Department of Communication
M. Laurie Norton Diles, Ph.D. (University of Oklahoma)
About Dr. Diles
Dr. Laurie Diles joined the faculty in 2011, following several years as an adjunct instructor. She has served as a speaker for women’s classes and programs in Brazil, Czech Republic, Germany and Slovakia, as well as in the United States. Dr. Diles’ research and occasional consulting has concentrated in the area of intercultural communication, especially intercultural adaptation. Prior to moving to Searcy, she and her husband, Allen, and their two sons served for 11 years in the Czech Republic on a church-planting team.
About Dr. Bane
Dr. Bane has lived in numerous places all over the country, working variously as a country music disc jockey, an oil refinery demolition specialist, a movie critic, a television producer, an eighth-grade English teacher, and an awarding-winning filmmaker. Along the way, he managed to earn various degrees including a PhD in Film History, Theory, and Criticism from LSU (Geaux Tigers!). His films have been screened at the Three Minute Film Festival, WorldFest – Houston, and the Bare Bones International Film Festival. His articles have appeared in Stephen King and Philosophy, Jane Austen and Philosophy, Hollywood’s America: Twentieth-Century America Through Film, Stanley Kubrick: Essays on his Films and Legacy, Papa, PhD: Essays on Fatherhood by Men in the Academy, and the Encyclopedia of Documentary Film.
Ginger Blackstone, Ph.D. (University of Florida)
About Dr. Blackstone
A 1991 alumna of Harding University, Dr. Blackstone spent nearly two decades as an award-winning TV news producer and supervisor. Originally from Dallas, Texas, Dr. Blackstone has worked at numerous television stations, including CNN and CNN Headline News, where she served as a network supervising producer for nearly 10 years. Former jobs include freelance writing at WSB in Atlanta; anchoring, reporting and serving as assistant news director at WHOA in Montgomery, Ala.; and producing at stations in Arkansas and Tennessee. She's been honored with a national Emmy award, two Peabodys, a Columbia-duPont award, and a regional Edward R. Murrow award.
About Mrs. Fatula
After graduating from Harding in 1999 with degrees in print journalism and Spanish, Mrs. Fatula joined the University as director of news services, a role she served for nine years. On behalf of two public relations and marketing agencies in Little Rock, she coordinated national and regional public relations and media relations efforts for a wide variety of Arkansas-based clients for 10 years. Her work has been recognized with multiple Prism Awards, presented by the Arkansas Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. She is a contributing writer to regional magazines and blogs on a regular basis, and is a past contributor to The Christian Chronicle. She assists as advisor of the award-winning Bison newspaper and Petit Jean yearbook and teaches courses in public relations. She serves as a member of the board of directors for Midnight Oil: A Kibo Outpost and Mission Machine. She and her husband, Aleks, have three children.
About Dr. Garner
Dr. Patrick Garner has taught communication at Harding for 38 years. Besides being a classroom teacher in the Department of Communication, he is also a teacher and one of the founding participants in the Honors College. Dr. Garner also directs the forensics program and the undergraduate fellowships program. His academic interests include interpersonal communication, nonverbal behavior, persuasion, small group communication, and the effects of technology on interpersonal behavior. In the Honors College his course emphasizes the development of postmodern thought as well as the effects of present and future technology on culture. He planned and helped execute a ground-breaking intersession course last May on the origins and diffusion of coffee. The class was conducted in Ethiopia, Oman, Turkey and France. He has been married to the former Mona Lee Moore for 38 years, having four children and eight grandchildren. He is an elder at the Downtown Church of Christ.
About Mr. Hamilton
A 1980 Harding graduate, Mr. Hamilton worked for 32 years at KATV Channel 7 in Little Rock as a photojournalist. His assignments included Bill Clinton’s election as President and the Arkansas Razorbacks 1994 National Championship in basketball. He directs students who produce sporting events for the Harding Sports Network. He teaches classes in sports broadcasting and video production. He has been nominated for five Emmy Awards. He won for the 1992 Clinton Campaign and for a series on the war on drugs in Peru. He has won a national Edward R. Murrow Award and four regional Murrow awards. He has been honored with a New York Festivals World Medal. A native of Melbourne, Arkansas, he is married to the former Laura Roper. They have one son, Chandler.
About Dr. Hoggatt
A graduate of Abilene Christian University, Dr. Hoggatt has worked as a television news producer, reporter and anchor at stations in West Texas. He has served as an announcer and manager at a number of radio stations. His video production experience has included the production of documentaries in Israel, Greece, Turkey and England. Dr. Hoggatt teaches media, audio, and radio production courses. He serves as the advisor for media production majors and sponsors the university chapter of Radio Television Digital News Association. He also manages the university radio stations KVHU 95.3 and AM1660.
