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Department of Communication Studies at UNC Charlotte Ezine VOLUME 4 ISSUE 1








Dr. Shawn Long

Cheryl Spainhour

Myka Wright and Anne Deekens Fritz Gartner

Drew Humphries



elcome to the fourth installment of Matters, the official electronic magazine of the Department of Communication Studies at UNC Charlotte. As you browse and read Matters, you will quickly see that our department is an exciting hub for faculty, student, staff and community engagement focused on the study, teaching and service of many things communication.

As the current Annual Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching winner, the Department of Communication Studies continues to make significant strides to prepare our undergraduate and graduate students to enter society armed with the proper and flexible communication tools necessary to be not only competitive, but leaders, in their chosen life paths. In addition to our departmental Provost award, two of our faculty members, Ms. Melody Dixon-Brown and Ms. Robin Rothberg were recognized as two of the 26 faculty members who received 10 or more honors from the 2012-13 Senior Survey as the person at UNC Charlotte “who made the most significant, positive contribution” to the senior’s education. Several other members of our faculty received commendations from seniors as well. We continue to make history in our department. In spring 2014, under the leadership of Ms. Staci Kuntzman, Internship Director, we have placed more students in internship opportunities than in the history of our department. For the first time, one of our majors, Ms. Celia Karp, received the first highly coveted Study/Research Fulbright Award to spend a year in Ecuador studying “Communication, Culture, and Health: Investigating Maternal Mortality in Ecuador.” This is the first student Fulbright in our department. In fall 2013, Dr. David Askay, our first Organizational Science doctoral student with a focus in organizational communication, accepted a tenure-track Assistant Professor position in the Department of Communication at California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo. In fall 2014, we will start a new tradition when we accept our very first students into our inaugural Communication Studies Learning Community. This non-residential learning community will aid in socializing new freshmen into the university, our department and our discipline. Last fall, we granted our 100th Epley Certificate in International Public Relations. By this time next year, hopefully, we will have graduated our 100th Masters student from our graduate program. This summer, our department has partnered with the Department of Psychology to develop the first College of Liberal Arts and Sciences faculty-led program to Xiamen University in Xiamen, China. Next summer (2015), for the first time, Dr. Jillian Tullis will take students to Peru to study health communication at Universidad San Ignacio De Loyola. Our partnership with the Organizational Science Ph.D. program continues to be one of the most fruitful on campus. Last November, we jointly hosted our second reception at the National Communication Association conference in Washington, DC. We had the highest representation of UNC Charlotte faculty and students at NCA in the history of our collective programs. Our faculty continues to produce cutting-edge research, teach innovative courses, and be servant-leaders on campus, in the community and in our discipline. Faculty are winning national research and service awards and are often called upon as thought leaders on campus and beyond. Our undergraduate and graduate students are securing outstanding jobs (often well before graduation) and are being placed in top graduate programs domestically and internationally. We continue to grow as a department. We will welcome Dr. Jaime Bochantin, Assistant Professor in Organizational Communication (Ph.D., Texas A & M University) to our department in fall 2014. We welcomed Mr. Henrique Viana (MA, UNC Charlotte) as a new full-time lecturer and Ms. Kayla Modlin as our Administrative Associate in fall 2013. I hope that you enjoy this issue of Matters. Special and heartfelt thanks to Ms. Cheryl Spainhour, Senior Lecturer, and her team for their excellent work to produce this magazine. Communication “Matters” in our society and we hope that you enjoy our individual and collective contributions to this idea.

Best regards,

Shawn D. Long, Professor and Department Chair







f you perused a list of Celia Karp’s accomplishments in college, you would wonder how the bubbly Levine scholar found time for fun and international travel during her stint at UNC Charlotte. But she says she’s managed to do it all in just four short years.

Karp, a member of the inaugural class of the prestigious Levine Scholars, has volunteered, interned and studied abroad. Karp will graduate in May (’14) with a double major in Public Health and Communication Studies with a certificate in International Public Relations and a minor in Spanish. She has served as a peer mentor for the University Center for Academic Excellence and is an active member of the Public Relations Student Society of America. She volunteered for several organizations including the Cancer Resource Center and the Carolina Healthcare Foundation. She interned for the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta and for NBC Universal during the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. Outside the borders, she volunteered as a health educator at an orphanage in Costa Rica and studied abroad last spring in Seville, Spain. Growing up in Bethesda, Md., Karp admits she was unfamiliar with Charlotte before receiving a letter detailing the Levine Scholars program. Intrigued by the opportunities and the possibility of being a member of the inaugural cohort, Karp applied for and was offered one of the four-year scholarships. She credits Dr. Alan Freitag with convincing her to accept the scholarship. “Because I was interested in Communication Studies, he was assigned to reach out to me to tell me more about the possibilities at UNCC,” she recalled. “Once I was actually in the Comm Studies program, he became my academic advisor and has served as a kind of mentor ever since.” Dr. Freitag is also a driving force behind Karp’s most recent endeavor as a candidate for a Fulbright Fellowship to study maternal mortality rates and health communication in Ecuador. This spring she learned she received the Fellowship. She plans to spend this summer in South America and then return to the States to pursue her master’s degree in Public Health (She has been accepted at UNC Chapel Hill and the University of California at Berkeley.) Surprisingly, Karp says she leads a relatively low-key and stress-free life. She completed her Communication Studies course requirements in the fall (’13) semester. This spring, she wrapped up her last semester as an undergraduate with a schedule allowing for some much-needed study time. Additionally, the charismatic senior has found a way to entwine her love of university involvement with her desire to maintain a social life. Working with other members of the Levine Scholars executive board, she served as one of the founders of UNCC’s first Dance Marathon, a 48-hour celebration held last November, which benefited the Levine Children’s Hospital. “It was just so much fun,” Karp says. “Hands down one of the best experiences of my UNC Charlotte life.” Whatever the future holds for Karp, she believes her experience in the Communication Studies department at UNCC will remain an integral part of her career and life path. “Though my focus has shifted since freshman year to include Public Health, the practices I’ve gained through my Comm Studies classes have shaped how I work with people and have enabled me to reach others in a way in which I wasn’t previously able to do,” she says. “I am thankful for my time here at UNC Charlotte and am excited to see where I get to go from here.”






ocial media is nowadays a taken-for-granted aspect of American culture. Its significance, though, is not lost on those societies which have not always enjoyed the same political freedoms. Drs. Richard Leeman and Min Jiang recently explored this phenomenon as it pertains to current Chinese culture in their paper, “The Obamas Speak at the Democratic National Convention: The Sina Weibo Response.” Thanks to a College Research Grant from UNC Charlotte and with assistance from their Hong Kong University colleague, Dr. King-wa Fu, Leeman and Jiang examined the way in which Chinese microbloggers are utilizing the Internet (particularly Sina Weibo, a kind of Chinese version of Twitter) to express their opinions and create dialogues which may have been previously censored. “Looking at what [the Chinese] are talking about in social media outlets is important as opposed to what they are saying in newspapers or other media that are government-controlled,” Leeman says. This access to real-time data enabled the researchers to identify trends and veins of interest which could result in a better under-

standing of the international view of our domestic political structure. In particular, Leeman and Jiang examined the week of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, a topic of extraordinary interest in China. In a future study, they hope to expand upon their findings by examining Sina Weibo activity in the months leading up to the 2012 DNC.



n her newest book, “Conversations about qualitative communication research: Behind the scenes with leading scholars,” Dr. Christine Davis offers an insider’s view of the practices of 10 leading qualitative communication scholars. She explores how these academicians make critical decisions during the research and interview process, and how they deal with theory, data collection, analysis and writing of a study. In addition to providing the reader with a practical understanding of the navigation involved in a qualitative research project, she represents the full range of research in the genre including social science, narrative and performance. While researching this process, Dr. Davis learned that “the leading scholars in our field are just as human as the rest of us, but they might be a little more intelligent than the average person, and they definitely are hardworking and motivated.” Her book includes work by Dawn Braithwaite, Norm Denzin, Alan DeSantis, Carolyn Ellis, Bud Goodall, Stacy Holman Jones, Ron Pelias, Gerry Philipsen, Chris Poulos, and Sarah Tracy.

FACULTY HONORED FOR YEARS OF SERVICE Dr. Dan Grano 2004 – 10 years Dr. Richard Leeman 1989 (Communication Studies/English) Dr. Margaret Quinlan 2009 – Five years Dr. Jillian Tullis 2009 – Five years

FACULTY ACCOLADES Adrienne Barnette received the 2013 UNC Charlotte Outstanding Young Alumni Award and 2013 UNC Charlotte Counseling Department Outstanding Alumni Award. Dr. Min Jiang was appointed to the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) (2013-2014). She was awarded : Media, Activism, and the New Political: InterAsian Perspectives. InterAsia Initiative [$30,000 for China Team] and UNC Charlotte College of Arts and Sciences Digital Humanities Seed Grant (2013 Spring). TweetChina: Visualizing China on Twitter in Map Picture & Event Modes. [Big Data initiative with Dr. Xiaoyu Wang, BigData Lead at UNC Charlotte VizCenter, $15,000, PI] Dr. Dean Kruckeberg was recipient of the 2013 Atlas Award for Lifetime Achievement in International Public Relations, presented by the 21,000-member Public Relations Society of America at its International Conference in Philadelphia in October 2013. The Atlas Award recognizes a public relations practitioner who has made extraordinary contributions to the practice and profession of public

relations in an international environment over the span of his or her career. He was inducted into Rowan University’s Public Relations Hall of Fame in May 2013 and presented the keynote address at the Rowan University PRSSA Spring Gala and was a guest lecturer in its Introduction to Public Relations class. Dr. Shawn Long has been selected as the 2014-15 Provost Faculty Fellow at UNC Charlotte. Each year, a member of the senior faculty of the University is invited to serve as a part-time member of the staff of the Office of the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. Responsibilities encompass the full range of activities of that office, and he will meet such duties requested by the Provost or the Chancellor. Dr. Rachel Plotnik is the 2013 Recipient of The Bernard S. Finn IEEE History Prize (formerly the IEEE Life Members’ Prize in Electrical History), which is supported by the IEEE Life Members’ Fund and administered by the Society for the History of Technology. The prize is awarded annually to the best paper in the history of electrotechnology—power, electronics, telecommunications, and computer







ithin the Communication Studies Department, the five academic concentrations and the journalism minor offer students specialized coursework and opportunities which will prepare them for the professional world. One of the smaller concentrations by student population, Public Advocacy, is designed for those 49ers who want to make a big impact on a larger stage. Dr. Dan Grano has been involved with Public Advocacy in academia since leaving the private sector and earning his Ph.D. “It wasn’t until I started taking concentrated rhetoric classes that I realized that this was home,” he said. “It allowed me to play around with political theory, philosophy and media studies … which I didn’t know could all be housed in one area.” Dr. Grano spoke to some of the particulars of this concentration. HISTORY Public Advocacy was one of the original four tracks offered at the instigation of the Communication Studies minor at UNCC in 1984; along with Mass Media, Public Relations, and Organizational Communication (Health

