Academics > Faculty


Susanne Gubanc
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Rhetoric
Director of Communication Studies
B.A., University of Illinois, Springfield
M.A., Miami University, Ohio
M.A., University of York, England

Classes taught:

  • Introduction to Journalism
  • Introduction to Public Relations
  • Introduction to Gender
  • Sex, Race and Gender in Media
  • Journalism Practicum
  • Advanced Media Writing Workshop

Susanne Gubanc’s favorite Coe tradition is to attend the weekly conversation at the local coffee shop with the Cosmos (campus newspaper) staff and talk over the good & bad of each issue.  Along with teaching, she is an amateur photographer, once worked as a donut-girl at Dunkin Donuts and is co-founder of a feminist theatre company.

“I began to see the importance of communication and media when still in elementary school while watching old black & white movies. I think of it as storytelling, because storytelling helps us make sense of the world. When we hear a story that touches us profoundly, our lives are changed, our ideas altered. So to me, stories are our primary tools of growth. Each day we use stories to pass along information, insights, and observances. I want to help us all tell our stories.”

Robert Marrs
The Esther & Robert Armstrong Professor of Rhetoric, Chair
Director of Writing Center
B.A., Kansas State University
M.A., Ph.D., Washington State University

Courses taught include:

  • Cultural Studies
  • Topics in Composition
  • The Essay
  • Environmental Rhetoric
  • Writer’s Colony (May Term travel literature course)
  • Nature Writing (Summer term course at Coe’s Wilderness Field Station)

Dr. Marrs is the Director of the Writing Center, and coordinator of the college's Writing-Across-the-Curriculum program.  He is also the advisor for Colere.

“I love teaching because it gives me an excuse for continuing to work on my own education, read new books, engage in new conversations, read student compositions, help students discover new ways to enhance their learning. There is nothing more exciting or rewarding than this interaction with students. New knowledge and understanding is created in the collaborative communities as we work together. It's great fun to be engaged in this kind of learning environment.”

Full profile of Bob Marrs.

Kerrie Miller
Instructor of Rhetoric
B.A. Fayetteville State University (UNC), English
M.A. Iowa State University, Rhetoric and Professional Communication
Iowa State Teaching License, English Education, University of Iowa

Continuing Education: Certified Web Designer

Classes taught at Coe:

  • Technical Writing and Information Design
  • Bicycle Wrtiting

Ms. Miller works as a freelance editor, content writer, and designer for Web communications.

Jane Nesmith
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Rhetoric
B.A., The College of Wooster
M.A., Indiana University
Ph.D., University of Iowa

Classes taught:

  • Rhetorical Theory and Practice
  • Professional Writing
  • Journalism Workshop
  • Advanced Writing Workshop

Dr. Nesmith is the advisor for The Pearl.  Besides teaching, she is a local freelance writer, a Black belt in Tae Kwon Do and the mom of two teen boys.

“Ever since I graduated from college myself, I’ve wanted to teach at a liberal arts college.  And here I am.  I find it a great source of joy to be part of a liberal arts community where students learn to think critically, communicate clearly, behave ethically, and approach any situation with curiosity and creativity.”

Read a full profile at

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Karla Steffens-Moran
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Rhetoric
B.A., Southern Illinois University
M.A., The Johns Hopkins University
M.F.A., University of Iowa

Classes taught:

  • Propaganda and Persuasion
  • Media and Mass Communication
  • US Pluralism
  • Writing in the Digital Age
  • Critical Pedagogy
  • Honors Composition

Ms. Steffens-Moran loves the tradition of ringing of the bell to begin and end a student's time at Coe.  Along with teaching, she has worked as a waitress in a German café, been a bus driver in Chicago and enjoys pesto on any kind of pasta.

“I love the atmosphere of a small liberal arts college where I can truly spend time one-on-one with students.  Our department stands out from other schools because of our discussion-based classes versus lecture in which the communication is not just a word to describe the content, but the process by which that content is learned.”

Mary Louise Taylor
Instructor of Rhetoric
B.S.N., University of Iowa
J.D., University of Iowa
M.A., University of Iowa

Classes taught:

  • Writing Seminar in Non-Western Culture
  • Propaganda and Persuasion
  • Writer's Workshop
  • Advanced Writer's Workshop
  • Nursing Research
  • Legal and Ethical Issues in Healthcare

Ms. Taylor also teaches courses in ethics and research in the Nursing department. In addition to teaching, she enjoys gardening, volunteers at Camp Hitaga, and looks forward to breaking 40 in nine holes of golf.

“We have very capable instructors who are most sincere in their desire to help students grow and develop the ability to write, to work together, to think.”