Communication Faculty

David S. Olsen

David S. Olsen

David Olsen, Ph.D., is the current Chair of the Department of Communication Studies.  He received a Ph.D. from Northwestern University, an MA from the University of Virginia and a BA from Cedarville University.  He has served as Director of the General Education Honors Program and was the first Interim Director of the MFA in Television, Film and Theatre at CSULA (2007-8).  He has received an innovative instruction award, and has twice received the GE Honors Outstanding Professor Award.  Since 1993, Dr. Olsen has mentored over fifty students to present their work at local, regional, national and international conferences.  His research concerns the intersection of rhetoric, performance and religion and he has published work on the 1988-1992 controversy over the National Endowment for the Arts, Martin Scorsese’ The Last Temptation of Christ, religion and performance in the classroom, and “nuclear education,” and has co-edited special editions of the Journal of Film and Video and the American Communication Journal.   In 2005-6, Dr. Olsen was awarded a Rockefeller Fellowship to study Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ.   At CSULA, he is on the American Community Program’s Faculty Advisory Committee and the Board of the Center for the Study of Genders and Sexualities.   He has collaborated with numerous artists as a dramaturg and consultant on theatre, dance and performance pieces and most recently was the director of M. Butterfly at CSULA. A scene from M. Butterfly was invited to perform at the American College Theatre Festival, Region VIII in 2011.  In his spare time he plays the piano, does a little acting and sings in the Pasadena Master Chorale.