Michael L. James, Ph.D. (Florida State University)
About Dr. James
After beginning his Harding tenure in the office of public relations in 1973, Dr. James was added to the faculty and served as chair of the Department of Communication from 1993 until 2008. He was chosen as the first dean of the College of Communication in 2008. Dr. James agreed to become the director of Harding University in Greece (HUG) in the fall of 2010. He and his wife, Beth, co-directed the semester-abroad program in Porto Rafti, Greece, for almost five years. Dr. James returned to Searcy in 2015, when he was named dean of the Honors College. A native of Kennett, Mo., Dr. James received a B.S. degree in math from Harding, a MSMC from Arkansas State University, and a Ph.D. in communication from Florida State University. His specialty is interactive communication, especially those relating to photography. He and Beth have four children and six grandchildren.
James E. Miller, Ph.D. (University of Tennessee)
About Dr. Miller
Dr. Miller worked as a contributing writer for the Knoxville News Sentinel and Knoxville Business Journal for three years. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee and has published and presented research at dozens of conferences around the country. Dr. Miller served as chair of the Department of Communication from 2014 to 2019 and received the university’s Teaching Achievement Award in 2012. He teaches courses in writing and reporting, research methods, and media ethics. His research interests include political communication and media ethics in the digital age. Dr. Miller sponsors Harding’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and is a member of Kappa Tau Alpha, the national society for recognition of scholarship in mass communication. He and his wife, Sara, have two children.
About Mrs. Pitt
Mrs. Pitt, a 1967 alumna of Harding College, began teaching at Harding as an adjunct instructor in 1976. Previously, Mrs. Pitt worked at Harding Academy in Memphis, where she was involved in the International Cultural Exchange School and won the Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award. Mrs. Pitt earned a master's in communication in 1992. She and her husband, Paul, built their underground home in 1987 and are grandparents of triplets. They worship at the Westside Church of Christ.
About Mr. Ritchie
Mr. Ritchie has lived in Searcy, Ark., since 1979. He is married to the former Lisa Ann James, who teaches in the family and consumer sciences department at Harding. Mr. Ritchie holds degrees in public relations and education. He has had a long-time interest in Christian education, serving as counselor, assistant director and director at several brotherhood Christian camps, as well as teaching, preaching and song leading in congregations in the Searcy area. Mr. Ritchie teaches courses in speech communication.
About Mr. Shaner
An alumnus of Harding, Mr. Shaner teaches advertising courses and directs the advertising major. He also teaches an oral communication class on an ESL level to Chinese students. Mr. Shaner is the faculty sponsor of the Harding Student Advertising Agency and the Beta Omega Chi Men's social club. He is a member of IABC Arkansas, the Publicity Club of Chicago, the Chicago Association of Direct Marketing, and the Roosevelt University Alumni Board of Governors. He has also served as a board member and secretary for the Windy City Habitat for Humanity. He is an elder at the Downtown Church of Christ. Mr. Shaner has been recognized with a Distinguished Toastmaster award, an Outstanding Young Man of America award from the National Junior Chamber of Commerce, a KHCA Radio Service Award for Sales, and the Arkansas Collegiate Press Association's Photographer of the Year award. He's also an avid Cubs fan.
Jack R. Shock, Ed.D. (University of Arkansas)
About Dr. Shock
An alumnus of Harding, Dr. Shock served in the White House as Director of Presidential Letters and Messages for President Clinton. He also worked in media relations for the Red Cross. That job took him to Ground Zero a few weeks after 9/11 where he helped tell the stories of some of the most courageous people you will ever read about. Dr. Shock is a three-time recipient of the Teacher Achievement Award at Harding, thus has been promoted to Distinguished Professor. He spends his time writing, introducing people to New York City, and rescuing dogs who need good homes.
About Mrs. Sloan
An alumna of Harding, Mrs. Sloan serves as assistant professor of Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC). She taught in the Paul R. Carter College of Business for 23 years and recently moved to the College of Arts and Humanities' Communication Department to launch a collaborative IMC degree between both colleges. Sloan holds an MBA and has taught marketing, advertising, branding, sales and ethics courses at the undergraduate level. She has served on the Arkansas Board for the Girls Scouts of America and the Board of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. Sloan continues to do sales and marketing consulting ranging from musicians, authors, movie production projects and sales training and sports events. Her passion is teaching and interacting with college students and inspiring them to use their gifts to glorify God.