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The faculty in the School of Communication Studies at Kent State University.

Faculty Research

Learn from renowned communication studies scholars.

From privacy management in social media, elder abuse, slow motion technological disasters, mediated and mass communication messaging and global communication – we’re certain you’ll find a scholar to study with among our diverse faculty.

Below you will find a list of our faculty and their areas of research expertise. For full biographies and descriptions of each faculty member’s expertise, visit the Faculty and Staff profiles page.

George Cheney

George Cheney, Ph.D., is Professor of Communication Studies at Kent State University.  George received his B.A. in psychology in 1980 from Youngstown State University (where he was active in forensics) and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Purdue University in communication in 1982 and 1985.  His doctoral dissertation and subsequent book focused on the U.S. Catholic Bishops' 1983 peace pastoral as a study in the transformation of an organization's identity through its interaction with a variety of constituencies.  George has maintained interests in communication and identity on multiple levels of society, while developing research and courses in quality of worklife, workplace democracy and employee participation, global marketization and consumerism, professional and communication ethics, and rhetorics of dissent and peace making. George is both a social scientist and a humanist, and is a strong proponent of multiple research orientations and methods

George has authored or co-authored eight books and about 90 articles, chapters, and reviews. His most recent book is the Handbook of Communication Ethics (Cheney, May & Munshi, 2011) commissioned by the International Communication Association and published by Routledge.  George is the recipient of numerous professional awards. George believes that good pedagogy should move us beyond the taken-for-granted, that sound research should illuminate and inspire, and that meaningful service should embrace others to better the world.  At Kent State, George is already involved in outreach through the Ohio Employee Ownership Center, pursuing community-based research, service, and consultation toward locally responsive and responsible economic development.

 

Jeffrey T. Child


Jeffrey T. Child, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at Kent State University. Jeff received his B.A. in 2002 from Wayne State College (WSC) in Northeastern Nebraska where he studied organizational communication, corporate and community relations, and public relations. Jeff also earned minors in mathematics and computer science. Jeff spent three years working as a peer tutor for communication studies students at WSC; he earned a prestigious national tutoring award from the College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA). Jeff completed his Ph.D. at North Dakota State University in 2007. His primary research explores how people manage privacy when interacting on social media and the impact of a variety of factors on subsequent communication practices. Jeff currently serves as the Undergraduate Coordinator for the School of Communication Studies.

Jeff has over 30 publications in three main areas: (a) communication technologies and human interaction, (b) interpersonal and family communication from diverse cultural perspectives, and © instructional communication effectiveness. In the first area Jeff has been particularly interested in using Communication Privacy Management (CPM) theory as a framework for understanding how users of social media think about the overall management of their online disclosures. In the second area Jeff explores how the family reflects a unique culture where unique rules, role, and communication practices emerge and ensue. His scholarship in this area examines communication about family problems, how families coordinate narratives and cover stories among members for effective functioning, family communication practices in different cultures, and finally how relational cultures are developed and sustained through the establishment of rituals. The final area of Jeff’s expertise in instructional communication began when he was a basic course director and established a practice of making all curricular changes from an assessment and data-based standpoint. His research in instructional communication informs effective classroom communication practices.

Rebecca J. Welch Cline


Rebecca J. Welch Cline (Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University, Communication Arts & Sciences) is a Professor of Communication Studies at Kent State University. She came to Kent State from Michigan where she was a Senior Scientist in Communication and Behavioral Oncology at the Karmanos Cancer Institute, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences at Wayne State University. Becky has served on the faculties of Temple University, University of Maryland, and University of Florida. In 2006, she was awarded the Distinguished Career Award by the Public Health Education and Health Promotion section of the American Public Health Association, in recognition of her research, her expertise and experience in graduate education and curriculum development, and her leadership in health communication. In 2006, she received the Outstanding Teaching Award from the Department of Family Medicine and the Wayne State University School of Medicine Outstanding Teaching Award.

Becky has authored more than 50 refereed publications and more than 30 chapters, technical reports, and reviews; and has delivered more than 190 research presentations at scientific meetings. She has conducted extensive research on the role of interpersonal communication in health (both everyday interpersonal communication and communication that occurs in formal health care contexts). Her publications include a groundbreaking chapter in both editions of the Handbook of Health Communication on the role of everyday interpersonal communication and health, addressing a major gap in the health communication literature. Her current research focuses on psychosocial responses to a slow-motion technological disaster, in Libby, MT, site of what EPA has called the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history; and on the impact of parent-child communication in pediatric oncology treatment contexts on parent and child psychosocial adjustment. She has conducted extensive research on interpersonal communication and HIV/AIDS prevention and communication with people with HIV disease; direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs and its potential influence on physician-patient relationships; and the Internet (consumer health information seeking, Internet information seeking by cancer patients, and the “dark” side of the Internet).

