Professional Organizations

Maria Polski

Maria Polski received her Ph.D. in Linguistics at Moscow Lomonosov University. At East-West University she teaches Linguistics and Humanities. Her research interests include theory of culture (the structure, growth and selection of cultural phenomena), communication theory (the structure, growth and accumulation of communication media, and the influence of medium on audience), and introducing the Anglophone scholarly community to the Russian tradition of studying culture and communication. Dr. Polski is an Associate Professor, and currently serves as the Director of the English and Communication Program.Contact:

Terrence Wandtke

Dr. Terrence Wandtke received his PhD in English at Saint Louis University with emphasis on 20th century literature, film, and theory. At East-West University, he teaches courses in writing, literature, and media including Science Fiction and Senior Seminar (focusing on technology and humanity). He founded the Imago Film Festival and directed the department of film and media at Judson University; he served as the area chair of Comics and Comic Art for the Popular Culture Association Conference and curated several exhibits on comic books including Graphic Scenes at Benedictine University; and he currently acts as the editor of the Comics Monograph Series for the Rochester Institute of Technology. His research interests include the connections between literary and visual art represented most notably in comic books and graphic novels; more particularly, he works with popular media as an intersection of artistic, corporate, and fan cultures. He is author of several monographs including The Comics Scare Returns: The Resurgence in Contemporary Horror Comics and the editor of several collections including the forthcoming Robert Kirkman: Conversations (UP of Mississippi).Contact:

Bonnie Jean Adams

Bonnie Jean Adams is an Adjunct Professor in the English & Communications Department. She has a PhD in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies from Loyola University Chicago. Her expertise is in Cultural Communication, and she has travelled extensively in the United States and overseas. She has spoken at conferences, including the Engineers Without Borders Conference, and has worked with administrators at Oglala Lakota College. The clients in her private tutoring business, “A Different Drummer”, are new language learners and special needs students. An experienced speaker and published author, her research has been published in sociology textbooks. She also works as a journalist, and is a reporter in Chicago. In addition to teaching, she tutors East-West students in writing and study skills. Her interests include research, ethnography, interviewing and community involvement. “I tell my students that everyone has a story to tell. Listen. Don’t miss any opportunity.” Her goal is always to ‘make it real’ by bringing the outside world into her classroom teaching. “Never stop asking why.”Contact:

Leah Roth Barsanti

Leah Roth Barsanti is an adjunct professor in the English Department. She has a graduate degree from Northwestern University's MFA program in Writing for the Screen and Stage. She also holds an undergraduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis. In addition to teaching classes at East West University, she is a teaching artist for levels 3rd-adult with American Blues Theater's Lincoln Project and Chicago's Green Shirt Studio. She is a playwright whose work has been produced in St. Louis, Chicago, South Florida, and New York City. Her first feature length screenplay is slated to be released in 2023. As a professor, Barsanti values a real world approach to the disciplines of theatre, film, and English. She believes in the importance of exposing students to current events as they relate to these disciplines. She also ensures that students leave her classes with a working knowledge of the framework of these industries. Her goal is to prepare students for any career or other challenge in the real world through the lessons that can be gleaned from literature, movies, and plays.Contact:

Dr. Lawrence Gorman

Dr. Lawrence Gorman received his BA in English from Divine Word College, his MA in English from the University of Northern Iowa, and his PhD in English from Northern Illinois University. He has been teaching at East-West University since 1983. He served as Academic Dean from 1986-1991 and as Director of the English Program 1983-20015. He is presently a Professor Emeritus. His specializations include 16th Century and 20th Century English Literature and Contemporary American Literature. He has written articles and given presentations on the role of the teacher and English curriculum, on media ecology, and Don DeLillo’s White Noise. His current interests are the nature of literature and the relation of literature and culture, with a particular interest in what culture requires and how the arts contribute to culture’s development. He is also interested in how literature affects readers and contributes to their growth and development.Contact:

