Dan Rothwell

photoJ. Dan Rothwell is the former chair of the Communication Studies Department at Cabrillo College, a position he held for 30 years, leading the growth of the department from a single full-time instructor to the current six. Student enrollment almost tripled during his tenure as chair. Dan has a BA in American history from the University of Portland (Oregon), an MA in rhetoric and public address, and a PhD in communication theory and social influence, both from the University of Oregon. He has authored five books: Practically Speaking (Oxford University Press, 2017); In Mixed Company: Communicating in Small Groups and Teams (Cengage, 2016), In the Company of Others: An Introduction to Communication (Oxford University Press, 2016); Telling It Like It Isn’t: Language Misuse and Malpractice (Prentice Hall, 1982), and Interpersonal Communication: Influences and Alternatives (with James Costigan and published by Charles-Merrill, 1975).


Dan has received more than two dozen teaching awards during his lengthy career, including, among others, the 2010 “Ernest L. Boyer International Award for Excellence in Teaching, Learning, and Technology”; the 2010 Cabrillo College “Innovative Teacher of the Year”; the 2011 National Communication Association “Community College Educator of the Year” award; a 2012 official resolution by the California State Senate acknowledging Dr. Rothwell’s excellence in teaching; and the 2014 Western States Communication Association “Master Teacher” award.


Dan served as a division representative on the Faculty Senate at Cabrillo College for 22 years. He also served on the CCFT union council for 10 years and was its chief negotiator in 2016. He was awarded the “Unionist of the Year” in 2016. Additionally, Dan served on the Cabrillo College Planning Council for 10 years.


Dan has recently retired from college teaching, preferring to become more active in the politics of Santa Cruz County and beyond. He lives exuberantly with his wife of many years, Marcy Wieland, in Aptos, his home for thirty years. His four grandchildren live next door, bringing him great joy and laughter.