Communication Studies Faculty

Ed Reed

Communication Studies Professor Ed Reed has worked at College of the Desert since 2006.  His love of communication began when he had to give a presentation on medical practices during the Civil War in Mrs. Othus’ eighth-grade social studies class.  He was a bona fide speech and drama nerd in high school.  Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, he has a B.S. in Speech from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, and an M.S. in Communication from Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois. He is a two-time national champion in informative speaking (NFA 1993, 1994), and a two-time national champion in prose interpretation (AFA 1995, NFA 1995).  He has maintained a daily yoga practice for the last four years and believes there are many similarities between yoga and public speaking.  He is a passionate car enthusiast, will pet any cat he can, loves to cook, and reads obsessively.

Alejandro “Alex” Jazán

Dr. Alejandro “Alex” Jazán is a Professor in the Communication Studies Department at College of the Desert. His drive for communication has taken him to several places. He has competed and won in the competitive world of intercollegiate forensics and qualified to compete at the American Forensics Association National Individual Events Tournament twice. He has previously worked as a peer counselor assisting students with their educational endeavors. He also served as an outreach ambassador at California State University, Fullerton where he spoke at numerous high school college fairs recruiting and informing students about the campus and services offered. He is excited to be living his dream as a college professor.

Educational Background

  • Ed.D., Educational Leadership, California State University San Bernardino
  • M.A., Human Communication Studies, California State University Fullerton
  • B.A., Human Communication Studies, California State University Fullerton
  • A.A., Speech Communication, Cerritos College
  • A.S., Electronics Engineering Technology, ITT Technical Institute 

Maria Elena Diaz

Maria Elena Diaz is an Associate Professor of Communication Studies.  She has been teaching since 2008 and joined the team at College of the Desert in 2015.  Maria Elena teaches Interpersonal Communication, Small Group Communication, and Public Speaking, among others. She is a proud California community college graduate.  After earning her Associate of Arts from Riverside City College, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Communication from California Baptist University, a Master of Arts in Communication from the University of Southern California, and a Graduate Certificate in Culture and Diversity from the University of Denver.  She also completed mediation training and served as a volunteer mediator with the Office of the Los Angeles City Attorney. She is passionate about helping students improve their communication skills to support success and satisfaction in their educational endeavors, professional pursuits, and personal lives.

Carl Christman

Communication Studies Professor Dr. Carl Christman has been teaching since 2002 and has been at College of the Desert since 2015. When he is not on campus, or stuck at home during the pandemic, Carl loves to travel, hike, and spend time at The Magic Castle in Hollywood. He has been featured on CBS, NBC, The Discovery Channel, and NPR. But most importantly, his dog thinks he is awesome.

Whitney Shaw

Whitney Shaw is a Professor of Communication Studies at College of the Desert. She has been teaching at COD since Spring 2016 and teaches Public Speaking, Interpersonal Communication and Small Group Communication. Whitney Shaw is a Coachella Valley native and feels so much pride serving the community as a faculty at College of the Desert. She completed his Bachelor’s and Master’s of Arts in Communication Studies at Chico State while participating as a coach of their Speech & Debate team. Whitney Shaw also has experience working in student services as an academic counselor for 5 years with University of Phoenix. She is passionate about higher education and working with students to reach their goals. 

Gary Walker

Angela Glatfelter

Donald Slusser

Guadalupe Alatorre

Taryn Rodgers

Taryn Rodgers is an Adjunct Instructor in Communication Studies at College of the Desert. She teaches courses in Intercultural Communication and Public Speaking. Her love for communication studies began in her first class of Public Speaking at Riverside Community College. She was instantly enthralled with rhetoric and the idea of captivating an audience. While working at Disneyland, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from California State University Long Beach. Her passion for higher education and helping other students grew deeper. She then earned a Master of Arts in Communication Studies from Arizona State University with the dream of becoming a college professor. She spent a year volunteering at College of the Desert prior to becoming faculty, and fell in love with the campus. She is proud to be an instructor and believes that continuing education is always a good idea. Born and raised in sunny Southern California, Taryn recently relocated to in Atlanta, Georgia with her beautiful family, two dogs, and cat. She enjoys traveling, reading, and running.

Caitlin Drees