Jon F. Schamber, Ph.D.
Professor, Communication Department
Helping students to learn is what excites me about teaching. I constantly challenge myself to think about new ways for actively involving students in the enterprise of learning. By engaging my students in the learning process, they become intrinsically motivated and put forth their best efforts on class projects and assignments, which allows them to accomplish more than they initially conceived was possible.
Recently, I have had the opportunity to work with graduating seniors in a new capstone course for the Department of Communication, Community Based Learning, in which we work together on an initiative that affects the community. I also teach Public Speaking for undergraduates and Communication in Learning Settings for graduate students.
[Learn more about these courses.]
My research interests focus on two areas: the rhetoric of the far-right and the assessment of student learning. The former topic has led me to investigate the rhetoric and history of the Christian Identity movement, a collection of white supremacy groups that advocate racism from religious and political perspectives. A number of graduate students in our department have explored aspects of the Christian Identity movement for their thesis topics.
The latter topic has allowed me to study student learning in first-year general education seminars on such topics as the development of intercultural sensitivity, group critical thinking, and social justice attitudes.
Some of my research publications are as follows:
Schamber, J. F., & Mahoney, S. L. (2008). The development of political awareness and social justice citizenship through community based learning in a first-year general education seminar. Journal of General Education, 57(2), 75-99.
Schamber, J. F., & Mahoney, S. L. (2006). Assessing and improving the quality of group critical thinking exhibited in the final projects of collaborative learning groups. Journal of General Education, 55(2), 103-137.
Mahoney, S. L., & Schamber, J. F. (2004). Exploring the application of a developmental model of intercultural sensitivity to a general education curriculum on diversity. Journal of General Education, 53(3-4), 311-334.
Schamber, J. F., & Stroud, S. T. (2001). Mystical anti-Semitism and the Christian Identity movement: A narrative criticism of Dan Gayman's The Two Seeds of Genesis 3:15. Journal of Communication and Religion, 24(2), 175-210.
I have two other interests outside of academia that guide much of life: weight lifting and vacationing in San Diego. I started weight lifting in the spring of 2007 after joining a local gym, and it has become an integral part of my life. I'm at the gym five or six mornings a week and find that this form of physical activity not only keeps me in shape, but also helps me focus and concentrate on projects throughout the day.
San Diego is the place I visit to rejuvenate and relax, and it is not uncommon for me to vacation there at least eight times a year. I typically stay in the Hillcrest district and get away to the beach at Torrey Pines State Park.
Jon F. Schamber, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Communication
Director of Educational Effectiveness and Assessment, College of the Pacific
Office: Psy/Comm Bldg Rm. 7
University of the Pacific
3601 Pacific Avenue
Stockton, CA 95211
Community Based Learning (COMM 151)
This senior-level capstone course provides students with a supervised learning experience in an off-campus, community-based organization. Students apply their knowledge of communication theories and skills to the needs of local organizations, allowing them to contribute to the public good.
During the first two semesters that I offered the course, my students worked with me as consultants for the San Joaquin County Registrar of Voters. The students helped me conduct a needs assessment of the training of 2,000 poll workers for conducting three elections that were held during 2008. Each student was involved in the project by undertaking field observations of the training classes, data analysis of a questionnaire administered to the poll workers, and a content analysis of the training materials. After analyzing the data, each student wrote a mini consulting report for improving the training of poll workers provided by the Registrar of Voters. As a result of my students' work on this project, revisions were made in the poll worker training program for the county that emphasized hands-on training techniques instead of a lecture format.
Since then, students who have enrolled in Community Based Learning have been given a number of options to select from for their senior projects. Some students have worked with the Downtown Stockton Alliance to initiate College Night, a marketing plan to draw college students to entertainment venues in downtown Stockton. Other students have worked on local fund raising projects for the American Cancer Society or the development of training materials for employees of United Cerebral Palsy of San Joaquin, Calaveras and Amador Counties.
Public Speaking (COMM 027)
This course is offered as a General Education course for many students at Pacific, especially for students majoring in Communication, Sport Management and Business, and Pre-Pharmacy students. The course focuses on the development of public speaking skills and the reduction of communication apprehension in public speaking situations.
Communication in Learning Settings
This graduate-level seminar introduces students to research on communication variables in classroom settings. Many of the readings for the course are drawn from Communication Education, the premiere journal that publishes social science research on communication in instructional contexts.
Students enrolled in the course not only formulate generalizations about current research on student learning and classroom instruction techniques, but also are given opportunities to apply what they are learning from the course. Each student presents two simulated teaching presentations and conducts research on a communication variable related to classroom instruction through an interview-based research design.
Graduate students who have an interest in teaching at either the community college or four-year college level report that the course helps them become more prepared and proficient as classroom teachers.