Communication was added after Communication Studies transitioned to a major in the early 2000’s). Originally included as an option because of its focus on public speaking and argumentation, Public Advocacy benefitted from a highly successful forensics team coached by Dr. Bill Hill, the original program director and first chair of the Communication Studies Department (and current Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences). ACADEMIA Sharing the core Communication Studies requirements with the other concentrations, Public Advocacy is influenced specifically by rhetorical studies, theory and criticism. “Rhetorical Theory (a class that is required by all Comm Studies majors) is a nice way to think about what the concentration is all about,” Dr. Grano says, noting the class’s emphasis on history, theory and theorists. Concentration requirements include Advanced Public Speaking, Argumentation and Debate, Communication and Public Advocacy, as well as a second major or a minor in a field of the student’s choice. Those students drawn to this concentration tend to be interested in politics,

pre-law, non-profit work and general community advocacy. PRACTICAL After graduation, public advocacy students are not only prepared for their ideal careers, but are in high-demand as employees. “The good news is that there are more and more organizations that have communication-specific positions,” Dr. Grano says. “There is a recognized need for people who understand not only the mission of those organizations but the importance of publicizing that mission.” Skills acquired during their undergraduate work prepare Public Advocacy students for careers in law, politics, non-profit work, sales and the seminary just to name a few. BIG PICTURE In the greater field of Communication Studies, Public Advocacy stands as an important reminder of the history, application and future of rhetoric and persuasion. Public Advocacy builds on these foundations and enables students to utilize concepts in practical settings. Students who choose this concentration are assets not only to their future employers, but also the community as a whole.



he Department of Communication Studies was awarded with the Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching for the 2012-2013 academic year, the highest honor of its kind in the University. “This really speaks to the great teaching within our department, but also the great students we have who are willing to go along this journey with us,” said Dr. Shawn Long, the Department’s chair. He said the Department was nominated for the award in three main areas: internationality, innovation in teaching, and experiential learning. He cites the high rate of internship involvement and outreach to non-traditional students as two key factors that contribute to student satisfaction, though the majority of the credit goes to the teachers. “We are a cutting edge department,” Long says. “There are a lot of great teachers on this campus, but I’m so honored and happy that our department’s faculty is being recognized.”



essie Craig (Fall ’14), double major in Communication Studies (Public Advocacy Concentration) and Marketing

Why did you decide to major in Public Advocacy? I care about people. Helping people is one of the most rewarding things humans can do. The classes offered in the Public Advocacy concentration provide enriching skills that prepare someone for a life of helping others. What is the most important thing you have learned so far? I have learned to question everything and to challenge convention; not just to seek change for the sake of making a change, but to understand why things are the way they are. That is the first step to making meaningful changes in the world. A lot of policy remains policy because that is the way it has always been. Questioning uncovers the base cause and explores the validity of it. 

What would you like to do after graduation? Though there are many issues that I am interested in, I will most likely pursue a career focusing in gender equality, sustainable living, or animal rights.



he Communication Studies Master’s faculty and students made a formidable showing at the 2013 Carolinas Communication Association Conference (CCA), held Oct. 4-5, 2013 at Central Piedmont Community College in uptown Charlotte. Graduate students James Hooks, Nicole Sikora Heschong, Heather Sackett, Meghan Snider, Rachael Thomas and Anne Deekens presented on both the undergraduate and graduate panels. Deekens, second year masters student, won the Mary E. Jarrard Award for her paper “Are apple slices the new Big Mac?: A rhetorical analysis of McDonald’s issues management and identification strategies,” The Communication Studies Graduate Student Association (CSGSA), also planned and coordinated the conference reception with the help of Grant Administrator David Landrum and Chartwells Catering.



he Department’s graduate faculty, students and alumni attended and presented their research at the 2013 National Communication Association Conference (NCA) in Washington, D. C. Congratulations to our graduate faculty and students, who continually represent the caliber of our UNC Charlotte Communication Studies department at this prestigious conference. Jaclyn Marsh, first-year master’s

candidate, wrote about her experiences as a conference “first-timer” for the graduate alumni newsletter. See it at:







very time senior lecturer Sandy Hanson climbs a flight of stairs, it reminds her of last summer (’13) when she embarked on a 25-day, 110-mile hike through Wyoming’s Absaroka Mountain Range. Serving as the faculty facilitator of the annual team-building trip for the Levine Scholars, UNC Charlotte’s most prestigious merit scholarship program, Hanson and two other facilitators worked side-by-side with the incoming freshman, waking at 6 a.m., carrying 50- pound backpacks and navigating unmarked terrain for hours every day. “It was an amazing personal experience for me and an amazing experience as a representative of the university,” Hanson said, describing her journey which even included a close call with a grizzly bear and her cub. Her familiarity

with small group communication played a valuable part in strengthening the bond between the Levine Scholars, one of the main goals of the trip. Each evening, conversation around the campfire would center on one of the 20 participants who would share their story. When it came time for Hanson to share, she encouraged the students to keep pushing themselves not only in their academic endeavors but also in life. Her greatest personal takeaway was a newly-found appreciation of the age-old adage, “you are never too old to try something new”.



r. Loril Gossett and her students showcased their research in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) poster session in March (’14). Chelsea Beveridge (left) is a first year Ph.D. student in the Organizational Science Program and is Gossett’s Research Assistant. Kendall Cook is a senior studying Communication Studies who is interested in attending graduate school. “The project we were presenting was a study I have been working on with a number of graduate students -- funded in part by SOTL,” Gossett said.  “In this study we are examining student attitudes toward the course evaluation process.  More specifically, we have been interviewing students to understand what factors motivate them to fill out course evaluations, what factors discourage them from filling these forms out, and how the move to online course evaluations might impact their willingness to engage in the process.”

Loril Gossett with her team at the March Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Showcase Photo by Laurie Parker



NC Charlotte Communication Studies graduate students Nan Wilson and Jerome Ortmann presented their research at the Graduate School’s 14th Annual Research Symposium: Learning Across Disciplines on March 26, 2014. Wilson, a second year master’s student, discussed her study titled “‘Our Products Are Exciting – So Is Our Company?!’ A Cross-Cultural Analysis of Image Transfer Between Consumer and Employer Brands.” Wilson’s research explores the relationship between consumer brand and employer brand personality characteristics in a cross-cultural context.

Ortmann, a first year master’s student, presented his research titled “Encouraging User Generated Content on Facebook Fanpages of Television Shows through Brand Generated Content.” By investigating fan pages of popular television shows, Ortmann’s study locates opportunities for brands to optimize their communication efforts with desired target groups on Facebook. Meghan Snider, Rachael Thomas, Kenechukwu Onwugbolu, and Jaclyn Marsh volunteered at the event on behalf of the Communication Studies Graduate Student Association.






orbin Peters is no stranger to hard work. Although he graduates this spring (’14) with a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies on the Public Relations track and a minor in Journalism, Peters has already take a full-time job as the National Audience Development Marketing Coordinator at the American City Business Journals in Charlotte. He is responsible for generating audiences for ACBJ’s 40 weekly publications across the nation as well as their 24/7 online content. Peters says his internship opportunities as well as his participation in the Honors Program have helped prepare him for his job. “The Honors Program encouraged me to reinforce the daily decisions I made as a Communication Studies student with peer-reviewed research and theory,” he says. “Whether it was interviewing city officials about craft brewery zoning as a reporter at [for UNC Charlotte’s Urban Institute] or preparing a crisis communications plan for a multinational donut organization as an intern at Eric Mower + Associates, this theory guided my work.”


usan Thomas is a double major in Public Health and Communication Studies on the Organizational Communication track. After graduating from UNC Charlotte this spring (’14), Thomas will work for Leading to Change, a workforce development company. There she will serve as a facilitator for various leadership, staff and youth development trainings throughout the country. She also plans on taking some business classes online to prepare for graduate school after taking a year to work and engage in community service. Thomas credits the UNC Charlotte Honors Program with opening her eyes to academic research at the undergraduate level. She appreciates the one-on-one approach she has experienced with her advisors. She says “it feels great to work closely with people who have so much to offer and such great advice to give.”




Senior Lecturer Debbie Kirby Baker is no stranger to interpersonal communication. In addition to teaching the course for the Department, she exudes a passion for interaction with professional peers and students. It is this experience with mentoring and advising that was influential in Baker being designated at the first Communication Across the Curriculum (CAC) Fellow in Oral Communication at UNC Charlotte. Baker reflects on her unique perspective during this past academic year (’13-’14) and what the CAC Fellowship will bring to the department in the future. What does it mean to be a Communication Across the Curriculum Fellow in Oral Communication? Communication Across the Curriculum is a faculty development program designed to improve written and oral communication learning outcomes across departments. Often this equates to restructuring curricula design and discovering ways of scaffolding assignments in courses to support processoriented approaches.  I am directly engaged in supporting and underscoring the value of communication studies to other disciplines. What is the biggest development or change you have seen this year in terms of your responsibilities with your CAC Fellowship? I have discovered many faculty members assume UNC Charlotte students are required to take public speaking, interpersonal, small group communication or other communication coursework prior to their courses and, as a result, devote very little time integrating these opportunities in their coursework and/or supporting student progression in developing oral communication skills.  Providing this insight, along with discipline-specific facilitation strategies, prepares professors to become more analytical, critical and innovative oral communication practitioners. What have been some of the obstacles/highlights? Initially, a few disciplines requested presentations on public speaking strategies or rubric designs. Although these are

extremely important, the tremendous breadth of oral communication types, contexts and complexities of our discipline are undervalued with this limited methodology. Identifying performance criteria, setting levels, creating descriptions and designing rubrics are cyclical processes that CAC encourages each discipline to analyze when determining their learning outcomes. Has this fellowship changed the way in which you work with your peers and/or your students? Current students have a breadth of instructional implementation knowledge.  I often ask them what types of instructional methods are being implemented—or not implemented—in their classes to help provide realistic representations of what is transpiring.  Thus, I am able to integrate these examples into presentations and discussions for enhancing learning outcomes and best practices amongst our faculty. What’s next for you? Presentations, research, resources and consultations alone will not change learning outcomes, but are the beginning.  I envision UNC Charlotte following the lead from other universities by designing a vibrant learning community, which will provide both faculty and student instruction and collaborative consultation.  My fellowship has been extended another year to explore the feasibility of this implementation.

