California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

Roxanne Banuelos balances academia and activism

Nico Sapphire
When Full-time Lecturer Roxane Banuelos isn’t teaching a class or spending time with her family, she said she loves to sink into a good book and entertain the creative side of herself.

Full-time Lecturer at California Lutheran University Roxanne Banuelos is not only committed to teaching communication, but also outside the classroom through her involvement with the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committee and as an advisor for Cal Lutheran’s Her Campus Magazine Club.

Banuelos earned her bachelor’s in English and communication at Loyola Marymount University and her master’s in communication at California State University, Northridge. She then went on to get her teaching associate at Northridge. However, she didn’t always know what her path was going to look like.

“I started college as a psych major…and then took my first psych class and was like, this is not for me. It just wasn’t hitting home to me…and it actually took me a minute to find home,” Banuelos said.  

Banuelos started by adding communication as a minor, then converted it to her major, and said the faculty at LMU and her experiences with them inspired her to pursue communication. 

“I remember thinking after the first week of classes as a grad student that I was like, oh, I could do this for the rest of my life,” Banuelos said.

Banuelos said she not only takes pride in inspiring young minds or helping students see a topic in a different light, but she also feels honored to be a part of students’ journeys. This semester, she is teaching Communication Theories and Intro to Mass Communication.

“My philosophy on just teaching in general is that like, I’m not the purveyor of all knowledge in the world, that we create that knowledge together, that it’s all about the co-creation of knowledge,” Banuelos said.

During her undergraduate studies, Banuelos said she also found her purpose in the non-profit work she did and the communities she created on campus that have had a lasting impact.

Banuelos, with the help of a former lecturer at Cal Lutheran, Judy Battaglia, founded a service organization called the Marians during their time as students at LMU. 

According to the organization’s website, the “Marians Service Organization is a group of women dedicated to the betterment of women and children.” The organization “embraces the ideals of feminism,” and works “to create equality for all through service and activism.” 

Battaglia said the organization that Banuelos and her put together is “the first of its kind, serving women and children.”

Banuelos said the two of them wanted to create a more obvious feminist space on LMU’s campus, setting up fundraisers around Women’s History Month to bring awareness to women’s issues. 

Banuelos and Battaglia also did non-profit work together during their undergraduate years at LMU. Battaglia said the non-profit called I Live Here, founded by Mia Kirshner in 2005, was dedicated to “telling stories of disenfranchised women and children in four corners of the world, Malawi, Burma, Juarez, and Chechnya.” Banuelos helped coordinate volunteers for events in support of this cause.   

Banuelos was recently on maternity leave, from December 2022 until August of 2023. 

“Becoming a parent has really transformed the way in which I teach too. And trying not to be a parent in class, but also allowing everyone to have more grace,” Banuelos said. “Like we’re all dealing with a lot and I don’t wanna be a faculty member that a student ever thinks about later, is making their life harder.”

Banuelos is currently part of the DEI committee, a faculty-led program that provides resources for professional development and opportunities to educate the faculty on DEI subject matters. Whether it’s training on how to better include DEI-related material in classrooms, professor’s pedagogies, or increasing knowledge about it at all, Banuelos said that “this work is really important to this community.”

Mahmoud Salimi, associate professor of the film and television department, also works on the DEI committee.

“As a committee, it’s important for us to come up with guidelines, goals, and activities that align our efforts with DEIJ (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice) mission on campus,” Salimi said.

Banuelos also recently committed to becoming the new advisor for Cal Lutheran’s Her Campus Magazine Club, the number one collegiate magazine run by women, for women.

“I’m just first and foremost excited about the opportunity to work more closely with students and really like, see what students on campus are interested in beyond just what’s in my class…but almost all of the work that I’ve done has been focused on amplifying the voices of women…like I probably have always been a feminist, so the very concept of Her Campus, it ticks all the boxes,” Banuelos said. 

Professor and Chair of the Communication Department, Jean Sandlin, interviewed Banuelos before she came to work full-time at Cal Lutheran

“One of the things that impressed me was just her concern for students,” Sandlin said. 

Sandlin also said she admires Banuelos’ teaching philosophy. 

“She has a very open and kind of personal approach to her students…she’s also just a delightful colleague,” Sandlin said. 

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