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Meet Our Professors: Kevin Stein, Communication

Kevin Stein got his start on his high school debate team and attended SUU searching to find a field that would appeal to the “debater” inside, and he found it as a professor. Now  an associate professor in the Department of Communication, Kevin’s research is in apologia rhetoric (public apology) and political campaign communication. His favorite course to  teach is a class to graduate students in pop culture messages.

Associate Professor

Department of Communication

How long have you been working at SUU?
11 years

Where did you grow up?
Paso Robles, California

Where did you attend college and what did you study?
-Bachelor’s in Communication at SUU
-Master’s in Communication in Speech Communication at Idaho State University
-Doctorate in Communication (emphasis in rhetoric and political communication) at the University of Missouri

When and how did you decide what you wanted your career to be?
I have a pretty extensive competitive debate background.  I competed in high school and was on scholarship competing here at SUU when we used to have a nationally ranked team. I knew I either wanted to go to law school or become a professor because I needed something where there is a great deal of critical thinking.  I find that teaching and research has many characteristics that appeal to that “debater” side of me.

Favorite thing to teach about communications?  
Although I love teaching all my classes, my favorite class to teach is Pop Culture Messages.  It combines two of my great loves, rhetorical criticism and pop culture.

Why do you love about communications?  
I love that the field is always changing and therefore needs to be studied. For example, there is a bunch of research on how people use language to honor or memorialize the dead once they’ve passed.  Now, people are taking that research and applying it to how people memorialize the dead on Facebook.  So, technology is always pushing the boundaries of our discipline and how people create messages.  

What has been your proudest moment working at SUU?
I have been deeply changed by the mentors I’ve had in my own life and to think I could play that important of a role for another student who may be having trouble with confidence or in finding direction in his/her life, that’s a tremendously humbling thing.

What is one thing you wish to tell every student in your class?
I would tell them that the diploma is only one small benefit of their education.  If they don’t maximize their opportunities to learn while they are here, they will probably regret it later. I would tell them that they have every opportunity to do better in life than they might believe they are capable.