(Photography) Lauren Dockery, a journalism student, studied abroad with the English Department’s Shakespeare Program in London over spring break.






avigating the often difficult terrain of finding a career is one of the obstacles most college students face as they approach graduation. Fortunately for the 49ers, many students get a head start on their peers by participating in relevant internships. In the Communication Studies Department, well over 100 students are learning on the job this spring, adding to their resumes and improving their skill sets through hands-on training. Staci Kuntzman, the Department’s Internship Director, has been helping connect students with undergraduate, on-site training since 2005. Her passion for advancing the careers of UNCC students coupled with her teaching experience in public speaking and forensics, has made her a capable liaison between undergraduates and businesses. Each semester, her office fills with brighteyed scholars who hope to learn from professionals and make their mark on various organizations not only in Charlotte, but all over the country. Ways to find the internships vary. “Sometimes students go out and find where they want to work, sometimes they come to me to find a match,” Kuntzman says. “Once that relationship has been established, I work with students to make sure they have all of their paper work in order, their resume up-to-date, and their expectations are managed.” Kuntzman, who has a part-time student assistant, is the sole point of contact for both the record 122 potential interns and their many business “sponsors”. Once the internship is in place, she requires regular check-ins throughout the semester to assure optimum results for both the sponsor and intern. This spring, she is streamlining the program by making more content available online and interconnecting various databases, an endeavor which significantly reduces redundant paper work and gives both students and sponsors better access and visibility. Kuntzman continues to find plenty of success and rewards after nearly a decade on the job. “It has been amazing to watch the internship program grow the way it has,” she says. “Businesses here in Charlotte have embraced our students and empowered them to work hard for their goals.” Although she has seen a wide range of internship opportunities over the years, the 2012 Democratic National Convention stands out as a flagship occasion for UNCC scholars. “That was an once-in-a-lifetime event,” she says. “Seeing our students succeed on the biggest stage is something I will always remember and what this program is truly all about.”

Thomas Gartz, Public Advocacy Thomas Gartz interned for Cooler Talk Sports, a non-profit organization which puts on an Annual Super Bowl event to raise money for various charities. Thomas was responsible for assisting in the coordination and promotion of this event.

Katherine Cabanil, Public Relations Katherine Cabanillas interned this spring for Eric Mower and Associates where she has contributed to several projects, developed an editorial calendar for a new client, and created social media content for a Fortune 500 company.



Heather Peters, Organizational Communication track Heather Peters is an intern at the Cam Newton Foundation. Her duties involve managing and responding to all charitable donation requests along with planning fundraising events and activities. Additionally, she creates and writes content for the CNF website which updates the public on what’s going on with the Superman Cam.

Julie Rose, Health Communication Julie Rose interns as a Guest Relations Specialist in the emergency room at CMC-NorthEast. In this role her primary goal is to be an advocate for her patients and help enhance the communication between doctors, nurses, hospital personnel, and their patients.

Samantha Kong, Media/Journalism minor Samantha Kong tried out the anchor chair (during off-duty hours) in the CBS Evening News studio. She interned at CBS headquarters in New York City in the summer of 2013, working 40 hours a week for 10 weeks. “I worked for Craig Swagler of CBS Radio News,” she said.” My main focus was preparing logistics for special events news coverage. Some events included the Tsarnaev trial, Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, and the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards.” Her team won runner up for best news package for the Summer 2013 CBS News Internship Program. Samantha graduated in December, 2013, with a concentration in the Media Studies and a minor in Journalism.





Cy N. Bahakel Scholarship Julia Staley & Elizabeth Shaffer

HOPE CRAWFORD • 1st place Persuasive Speaking

Brycie Baber Forensics Scholarship

MATTHEW MORALES • 1st place Prose Interpretation • 3rd place Informative Speaking

Olivia Hope Crawford & Julianne Grace Congema Joe S Epley Scholarship Sarah Lauren Cain & Ruth Schorr Rebecca and Walter Roberts Scholarship Maximilian Rivera & Shawntee Cassel

NICOLE PALACIOS • 3rd place After Dinner Speaking • 3rd place Impromptu Speaking • 3rd place Poetry Interpretation UNC CHARLOTTE • 4th place team sweepstakes


HOPE CRAWFORD • 6th place Impromptu Speaking

Fall 2013 Jana Baburek Harrison Card Theresa Clementi Jennifer Craver Sarah Obeid Hannah Pfaff Lauren Watkins Myka Wright

Spring 2014 Naisla Barreto Tatiana Colorado                                                                                              Corey Gwynn                                                                    Madison Jarrell Erin Rehley                                                                         Natalia Schiappacasse Chelsea Young                                                                                

MATTHEW MORALES • 3rd place Prose Interpretation • 4th place Impromptu Speaking • 5th place Informative Speaking NICOLE PALACIOS • 2nd place Duo Interpretation HOKE PITTMAN • 1st place Dramatic Interpretation • 2nd place Prose Interpretation • 2nd place Duo Interpretation • 3rd place Poetry Interpretation UNC CHARLOTTE • 4th place team sweepstakes




RANA IBRAHIM • 1st place Communication Analysis Speaking • 3rd place Poetry Interpretation

HOPE CRAWFORD • 5th place Declamation Interpretation • 5th place Persuasive Speaking

MATTHEW MORALES • 2nd place Informative Speaking • 4th place Dramatic Interpretation • 4th place Prose Interpretation • 4th place Poetry Interpretation • 5th place Impromptu Speaking • 5th place Declamation Interpretation • 2nd place Pentathlon

MATTHEW MORALES • 1st place Prose Interpretation • 1st place Informative Speaking • 5th place Duo Interpretation • 3rd place Pentathlon

NICOLE PALACIOS • 1st place Poetry Interpretation • 1st place Duo Interpretation • 5th place After Dinner Speaking • 5th place Dramatic Interpretation • 3rd place Pentathlon HOKE PITTMAN • 1st place After Dinner Speaking • 1st place Declamation Interpretation • 1st place Dramatic Interpretation • 1st place Duo Interpretation • 1st place Impromptu Speaking • 2nd place Poetry Interpretation • 3rd place Prose Interpretation • 1st place Pentathlon UNC CHARLOTTE • 2nd place Overall Team sweepstakes

NICOLE PALACIOS • 3rd place Duo Interpretation • 5th place After Dinner Speaking HOKE PITTMAN • 2nd place Prose Interpretation • 3rd place Duo Interpretation • 3rd place After Dinner Speaking • 5th place Duo Interpretation • 6th place Pentathlon UNC CHARLOTTE • 5th place Overall Team sweepstakes

Novice Speaker of the Year NICOLE PALACIOS

Overall Duo Interpretation of the Year HOKE PITTMAN NICOLE PALACIOS

Overall Prose Interpretation of the Year HOKE PITTMAN MATTHEW MORALES






he Communication Studies Student Association (CSSA) will align with the National Communication Association Student Club (NCASC) in the coming academic year (’14-’15). The Health Communication Club will be absorbed into CSSA as well. The purpose of the NCASC is “to provide a forum for interaction among students, faculty, and others interested in the study, research, criticism, training, and application of the artistic, humanistic, and scientific principle of communication.” By affiliating with this prestigious organization, faculty advisors and the student executive board hope to stimulate membership and offer more experiences to its members. In addition to gaining access to the resources provided by the NCASC, the restructuring of the CSSA will allow each Communication Studies track and the Journalism minor to be spotlighted during the academic year. “We feel a broader, more inclusive scope will help augment Comm track knowledge throughout our undergrad-

uates and ensure successful, relevant events panels, speakers, projects, as well as participation,” says Debbie Baker, the CSSA Faculty Advisor. “Other Communication Studies areas not designated as a track program have the potential to be represented and featured during a month throughout the year.” The new CSSA membership will also collaborate and recruit support from the Communication Studies Freshman Learning Community, establishing more long-term student involvement and strong leadership for years to come. Student leaders are already looking forward to the year ahead. “I feel that this new change will allow members to take CSSA more seriously,” says Sarah Obeid, the 2012-13 CSSA vice-president. “The NCASC and CSSA alignment will stimulate student involvement because there will be more communication-related events, potential conferences, and a way to network with others in the field.”

PRSSA 2013-2014 EXECUTIVE BOARD President- Lindsey Fleming Vice President- Katherine Faulk Secretary- Courtney Palazzo Treasurer- Samantha Falabella Historians- Justin Taylor, Samantha Kirby PR Directors- Jade Hudson, Dominica Nemec Support Officer- Sarah Cain




he UNC Charlotte chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America has been busy this year. Along with holding workshops focusing on everything from resumes to business cards, the club features various speakers at their meetings and participates in National PRSSA events and Twitter chats. This fall, the club hosted “PR Day in Charlotte” featuring students from UNCC, East Tennessee University, UNC Pembroke, and Appalachian State. This event included tours of public relations powers such as Eric Mower and Associates and Carolina PR, and concluded with some of the universities taking part in a sports panel discussion featuring professionals from the Charlotte Checkers and Hendricks Motorsports. This spring, many of the PRSSA’s 65 members participated in the Young Professionals’ Panel. This event allows face-to-face interactions and Q&A with recent graduates currently employed in the PR field. “It was a great chance for our members to really connect with professionals closer to their own age and address any concerns they might have had with their upcoming graduations,” says PRSSA President Lindsey Fleming.





Emily Tamilin, a 2013 M.A. graduate, works for the Council for Children’s Rights in Mecklenburg County. After earning a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Women’s Studies from the University of Pittsburgh in 2009, she chose to pursue a graduate degree in Communication Studies at UNC Charlotte, where her qualitative research focused on gender, sexuality and politics. Emily was a Graduate Assistant to Dr. Cris Davis and Dr. Jon Crane, and both described her “a GA extraordinaire.” Dr. Crane said she was “the Rocky Bleir (Pittsburgh Steelers) of grad students.” Graduate student Anne Deekens recently caught up with Emily and interviewed her about how our program prepared her for working in the nonprofit sector.

group that not only works to improve the lives of individual children that need our assistance but I also work to improve systems that impact the lives of all children in Mecklenburg County. It’s certainly not an easy line of work, but it is definitely fulfilling. I am also surrounded by some of the most intelligent and passionate people in our community, so I am constantly learning. 

Q. What advice do you have for current MA students who are thinking about pursuing a similar career path?

Q. What is your current position at Council for Children’s Rights? How did you find out about it? A. I am currently the Research & Planning Associate at Council for Children’s Rights. I actually heard about it through Dr. [Margaret] Quinlan who was my Capstone adviser. She had done some work with the organization and passed the job posting on to me.   Q. What is a typical day like for you at Council for Children’s Rights? A. There is really no typical day. It’s one of the things I love the most about my job. I get to work on very different projects that range from reviewing and synthesizing literature on best practice, to collecting and analyzing data on child indicators, to conducting interviews and focus groups. I also have the opportunity to lead and convene collaborative work-groups comprised of child serving organizations, plan and present research at community forums, and work with elected officials. I love that I don’t have to sit behind a desk all day. Q. What is your favorite part about your job? A. Being a part of an organization that is really trying to improve our community. By working here, I am part of a really unique

media has been invaluable to my work.  I learned how to understand and evaluate  research and communicate it in an appr oachable way. I learned the value of cultural competence and was challenged to face my own unconscious biases. Overall, the faculty, staff, and program didn’t just better prepare me for this job but prepared me for the type of career I want and for the type of person I want to be. 