Joelle Cruz

Joelle Cruz, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at Kent State University. She joined the department in the Fall of 2013. She holds a B.A. and a Maîtrise in History from Université Charles-de-Gaulle, Lille, France (2006), a M.A. in Communication from Indiana State University (2008), and a Ph.D. in Communication from Texas A&M University (2012).

Her scholarship has been shaped by her multicultural background, growing up and studying in Côte d'Ivoire, Zimbabwe, the Netherlands, France, and the United States. Her research lies at the intersections of three areas of scholarship: global communication, organizational communication, and gender and communication.

An interpretive and critical scholar, Joelle has explored these interests from both discursive and material angles. Discursively, she studies how organizations fostering social change generate discourses that enable or constrain the agency of subjects from developing nations. Materially, she studies communicative strategies and organizations that women use to achieve social change in developing nations. For instance, her dissertation focused on market women's grassroots organizations in postconflict Liberia and their contribution to the peacebuilding process. Her most recent project is a comparative study of nonprofit organizing around gender diversity issues in Côte d' Ivoire and Liberia. Her work has appeared in Qualitative Inquiry among other venues.

Suzy D'enbeau

Suzy D'Enbeau, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at Kent State University. Suzy received her B.A. in communication studies in 2000 from the University of Pittsburgh. She received her M.A. in corporate communication in 2004 from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, attending classes in the evening while working full-time in Alumni and Development Affairs for Semester at Sea. Suzy completed her Ph.D. in 2009 at Purdue University. Her dissertation articulates the tensions and contradictions of one media organization striving to stay financially solvent while maintaining a delicate balance between its independence and its feminist message of social change.

Suzy has over 20 publications in three main areas. The first research area looks at how social change organizations navigate competing goals in a variety of contexts ranging from domestic violence prevention to transnational feminist organizing. A second area problematizes dominant ways of thinking about, constructing, and performing gender in different organizational contexts and in popular culture. A third research area unpacks some of the challenges of qualitative inquiry in terms of analysis and researcher identity. Her work has appeared in leading journals such as Communication Monographs, Human Relations, Journal of Applied Communication Research, Qualitative Inquiry, and Women's Studies in Communication.

 

Rozell R. Duncan


Rozell’s undergraduate degrees include a Bachelor of Arts from Muskingum College and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Akron. Rozell’s graduate degrees include a Master of Arts degree from the University of Akron and doctoral degree in Communication Studies from Kent State University. Her dissertation was on “Immediacy and Uncertainty in Superior-Subordinate Communication Relationships” under the direction of Rebecca B. Rubin, Ph.D.

Rozell currently teaches in the areas of organizational communication, training and development, senior seminar, interviewing, intercultural, nonverbal communication, gender communication, communication small groups and teams, and business and professional communication. Her current research interests are in the areas of workplace uncertainty, the impact of gender on workplace socialization, and the socialization of college freshmen as new organizational members. She has recently published several chapters in Teaching Ideas for the Basic Communication Course. She has presented numerous papers at international, national, and regional communication conventions and is a regular presenter at the annual International Society for Exploring Teaching and Learning (ISETL). Rozell is the secretary for the Experiential Learning Division of the National Communication Association (NCA), where she is serving her second two-year term.

Nichole Egbert


Nichole Egbert, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the School of Communication Studies and Affiliated Faculty Member in the College of Public Health. She joined the faculty at Kent State immediately upon graduating with her PhD from the University of Georgia in 2000. Her dissertation involved how uncertainty is processed by hospice volunteers as framed through Problematic Integration Theory. Before that, Nichole completed her BA at Augustana College in Rock Island, IL, with a double major in Biology and Speech Communication, and her MA at the University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA. As in her dissertation, Nichole’s early research centered on social support in health contexts. In later years, her research interests have expanded to include health literacy, spirituality/religiosity in social support, and relational communication experienced through social networking sites.

Currently, Nichole is working with a team of KSU researchers on a grant proposal aimed at learning how to measure the environmental factors that contribute to child obesity in Portage County, Ohio. With a group of graduate students and other KSU faculty, she is also conducting a qualitative analysis of social support group transcripts, where the groups were made up of women whose husbands had suffered a stroke. A third ongoing research program is a collaboration of faculty members from Communication Studies who are interested in facilitating family conversations about important issues related to aging, such as advance directives, driver’s license concession, and relocating a senior when he or she can no longer live independently.

