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Mass Communication Department

Dr. Linwood Hagin | Dean of the College of Communication

Linwood Hagin, Ph.D.

Dean of the College of Communication

Dr. Linwood Hagin serves as dean of the College of Communication at NGU. He earned his doctorate from the University of Tennessee in communication, his masterís from the University of Minnesota in broadcast journalism, and his bachelorís from the University of Wisconsin-Superior in speech communication and German, with a minor in journalism. Hagin worked eight years in radio news and management before beginning his academic career. He has served on the faculty of six universities before coming to NGU in 1999. Hagin has been developing emerging leaders through education and leadership training for three decades.

Dr. Heidi Campbell | Chair of the Mass Communication Department

Heidi Blossom, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Dr. Heidi Blossom received her bachelor's in radio-television broadcasting and master's in broadcast management from Bob Jones University, as well as a master's in journalism and a doctorate in mass communication from the University of South Carolina. Her professional background includes 20 years of experience in public relations, media relations, broadcast management, broadcast production, leadership in higher education, and media research. Her research interests focus on higher education, media effects, technology convergence, and the intersection of media and religion. Her mantra is "Excellence in all things, and all things for God's glory." She hopes to instill in her students a passion to communicate Christ as effectively as they can.

Karyn Campbell | Instructor

Karyn Campbell, M.A.


Karyn Campbell earned her master's in journalism from the University of South Carolina. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in information design from Clemson University. Campbell served as the lifestyle editor at the Seneca Journal, a global English instructor for seven years, and a student media manager for more than 10 years. She is the faculty adviser for The Vision, a student online news source and magazine. She finds it exciting "to come across the raw talent of young creators and see them refine it into something truly beautiful." 


Lara Eller, M.S.


Lara Eller is an instructor of digital media in the College of Communication at NGU. She earned a bachelor's degree in English with a writing emphasis from Concord University and a master's degree in journalism from West Virginia University (WVU). Before teaching at NGU, she collected oral histories for the Veteranís History Project with the Library of Congress and served as a teaching assistant at WVU under George Esper, legendary journalist for the Associated Press. Eller, who is a cancer survivor, is  passionate about helping students grow academically and spiritually. 

Lara Eller | Instructor

Shurajit "Shur" Gopal, M.A.


Shurajit Gopal earned his bachelor's in public relations and his master's in communication from Madras University in Chennai, India. Gopal was a Fulbright Fellow in communication technology in 1988 to 1989. He is currently working on a doctorate. Gopal has three decades of in-the-field experience with teaching mass communication, satellite television, and film/TV production. His passion is to serve the Lord through teaching students everything he knows.  

Erin "Alex" Neal, M.A.


Alex Neal earned her bachelor's from Fairleigh Dickinson University in English literature and her master's in communication with a concentration in technology and health communication from Clemson University. She taught Oral Communication two years at Clemson. She takes pride in helping her students see "the vast world of academia and all there is to encounter and explore." Alex is pursuing a second Master's degree in Public Health with a focus on Health Communications from George Washington University.

Tim Nihart | Instructor

Tim Nihart, M.S.


Tim Nihart earned his bachelor's degree in mass communication and his master's in broadcast communication from Lindenwood University. He is currently working on his doctorate. Nihart is a former professional baseball player and coach, a master trainer in the D.I.S.C. personality system, and a sought-after motivational speaker. His passion is to become a master of meeting people's needs.

Dr. Rick Sparks | Professor

Rick Sparks, Ph.D.


Dr. Rick Sparks earned his doctorate from the University of Missouri in communication. He has worked at seven radio stations as an announcer, program director, news director, and station manager. Sparks has also been a media minister to churches and taught for over 28 years in colleges and universities. Sparks created and programs The Cove Radio, an online radio listening service. His passion is to help students learn to be salt and light in a culture and world that desperately need both. Sparks has produced several CD's which have received airplay on XS/Sirrius satellite radio. Sparks was NGU's 2018 recipient of the SCICU Excellence in Teaching Award.

Andrew Stevens | Instructor

Andrew Stevens, D.Min.


Dr. Andrew Stevens earned his bachelor's in radio, TV, and film from Baylor University and his master's in speech communication and broadcast communication from Marquette University. He has done doctoral work at the University of Missouri in Columbia. Stevens earned a doctorate in ministry at North Greenville University, with an emphasis in media ministry. As a former station general manager, he has extensive experience in video and display production. He also currently serves as a sports producer for WMYA- Asheville. He is the faculty adviser for the student-operated radio station The Vibe and Vision-48, the student-operated campus cable channel.

Dr. John Williford | Assistant Professor

John Williford, Jr., Ph.D. 

Assistant Professor

Dr. John Williford Jr. earned a bachelor's in journalism at the University of Georgia, a Master of Divinity in communication at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a doctorate in communication studies at Regent University. Williford has been a newspaper editor, national PR convention representative, and the PR director for the event Downtown Greenville for 20 years., He also owns a communications consultancy firm. He wants to increase the "quality and quantity of communication resources for God's kingdom expansion" in today's world and at NGU.

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