication, University of California, Davis.
M.A. 1991, Communication, University of California, Davis.
- Tzu-Chiao Chen
Tzu-Chiao Chen, Ph.D.
Dr. Tzu-Chiao Chen, Assistant Professor, earned his PhD in Communication from Arizona State University, MS. In Communications from Ithaca College and BS. In Telecommunication from Shih-Hisn University in Taipei, Taiwan. His teaching and research areas are in intercultural communication, interpersonal communication, conflict and negotiation, and research methods. Before joining UAA, he taught at an American University in Kuwait for two years. Experiencing the cultural differences is his main goal for traveling.
- Barbara Harville
Barbara Harville, Ph.D.
I am a Professor of Communication and currently serving as Chair of the Department of Communication. My primary teaching focus is on Interpersonal Communication. I also teach Communication in the Workplace and Communication and Leadership. One of my goals in all of my classes is to help students connect the theories and understanding of communication to the experiences of communication that we all have in our relationships.
- Steve Johnson
Associate Professor & Director of Seawolf Debate
Steve Johnson, Associate Professor, is the Director of Debate at UAA. Steve has been involved in competitive debating for nearly 30 years, and believes fervently in the power of academic debating to change people’s lives. Teams coached by Steve have enjoyed great success; winning US National Championships in 2002 and 2005, and reaching the semi-finalist level against over 320 teams at the 2007 World Universities Debating Championship. He teaches the Competitive Debating (COMM A360) and occasionally other courses for the department.
- Lisa Mounds-Craft
Lisa Mounds-Craft is an Adjunct Professor who has taught a variety of classes for the department since 2008. Lisa also works for the Anchorage School District where she is the Curriculum Principal at South Anchorage High School. Lisa graduated from Bartlett High School in 1987 and then went on to pursue an undergraduate degree in Journalism and Telecommunications at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Additionally, Lisa has earned a Masters of Science in Counseling Psychology from the University of Lavern, an Ed.S in Adult Learning from Walden University. In her spare time Lisa enjoys traveling, going to concerts, sleeping, watching Judge Judy and participating in retail therapy anytime the opportunity arises. Lisa is passionate about helping students identify and achieve their personal, educational, and professional goals. She believes that “success isn’t just about what you accomplish in life, it’s about what you inspire others to do”.
- Doug Parry
Doug Parry, Ph.D.
Dr. Doug Parry, Professor, earned his Ph.D. in Interpersonal Communication from Ohio University, an M.A. from West Virginia University, and B.A. in Political Science and Communication from the University of the Pacific. He started/coached the Anchorage Community College (later UAA) debate teams and previously chaired the department. Dr. Parry’s primary teaching and research areas include interpersonal communication, instructional communication and organizational communication. He enjoys hiking in Alaska and extended European bicycle tours without an itinerary.
- Christina Paxman
Christina Paxman, Ph.D.
Dr. Christina Paxman is an Associate Professor of Communication at Kenai Peninsula College and also teaches online upper-division courses for the UAA Department of Communication. Christina’s courses are designed to help students become more comfortable participating in their college classes and help them cultivate strong personal and professional relationships. Within the private sector, Christina has worked for Walt Disney World and a multi-national aerospace corporation, and she enjoys infusing her classes with this experience. Before moving to Alaska, Christina completed her Ph.D. at the University of Iowa, M.A. at California State University Long Beach, and B.A. at Western Washington University.
- Michelle Scaman
Michelle Scaman, Instructor, has taught at UAA since 2010, and previously taught at UAF and at the Tanana Valley campus in Fairbanks. She teaches a range of GER Communication and upper division courses, including some distance/online sections. Her research interests include information literacy and public speaking. She enjoys serving as the UAA Commencement speaker coach, working with the students on their presentations.
- Sarah Smith
"I have been teaching in the UA system since 2011 when I started my graduate program at UAF. I believe that the best way for students to learn and retain material is through discussion and practice. Through our class discussions, students get to practice oral and written communication on a variety of topics. It is important to me that students get to utilize the skills they read about in their textbook. I usually teach COMM 111 – Fundamentals of Oral Communication and COMM 235 – Small Group Communication. I enjoy both courses as they give students a great foundation in oral communication as they continue on in their academic and professional careers. I currently teach as an adjunct instructor because my other job is a full time stay at home mom to two small children. I enjoy spending time outside hiking, biking, skiing, skating, camping, and fishing. When I am not outside, I am usually baking with my children, or trying to read a few pages of a good book!"
BA in English Education from Carroll College in Helena, MT
MA in Communication from UAF in Fairbanks, AK
- Pik-ha Soo
Pik-ha Soo, MA
Pik-ha is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Communication. She graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks with a Master’s Degree in Professional Communication. Pik-ha has been teaching Communication classes since she was offered a teaching assistantship in the graduate school. Her master’s thesis focused on intercultural communication. This research interest stemmed from many fascinating experiences she had with people from different cultural backgrounds.
Pik-ha has also earned a BA in Business Studies from Hong Kong Polytechnic University. She moved from Hong Kong to Alaska in October 2002. Her love of nature and diversity such as mountains, glaciers, trees, birds, and people, keep her in Alaska!
Currently, Pik-ha is working as training specialist of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Her responsibilities focus on employee educational development so that employees can help Alaskans with disabilities obtain and keep good jobs, and advance their careers.