Catherine Goodall


Catherine Goodall, Ph.D., is an Assistant Profession of Communication Studies at Kent State University. She received her B.A. in 2005 and her Ph.D. in 2009 both in Communication from the Ohio State University. She specialized in strategic communication at the undergraduate level and media and health in her graduate work. Her dissertation examined automatic responses to alcohol advertisements and PSAs, and identified negative effects of certain types of PSAs using implicit attitude measures. Upon completing her Ph.D. in 2009, Cat joined the faculty at Kent State.

Cat’s research interests focus on media and health. Her work pays particular attention to understanding the processes through which messages in the media influence audiences. Her work primarily investigates the impact of health-related news (e.g., coverage of emerging health concerns, and more enduring topics like drunk driving), and the impact of product advertising on audiences (e.g., tobacco, alcohol, unhealthy food). She is particularly interested in understanding automatic and reactive responses to health messages in the media (rather than controlled and fully conscious responses).

Paul Haridakis


Paul Haridakis, Ph.D., is Professor and Interim Director in the School of Communication Studies at Kent State University. He has a B.A. in Communication & Rhetoric, Juris Doctor (law degree), and PhD in Communication Studies. He has practiced law since 1984 and his legal research focuses most specifically on issues related to freedom of speech and access to information. Paul’s communication research focuses on media use and effects. His published research covers a wide array of topics such as the effects of television violence on aggression, the use of social media and YouTube videos for news and political information, the role of sports viewing on social identity, the protection of online privacy, the influence of media coverage of terrorism, and Internet addiction – to name just a few.

Paul has co-authored or co-edited four books and about 45 articles, chapters, and encyclopedia entries. His books are: Sports fans, identity, and socialization: Exploring the fandemonium (with A. Earnheardt and B. Hugenberg); Research methods: Strategies and sources (7th ed.) (with R. Rubin, A. Rubin, and L. Piele; War and the media: Essays on news reporting, propaganda and popular culture.(with S. Wearden and B. Hugenberg); and Sports mania: Essays on fandom and the media in the 21st century.(with L. Hugenberg and A. Earnheardt). Paul is the recipient of a number of professional awards, including the 2011 Distinguished Teaching Award from the Ohio Communication Association.

Mei-Chen Lin


Mei-Chen Lin, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the School of Communication Studies at Kent State University. Mei-Chen received her B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication in 1994 from Fu-Jen Catholic University, Taipei, Taiwan. Her interests in Communication Studies were inspired by two undergraduate classes she took at Fu-Jen — Organizational Communication and Social Psychology, from which she learned ways by which an individual’s sense of self, perceptions of the world and behaviors are influenced and also influence social groups to which he/she belongs. She completed her master’s and doctoral degrees in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Kansas. Her dissertation and subsequent primary research interests address communication between older and younger adults, especially within the family (e.g., grandparent-grandchildren) and across cultural contexts. Her work has demonstrated culturally-bound intergenerational communication schemas in Asian and U.S. contexts, and the anticipated interaction experiences and outcomes as a result of those schemas.

Mei-Chen came to Kent State University in 2003. She conducts research on issues related to aging and communication (e.g., intergenerational conflict, older adults’ discourse on aging processes and age identity). Recently, she began investigating group identity in specific contexts, sometimes collaborating with her colleagues in this work. She is interested in the communication parameters that give rise to elder abuse, and the ways in which older adults make decisions to disclose the abuse to others. Mei-Chen also is working with colleagues on presidential election campaigns from a political party identification perspective. Another line of her research is uncertainty and communication. She is interested in middle-aged adults’ uncertainty about aging and the ways in which they communicate that uncertainty to self and others. Working with Dr. Rebecca Cline and other faculty, Mei-Chen analyzed the types of uncertainty experienced by residents in Libby, Montana. Her work has appeared in Journal of Communication, Journal of Language and Social Psychology, and Handbook of Family Communication, to name a few.

Jennifer L. McCullough


Jennifer McCullough, Ph.D., is an Assistant Profession of Communication Studies at Kent State University. Jennifer received her B.A. in 2001 and her M.A. in 2003 both in Communication from Michigan State University where she held a concentration in Interpersonal Communication at the undergraduate level and specialized in mass media effects in her graduate work. In 2007, she completed her Ph.D. in Communication at The Ohio State University. Her dissertation examined the effectiveness of various mediation strategies which aimed to reduce the unintended effects of advertising on younger children. By exploring different methods of parent-child communication and how children process advertising, this research tested strategies that aimed to reduce the children’s materialistic attitudes. In addition to several lines of research that have stemmed from this work, Jennifer is interested in many areas where the influence of the mass media and interpersonal communication intersect including consumer and political socialization.