Q. How has UNC Charlotte (faculty members, Capstone, classes etc.) prepared you for your current position? A. Interestingly, my current position feels a bit like an extension of work that I did in the program. Dr. Quinlan went above and beyond in helping me identify what I was truly passionate about, not only in research but also in a career path. I knew that I wanted to work in the nonprofit sector and all of my course work revolved around understanding and improving the lives of under-represented populations. Conversations with her and the other members of my [thesis] committee challenged me to think more critically about my environment and to challenge it in constructive ways. Dr. [Jon] Crane’s Cultural Studies class is something I think everyone should take. I can’t begin to quantify what I took away from that class but I can say that his feedback made me a far better writer. In a more technical sense, what I learned about research, culture, and

A. The advice I have could truly apply to any career path. First, do the reading. I know it seems daunting but people can tell when you don’t. But, more than that, you have an opportunity to both provide and receive unique perspectives that will hopefully challenge you to think about what you’ve learned in new ways. Working in the nonprofit world, you encounter so many different perspectives and you should get used to having yours challenged. This is an opportunity to learn how to respectfully support your perspective and how to admit when yours is not necessarily the best. Furthermore, as a researcher, you are expected to do more than be familiar with the research on a given topic. You are expected to evaluate it and identify how it can be useful to your target audience. Secondly, choose an adviser that you feel comfortable talking with about more than just your Capstone. They are an invaluable resource and can help you figure out what you want from the program and what you want from a career. Then, hopefully, they will continue to be a personal and professional resource. My adviser has continued to help me deal with challenges in my current role.   Lastly, proofread and peer review. At first, I didn’t want my peers to see my work but we all need to learn to give and receive feedback. In research, you will be expected to continue doing both. No good piece of work is created alone. 


FROM THE QUEEN CITY TO THE AIR FORCE: ALUM’S PUBLIC RELATIONS JOURNEY Jessica Nickle Clark (‘11) never considered joining the military in her youth. Then, her father and her sports medicine doctor, a former Army Ranger, suggested Jessica, an avid high school athlete, check out the Air Force. After a meeting with the ROTC recruiter at UNC Charlotte, Jessica was offered a scholarship on the spot and her life took a new turn. Now living with her husband neard Fairfield, California, Jessica is a 1st Lieutenant and Chief of Media Relations for Travis Air Force Base. She graduated with a degree in Communications Studies on the Public Relations track and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Management and Leadership online at Liberty University. Jessica recently spoke about her journey and reflected on the years she spent at UNC Charlotte studying and preparing for life in the service. Q. What is your current job and how did you find it?

A. I am a public affairs officer in the United States Air Force. I started the Air Force ROTC program at UNCC as a freshman and originally wanted to be a linguist, majoring in Spanish. Once I realized that wasn’t really an option for me [the Air Force generally employs native Spanish speakers], I researched other majors that could be applicable to a job in the Air Force. My advisor referred me to Dr. Alan Freitag, who was a retired public affairs officer and professor for the Communication [Studies] department at UNCC. He helped me reevaluate my career path and change my [focus] to public relations. Q. How did the skills you learned while obtaining your degree from UNC Charlotte contribute to the position you are in now? A. In their technical aspects, both public relations writing and journalism classes have been the most applicable to my job. When I first started active duty I was the officer in charge of internal information, which entailed managing the base’s newspaper, social media sites and official Air Force website. I was writing my own stories, constantly editing articles for the newspaper and making sure everyone was meeting deadlines. Now I serve as the chief of media relations and am using a lot of the skills I learned in the PR writing course. We work with the 6th and 20th largest media markets in the U.S. for Sacramento and San Francisco. Writing and editing press releases, memos, etc. happens almost on a weekly basis. Q. What is your most memorable moment from UNC Charlotte? A. Commissioning into the Air Force was by far my most memorable moment at UNCC. I came into the AF ROTC program completely clueless and left it with a sense of service and accomplishment I never knew I could have. I commissioned with the most selfless of friends, who I still consider my brothers to this day.

Q. What were some of the classes you liked the most? Found the most challenging? A. My favorite courses were Interpersonal Communications with Carol Leeman and PR Strategy with Dr. Alan Freitag. People are my passion. I like meeting new people, observing them in different situations and understanding the relationships we have with one another. Interpersonal Communication was intriguing in so many ways. I remember keeping some of the personality assessments we took and giving them to my friends and family, trying to understand the bonds I had with them. As an officer, I supervise a small group of people and the techniques I learned in this class help me communicate with a wide range of personalities. Dr. Freitag spoke with such passion while teaching his courses and although it was my most challenging class, public relations strategies was the most exciting. Freitag referred to many of his AF experiences when lecturing and I remember it building my anticipations for joining the AF and getting a job in public affairs. Q. What advice would you give to current undergrads that are getting ready to graduate? A. Research and ask a lot of questions about future jobs. Had I been complacent, I may never have found my passion or PA career in the AF. Q. What are your future plans? A. My husband and I hope to start a family soon. We have been extremely blessed with the opportunities the Air Force has given us and we can’t wait to see what else is in store. Being active duty has also allowed us both to go back to school, so we are striving to complete our master’s degrees. My goal is to complete my master’s in management and leadership by Christmas of this year.






ommunication Studies Department Chair Dr. Shawn Long spent two weeks last July (’13) teaching an Organizational Communication survey course at Xiamen University on China’s southern coast. Invited both to teach the course as well as lecture on virtual workers to the faculty, Dr. Long enjoyed his work with the close-knit class of 11 native Chinese speakers, all of whom were learning in English. “The students were fantastic, most of them were majoring in Advertising or Journalism,” he explains. “The school is much more focused on the mass communication side and what [the University] wants to do is create more of a human communication element.”

Dr. Long also solidified the international relationship between Xiamen and UNCC, inviting some of the Chinese professors to visit Charlotte in the future. He noted the recent reception of a Xiamen University student’s graduate school application to the Department. “The study of Organizational Communication is a powerful discipline,” he says. “It has the opportunity to galvanize scholars and people across the world.” He hopes to return to China within the next few years and spend a little more time seeing the country as a tourist. Dr. Jon Crane will represent the Department this summer (’14) to teach in China.


Dr. Jillian Tullis visited Lima and Cosco, Peru, last May (’13) for a week-long trip site visit to prepare a Health Communications Study Abroad course for UNC Charlotte students. Although the trip was originally planned for summer (’14), it has been rescheduled for next summer (‘15). Interested students should contact Tullis.


eventeen students accompanied Dr. Alan Freitag to London last summer (’13) for the International Public Relations Seminar. For approximately three weeks, the scholars lived and studied at Regent’s University in the heart of central London. In addition to their seminar work, students experienced lectures from high-powered public relations experts and were treated to tours of the Times of London and the United States Embassy, among others. Classes ran Monday through Thursday, affording some valuable sight-seeing time for the students. Dr. Dean Kruckeberg, who has led the seminar in the past and will lead it again this summer (’14), explains that the time away from the classroom is just as important as their studies. “There are certain times in your life that are pivotal,” he says. “You start to see things a little bit differently. [Opportunities like this] enable students to gain a perspective that they might not have been able to find at home.” The 2014 London trip will run May 12 – June 6.



r. Jonathan Crane has always been interested in documentary film and recently had the opportunity to explore his interest with students in the University Honors Program. In the course, “Documentary Film,” students studied and analyzed the ways in which these films depicted truth and its relationship with stories and pictures. “I wanted to have the opportunity to spend the semester looking at a variety

of important documentaries from the history of film,” Crane said. “I got the chance to do it [with the honor students] and it was great.” Crane’s class, his first in the University Honors Program, was held during fall semester (’13) and consisted of only four students. “They were a really good group but it was a rigorous class,” he said. “They did a lot of work. They were willing to go wherever I took them and were surprisingly open and receptive.”




y students and I took on the challenge of living on the same food budget as the average Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program (also known as SNAP or Food Stamps) recipient in the state of North Carolina. The average benefit is $29 a week, per person. So for seven days, we limited our food budget and documented our experiences. Students eventually wrote papers about the Challenge, reflecting upon their communication about food, health, and poverty. I wanted the students to consider the pervasive, and sometimes incomplete, messages about food in the hopes that they will recognize that eating healthy and health is often more complicated for people who are living in poverty. This was a new class and we watched the documentary *Food, Inc.* in conjunction with the challenge.

Dr. Jillian Tullis, Assistant Professor

His syllabus stretched from the birth of the film industry to the late 1990s. “We can think of these [films] as early versions of the ‘selfie’,” he said. “Ordinary people had the opportunity to look at themselves, and there is always something fascinating about looking at yourself.” Only 2.2% of UNCC undergraduates are currently enrolled in the Honors College, a 10-year-old program now headed by Executive Director Malin Pereira. In addition to



his fall (’14) my students will report and write about the face of poverty in our country and some of the programs that innovative people in the Charlotte area have created to address this growing crisis. [According to the U.S. Census, nearly 50 million Americans live in poverty – and the poverty rate hasn’t budged since the economy started recovering.] Students will work closely with a Communication Studies/Film companion class (Topics in Mass Media COMM 3052) taught by Will S. Davis to help visualize their stories through film and photography. The best projects will be published on a webpage created by Davis. Look for a link to the webpage in December at our Department’s website.

Cheryl Spainhour, Senior Lecturer

community service and advanced coursework, these scholars have access to special electives such as Crane’s course. Crane said he would enjoy teaching again in the University Honors Program, hopefully with a few more students. “Even though we live in an age of gluttony and choice, we limit ourselves to a very small amount of selections,” he said. “One of the great things about this class is that it really widens the scope of what we are exposed to.”




CONGRATULATIONS TO THE 2013/2014 GRADUATES OF THE MA PROGRAM! We are pleased to announce that we have surpassed our 90th graduate of the program! In fact, we expect we will reach 95 graduates by the end of the summer. Congratulations to all of our graduates for their hard work and success! This has been a particularly successful year for our students and faculty.

