Master of Arts in Communication – Asbury University
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Master of Arts in Communication

A strategic and global program for professional communicators and recent graduates.

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Asbury’s Master of Arts in Communication is a 30-hour online program designed for professional communicators and recent graduates seeking a creative emphasis while expanding their strategic and global communication insights and abilities to excel in public relations, advertising, and corporate or nonprofit communication careers in a diverse professional landscape.

The degree has a strong emphasis and practical application of international and strategic communication. Focused on the study of communication at an advanced level of theory and practice, emphasizing strategy, planning, and evaluation, as well as organizational rhetoric and global awareness, it is designed to prepare graduates to be strategic leaders in local, national and international arenas.

Core and elective courses include Advanced Intercultural Communication, Viral Marketing Methods, Global Communication, Cross Platform Storytelling, Media Ethics & Criticism, and Advanced Public Relations. The degree can be completed in as little as 18 months, or in a year through the school’s ‘Plus One’ program.

Graduates will leave the program with skills like audience analysis, integrating communication goals across departments, message impact, strategic communications planning, crisis communication, communication research & evaluation, data interpretation, advanced persuasion and presenting, cultural awareness, negotiation and problem solving.

Meet Your Instructors

▾ Todd Wold, M.A.

Assistant Professor, Communication and Public Relations

Todd Wold is Assistant Professor of Communication and Public Relations. He is most energized by helping move students from the passive role of media consumers toward an active autonomy as compelling communicators, media scholars, and future communications professionals in any number of contexts.

Originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Todd most recently served as chair and professor of Communication Arts at a Christian university following a nearly 18-year corporate career at Ameriprise Financial working in public relations, advertising, corporate communications, and marketing. He joined Asbury in 2016 and teaches public relations courses, communication campaigns, group and organizational communication, as well as the annual special events class that uses a creative agency approach to produce Asbury’s largest annual event. In addition, he serves as advisor to the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) student organization, and the PR Agency practicum, a student agency providing communication services to clients.

His research interests include the political economy of social media and crowd patronage platforms, the digital disintermediation of faith practices in church communities, and transcendence in filmmaking.

He and his wife are proud parents of three children.

  • A.B.D. Communication Studies – Regent University (2023 projected)
  • M.A. Communication – Bethel University (2008)

▾ Elizabeth Jones, Ph.D.

Director of Graduate Studies in Communication and Associate Professor

Dr. Elizabeth Jones is Associate Professor of Communication, Media Communication, and Director of Graduate Studies in Communication Arts. She has worked in media production as the Director of Creative Arts for a large church. Sensing a call to research and teaching, Elizabeth subsequently obtained her Ph.D. in Communication from The Ohio State University.

Her current research occurs at the intersection of communication technology, interpersonal communication, and health communication, specializing in communication and aging. Elizabeth’s work has been presented at national and international conferences, and has been published in top communication journals and edited books. Elizabeth especially enjoys helping students understand the applicability of communication concepts to their personal and professional lives. She regularly collaborates with Asbury students on research endeavors. She and her husband enjoy the joyful busyness of raising four children.

  • Ph.D. in Communication, The Ohio State University
  • M.A. in Digital Storytelling and Telecommunications, Ball State University

▾ Kim Okesson, M.A.

Assistant Professor of Communication

Kim Okesson is an Assistant Professor in the School of Communication Arts and the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Science. Prior to coming to Asbury, Professor Okesson lived and worked for thirteen years in three countries outside of her passport country: Kenya, Tanzania, and England.  Her areas of research include identity formation, immigration, intercultural and international communication, social media, and crisis communication. How students engage with difference and equipping students to work in a globalized world are of particular concern to her. Kim has presented at the National Communication Association annual conference. A career highlight for her was serving as a communication leader at the Lausanne Congress for World Evangelization in Cape Town, South Africa.  She is currently writing her dissertation about intercultural communication issues on Christian college campuses.

She has an M.A. in Intercultural Studies from Wheaton Graduate School and a B.A. in Interpersonal and Group Communication from Trinity International University.

