Jeff Birdsell is an organizational communication scholar whose work explores the relationships between how we "do" work and how we communicate about work. His recent work in this area has examined the way undergraduate students understand their university life through metaphors, how graduate students navigate identity challenges when they do paid work in non-academic environments, and his own development of routines and identity while performing as a minor league baseball mascot. He has co-authored work on the way information communication technologies have affected the storytelling of job-seekers and employers as well as the efficacy of communication curriculum developed to meet the needs of students placed in “high-risk” programs in grades 9-12.
Birdsell is an award-winning instructor and has received recognition from a variety of student organizations and university divisions. At PLNU, you will most often see him in a research methods course, introducing students to ways knowledge is created in the discipline and reminding them, and himself, that, “The way you collect data changes what you can say about the results.” Students in his courses are regularly challenged to apply their knowledge to the “real world” by partnering with nonprofit organizations in the community and innovating solutions for their communication practices.
A PLNU alum himself, Birdsell previously served in the Office of Admissions, which began his nearly 15 years of service as a staff or faculty member in Christian liberal-arts universities in California, Texas, and Oregon.
- Ph.D., Communication Studies, emphasis in Organizational Communication and Technology, The University of Texas at Austin
- M.A., Communication, emphasis in Journalism and Media Studies, San Diego State University
- B.A., Management and Organizational Communication, Point Loma Nazarene University
- Principles of Human Communication – COM 1000
- Small Group Communication – COM 2020
- Introduction to Research in Communication – COM 2065
- Organizational Communication – COM 3040
- Communication Training and Development – COM 4050
- Communication Theories and Research – COM 4065
Experience in Field
- Areas of Expertise: Organizational routines, identity/roles, storytelling, front-line employees
- Point Loma Nazarene University (San Diego, CA) Assistant Professor (2016-present)
- George Fox University (Newberg, OR) Assistant Professor (2014-2016)
- Concordia University, Texas (Austin, TX) Adjunct Instructor (2010-2014)
- The University of Texas at Austin (Austin, TX) Assistant Instructor (2011-2014)
Professional and Community Involvement
- Reviewer: National Communication Association, 2016; New Media and Society, 2015; Journal of Communication and Sport, 2013
- Speaker: PLNU Admissions Sunset Tour Faculty Address, Preview Day Faculty Representative, 2016
- Consultant: Round Rock Express “Express University,” April 2016
- Student Research Project Supervisor: Biever, S.J. A Communicative Approach to Understanding College Roommate Satisfaction. Paper presented at the Northwest Communication Association Meeting, Coeur d’Alene, ID. Awarded Undergraduate Paper of the Year by George Fox University Department of Communication, Journalism, and Cinematic Arts; 2016
- Professional Learning Team Leader: “Knowing and Being Known,” George Fox University, spring 2016
- Moderator: “Careers in Communication” Panel, George Fox University, 2016
- VBS Guide: Countryside Community Church Vacation Bible School, summer 2015
- Camp Counselor: Camp Tilikum Summer Day Camp, summer 2016
- Bass Player: Countryside Community Church, 2016; Mission Church of the Nazarene, 2003 – 2007
Awards and Honors
- Finalist, Dissertation of the Year, University of Texas at Austin
- Top 4 Paper Award, National Communication Association, Communication Apprehension and Competence Division. Embracing opportunities to change lives: Teaching at-risk high school students communication competence skills through facework and improved self-monitoring (K. Jones, J. L. Birdsell); 2015
- Top 4 Paper Award, National Communication Association, Organizational Communication Division. Storying the digital professional: How online screening practices are changing personnel selection and employability (B. L. Berkelaar, J.L. Birdsell, & J. Scacco); 2013
- Recognition for “support and guidance to students with disabilities” and “positive contribution to their academic endeavors,” Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, 2014
- Academic Service Learning Course of the Year, Longhorn Center for Civic Engagement, 2013
- Graduate Teaching Scholar Certificate, The University of Texas at Austin Center for Teaching and Learning, 2012
Dissertations, Presentations, and Publications
- Dissertation: Dogging it at work: Developing and performing organizational routines as a Minor League Baseball mascot (Dr. Larry Browning, Advisor; Drs. Brenda Berkelaar, Jürgen Streeck, Barry Brummett, B. Christine Green, Committee)
- Thesis: Changing marketing stories into “my” stories: organizational story change over time and teller (Dr. Joel Davis, Committee Chair; Drs. Valerie Barker & Wayne Beach, Committee)
- Berkelaar, B. L., Birdsell, J. L. & Scacco, J. M. (2016). Storying the digital professional: How online screening shifts the primary site and authorship of workers’ career stories. Journal of Applied Communication Research. doi: 10.1080/00909882.2016.1192287
- Jones, K. & Birdsell, J. L. (2015). Teaching at-risk high school students communication competence skills through facework and improved self-monitoring. International Journal of Education and Social Sciences, 2(10), 111-118.
- Berkelaar, B.L., Scacco, J., Birdsell, J.L. (2015). The worker as politician: How electoral heuristics and online information shape personnel selection and careers. New Media & Society, 17(8), 1377-1396. doi: 10.1177/1461444814525739
- Ishak, A. W., Pastorek, A., Merola, N. A., Mack, A., Birdsell, J. L. (2014). Working in Teams. In J. L. Ford, K. Stimpson, & J. A. Daly (Eds.). Professional Communication Skills. Boston, MA: Pearson.
- Birdsell, J. L. (2016, November). Academics who work (second jobs): What color is Spike’s collar? Paper presented at the National Communication Association Meeting, Philadelphia, PA.
- Jones, K. T., Birdsell, J.L. (2015, November). Embracing opportunities to change lives: Teaching at-risk high school students communication competence skills through facework and improved self-monitoring. Paper presented at the National Communication Association Meeting, Las Vegas, NV.
- Birdsell, J.L. (2014, November). Sniffing out boundaries of performance in a dog costume: Learning my role as a Minor League mascot. Paper presented at the National Communication Association Meeting, Chicago, IL.
- Birdsell, J.L., Faina, J.M. (2014, November). The Student as Citizen Metaphor. Paper presented at the National Communication Association Meeting, Chicago, IL.