Welcome Dr. Lars Kristiansen to SCOM


By Amberly Millis (’16)

Introducing Dr. Lars Kristiansen, another one of the newest faculty members to join SCOM this year. Kristiansen received his undergraduate degree in public relations management from the BI Norwegian Business School, his masters from Illinois State University and worked on his Ph. D. at the University of Missouri. Afterwards he accepted a job position at Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois as not only an assistant professor, but the coordinator of the public relations department.

Kristiansen’s expertise is in image restoration and repair strategies. He is interested in the rhetorical aspects of how and what people/companies say manifests into messages and ultimately dictates what they are accused of. Kristiansen’s main interest is to analyze how such individuals and companies subsequently recover or rebuild a tarnished image in terms of ethical or unethical image repair strategies. Kristiansen has invested research on rhetorical and social protests, politics and hate speech. In 2010 Kristiansen published the book, “In Screaming for Change: Articulating a Unifying Philosophy of Punk Rock,” which advances an understanding of punk rock by going beyond description of punk as a musical, political, social and cultural genre of communication. He is currently working on several projects involving craft beer vs. macro beer campaigns (i.e. Budweiser), as well as how image repair plays a part in the political careers of George Bush and Donald Trump. Kristiansen has been at JMU since last August and states that he is very happy with his move to the Shenandoah Valley.

“Working at JMU is not just a job to me, but so much more. I love how strong the sense of community here is,” said Kristiansen, “Everyone is always friendly, willing to help and are so close knit. I love the culture, faculty members and being able to work one-on-one with students. It all starts with the manifestation of simply holding doors open for one another.” Kristiansen believes that JMU is the best of both worlds in terms of being a large, yet small school that is committed to liberal arts learning.  Kristiansen is teaching a variety of public relations focused courses at JMU, including SCOM 260, 261, 362 and 460.

“While at JMU, I am going to strive to continue to grow the public relations program alongside my colleagues and make sure to train students for the 21st century in terms of what they need to be able to do in their select careers,” added Kristiansen. Kristiansen challenges all of his students to use language for strategic purposes in terms of analyzing the world around them. He encourages them to read, watch and attempt to understand everything by breaking down the critical problems that surround them in terms of language.

When not teaching, Kristiansen enjoys spending his free time hiking in the valley, reading and playing music. Currently, he is trying to put together a faculty band!

Please give a warm welcome to Dr. Kristiansen!