GRADUATES #84 Cailyn Bankosky Cailyn was our first graduate of this school year. She completed her thesis under the direction of Dr. Dan Grano. Drs. Frietag and Crane were also on her committee. Cailyn wrote about how fantasy sports participation changes fan identification, and how fantasy sports call into question many of our basic assumptions about peoples’ loyalty to specific teams and players. She completed her degree in Fall 2013. #85 Jennifer Propst Jennifer completed her thesis under the direction of Dr. Dan Grano. Drs. Crane and Jiang were also on her committee. A huge sports fan, Jennifer focused much of her research on fandom and subcultures of sports. She also served as a teaching assistant for Communication Theory and a journalism assistant in the Writing Resource Center. Upon graduation, Jennifer will continue using her experience and expertise in media and culture to benefit her theater union, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. She completed her degree in Fall 2013. #86 Regina Young Regina completed her thesis titled “Living with Two Wounds: Major Depressive (Dis)order and Breast Cancer” under the direction of Dr. Christine Davis. Drs. Maggie Quinlan and Dr. Jan Warren-Findlow from Public Health Sciences were also on her committee. Dr. Davis wants to highlight Regina’s resilience and tenacity in completing her graduate degree while tolerating cancer treatments and numerous other personal hardships. Regina’s thesis was a brilliant juxtaposition of multiple theoretical concepts, and extended several theories – including muted group theory and theories of dialogic communication. She completed her degree in Fall 2013. #87 Heather Sackett Heather was our first graduate of 2014. She successfully defended her comprehensive exam under the direction of Dr. Dan Grano. Drs. Kruckeberg and Scott served on her committee. She is the secretary of the Communication Studies Graduate Student Association (CSGSA). Prior to graduation, Heather served as a teaching assistant for undergraduate Organizational Communication and Rhetorical Criticism courses and assisted faculty as a research assistant. Dr. Grano says that Heather has been a standout as a student and TA and one of the best graduate students he has had the pleasure to work with in his time at UNC Charlotte. Heather, along with classmates Nan Wilson and Nicole Sikora-Heschong, have recently been accepted to the 2014 International Communication Association Conference for their research on LinkedIn and Impression Management. Heather is the new Communications Manager of 24 Hours of Booty, a nonprofit that raises funds for cancer-fighting programs. She completed her degree in Spring 2014.

#88 Kristen Barnhardt Kristen successfully defended her comprehensive exam under the direction of Dr. Alan Frietag and committee members Drs. Grano and Leeman. She has served as a graduate assistant for the Division of Student Affairs and the Center for Wellness Promotion. One of her favorite memories about our program was studying abroad in London for Dr. Frietag’s International Public Relations Seminar last summer. Dr. Frietag says that Kristen was a leader in that course and that he was proud to have her represent our program when visiting the U.S. Embassy, Ketchum PR, and Bank of America. One day, Kristen hopes to work in the Communication Department for her favorite NFL team - GO PANTHERS! Kristen completed her degree in Spring 2014. #89 Nan Wilson Recently back from a study abroad trip to Germany, Nan has successfully defended her comprehensive exam. She completed her capstone under the direction of Dr. Alan Frietag and committee members Drs. Davis and Gossett. Nan will be graduating with a dual M.B.A. degree in Marketing. She has served as a teaching assistant for Business Communication and Communication Theory courses and has assisted faculty with research. Melody Dixon-Brown says that Nan stood out as a teaching assistant due to her energy, enthusiasm, and creativity. Nan’s biggest accomplishments include: working with ZF automotive suppliers in Germany on restructuring their internal communication program, co-authoring a published paper, “Math Fluency Through Game Design”, being invited to present research at ICA, and joining the Beta Gamma Sigma International Business Honor Society. Dr. Frietag says that Nan has a penetrating mind with more deep questions floating around her mind than a normal person could possibly keep straight, yet she somehow puts them in order and keeps them moving forward. After graduation, Nan plans to: climb Mt. Ranier, work for a consulting firm or in market research, get married, start a political action committee, get a Ph.D. in Business Administration, and of course, live happily ever after. #90 Felisha Moore Felisha has successfully defended her comprehensive exam under the direction of Dr. Dan Grano. Drs. Tullis and Scott were also on her committee. Felisha’s research focuses on women’s health and childbirth. Throughout her graduate career, she has produced work that Dr. Quinlan and Dr. Grano believe is worthy of publication. Dr. Grano says that Felisha is a focused, insightful writer and will represent our program very well in her post-graduation career. Felisha has truly enjoyed getting to know everyone and being exposed to a variety of interests in the communication discipline. Her favorite course has been Dr. Tullis’ Health and Spirituality class. Felisha currently works as an assistant property manager and is pursuing a career in corporate communication and/or commercial real estate.

25 conference. She has since presented her work at the 2012 Southern States Conference and NCA again in 2013. After graduation, Laura aspires to find a position within the health or non-profit sector.


Anne Deekens Anne will defend her thesis titled “Are Apple Slices the new Big Mac?: A Rhetorical Critique of McDonald’s ‘Health’ Campaigns Through Critical Apologia” under the direction of Dr. Dan Grano and committee members Drs. Gossett and Tullis. Anne received the Mary Jarrard Graduate Award for an early version of this paper at the 2013 Carolinas Communication Association Conference. She has served as Dr. Davis’ graduate research assistant and as a teaching assistant for Business Communication, Organizational Communication, and Applied Organizational Communication courses. Additionally, she is a Graduate Teaching Fellow along with classmate Rachael Thomas. Melody Dixon-Brown says that Anne stood out as a teaching assistant because of her kindness, caring, and commitment to her students. Dr. Grano says Anne has been a delight to advise through her thesis and has a lot of natural writing ability. Dr. Davis appreciates Anne’s hard work and initiative as her Graduate Assistant this year. Anne is proud to join the ranks of the unemployed upon graduation. She hopes to pursue either journalism or internal communication at some point. In the meantime, she will start catching up on two years’ worth of sleep. Kenechukwu Onwugbolu Kene will defend his thesis titled “The Sound of Music: A Historiography on the Publicity Efforts of the Movie Musical that Saved Twentieth Century Fox” under the direction of Dr. Alan Frietag. Drs. Crane and Leeman are also on his committee. Kene is the senator of CSGSA. As a research assistant, he has co-advised the UNC Charlotte chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America with Dr. Freitag and worked with Dr. Dean Kruckeberg at the Center for Global Public Relations as a Development and Events Manager. Melody Dixon-Brown says that she and her event planning students truly working with Kene on the CGPR event in spring 2013. Kene has also served as a teaching assistant for Principles of Public Relations, PR Writing, and PR Strategy courses. Dr. Frietag says that Kene has been a wonderful GA/TA and a terrific model for the undergraduate PR students in his classes. Kene’s favorite memory from our program is studying abroad in London last summer for International Public Relations Seminar. He also received UNC Charlotte’s Halton Scholarship for Study Abroad. Kene strives to work in an industry that excites him professionally and personally. Someday, he hopes to be an executive in the realm of entertainment publicity.

Rachael Thomas Rachael will defend her thesis intriguingly titled “Me, Myself, and Misery: Narrative Autoethnography of Forming Identities with Depression,” under the direction of Dr. Christine Davis. Drs. Crane and Tullis are also on her committee. Rachael is the vice-president of CSGSA. Rachael has served as a teaching assistant for Organizational Communication and Communication Theory courses, as well as a research assistant for our department. She is also a Graduate Teaching Fellow. Throughout her time at UNCC, Rachael presented her research at several conferences and symposiums, including the UNCC Graduate Research Symposium, OSCLG, CCA, and NCA. She also had the opportunity to attend numerous panels and presentations, which broadened her understanding of communication research. After graduation, Rachael would like to find a position as an applied communication researcher in the healthcare field. There is a good possibility that she will go back to school one day for her Ph.D! Dr. Davis says that Rachael has been a delight to work with Rachael’s narrative writing is exemplary and she is an engaged, dedicated, and motivated student. Dr. Davis especially notes that Rachael has gone above and beyond with her dedication to her assistantship, service, and coursework. Colleen Zoretic Colleen will defend her comprehensive exam under the direction of Dr. Margaret Quinlan. Drs. Tullis and Grano are also on her committee. Throughout her graduate career, she has served as an Administrative Assistant to the UNCC SACS Accreditation Manager and as a graduate assistant in the Department of Tutorial Services at University Center for Academic Excellence. Colleen’s research focuses on health and gender communication, as well as public relations. Dr. Quinlan says that Colleen’s work highlights the culturally formed stigma of female addiction, especially media representation of female celebrity addicts such as Amy Winehouse, Courtney Love and Lindsey Lohan. Within her PR research she has analyzed the fear appeals often implemented within anti-drug campaigns. After graduation, Colleen will begin her new position at Ketchum PR in Washington, D.C. Colleen will start a 10-week training program on June 9 and then work as an account coordinator, hopefully working with disease awareness and education about medicare.

Laura Smailes Laura will defend her thesis under the direction of Dr. Jillian Tullis, with Drs. Grano and Scott on her committee. Laura’s research focuses on the reintegration of our Veterans. Early in her coursework, she came across Richard’s Coffee Shop and Military Museum, an establishment dedicated to honoring and supporting Veterans. Her thesis, titled “A Healthy Reintegration of Our Troops: A Non-Traditional Therapeutic Space”, reveals the rituals, dialogue and formation of a non-traditional therapeutic space that makes Richard’s Coffee Shop a site for positive reintegration for our soldiers. Dr. Tullis recalls that Laura began researching this topic in her Spirituality, Health and Communication class. This paper won top paper from the Spiritual Communication Division at NCA. Laura has also presented her research at several conferences. In 2011, she received a nomination for top paper in the Spirituality Division at the National Communication Association (NCA)

Congratulations to our graduating MA students!


COMMUNICATION STUDIES CE COMMUNICATION Graduate Student Nan Wilson and her father celebrate with Dr. Cris Davis(middle) at the Global Gala

The Alum Panel Talk was held April 22, giving current students the opportunity to hear from alum who are working in the Communication field. Pictured (left to right) Deborah Tillman, Amanda Mulvihill, Kaitlin Rogers, Gini Arnold, Tadd Haislop and Michael Richards.

