Speaking as the Founder: Dr. Janice Moss’ Story


Dr. Janice Moss is the go to person for all things public speaking, but what most people don’t know is that, if it weren’t for Moss, the Piedmont College Mass Communication Department would not exist.

When Moss was only a teenager, she began showing an interest in journalism, which she considered to be the core of the communication field. As she entered Shaw University, she began learning about other fields of communication, particularly TV and radio broadcasting.

“I started as an intern at several radio stations in North Carolina.” said Moss. “I found that I loved radio and it was something that I could not get enough of. I liked to speak into the mic and talk to people, even though I couldn’t see the people.”

After finishing her internship, Moss went to work in the news departments of several radio stations in both North Carolina and Louisiana. She would work in radio from 1982 to 1987, then went on to pursue her master’s degree at the University of Louisiana Monroe.

Moss always knew she wanted to be a teacher, going as far back as five years old.

“As I got older, I just knew that I wanted to teach at some point in my career.” said Moss. “I feel that people have that particular career path in their lives and for me, that was teaching.”

While working on her Masters, Moss worked as a teaching assistant, teaching radio and public speaking classes during the day and attending classes at night. After finishing her Master’s, Moss got a job at Brenau University in Gainesville, GA. Moss taught in the mass communication department of Brenau for seven years. While teaching at Brenau, Moss began pursuing a Ph.D. in history at Clark-Atlanta University. Moss described herself as a history buff and knew she wanted to study it at some point in her life. In 1996, Moss received her doctorate in history.

While at Brenau, Moss met students who graduated from Piedmont College and learned about the college. At the time, Moss had just moved to Stephens County with her new husband and had quite a long commute to Gainesville. Her colleague recommended that she look into Piedmont and see what they offered there. At the time, the only communication related class at Piedmont was public speaking. Moss got a job teaching this class and began working with the Dean of Arts and Sciences, Carlton Adams, on starting a mass communication program at Piedmont.

They began starting a minor program at Piedmont and once that was approved, the classes began and were taught by Moss. She acted as the coordinator of the program at the time. As students began learning about the mass communication program, they asked for a major program and Moss hopped on it. She approached Betsy Blakesley, who was an English professor, and they began working on the major program. After a year or so of planning, they launched the mass communication major program.

Moss has seen many changes in her time working in the mass communication department, such as the hiring of Dr. Dale Van Cantfort, whom Moss credits with finalizing major changes to the program. Moss was also part of the faculty that helped transition the department from the basement of Daniel Hall to the Swanson Center.

Today, Moss continues working in the Piedmont College mass communication department, teaching public speaking and coaching the college’s award winning speech and debate team.