Department of Communication


Charles Bane

Charles Bane, Ph.D. (Louisiana State University)
Associate Professor

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

Ginger Blackstone, Ph.D. (University of Florida)
Assistant Professor

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.

Laurie Norton Diles

M. Laurie Norton Diles, Ph.D. (University of Oklahoma)
Director / Communication Studies Program
Associate Professor


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. Their love for the Czech people is the impetus for their leading students on summer mission trips to the Czech Republic.

Kelly Elander

Kelly Elander, Ph.D. (Cappella University)
Assistant Professor


About Dr. Elander

A graduate of Ohio University, Dr. Elander worked at WKNY and WFGB radio in upstate New York as a deejay, traffic reporter and community service director. He also attended the Preston Road Center for Christian Education in Dallas, Texas, and worked for more than four years as a domestic missionary in upstate New York. He served six years as the minister at the Farmington Hills church of Christ near Detroit, Mich. Dr. Elander completed a master’s degree in adult instruction and performance technology at the University of Michigan, and a doctorate in instructional design for online learning at Capella University. He worked as an instructional designer at the Andersen World Training Center near Chicago and later as an instructional design consultant in the Chicago area, creating Web-based training, Web information sites and e-learning projects. 
Patrick Garner

Patrick Garner, Ph.D. (University of Oklahoma)


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.

Tim Hamilton

Tim Hamilton, B.A. (Harding University)
Assistant Professor


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.

Dutch Hoggatt

Dutch Hoggatt, Ph.D. (Ohio University)


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 broadcast journalism and radio production courses.  He serves as the adviser for broadcast journalism 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 James

Michael L. James, Ph.D. (Florida State University)
Distinguished Professor and Dean, Honors College


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 Miller

James E. Miller, Ph.D. (University of Tennessee)
Chairman, Department of Communication
Associate Professor


About Dr. Miller

A 1997 alumnus of Harding, Dr. Miller served for several years as a contributing writer for the Knoxville News Sentinel's business and metro sections. He continues to freelance as a writer and editor for local newspapers and magazines. He teaches courses in writing, reporting, editing, ethics and new media. His current research interests include student press law and the impact of social media on society. Dr. Miller sponsors the campus chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and he 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.

Sharon Pitt

Sharon Pitt, M.Ed. (Harding University)
Assistant Professor


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 Foothills Church of Christ.

Katherine Ramirez

Katherine Ramirez, M.B.A. (Harding University)
Director of Student Publications 
Assistant Professor


About Mrs. Ramirez

A 2008 alumna of Harding University, Mrs. Ramirez worked for two years as the public relations and marketing coordinator for an engineering consulting firm based out of Columbus, Ohio. She teaches courses in public relations and advises the student newspaper and yearbook staffs. She also works as a freelance designer and writer for various organizations. Mrs. Ramirez is a faculty sponsor for women's social club Iota Chi. She is married to Nathan Ramirez.

Bob Ritchie

Bob Ritchie, M.Ed. (Harding University)

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.

Steve Shaner

Steve Shaner, M.S. (Roosevelt University)
Assistant Professor


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 Shock

Jack R. Shock, Ed.D. (University of Arkansas)
Distinguished Professor


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.

Lori Sloan

Lori Sloan, M.B.A. (Webster University)
Assistant Professor

About Mrs. Sloan

More to come

Contact Us

Fax: 501-279-4065

Mailing address:
Harding University
Department of Communication
Box 10765
Searcy, AR 72149-5615