Communication | Capital University



  • In this section..

    • Majors: Public Relations • Communication • Electronic Media and Film • Theatre Studies • Organizational Communication • Integrated Language Arts

      Say it well.

      Rigorous debate. Inspiring theatrical performances. And the tools you need to compete in today's global environment. These are just a few of the components of the communication program at Capital. Together they form a solid foundation for succeeding in the world today. At Capital, we understand the value of being able to communicate effectively. That's why we offer a broad-based curriculum that covers everything from mass media to theatre and public speaking to public relations.  

      What You'll Learn

      The most brilliant thinkers and leaders are irrelevant if they can’t communicate their ideas effectively. A message means nothing if it’s not received with the intended impact. Communication is central to everything we do as human beings — how we interact, inform and persuade, how we express our ideas and our opinions.

      At Capital, you will learn how communication is used effectively in debate, electronic media and film, and public speaking. We’ll approach it from diverse perspectives, like performing arts, social sciences and the humanities. And to keep you at the forefront of industry trends, we'll also approach it across media, disciplines and skill sets — from print, film and digital to communication and public relations. Explore the program and course descriptions in our online course bulletin

      You will be exposed to research in the field and will learn to analyze and manage communication in every area of personal, public and professional interaction. When you graduate, you'll understand how human beings create and share meaning with each other and to be able to put that knowledge to good use in their everyday lives.

      Many students use our program as a launch pad for law school, MBA programs, professional schools and graduate schools in a variety of social science and humanities disciplines. But not always. In fact, a growing number of undergraduates are attracted to our public relations, theatre studies, organizational communication, and electronic media and film programs. They understand that the world is changing, and they want to be prepared for what lies ahead. 

      High-Impact Practices: Internships

      Capital uses high-impact practices — teaching techniques and strategies like internships, undergraduate research and capstone projects proven to optimize student learning — across all of its programs. Communication students are encouraged to participate in a wide variety of internship opportunities and work with professional organizations like Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). Recent undergraduates have interned at places like NBC4-TV, WBNS-10TV, Mills James Productions, Eddie Bauer, OhioHealth, the State of Ohio, Ohio Office of Tourism and many more. As graduates, many of them have landed jobs at Nationwide, The Kroger Co., Walt Disney, Fahlgren-Mortine Public Relations, ESPN, Chase Manhattan Bank, and AT&T, to name a few.

      If you're excited about electronic media and film, you should consider our EMF program, which prepares students like you for careers in video production, media and creative industries. Our experiential projects let you try a career on for size, like being a DJ for our campus radio station, WXCU; creating content for our campus television network; or developing your talent as a writer, performer, videographer, editor, film critic and more.

      Whatever path you choose, you can be sure that Capital's Communication program will equip you with a strong liberal arts education and the skills you need to convey your message and be heard. At Capital, it's just one more way we prepare students to impact their world through a career they'll love.  

      Where you'll Go: Careers and Placement 

      In addition to the more obvious professional connections to public relations, broadcasting and teaching licensure, excellent communication skills are valued components in leadership positions in business and professional areas. They also serve as an excellent preparatory base for post-graduate education.

      Here's what some of our graduates are doing now:

      • Vice president, marketing
      • Director, information technology
      • Senior marketing underwriter
      • Editor
      • Attorney
      • Production coordinator
      • TV news anchor
      • University professor
      These are some of the companies that employ our graduates:
      • Eastman Kodak 
      • The Kroger Co.
      • Nationwide
      • CBS Television Network
      • Walt Disney
      • Cronenwett Associates, Public Relations
    • Our professors bring out the best in you. We won't lie. They can be tough. But they're also your counselors, your mentors, and your biggest advocates. Meet a few below, or view our department directory.


    • Betsy Pike, Ph.D.

      Director of Electronic Media and Film
      Assistant Professor of Communication


      Convergent Media Center


      • Biography

        Betsy Pike is director of Electronic Media and Film within the Communication Department at Capital University. She has worked as director, writer, producer and executive producer for various feature length films, short films, documentaries, promotional videos, instructional and music videos. She was selected to be a Faculty Fellow at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (the Emmys) in 2013.

        Most recently, she worked with Capital students to create their own television network, CapTV, and expand the role of the WXCU Radio station on campus. She is passionate about experiential learning, service learning and giving students projects they can own and master. She has facilitated projects between Capital students and local organizations such as Ohio Homeland Security, the Columbus Police Department, Westside Free Store, the Ohio Food Bank and many others.

      • Degrees

        Doctorate of Philosophy in Mass Communication, Ohio University
        Master of Arts in Digital Storytelling, Ball State University
        Bachelor of Arts in Communication, Capital University

      • Teaches

        • Video Production
        • Advanced Video Production
        • Media Writing
        • Media and Society
        • Media Management and Promotion
        • Motion Graphics
        • Communication Capstone Projects
        • Pre-Professional Activity – CapTV, WXCU Radio, Filmmakers
        • Advanced Pre-Professional Activity – CapTV & WXCU Radio Management Teams
        • Various Media-Focused Independent Studies
        • Media Immersion
        • Public Speaking

    • Jim Higgins

      Instructor of Communication


      Huber-Spielman Hall


      • Biography

        Jim Higgins graduated from Central Missouri University in 2004 with a Master of Arts in Screenwriting. Since then he has taught numerous courses in film and video.

        He is also an award winning filmmaker who regularly directs short films and writes feature length screenplays. His work has been accepted to numerous film festivals including Film Festival of Columbus, The Indie Horror Film Festival (Chicago) and the Anti-Defamation League Dore Schary awards (New York) to name a few. Besides directing his films, Higgins writes the scripts, runs camera, edits, scores, colors and mixes them.