Julia Staley and her parents attended the Global Gala Awards Ceremony. Julia received the Bahakal Scholarship and will study abroad in Sydney, Austrailia during the summer (2014)

Dr. Dan Grano and students chat at the Global Gala Regina Young earned her MA in Fall (2013)

LEBRATION WEEK April 21-25 STUDIES WEEK Graduate Student Rachael Thomas at the Graduate Poster Session

Students celebrate at the Global Gala Awards Ceremony

DR. STACY HOLMAN JONES PRESENTS “ALWAYS STRANGE” AT SPRING 2014 COLLOQUIUM Dr. Stacy Holman Jones, Associate Professor of Communication at California State University, shared her autoethnographic research at the Spring Colloquium on April 21. About 170 students, faculty and alumni flocked to the Student Activity Center to listen to Dr. Holman Jones’ presentation, “Always Strange and Strangely Familiar: Changing our Words and Worlds Using the Power of Theory and Storytelling”. The Communication Studies Graduate Department and Communication Studies Graduate Student Association organized the event as part of Communication Studies Week. Dr. Holman Jones’ visit was sponsored by the Graduate and Professional Student Government. The vivacious professor gave a compelling presentation on the “symbiotic relationship” between queer theory and queer stories. The room fell silent as she read – or rather, performed excerpts from her autoethnographic essay “Always Strange.” The work chronicles Dr. Holman Jones’ evolving relationship with her father – first, when she comes out as a lesbian, and later, in the aftermath of her father’s stroke. Throughout the essay, Dr. Holman Jones and her father struggle to find and understand their shifting relationship and identities. Her presentation ultimately emphasized the interplay between theory and story, self and family, and love and loss. These realities are, to quote Dr. Holman Jones, “always strange, yet strangely familiar.” Anne Deekens

Photographs by Kayla Modlin, Tim Horne and Cheryl Spainhour (Photograph of Dr. Stacy Homan Jones courtesy of Dr. Holman Jones)








enrique Viana is enjoying his first year as a full-time faculty member, but he is no stranger to UNC Charlotte. A highly-recruited tennis player out of his native Brazil, Viana completed his B.A. in Communication with an emphasis in Public Relations on an athletic scholarship at East Carolina University. After graduating in 2008, he decided to continue his education as a 49er, obtaining his M.A. in Communication Studies with an emphasis in International Public Relations in 2010. When he heard of an opening for an adjunct lecturer at UNCC, Viana jumped at the chance. “I was already comfortable speaking in front of people and I really enjoy working with students,” he said. This past fall (’13), Viana joined the faculty as a full-time lecturer and currently teaches Business Communication and Public Speaking. Outside of the classroom, Viana takes on the role of “social chair” with his friends. “I always say I am Brazilian so


r. Jaime Bochantin will join the Communication Studies faculty in the fall (2014) and specialize in Organizational Communication. She received her B.A. in Communication Studies and M.A. in Organizational Communication from DePaul University. She completed her Ph.D. at Texas A&M University.

She says she has always wanted to work at UNC Charlotte. “I have been a long-time fan of the amazing faculty in the Department of Communication Studies and also of the Organizational Science program,” she says. “I had just been waiting for a job opening and when there was, I was elated!” She says she’s also looking forward to North Carolina’s mild climate – a big change from the chilly Chicago winters she’s faced while working as a full-time faculty member at DePaul University. When she’s not in the classroom, Jaime enjoys reading, skiing, and travelling. Her favorite vacation was exploring the Middle East, where she was invited to teach an MBA class in Bahrain. An avid runner, she has completed three full marathons and many other races around the United States. She looks forward to the next stage of her career when she moves to Charlotte this summer with her spouse and dogs.

I’m the one that is supposed to take the stress away from people,” he says. “I have a great group of friends that I have made here over the past six years and I’m always organizing trips to the beach or to the mountains, anything to help them escape their daily stresses, even if it’s just for an hour or walking up and down the halls.” Viana’s positive attitude has translated to the classroom as well. Viana’s current lecture schedule has him working with both undergraduates in Public Speaking along with juniors and seniors in Business Communication. The variety of scholars in his classrooms keeps him on his toes -- a welcome position for a former elite athlete. “I try to stay active all the time,” Viana says. “I am always doing something. I welcome the challenge of teaching these different types of students and am looking forward to many more years at UNC Charlotte.”



drienne D. Barnette, MA, NCC, LPC received Bachelor of Art degrees in Organizational Communication and Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2004. In 2007 she received a Master of Art degree in School Counseling from UNC Charlotte. She is a National Certified Counselor and Licensed Professional Counselor. Upon graduation from UNC Charlotte Counseling program, she was ranked in the top 1% of Counseling Professionals chosen to serve as ambassadors in the International Scholar Laureate Program. While attending UNC Charlotte, she was a student athlete on the UNC Charlotte Track and Field team and still holds the Outdoor and Indoor Track and Field High Jump School Record. Prior to joining UNC Charlotte Communication Studies Department as the Academic Advisor in 2013, she worked with Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools from 2008-2013 as a School Counselor, Academic Facilitator, and Counseling Department Chair and has worked with students in a range of academic settings. Barnette is the recipient of the 2013 UNC Charlotte Outstanding Young Alumni Award, the UNC Charlotte Outstanding Counseling Alumni Award, the 2012 UNC Charlotte Excellence in Education Award, and the UNC Charlotte Citizenship Award. In 2012 she was the Keynote Speaker for the UNC Charlotte Chancellor Diversity grant on her project ROUTE 1961, which was a character education journey of retracing the 1961 Freedom Riders route on motorcycle from Washington, D.C. to New Orleans, to protest segregation, to teach her K-12 students with severe emotional disabilities a tale of positive character. In the summer of 2013, she embarked on her latest counseling character education endeavor, “Pedal for Peace,” in which she retraced 800 miles of the the Underground Railroad on bicycle from Ohio to Canada.


avid Landrum joined the Communication Studies Department in 2012 as the Office Manager and also serves as the Budget and Grant Administrator. He has been a member of the university community for nearly two decades: He graduated with UNC Charlotte’s class of 1997 and has been employed at the University since 2000. David previously held positions as an advisor for the Africana Studies Department as well as Grants Manager for the English Department, Writing Resources Center, and the Writing Project. David enjoys traveling the world in his time off. In 2012, he vacationed in South Korea, where his mother’s family lives, and visited the coastal city of Gyeongju and the volcanic island of Jeju.


ayla Modlin joined the Communication Studies department as an administrative assistant in September of 2013. A graduate of UNCC (’12) with a Bachelor’s degree in English and minor in Art, Kayla spends her free time enjoying her duel passions of music and photography. Together with her friends, she enjoys playing guitar, singing, and song-writing. Kayla is also a working photographer; currently focused on engagement shoots and other types of portrait photography. In the future, she hopes to travel to the different countries on her “wish list” and expand her portfolio by shooting conceptual works and landscapes. You can find some of Kayla’s work on her website:

Debbie Kilby Baker, Senior Lecturer, has taught undergraduate courses in business communication, small group, interpersonal communication contexts, and public speaking – including Freshman Learning Community sections – since January 2001. Having earned licensure in education with graduate work in communication theory and teaching effectiveness, Baker specializes in creating diverse, engaging learning opportunities to help students be inspired, challenged and successful learners. “Walk by my classroom and you might hear laughter flowing freely, the ‘Olympics Fanfare’ medley resonating when teams proudly accept their medals or complete silence as students work intently on an exercise,” she says. “I proudly hang in my office a 2011 student-designed faculty award which states ‘Most Eccentric’ for my teaching style and personality because it acknowledges the effective pedagogical and andragogical research for which I value.” Outside of the classroom, mentoring has been integral part of Baker’s professional engagement. She has designed and presented several workshops and training sessions for Diversity Summer Institute, S.A.F.E, University Center of Academic Excellence, Center for Graduate Life, University Advising Center and Communication Across the Curriculum on campus, in addition to a myriad of departmental and community instruction. She currently serves as COMM 1101 Adjunct Faculty Liaison, Communication Studies Student Association Faculty Advisor, Scholarship & Awards Committee Chair and is the 2013-2015 Communication Across the Curriculum Fellow, a faculty development initiative which aims to support departments in developing and revising the Oral Communication Goal course designs and instructional strategies for academic excellence.

Sayde J. Brais

Debbie Baker

Lecturer, Sayde J. Brais, received both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Communication Studies from UNC

Charlotte. She began teaching for the department as a graduate teaching assistant in 2010, and was hired as a full-time faculty member in 2013. Brais teaches undergraduate classes which include: Research Methods, Public Speaking, and Business Communication. Drawing from her experience as a recent student, Brais’ teaching philosophy revolves around the notion that “the great teacher continues to be a student”. She believes that every class taught provides a unique opportunity to exchange ideas and knowledge, for the student and the instructor. In her spare time, Brais enjoys playing with her dog, Minnie, and spending time with friends and family.

Jon Crane

Dr. Jon Crane received his bachelor’s and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Illinois, and studied for his doctorate at The Institute of Communications Research, specializing in cultural studies. Currently he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in communication theory, mass media and film studies. “Teaching is an activity akin to chatting with a friend over coffee, swapping lies with mates at a bar and revisiting family legends around the dinner table,” he says. “It is one of the ways we best apprehend our shared world and when it goes well there are few better ways of fashioning common sense.” Crane’s areas of interest include media, film, and popular culture, and his research projects deal extensively with film and the role genre plays in the interpretation of cinematic violence. He is an author of Terror and Everyday Life: Singular Moments in the History of the Horror Film (Sage, 1994), and has also written extensively on the complex interplay between individual directors and their chosen generic niche. A devoted Chicago baseball fan, Crane has this to say: “The unfounded rumors that have circulated for decades maintaining that there are two professional baseball franchises in Chicago are patently untrue. There is only one professional baseball team in the Windy City and they play ball on the Southside.”

John Crane

Debbie Kilby Baker

Sayde J. Brais


Dr. Christine Davis is Associate Professor of Communication Studies, and the Coordinator of Graduate Studies for the department. She received her BA degree in 1979 from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; her MA in 1999 from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro; and her Ph.D. in 2005 from the University of South Florida, all in the field of Communication Studies. She teaches courses related to Health Communication and Communication Research Methods, and focuses her research and teaching on the areas of children’s mental health, disability, aging, endof-life communication, and health communication in the contexts of family, patient-provider, and healthcare teams. She has a strong interest in Communication Research Methods, especially in the areas of narrative, ethnography, and autoethnography. Dr. Davis published two books in 2013: Conversations about qualitative communication research: Behind the scenes with leading scholars, and Communicating hope: An ethnography of a children’s mental health care team. Her current research includes several projects related to end-of-life communication in material culture and communication in children’s healthcare teams. Dr. Davis says that she “strives to make a positive difference in the lives of students, the university, and the community—both locally and nationally” through her research and teaching. About her teaching philosophy, she says: “I think that part of my role as instructor is to develop in students a love of learning. I am very intentional about fostering a culture of support and high expectations.” In her spare time, Dr. Davis loves to sail, hike, and jog.

