The graduate faculty in the Department of Communication Studies produces theoretically driven, insightful research and/or creative scholarship within the areas of Rhetoric and Political Discourse, Interpersonal Communication, Organizational Leadership, and Communication and Culture.  Our work provides social value for communities within and outside of academia.  We mentor and train master and doctoral students in the arts and science of communication as to encourage and prepare students for productive social, professional, and civic lives.

Members of the Departmental Graduate Faculty

Communication and Culture

Robin M. Boylorn (Ph.D., University of South Florida). Professor.  Her research areas include the intersection of race, class, and gender/sex; the lived and storied experiences of black women in the south; and critical auto/ethnography. She is also interested in public perceptions and representations of black women.

Mary M. Meares (Ph.D., University of New Mexico). Associate Professor.  Her research interests lie in the areas of organizational and intercultural communication, focusing on intercultural interaction and diversity in a variety of organizational settings.

Anneliese Bolland (Ph.D., University of Alabama). Assistant Professor. Her research is primarily focused on risk and protective factors related to growing up in communities characterized by economic poverty, including how these factors result in health and well-being or health disparities. She also studies the ways in which health is promoted and supported within a variety of contexts.

Interpersonal Communication

Kaylin L. Duncan (Ph.D., University of Arizona). Assistant Professor. Her research interest involves interpersonal communication, with a focus on social competence, impression management, and mental health.

Darrin J. Griffin (Ph.D., University at Buffalo, SUNY). Associate Professor & Interim Department Chair. His research focuses on interpersonal communication contexts, especially deception, emotions, and nonverbal communication.

Leah E. LeFebvre (PhD, University of Texas, Austin). Associate Professor. Her research focuses on romantic relationships and emerging technologies, or the interplay of communication, interpersonal relationships, and technology. She investigates the proliferation of online, recordable relational communication technologies that influence past, current, and future relationship communication, archival, and memorialization processes. She also studies mean-making through narration and how stories inform, reinforce, and influence relationships.

Joshua R. Pederson (Ph.D., University of Iowa). Associate Professor.  His research interests mostly involve topics of conflict, relational transgression and repair, and social support.

Jaclyn Shetterly (Ph.D., Bowling Green State University). Assistant Professor. Her research goals are to prevent sexual violence and educate support providers on best practices of care for victims/survivors of sexual assault.

Organizational Leadership

Nikita Y. Harris (Ph.D., Howard University). Associate Professor. Her research focuses on organizational socialization and leadership:  focusing on culture and diversity across organizational settings.

Jeonghyun Oh (Ph.D., Purdue University). Assistant Professor. Her research interests in the context of organizational communication are judgment, decision making, and technology.

Caroline S. Parsons (Ph.D., University of Alabama). Assistant Professor.  Her research interests are organizational and interpersonal communication and instructional communication as it relates to student development.

Rhetoric and Political Discourse

Noor Ghazal Aswad (Ph.D., University of Memphis). Assistant Professor. Her research focuses on social movements, political rhetoric, and rhetoric surrounding immigration and refugee experiences.

Meredith M. Bagley (Ph.D., University of Texas, Austin). Associate Professor.  Her research uses rhetorical theory and critical methods to investigate the power of public texts (spoken, written, or symbolic) to shape identities, relationships, and power dynamics.  She also does research in the area of sport communication.

Adam Sharples Brooks (Ph.D., University of Alabama). Associate Professor and Director of Public Speaking.  His research centers on the rhetorical construction and cultural representation of public identities, as well as in the development of effective public speaking techniques to cultivate leadership and impression management.

W. Sim Butler (Ph.D., University of Alabama).  Associate Professor. His research centers on community based, participatory research and critical, cultural, and rhetorical approaches to identity narratives, particularly intersections of gender, race, and ability.  Thus, his scholarship, courses, and community partnerships operate around the arenas of healthcare, sports, and politics and public debate.

Peter R. Jensen (Ph.D., University of Missouri). Assistant Professor.   His research centers on how the ways that we talk about social problems changes how we organize around them and alternatives to normal ways of organizing.

Jessy J. Ohl (Ph.D., University of Nebraska-Lincoln). Associate Professor. His research focuses on political communication, democratic deliberation, and the rhetoric of war. He is especially interested in the ways verbal and visual texts engage public sensation to legitimate contemporary violence.

Cynthia Peacock (Ph.D., University of Texas, Austin). Associate Professor.  Her research interests  are political communication and news and social media use.  Her most recent project investigated the contexts in which people express and avoid expressing their political opinions, and the ways in which opinion diversity and disagreement take place in online and offline discussions.  She is interested in deliberation, media use and effects, and civic engagement and is currently researching how people form, change, and express their political opinions.

Beth S. Bennett (Ph.D., University of Iowa). Professor Emerita. Her research interests include the history rhetoric, especially classical and medieval rhetoric, and rhetorical analysis and study of electronic texts and critical literacy.