        With a focus on experiential learning in the classroom and out, Higgins routinely invites his students to participate on his projects in a variety of roles. With his recent short film Oremus a Capital student was part of the make-up team that won Best Practical Make-Up Effects as a part of the Mid-Ohio Filmmakers Three Weeks of Terror.

      • Teaches

        Media Writing
        Video Production
        Advanced Video Production 
        Broadcast Sound Production
        Advanced Broadcast Sound Production
        Pre-Professional Activity – Filmmakers
        Pre-Professional Activity – CapTV
        Communication Capstone Projects
        Various Media-Focused Independent Studies
        Media and Society
        Oral Communication

      • Degrees

        Master of Arts in Mass Communication focused on Screenwriting, Central Missouri University
        Bachelor of Science in Broadcasting and Film, Central Missouri University

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      The World-Wide Leader in Sports Social Media

      Amanda Shirka DeCastro ('06) is a master social media communicator. She had a Facebook account the second it became available to Capital students. Today, she tweets, blogs, produces video and develops social media strategy for popular radio programs at ESPN. 

      Student-Success-Communication-300x200When Amanda Shirka DeCastro (‘06) worked at The Capital Center all four years of college – checking badges, giving tours to athletic recruits, trading jokey barbs with the coaches – the radio was always tuned to ESPN’s Mike & Mike morning show. She sometimes wondered how two people could be so consumed by sports and have so much to say about it day after day. Six years later, she not only learned how they do it – she became an active part of their team.

      As a communication manager for sports media giant ESPN, DeCastro supports some of the company’s highest-profile national radio shows (including Mike & Mike, The Herd with Colin Cowherd and SVP & Russillo), as well as espnW (a digital brand geared toward women), and the company’s Remote Operations and Emerging Technology teams. In other words, she’s squarely in the center of the controlled chaos of ESPN’s 24/7 sports coverage. She does a little bit of everything – public relations, internal communication, blogging, social media, and more – and divides her time between the offices where things are planned, and the studios and remote locations where they’re produced.

      “If a reporter calls and wants to talk to Greeny (Mike Greenberg, co-host of Mike & Mike), I make that happen,” DeCastro says. She also travels with the personalities when they broadcast from special events, where she handles local media attention and other activity. Her job is to help make everything look (deceptively) easy.  

      A Good Start

      A Central Ohio native, DeCastro chose Capital because it simply felt right. She was interested in broadcasting, but credits Dr. John Ledingham, a public relations
      professor, now retired, for showing her specific options within the communication field.

      “I didn’t even know what public relations was,” she recalls. “But we would chat after class … I think he recognized my interest and really encouraged me.” After taking a few PR classes, she knew she’d found her career and never looked back.

      Two internships, one with the Columbus Blue Jackets NHL hockey team and another at Fahlgren Mortine, a Columbus-based marketing and communication agency, gave her real-world experience quickly. Fahlgren offered her a job before she graduated, and she spent the next four years there as an account executive, juggling a wide range of client needs, from budgets and billing to speech writing, strategic planning, and social media. In 2010, she moved to Time Warner Cable as a communications manager — which opened yet another door for her.  

      A Lucky Break

      Student-Success-Communication-200x150At Time Warner Cable, DeCastro applied for a mentorship program through the Association of Cable Communicators. She was admittedly late in turning in her application; after some scrambling and apologizing, she was partnered with Rosa Gatti, a senior vice president with ESPN. DeCastro couldn’t believe her good fortune.

      “She’s such a great advocate for developing young women in the industry,” DeCastro says of Gatti, who has since retired. They engaged in biweekly calls and occasional emails, until Gatti uttered the words any eager young professional longs to hear from a respected mentor: “We think you’d be a great fit for our team.” She was happy with her job at the time, but when ESPN comes calling, DeCastro says, “you don’t say no.” Even if it makes life a little complicated.

      The cable sports network is headquartered in Bristol, Conn., and as she and husband Matt DeCastro (’06) prepared to move (along with their dog Zig, named after the Zig Haus, a popular hangout near campus), Matt received a great job offer of his own, as the principal of Sedalia Elementary School in Groveport, where he’d been teaching. It was too good an opportunity to pass up, so he stayed. “We’re young and we don’t have kids,” says Matt. “We agreed that if there was ever a time to do something like this, it has to be now.”

      Making Meaningful Contact

      Student-Success-Communication-200x150-2DeCastro describes ESPN’s on-air talent as “incredibly down-to-earth guys,” likening her experience to the network’s famously funny This is SportsCenter commercials. One of her jobs is to use Twitter and other social platforms to give fans a look behind the scenes. She often accompanies the vice president of espnW on her speaking engagements, including the annual espnW summit in California, where she juggles various PR duties.

      Social media is a constant in DeCastro’s job, and she considers herself an early adopter. “The minute Facebook became available to Capital students, I had an account,” she says. When Twitter came along, she fell in love. The beginning of DeCastro’s career coincided with the rise of social media use, which made for interesting times as she saw companies both eager to reach their customers and hesitant to make themselves vulnerable.

      It became her responsibility to determine how to use social media to best serve her clients.

      “You have to have a strategy,” she explains. “[Organizations] can’t just open an account and not know what they’re going to do. It’s not about how many followers you have, but how you interact with them.”

      In 2012, DeCastro was asked to join a panel during a Capital University young alumni event where she shared her experiences with an eager audience of students. She remembers the advice and opportunities she gained through her many mentors at Capital, and looks forward to giving back.

      “Choosing Capital was the best decision I ever made,” she says. “It led me to an incredible career, my husband, and friends I’ll have for the rest of my life.”