Peter Murray

Peter Murray read for his MA in English at Northeastern Illinois University, took his BA in English from DePaul University, and holds a TESOL Certificate from the School of International Training in Brattleboro, VT. He has been teaching English and Humanities at East West University since 2007, and his areas of focus include Rhetoric and literary criticism. Prior to becoming an educator, Mr. Murray worked in the music industry as an audio engineer, a performing musician, and major label recording artist. His interests include drinking coffee and reading long books.Contact:

Skyler Tarnas

Skyler Tarnas is an adjunct professor in the English department. He holds a Bachelor’s in English, Drama, and Creative Writing from the University of Michigan, and an MFA in Writing for the Screen and Stage from Northwestern University. Skyler is a playwright, screenwriter, and performer whose work explores the young queer experience through offbeat characters and heightened scenarios. He has also worked with Detroit Public Theatre, the New Group Theatre, and Cartel Pictures in Los Angeles, California. As a professor, Skyler seeks to present exciting, challenging work and provoke the creation of more. He is always trying to get more good stories in the world. Contact: skyler@eastwest.eduContact:

Zachary Swezy

Zachary Swezy is a graduate of the Roosevelt University MFA program and holds a Bachelor’s of Psychology degree from Loyola University of Chicago. He has had poetry and fiction featured by: The Poetry Foundation, Paper Magazine, RÜV, Maudlin House, The Southside Weekly and others. He spent eight years doing journalism and copywriting within the music industry, working alongside large companies like Redbull, Perrier, and Adidas before earning his Master’s degree and beginning his adjunct career. He is currently teaching Writing from Sources and Writing for Digital Media. As a professor, Zachary values the importance of building group dynamics, open communication, and editing. His classes focus primarily on finding reliable sources and honing student’s editing skills.Contact:

The English department professors mentor students in their career aspirations and encourage membership in professional organizations, where students can receive opportunities to network and to acquire professional skills beyond the college curriculum:

Professional Organizations for Communication

  1. American Communication Association
  2. For the technologically-minded looking to increase their agility in a world dominated by digital communication, the American Communication Association welcomes global members into the group to learn more about how evolving technologies can aid communication.
  3. American Marketing Association
  4. The American Marketing Association strives to provide its members a balanced delivery of both best marketing practices and new and cutting-edge initiatives to keep members up to date with the latest in their field. The group connects professional marketers with those in the academic realm to foster an environment of constant learning and development.
  5. Association for Women in Communications
  6. This national network for women professionals who work in communications is open to all disciplines. The Association for Women in Communications offers scholarships and support for educational research and publications, as well as provides a forum for members to learn from and interact with communications leaders.
  7. Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management
  8. With a goal to raise professional public relations standards on a worldwide scale, the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management seeks to uphold universal public relations principles and embrace the diverse innovation a worldwide membership offers.
  9. International Association of Business Communicators
  10. With many members from Global Fortune 500 businesses, the International Association of Business Communicators is for professionals who work in business communications. Members have access to a resource library, an online magazine, education, certification and an annual world conference.
  11. International Communication Association
  12. Everything related to communication is covered in the International Communication Association (ICA), which is an academic association for those interested in the application of all aspects of communication. The organization is a non-governmental association recognized by the United Nations.
  13. International Public Relations Association
  14. The International Public Relations Association represents individual public relations professionals in established and emerging countries. The organization hosts, participates in and endorses public relations conferences and events around the globe.
  15. National Communication Association
  16. Dedicated to supporting the research and teaching of communication principles, the National Communication Association promotes ethical communication and the importance of competent communication to improve humanity.
  17. Public Relations Society of America
  18. The Public Relations Society of America is the world's largest organization of public relations professionals. The society includes programs highlighting professional development and has more than 22,000 members, as well as 10,000 university members in the Public Relations Student Society of America.
  19. Social Media Association
  20. As social media transforms communication and marketing for both brands and consumers, the Social Media Associationhelps members navigate the evolution of this dynamic form of communication. Events and a regularly updated blog with social media news always give members something new to discover.