Meet the Faculty


PR Faculty

Tom Heapes (top left), Adam Horn (top right), Tricia Hansen-Horn (bottom left) and Jennifer Mullins (bottom right). The UCM PR faculty were named the 2016 Greater KC PRSA PR Team of the Year

Tom Heapes, APR
I come to academia through a non-traditional path. I worked in industry (and
continue to consult there) for more than 25 years prior to becoming a full-time
faculty member here at UCM. I teach our Advanced PR Writing Class most semesters
and others including PR & Social Media, Strategic Crisis Communications, PR
Industry Management and Strategic Planning Case Analysis.

I’m very interested in the emerging role of social media and digital communications
in public relations, particularly in how traditional media is changing to adapt to
these new technologies.

I started my career as a sports journalist and when I’m not working you can
probably find me on the golf course, playing old man basketball or watching some
kind of sporting event. I’ve been married to my college sweetheart for 37 years and
she still puts up with me. We have two grown children.

Tricia Hansen-Horn, PhD-Purdue University
I believe in the power of public relations and education to positively change lives.
That’s why I do what I do. I spend my time investing in students’ lives, helping them
mature as professionals capable of strategic thinking. I also invest myself in bridging
the boundaries between academia and non-academia. To me, either is devalued
without intimate connection to the other.

I am passionate about strategic thinking and developing professionalism. I am also
dedicated to working to live and not living to work; I try to impart that to all of the
students with whom I come into contact.

I enjoy writing, both factual and fiction. I enjoy and am committed to my husband
and children. I believe in healthy living and taking time to be a well-rounded human

Adam Horn, PhD-University of Missouri
I enjoy what I teach, and I do what I teach. You can’t get a much better professional opportunity than that!

I work hard to keep my teaching fresh by providing consulting services for NASCAR and other professional athletic organizations. I regularly bring my years of professional experience in media relations, professional writing and editing for organizations, and celebrity interactions into the classroom.

Jennifer Mullins, MA
Those around me tend to find it most fascinating that I come to UCM, and Missouri, from the great frozen state of Alaska. As a military spouse, I learned early that I would need a career that is flexible and adaptable. Journalism and public relations was the perfect fit for my ever-changing residence and for me as a person. It wasn’t until graduate school that I realized how much I loved teaching.

I attended the School of Communication at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, where I earned a B.S. in journalism with a public relations emphasis and a M.A. in Communication. As a graduate student, I was given the opportunity to teach as a graduate assistant. I’d say that’s where I discovered my career

Though, I was determined to actually dip my feet in the real waters before I took on teaching as a full-time gig. I have always felt that the best teachers are the ones who have experienced the things they are talking about. I believe this is the strength of our program at UCM. This level of experience seems to
bring the classroom alive.

So, I spent four years as the Communications Coordinator at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Here I was responsible (as a one man team) for the event planning, web development, media relations and more for the Community & Technical College. Taking on a program that had little public relations foundation was more than a mere dip in the water, it was a plunge. It was also an amazing experience.

At UCM, I teach the beginning Writing & Editing course, and the design classes (Design & Layout, and Magazine Design). I have been with UCM since fall 2012 and look forward to many more semesters.

Outside of the classroom, I am a wife and mother. I have two children in their mid-teens. One of them just learning to drive. Yes, I have my hands full. I wouldn’t trade a moment of it.


Kristin Ruthstrom

Kristin Ruthstrom

Kristin Ruthstrom

A Warrensburg native and graduate of the University of Central Missouri’s Public Relations program, Kristen has returned to her alma mater and hometown after almost ten years in the non-profit and corporate sectors.

Experience in public administration, media relations, fundraising, event planning, corporate marketing and product development assists Kristin’s goal of applying real-world knowledge to a classroom setting. Those endeavors, coupled with a quest to continually be involved in the industry and its practices, aid her efforts as an adjunct instructor for the program.

Kristin earned her Masters in Public Administration from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.


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