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Kate Santhuff


Q & A with Kate Santhuff, Communications Instructor and Phi Theta Kappa Faculty Advisor

Degrees & Certificates

Master of Arts, Mass Communications from Emerson College, Boston, MA
Bachelor of Science, Theater and Speech Education from Northwestern University, Evanston, IL

Professional Organizations

NC Service-Learning Coalition (former Chair, Vice-Chair, and Secretary), Phi Theta Kappa Regional Alumni Association


Please tell us about yourself.

I’ve been working at CFCC for 13.5 years. For the first 11 of those years, I was the liaison for Wilmington Early College and I taught part-time both ACA and COM classes. For a few years, I simultaneously managed CFCC’s Service Learning program. Then I became a full-time instructor of Communications and the faculty advisor for Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year colleges. I love working with PTK locally and regionally due to the high-quality academically focused projects, professional development opportunities, and fellowship.

My background is firmly rooted in the Arts and Communications. I have worked as an actress, a director, as well as a teacher of English, television production, communications, and public speaking, and as an education trainer for PBS and the JFK Center for the Performing Arts in Wash. DC. I have also served as managing editor of a national publication and other educational resources for K-12 schools, and a professional public speaker. My family and I have hosted 7 exchange students since 2007. I have two kids who are 18.5 and 21 (i.e., “all grown up”), and two dogs. I have been married for thirty years!

What year did you start working at CFCC and what brought you here?

2007, a move to the area from northern Virginia

What do you enjoy most about your work?

Working with student leaders who want to change the world, and being supported when I start key projects like Not4$ale: The Human Trafficking Awareness Initiative and the CFCC Food Pantry (along with some great colleagues)!

When you’re not working, what do you do?

Hang out with my family and dogs, listen to NPR, and write.

Who had the greatest influence on your education and/or career path?

I can think of a few people — but namely three of my professors in college who served as inspirations for my interest in speech education and the confidence-building necessary to get outside my comfort zone and pursue a career outside of acting.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Henry David Thoreau’s words, “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”

Which three people (living or dead) would you invite to dinner and why?

I would invite Elizabeth Warren, Malala Yousafzai, and Oprah Winfrey to dinner. I believe in social justice and equality, and I believe these women are at the forefront of making a difference in the lives of women and underrepresented populations everywhere.

What is something not many people know about you?

I was a tv/film actress in Chicago when I graduated from college and got to audition for Risky Business and The Breakfast Club.

If you’ve been published and would like to share that information with us, please do so!

I am in the process of writing a new textbook with Cognella Publishers in California that offers a workshop-based approach to public speaking. It will go to press in 2022.

Please share something cool going on in your classroom so we can publicize it.

I am always trying something new (and it doesn’t always work!), but maybe the “coolest” thing right now is centering the first unit of public speaking on the SELF, instead of Content, Audience, or Delivery. I’m trying to help students recognize their inherent passions, strengths, and values so that they speak from the heart, and are open to being vulnerable with their audience.

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