Melody Dixon-Brown

Melody Dixon-Brown, Senior Lecturer, emphasizes the business elements of communications. With almost 20 years of corporate experience that included BBDO Advertising and DuPont, Dixon-Brown believes that “ students must build on their strengths of creativity and oral and written communication; however, they must learn managing, budgeting, and professional ‘best practices’ as well.” She has taught business

Alan Freitag

Melody Dixon-Brown

Christine Davis

Christine Davis

communication, event planning, and small group communication. She has a dual degree in marketing and classic movies. communications management from Syracuse University and an MBA from The University of Delaware. When not teaching, you’ll find her enjoying a good book or watching

Alan Freitag

Professor Dr. Alan Freitag earned his B.S. from the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh in 1973, his M.A. from Webster University in 1977, and before completing his Ph.D from Ohio University in 1999, he began teaching here in August 1998. He teaches undergraduate courses within his areas of interest, including Fundamentals of Public Relations, Public Relations Writing, International Public Relations, Research Methods, Event Planning and News Writing. He also teaches graduate courses in Communication Campaign Management, Internationals Public Relations, and Media Relations. He also advises the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). In the classroom, Freitag says, “I have striven to maintain sharp focus on preparing students for entry into the demanding profession of public relations and rapid ascent to its higher levels.” Dr. Freitag has had works published in Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Journal of Public Relations Research, Journal of Communication Management, Public Relations Quarterly, Newspaper Research Journal, Airman, and Asia-Pacific Defense Forum. He has also earned formal, professional accreditation in public relations practice through the Public Relations Society of America. In the past, Freitag performed in several dozen amateur theatrical productions and appeared in a motion picture, “The Last Days of Patton,” with George C. Scott.

Dan Grano

Dr. Daniel Grano is a graduate and undergraduate professor of Rhetorical Theory, Criticism, Ethics and Cultural Studies. He received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Memphis in 1995 and his Master’s and Doctorate degrees in Rhetoric and Public Address from Louisiana State University in 1997 and

Loril Gossett

Dr. Loril Gossett is an associate professor in Introduction to Organizational Communication and Control and Motivation in Organizational Settings. She has interests in areas of Organizational Communication, Nonstandard Labor Arrangements and Identification, Participation and Control in Organizational Settings. From the University of Colorado, Boulder she earned her Bachelor’s degree in 1993 and her Doctorate degree in 2001. In her research she examines how alternative work relationships, such as out-sourced employees, volunteers, and geographically dispersed workers, impact our understanding of what it means to be or communicate as an organizational member. Gossett says she loves the topics she teaches and showing students how these concepts can impact their daily lives. “I consider teaching to be a highly interactive process. I work to create a classroom environment that encourages students to freely contribute their ideas.0 In order to make the course material come alive, I use case studies, video clips, and discussion questions. I also design research and writing activities that encourage students to apply course concepts to their daily lives.” Outside teaching, Gossett enjoys film and has attended

Sandy Hanson

Loril Gossett

Dan Grano

2003, respectively. His research focuses on how power shapes moral judgment, especially in popular cultural contexts like mediated sport, and he has published in various journals, including “Critical Studies in Media Communication”, “Rhetoric & Public Affairs”, “Rhetoric Society Quarterly”, and “The Southern Communication Journal.” His latest article in “The Quarterly Journal of Speech” is on the race and class politics of the New Orleans Superdome reopening. As a teacher he says his philosophy is grounded in a basic assumption from the liberal arts tradition. “Our job is to prepare students for critical and ethical participation in civic life,” Grano says. “For me teaching is exciting because there is always something new to take up with students based on research developments or everyday events, so semester to semester our exchanges are always changing shape.” When not teaching he enjoys being the proud father of his baby boy, Anthony.

several film festivals, including South by Southwest and Charlotte Film Festival. She is a long-distance runner and has completed three marathons, with plans to participate in more.

Sandy Hanson

Sandy Hanson received her Bachelor of Science at Louisiana State University and her Master of Science at Florida State University. She has been a full-time Lecturer since 2000, teaching undergraduate courses in Organizational Communication, Small Group Communication, Interpersonal Communication, Advanced Organizational Communication, Public Speaking, and Communication Conflict. In 2010, she was promoted to Senior Lecturer. Hanson has published a chapter in an introductory textbook on conflict and communication. In addition to her teaching duties, she serves as a guest lecturer with the English Language Training Institute, writes textbook reviews for various publishing companies, and presents papers at professional organizational conferences. “Teaching, well, is challenging!” she says. “I work hard to enliven classroom discussions with humor, student participation, and anecdotes to bring theory to life. Also, I believe in an experiential learning model so I use Problem-Based Learning in my classes. This allows my students the opportunity to refine their analytical skills through participant-observation and reflection.” She manages to make time to teach 9-10 classes of water aerobics a week, just shy of 20 years of teaching experience in the water.

Tim Horne

Director of Forensics Tim Horne has been an instructor with the department since 2006. The Forensics Team is a competitive speech and debate program that gives students the opportunity to develop their argumentation and communicative skills against other colleges and universities throughout the nation. During his tenure with the team, the forensics team has received over 300 awards through competition. In addition to his work with forensics, Horne also teaches a number of courses for the Communication Studies department, including Advanced

Tim Horne

After working in news and film industries in China and receiving her Ph.D. degree in Communication from Purdue University, Dr. Min Jiang now teach classes in new media & technology, global media, and research methods at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. She also conducts research on Chinese Internet technologies, politics, and policies. Various research institutions have invited her to present her work or funded her research, including the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations (NCUSCR), Fairbank Center at Harvard University, Programme in Comparative Media Law & Policy at the University of Oxford, the International Reporting Project (IRP), the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University, Center for the Study of Contemporary Quentin Tarantino’s assistant while a graduate student in Beijing and has always admired great art and artists. China of University of Pennsylvania, the French Institute of International Relations (Ifri), University of Hong Kong, Institute of Network Cultures at Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Dr. Jiang’s work is highly interdisciplinary, blending new media studies, political communication, international communication, legal studies, and information science. Her work has appeared in New Media & Society, Policy & Internet, Social Computer

Dean Kruckeberg

Dr. Dean Kruckeberg, APR, Fellow PRSA, is a professor in the Department of Communication Studies. He has a Bachelor’s in English with a minor in journalism from Wartburg College (1969); an M.A. in journalism (PR) from Northern Illinois University (1974); and a Ph.D. in Mass Communications from the University of Iowa (1985). Dr. Kruckeberg has co-authored several publications, including “Public Relations and Community: A Reconstructed Theory” and “This Is PR: The Realities of Public Relations.” In spring 2010 and 2011, he taught UNCC’s London International Public Relations Seminar at Regent’s University. He has earned prestigious awards, including the “Atlas Award for Lifetime Achievement in International Public Relations and the “Outstanding Educator” Award from the Public Relations Society of America and the Wartburg College Alumni Citation that recognized his accomplishments as one of the nation’s leading public relations educators. He was inducted into Rowan University’s Public Relations Hall of Fame in 014. Dr. Kruckeberg stresses the value of achievement in his teaching philosophy: “I try always to remember the importance of what we do as educators and the good that we can do when we perform our jobs well. Those in higher education are responsible for preparing tomorrow’s Dean Kruckerberg

Min Jiang

Science Review, Electronic Journal of Communication, SAIS Review of International Affairs, China Information, Information Visualization, Sage Handbook of Conflict Communication among others. More specifically, she has written about Internet sovereignty, authoritarian deliberation, regime legitimacy, Internet events, state capitalism, and search engines (Google, Baidu, and Jike in China). Currently, she conducts research in digital technologies (search engines and microblogging) in global contexts, Chinese Internet policies, media activism (helping set research agenda for the Asian region), and digital diplomacy (Chinese microblogging public’s responses to DNC and U.S. presidential election). Outside work, Dr. Jiang enjoys running, tennis, yoga and piano practice. She is an avid fan of “Downton Abbey” and “Breaking Bad”. Fun fact: Dr. Jiang worked as film director Quentin Tarantino’s assistant while a graduate student in Beijing and has always admired great art and artists.

Min Jiang

Public Speaking, Media Ethics, Persuasion, Mass Media, and Argumentation and Debate. “Professional, to the point, with a little bit of humor,” remarked a student. “Okay, a lot of humor, but it breaks up the monotony and adds some personality to the course. Informative, yet witty. Good combination.” Horne was honored with a B.E.S.T. Outstanding Teaching Excellence award for this work at UNCC. His encourages students to take the skills and information gained from his courses and apply them in a macro sense within their discipline and future careers. A graduate of both the undergraduate and graduate program at UNCC, Horne refused to leave until given gainful employment. His areas of interest include interactive media, film, popular culture and practical argumentation. When not teaching he enjoys relaxing with his wife, Nhia whom he married last summer after finally ‘putting a ring on it.’

Lecturer Staci Kuntzman has held several titles since she came to work for the Department in 1997. As Internship Director since 2005, her duties include interviewing all potential interns and evaluating the performance of current interns, among others. She also teaches undergraduate courses in her areas of interest, Interpersonal Communication and Public Speaking. She has served as the Forensics Director, advisor to the university’s chapter of the Pi Kappa Delta, lieutenant governor for the Southeastern province of Pi Kappa Delta, and does community service at the university level. She attended Marshall University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies and M.A. in Communication Studies with an emphasis in interpersonal communication, and was later awarded the Catherine Cummings Pedagogy Award for excellence in teaching. “Offering a variety of techniques to learn, such as powerpoint presentations, videos, and online resources is vital to reaching different learning styles,” she says about teaching. “However, students also must commit to the learning process by listening and responding during lectures.” In 2009, Ms. Kuntzman gave her twelve-year-old daughter twin brothers to play with, adding to her already happy family.

Carol Leeman

Staci Kuntzman

Undergraduate Coordinator and Senior Lecturer Carol Leeman has been teaching at UNC Charlotte since 1988. Leeman became a full time faculty member in 1997 after receiving her Bachelor’s degree from UNC Charlotte in 1985 and her Master’s degree from Wake Forest University in 1993. Courses she has taught include Small Group Communication, Interpersonal Communication, Communication and Conflict, Freshman Seminar, the Sophomore Seminar for the Arts and Sciences Freshman Learning Community, and Persuasion. She says what she loves the most about teaching Communication courses is the often direct application of communication theories to everyday life. “My goal is to convey the theories

Richard Leeman

Dr. Richard Leeman joined the Communication Studies Department faculty in 1989. He became the Department’s second chairperson in 2001 and served until 2010. He teaches undergraduate courses within his areas of interest, including Rhetoric, Public Address, Political Communication and African American Orator. He also teaches courses on the graduate level in Textual Analysis. His teaching philosophy comes from his drive to challenge his students’ ways of thinking about the world. “My job is not so much to tell them what to think, but I do hope to help them decide what to think about.” Leeman received his B.S. from Shippensburg State University in 1977 and his Master’s and Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, in 1982 and 1990 respectively. Leeman has participated in writing, co-writing, or editing seven books: “The Will of a People: A Critical Anthology of Great Speeches by African Americans” (with Bernard Duffy, Southern Illinois University Press); “The Teleological Discourse of Barack Obama” (Lexington Press); “The Rhetoric of Terrorism and Counterterrorism”; “DoEverything Reform:” “The Oratory of Frances E. Willard, African-American Oratory: A BioCritical Sourcebook”; “American Voices: Encyclopedia of Contemporary Oratory” (with Bernard K. Duffy); and “The Art and Practice of Argumentation and Debate” (with Dr. Bill Hill). Aside from his teaching and publishing achievements, Leeman divulges a little known fact about himself: “[I am]

Richard Leeman

Staci Kuntzman

and principles of the course in such a way that the students see the connection between the material and how it can enrich their lives.” Previously, she served as Coordinator of the College of Arts and Sciences Freshman Learning Community. She has conducted workshops in managing conflict, communicating assertively and creating supportive climates for a variety of campus and community organizations. Her other accomplishments include membership on the CHAMPS/Life Skills Coalition Advisory Committee and Greek Matrix Committee. She is active in the Carolinas Communication Association, where she has served as President. In her free time, Leeman says she likes to venture outside the Queen City: “I love to travel, and to see new things and learn about different places.”

