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Nina Kotelyan
Phone: ext.5232
Office Hours: The following office hours are for Spring 2020:

Tuesday & Thursday 8-9:15 & 2-3
Location: 427D

Communication StudiesHuman Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) Division Office

Nina Kotelyan
Communication Studies Instructor

Nina Kotelyan smiling

With Cabrillo College since 2017

Hi Folks,

I am thrilled to be here and to be learning alongside with you.

If you're curious about who I am, here's a short story:

I am originally from Yerevan, Armenia. I moved to the U.S. in the mid 90's and lived in Hollywood for more than 20 years. That's where I grew up! I absolutely love southern CA.

I fell in love with Communication Studies when I was actually studying English. With each book I read, I realized that these words created a whole new world. That helped me understand the immense power of communication. So, after getting a degree in English, I decided to attend graduate school and study communication.

I originally started out teaching at the university level at California State University, Northridge, & California Polytechnic University, Pomona, but then made my way into the community college system (which I love).

Communication, without a doubt, holds many wonders. I am here to work with you to uncover these wonders. Let's work together and make some progress! There's knowledge to be discovered.

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Some questions to spark discussion:

1. Is communication an instinct, or is it something we are taught throughout our upbringing? Is language an instinct, or is that also something we are taught?

2. What is the nature of language? Do you think language is naturally persuasive, or is language purely informative, unbiased, objective?

3. Does language shape our reality or does language reflect our reality?

4. Should we always communicate the truth? How do you define effective communication? How do you define truth?

5. Throughout our lives, we are bombarded with millions of messages. How do you determine which are true and which should guide our lives?

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Here are just a few meaningful quotations from communication scholars that I hope will inspire those of you visiting this page:

Kenneth Burke writes,

Men seek vocabularies that will be faithful reflections of reality. To this end, they must develop vocabularies that are selections of reality. And any selection of reality must, in certain circumstances, function as a deflection of reality.

Kenneth Burke writes,

One constructs his notion of the universe or history, and shapes attitudes in keeping. Be he poet or scientist, one defines the 'human situation' as amply as his imagination permit; then, with this ample definition in mind, he singles out certain functions or relationships as either friendly or unfriendly. If they are deemed friendly, he prepares himself to welcome them; if they are deemed unfriendly, he weighs objective resistances against his own resources, to decide how far he can effectively go in combating them...Our philosophers, poets and scientists act in the code of names by which they must simplify or interpret reality. These names shape our relations with our fellows. They prepare us for some functions and against others, for or against the persons representing these functions. The names go further: they suggest how you shall be for or against. Call a man a villain, and you have the choice of either attacking or cringing. Call him mistaken, and you invite yourself to attempt setting him right.

Thomas A. Hollihan & Kevin T. Baaske write,

Often, however, we are called upon to discuss and even to account for our decisions. In such discussions we explain our actions to those people whose opinions matter to us. We want them to understand why we made the choices we made, and often we seek their approval of and respect for our decisions and our reasoning processes. We make our choices based on our understanding of the unique problems we face, our knowledge and view of the world, and our goals and values. We strive to be rational, and we want others to validate our rationality and to confirm that our choices were, in fact, the right ones.

Thomas A. Hollihan & Kevin T. Baaske also write,

The values to which people cling are also influenced by how people conceive of their own self-interests. Because our values are shaped by the situations in which we find ourselves, our objective both in making and in evaluating arguments will be to improve our place in the world and to reinforce our conceptions of ourselves.


The very act of naming—the choice of one symbolic referent over another—helps to form our attitudes and values. It thus should come as no surprise that all arguments, to some extent, concern human values.

And here is a quotation by Ralph Waldo Emerson,

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

Any thoughts??


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