  • A.B.D. - Communication Studies, Regent University (2023 projected).
  • M.A. Intercultural Studies, Wheaton Graduate School

▾ Jim Shores, Ph.D.

Professor of Communication

Dr. Jim Shores’ calling is to mentor and teach young adults.He teaches in communication, theatre, and adventure leadership. His academic research is in entertainment education and environmental communication.  His environmental communication research examines the constructs of awe, wonder, sublimity, and inspiration in natural landscapes.

Shores is also a playwright. Recently, he was commissioned to write a pro-life play for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. He and his wife Carol will take students there to perform it in August 2022. He served as department chair of Communication, Worship Arts, and Theatre from 2015-21. He and his wife, Carol Anderson, also run Acts of Renewal, a professional Christian touring company. For 29 years they have created original theatre and film for universities, seminars, and churches, writing material for FamilyLife, Focus on the Family, J.I. Packer, Gary Chapman, Alex Kendrick, and have been repeat performers for over 60 universities in the CCCU. He loves hiking, gardening, and travel. He and his wife’s favorite production, though, is their two sons, Zach & Zander.

  • Ph.D. in Communication Studies, Regent University (2008).
  • M.S. in Environmental Science & Engineering, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1995).

Program Details

Communication Core

  • DSG 502:  Introduction to Graduate Communication
  • CMG 525: Advanced Communication Theory
  • CMG 550: Advanced Intercultural Communication
  • CMG 585 Advanced Public Relations
  • CMG 610: Integrated Communication Strategies
  • DSG 640: Communication Research Methods

Choose one of the following:

  • CMG 635: Communication Apprenticeship (3)
  • CMG 799: Capstone Project/Thesis (3)

Choose 12 hours (3 classes) from the following:

  • CMG 625: Global Communication
  • DSG 585: Cross Platform Storytelling
  • DSG 630: Viral Marketing Methods
  • DSG 642: Media Ethics & Criticism
  • MBA 611: Entrepreneurship & Innovation
  • MBA 615: International Business

Explore Your Classes

CMG 525: Advanced Communication Theory (3) – This course is an overview of the communication theories, concepts, and research that will form the theoretical foundation for subsequent graduate coursework. Students will examine the intellectual development and purpose of interpersonal, group, organizational, mass media, and cultural communication theories and evaluate their utility according to specific criteria. The application of communication theories to a variety of real-world situations and settings will be emphasized.

CMG 550: Advanced Intercultural Communication (3) – This course is designed to prepare graduate students for careers as international professionals by focusing on the cultural factors that influence communication in intercultural relations. The course will approach communication from the perspective that all relationships and group dynamics are developed and fostered within a specific cultural context. Key theories and theorists in the dynamic field of intercultural communication will provide a framework for students to critically examine lived experiences and case studies, as well as develop practical strategies for successful intercultural communication.

CMG 625: Global Communication (3) – A study of the worldwide communication systems and the roles they play. Analysis of national and transnational communication by governments, businesses, international organizations, and key international leaders, as well as the media used to communicate these messages will be studied. The effect of the basic philosophical differences among the media in various nations and the changing communication technologies will be examined.  International media flows and the cultural context of the audiences are critical components of this course.

CMG 585 Advanced Public Relations (3) – Strategic public relations examines how communication practitioners and clients integrate PR tactics into an overall communication & marketing plan. The course explores how to work towards measurable, definable goals that help clients be understood by their stakeholders through engagement, identifying influencers and developing brand advocates. The course promotes the basic principles for excellence in PR: strategy, creativity, integrity and follow through.

CMG 610 Integrated Communication Strategies (3): An overview and application of promotional communication strategies and creative tactics as integrated components of an organization’s public image strategy, disseminated across earned and paid media. The course explores the conceptual and tactical components of effective targeted communication strategies that create and sustain positive relationships between audiences and organizations. Combining theory, case study, and hands-on components, students acquire skills and experience generating creative campaign strategies and content that drive multi-platform engagement with intermediaries and consumers.