Carol Leeman

leaders of global society, which is an awesome responsibility but a most rewarding task.”

Shawn Long

Dr. Shawn D. Long is Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication Studies and Professor of Organizational Science. Long earned his undergraduate and M.P.A. degrees from Tennessee State University and his Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Kentucky. His teaching and research areas are organizational communication, virtual work, diversity communication, virtual-team assimilation and socialization, health communication, and qualitative methods. He is an award winning teacher, researcher and administrator. His most recent research appears in The Electronic Journal of Communication, Communication Monographs, Journal of Managerial Psychology, Clinical Transplantation, Journal of the National Medical Association, Journal of Health Communication and Communication Teacher. He has published two books, “Communication, Relationships and Practices in Virtual Work” and “Virtual Work and Interaction Research” and has a third book under contract. Long serves on several editorial boards and has consulted local, regional and national organizations. Dr. Long is currently Chair of the Affirmative Action and Inter-caucus Committee of the National Communication Association. He is also past Chair of the African American Communication and Culture Division (AACCD) of the National Communication Association.

Craig Paddock

Lecturer, J. “Craig Paddock received his Bachelor’s in Print Journalism from Bob Jones University and his Master’s in Mass Communications from the University of South Carolina. He teaches undergraduate journalism courses in editing, media ethics, and Introduction to Journalism for the Department. He has taught communication studies at various area colleges, including Wingate, GardnerWebb and CPCC since 2005 and has worked as a copy editor and page designer at newspapers such as The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C. and the Charlotte Observer for 20 years. His teaching philosophy is simple: “I like to

Rachel Plotnick

Craig Paddock

Shawn Long

distantly related to Irene Ryan, who played Granny on the Beverly Hillbillies. Helps explain the good looks.”

think I bring a journalist’s mindset into the classroom -- a curiosity about the world, a love for asking questions and a real interest in people.” In addition to his teaching and newspaper responsibilities, Paddock, once a pipe organ player, has taken to raising chickens ... he assures the two are not related.

Rachel Plotnick

Dr. Rachel Plotnick received her PhD in Media, Technology and Society from the School of Communication at Northwestern University. Prior to attending Northwestern, she completed an MA in Communication, Culture and Technology at Georgetown University and received a BA in English and Journalism from Indiana University - Bloomington. Her research and teaching at UNCC for graduate and undergraduate students focus on information, communication and media technologies from historical and contemporary perspectives. Of teaching, Plotnick says, “It’s a great joy helping students to think critically and analytically about the media and technology that they consume every day.” Her research is similarly focused on these practices of daily life, with a specific emphasis on interfaces like buttons, dials, and touch screens that help (and sometimes hinder!) communication. Plotnick’s work is published in a number of academic journals that include Media, Culture and Society, Technology and Culture, and Critical Studies in Media Communication. She has also received awards from major organizations in her field that include The Bernard S. Finn IEEE History Prize (Society for the History of Technology) and a Best Paper Award, History (American Society for Information Science and Technology). Outside of academia, Plotnick worked for the National Sleep Foundation as Director of Internet and Publications and for Discovery Communications as an interactive producer of digital media content. When not researching, writing, or teaching, she loves playing with her young son and enjoying the outdoors with her husband and two beagles.

Margaret Quinlan

Dr. Margaret M. Quinlan is an Assistant Professor of Communication and a Core Faculty Member of the Health Psychology Ph.D. Program. She joined the Department in 2009. Her scholarly work explores the organizing

Robin Rothberg

Lecturer Robin Rothberg earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Communications and English (double major) from Florida State University in 1999 and her Master of Arts in Journalism with a certificate in business and economics reporting from New York University in 2000. She teaches undergraduate courses in Public Relations and Journalism/Public Relations. In the classroom, she says: “My goal is to help my students understand the material, of course, but also themselves and their responsibilities as communicators.” A little known fact about Robin Rothberg: she’s a full- fledged, lacto-vegetarian. “I haven’t eaten any meat since I was in college as a student,” she says. “My husband, meanwhile, never met a steak he didn’t like!”

Clifton Scott

After earning his Bachelor’s degree from Bradley University, his Master’s degree from Northern Illinois University and his Doctorate from Arizona State

Clifton Scott

Robin Rothberg

Margaret Quinlan

of health care resources and work opportunities for people with lived differences. She has published in Text & Performance Quarterly, Health Communication, Management Communication Quarterly, Communication Teacher, Communication Research Reports, Journal of Research in Special Education Needs, The Braille Monitor, and Review of Communication. She earned her Bachelors of Science from Marist College, her Master of Science from Illinois State University, and her Doctor of Philosophy from Ohio University in 2009. She teaches Communication Theory, Interpersonal Health Communication, Gender Health Communication, and Narratives of Health and Illness. “My goal for the courses I teach is to create an environment where we are co-learners,” she says. “In doing so, I hope to create a safe and effective environment for learning and discussing the topics that are necessary for a person to be able to become a better student and a more effective communicator ... Ultimately, I believe that the quality of each student’s education is largely dependent on her or his own efforts, attitudes, and behaviors.” Outside the world of academia, Quinlan has a Yorkshire terrier puppy, named Parker.

University in 1997, 2001 and 2005, respectively, Dr. Cliff Scott joined UNC Charlotte as an assistant professor, teaching classes in organizational communication, research methods, communication theory and organizational science. As a teacher, Scott says he views learning as a shared responsibility between students and instructors. “I see our time together in the classroom as an opportunity to extend and deepen what students have already learned outside the classroom through their reading and via their personal experiences,” Scott says, adding that “if you don’t like to read, don’t enjoy thinking critically and abstractly about your own everyday experiences, and prefer spoon feeding, you probably won’t enjoy my classes.” Outside of teaching, Scott’s research on organizational communication concerns occupational safety and health, organizational socialization, high reliability organizing and work meetings. His research has been published in outlets as diverse as Management Communication Quarterly, Human Resource Management, MIT Sloan Management Review, Journal of Applied Communication Research, Communication Theory and Communication Monographs. He also serves as a consultant for local organizations through UNC Charlotte’s Organizational Science Consulting and Research Unit. In his free time, Scott says he enjoys spending time with his wife, their dog, and his growing collection of used cars.

Cheryl Spainhour

Cheryl Spainhour is a full-time Lecturer in the Communication Studies Department who is passionate about the journalism courses she has been teaching here since 1998. She currently teaches undergraduate courses in the Journalism minor, including Advanced News Reporting and Writing, Feature Writing, and Introduction to Journalism. She also teaches Public Speaking. She earned a Master’s degree in Speech Communications and Theatre Arts from Wake Forest University and a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Georgia. She is a 2010 recipient of B.E.S.T. Teaching Award (Building Educational Strengths and Talents) for excellence in teaching and assisting undergraduate students at UNC Charlotte. She is honored to be a founding member of the new (2010) Charlotte chapter of

Dr. Ashli Q. Stokes is an associate professor in the Communication Studies Department, teaching graduate and undergraduate classes in public relations and health communication campaigns. She received her bachelor’s degree at Virginia Tech University, her master’s at Wake Forest University, and worked in public relations before she began studying for her doctorate in 2004 at the University of Georgia. The majority of her research focuses on public relations and public communication, specializing in rhetorical approaches to analyzing public relations controversies. She has published in numerous journals and has authored several book chapters. She is also co-author with colleague Dr. Alan Freitag of the book “Global Public Relations: Spanning Borders, Spanning Cultures.” Dr. Stokes sums up her philosophy about teaching this way: She feels lucky to get to share what she loves with her students and loves watching them develop their own careers and apply the knowledge gained in our program. Outside of work, Stokes is a proud mom to 5-year-old Kate and baby Charlie. She, husband Jeff, the kids and super golden retriever Brody love to hike, walk in the neighborhood, and go on family adventures up to Lake Norman and other places in the Charlotte Metro Area. She daydreams about a quiet day at home alone with her thoughts, and the ability to go to work without fear of dog hair or the marks of sticky little fingers on her clothes, yet she relishes sharing her world with these funny little creatures.

Jillian Tullis

Cheryl Spainhour

Jillian Tullis, Ph.D. (University of South Florida) is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Studies and is known for her passionate pursuit of understanding how people communicate about dying

Internships COMM 4410 Professional Internship Visit the UNC Charlotte Communication Studies Department Internship website for more information.

Jillian Tullis

Ashli Stokes

and death. Her research agenda focuses on improving health communication and care, especially at the endof-life for patients, their families, healthcare providers and organizations. The role of spirituality in health and healthcare choices is a central theme that runs through her research and teaching. Dr. Tullis teaches classes in Health Communication, Spirituality, Communication and Health, Communication Theory, Research Methods, and recently added Intercultural Health Communication to her repertoire. She likes to keep her classroom interactive, engaging and pragmatic. By doing so, she says that “students recognize the benefits of scholarly exploration of communication, while helping them develop communication skills that will benefit them personally and professionally.” Dr. Tullis has forth coming publications in the highly ranked journal, Health Communication and Religion and Communication: An Anthology of Extensions in Theory, Research, and Method (co-authored with Dr. Long). In addition to her work in the Department of Communication Studies, Dr. Tullis maintains faculty affiliations in the Gerontology Program, the Center for Professional and Applied Ethics, and Health Psychology. She is also an active member of the Mecklenburg County End of Life Care Coalition, which seeks to improve care at the end of life. And in her free time, she volunteers with Hospice and Palliative Care Charlotte Region and enjoys being the proud owner of a 12-year-old American Pit Bull Terrier mix named Amber.

Ashli Stokes

the Society of Professional Journalists. She was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2012. In the classroom, she aims at getting her students caught up in the world of journalism (and the current technology revolution) and encourages them to read and commit outstanding journalism. Outside of work, she happily revels in life in the country with her family, always outnumbered by a menagerie (of both wild and domestic types).

Department of Communication Studies at UNC Charlotte Ezine


Communication Matters--Ezine-2014  

The electronic magazine--Department of Communication Studies at University of North Carolina at Charlotte

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