Our faculty are committed to pursuing research that makes a difference to academic and nonacademic communities. Our department features nationally and internationally known scholars who systematically investigate issues and problems related to health communication, organizational communication, rhetoric and public affairs, and telecommunications and media studies.
Our departmental motto is, ‘Research that makes a difference.’ Studying communication for us means trying to make a positive difference in the world.”
The scholarship produced by our faculty focus on a number of areas that have both academic and social impact. The work by our faculty in health communication examining patient-provider communication is currently being developed into apps that help patients navigate the health care system. Our global media scholars investigate how terrorist networks such as ISIL use social media and have provided briefings to the Department of Defense, while others investigate the way that technologies such as iPhones and video games interface with the contemporary practice of religion. Our faculty specializing in rhetoric and political communication have explored the meanings and practices of citizenship and democracy, focusing on developing deliberative forums for meaningful talk over important social and political issues. Scholars across areas have received grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science foundation (NSF) and the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations. And researchers in organizational communication work on issues of corporate social responsibility and how organizations can manage their relationships with external stakeholders. These are just a few examples of how our faculty members generate research that makes a difference.
Our faculty is recognized by their peers as being thought leaders in the communication discipline. We are thought leaders in our discipline as indicated by the following key markers of excellence:
- Widely cited research: A 2015 self-study using Academic Analytics ranked the department first in the number of citations per publication, second for the number of citations per faculty member, and third for journal publications per faculty when compared to 10 departments of communication considered to be peer institutions including Purdue University, University of Illinois—Urbana Champaign, and University of Wisconsin—Madison.
- Award winning scholarship: Our faculty have won national and international awards for their scholarship and contribution to the field such as the International Communication Association Fellow, the George Engel Award for Outstanding Research Contributing to the Theory, Practice and Teaching of Effective Healthcare Communication and Related Skills, the Bonnie Ritter Book Award from the Feminist and Women’s Studies Division, and the PRIDE Awards for Outstanding Research Article by the NCA Public Relations Division. Our faculty have also earned several top-paper awards at national and international conferences.
- Disciplinary leadership: Our faculty show leadership in the discipline by serving as editors and associate editors for prominent academic journals such as Popular Culture, Management Communication Quarterly, Public Relations Inquiry, Southern Communication Journal, and Survey Practice as well as prestigious book series such as MIT’s Information Policy Book Series and Routledge’s book series on Studies in Religion and Digital Culture. 88% of our faculty serve on multiple editorial boards of academic journals including the flagship journals of the National Communication Association, International Communication Association, and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication such as The Quarterly Journal of Speech, Journal of Applied Communication Research, Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Journal of Communication, and Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication.
Our faculty are also sought after for their expertise by the general public. Our faculty have been interviewed by the press in a variety of venues including U.S. News and World Report, Inside Higher Education, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Views, The Atlantic, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Dallas Morning News, China Daily, Christianity Today.com among others.