Sierra College & Edoptics
Sierra College & Edoptics
LineMotives, Behind Every Line There is a Motive

Nicholas A. Zoffel, Ph.D.

Professor and Principal

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I’m a Professor in the Department of Communication at Sierra College and Principal at Edoptics, an NGO that brokers trusting relationships for collective impact projects that connect education, economics, and community assets. My teaching and international presentations focus on how people create their identities through social influence, how people interpersonally share their perceptions, expectations, and power as a part of community, and designing systemic change programs for community vitality.

My research follows three intersecting trajectories, the first, student-centered, critical communication pedagogy approaches to the foundations of the communication discipline, the second; is embedded in developing government and NGO impact projects that promote equity over competition for stronger communities and healthier businesses; and third, is to make academia a more accessible space.

I recently presented my research and participated in a scholarly exchange at the Communication, Media, & Governance in the Age of Globalization in Beijing, China. I’m also the author of the interpersonal communication text, Uncensored Relationships & Stories to Build Them By (or Not) and my forthcoming co-authored book in 2019, Don’t Forget to Change the World While You’re There! Navigating College and Building a Sustainable Future. In 2018, I was honored to be the inaugural recipient of the Central States Communication Association’s Warren Mentorship award.


Curriculum Vitae

 Life Member of the National Communication Association
I love working with people, collecting stories, and building connections. I'm often a tweet, fb post, or picture away from knowing my authentic self. Usually, I’m just a communication professor, an occasional compassionate disruptor, heavy consumer of culture, and broker of non-traditional relationships.

Current Position

Founder & Principal
July 2006 to present

Sierra College, Rocklin CA
Professor, Dept. of Communication Studies
Aug 2011 to present (Tenure-Granted 2015)

Highlighted Publications & Ancillary Materials

Ruddick, K., Zoffel, N., Hendrix, K. (in press). Don’t Forget to Change the World while You’re There! Navigating College and Building a Sustainable Future. San Francisco, CA: Cognella

(ANCILLARY MATERIALS) Guerrero, L. K., Andersen, P. A., & Afifi, W. A. (2017). Close encounters: Communication in relationships. Los Angeles, CA: Sage.

(ANCILLARY MATERIALS) Dines, G., & Humez, J. M. (2017). Gender, race, and class in media: A critical reader. Los Angeles, CA: Sage.

Zoffel, N. (2016). Uncensored Relationships and Stories to Build Them By (or not). Debuque, IA: Kendall Hunt.

Zoffel, N. (2010). Producing a Mix-Tape: An Activity for Contextualizing Course Content. Communication Teacher, 24:4, 192-196.

Zoffel, N., & McGaffey, S. (2009). Contributions to peace through professional wrestling: Examining the peacekeeper performances by the gender twisted women of Lucha Libre Femenil. Global Media Journal, 8(15).

Warren, J.T. & Zoffel, N. (2006). Living in the Middle Sexual Identity and Communication in Everyday Lives. Eds. Karen Lovaas & Mercilee Jenkins. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Non-Profit, NGO, IGO Experience

Strategic Communication, Planning and Facilitation
Organizational Development and Capacity Building
Budget Management and Perpetuity Modeling
Policy Development and Analysis
Advocacy work and Constituency Building


Doctor of Philosophy
Bowling Green State University
May 2007

M.A. Communication Studies
San Jose State University
May 2003

Grants, Foundation Funding, & Awards

Grants Secured: $51,115,000

Current Projects Under Review, not included in secured totals: $1,013,933 | $205,7000 | $141,000 | $7,000,000 | $66,000 | $204,000 | $59,250 | $104,000

Inaugural recipient of the Central States Communication Association’s Warren Mentorship award

Research & Teaching Specialties 

Communication Foundations & Pedagogy: Student centered approaches to the foundations of the communication discipline, including critical approaches within interpersonal and international contexts.

Interpersonal & International Media Communication: Ethnographic, Reflexive, and Media approaches to the study of relational difference, race, gender, sexuality, education, and power as part of routine relationship contexts in cultural settings and the dissemination of those understandings.

Cultural Performance: Social influence of identity and language, performance of everyday life and cultural membership, identity authenticity in community contexts attending to issues of agency within cultural settings.

Research Methods: Ethnomethodology, Critical Ethnography, Narrative Analysis, and Quantitative Representations of Phenomenology

PR/Data Mining Tools: Extensive use of research tools (Critical Mention, Factiva, Ethno2, ATLASi, MacShapa, SPSS, and SAS) to provide qualitative and quantitative evidence regarding issues of agency, power, race, and risk assessment.



Testimonial quote. My son does amazing things! It’s pretty special when you can go to sleep at night knowing your child is trying to make the world a better place.
— Renee' Zoffel, Retired Special Education Teacher (35 years) & Mother of two
Testimonial quote. “Daddy, When will I get a passport?
— Eliana Reese Zoffel, Daughter of Nicholas Zoffel
Testimonial quote. When Nic gets quiet, starts biting his lower lip, I know it’ll be interesting. His thinking makes me happy.
— Jacob Drescher, Wells Fargo Advisors
Testimonial quote. Dr. Zoffel’s student and community engagement and his research – all of which reveal his commitment to mentoring – as a critical communication pedagogue and colleague who has demonstrated an incredible capacity for being present with himself, his community, his students, and his colleagues.
— Christina E. Saindon, Ph.D., Queensborough Community College


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