Janet R. Meyer


Janet R. Meyer, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the School of Communication Studies at Kent State University. After earning her B.S. at the University of Kansas, she wrote and produced commercials at WABI AM-FM-TV in Bangor, Maine for several years. While earning a second B.A. (Broadcasting and Film) at the University of Maine at Orono, she became interested in research on the social effects of television. She earned her M.A. in Broadcasting at Boston University. (Her Master’s thesis was a phenomenological analysis of mythical themes in television network news.) She received her Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Michigan. While working on the Ph.D., she became interested in applying cognitive psychology to understanding the production of messages in interpersonal situations. In addition to teaching at Kent State, she has taught at Kansas State University, the University of Wyoming, the University of Memphis, and the University of Miami (Florida).

Her research has often taken a cognitive approach to investigating how persons design and produce messages in conversational situations. In chapters published in 1990 and 1997, she proposed a cognitive model of message production called the implicit rules model. Her empirical research has asked how (a) situation features and type of request goal influence politeness (or the importance of secondary goals) when making requests; and how (b) the importance of a particular secondary goal (such as making a good impression or supporting the other’s ego) influences persons’ judgments about whether messages are ‘acceptable’ to say. She has also investigated how persons abstract situation schemas from repeated instances of similar situations, the relative importance of situation features and request goal in mapping a situation schema from long term memory to a hypothetical situation, and the effects of priming positive or negative beliefs on an attitude toward a known person.

Janet’s more recent work has focused on antecedents to saying regretted messages and on factors that determine the types of reflection persons adopt after saying such messages. The three types of reflection investigated include learning-oriented reflection (such as formulating a rule to keep from making the mistake again), repair-oriented reflection (thinking of how to repair the damage) or emotion-focused reflection (which might include dismissing the regretted message incident or justifying it). She is currently investigating the role that ‘being reminded’ to a previous communication failure plays in learning from having said a regretted message. Her work has appeared in journals such as Communication Research, Communication Monographs, Communication Theory, Journal of Language and Social Psychology, Communication Studies, Western Journal of Communication, and Southern Communication Journal, and in several book chapters.

Sally Planalp


Sally Planalp (Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-Madison, M.A. University of Colorado-Denver, B.S. University of Missouri-Columbia) joined Kent State in 2011 as Professor in the School of Communication Studies. She was previously on the faculty at the University of Texas-Austin, University of Utah, University of Montana, University of Colorado-Boulder, and University of Illinois-Champaign-Urbana. She has also been a visiting scholar at the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and Waikato University, New Zealand. Her expertise is in the areas of interpersonal communication, close relationships, emotion, and health communication.

Professor Planalp’s research has focused on several aspects of face-to-face interaction, especially how interaction, thoughts, and feelings change as relationships develop, stabilize, and deteriorate and on emotion as a part of interaction, including verbal and nonverbal cues to emotion, the ethics of shame and guilt, and emotion regulation. Recently Professor Planalp has taken her expertise in interpersonal communication into health care settings with research on communication skills of health care professionals and communication issues at the end of life. She is currently exploring relationships between hospice volunteers and patients as a unique form of interpersonal bond and is analyzing emotion management in calls to Poison Control Centers. Her work has appeared in journals such as Communication Theory, Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, Human Communication Research, Cognition and Emotion, Communication Monographs, Health Communication, American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Clinical Toxicology and in a number of handbooks and edited volumes.

James D. Ponder


James D. Ponder is a lecturer in the School of Communication Studies at Kent State University. He joined Kent State University while finishing his Ph.D. in Communication Studies. He received his Master of Arts from Wichita State University, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Emporia State University. J.D.‘s doctoral dissertation examined the relationship between individual differences, motives for using media for political information, media use, and political discussion.

J.D. is particularly interested in the intersection of interpersonal and mass communication. For example, in an encyclopedia chapter he co-authored, he discussed how people’s identity could influence their use of different social networking sites in politics. Additionally, in another project, he co-developed a model to explain how media use can influence people to talk to others in face-to-face and online situations. His dissertation topic on “The Social Nature of Politics” investigates the role media use plays in facilitating discussion with political in-group and out-group members.

In addition to his research in political communication, J.D. is working on research projects designed to understand how consumer communication manifests itself between college students and influential others (e.g., family members, peers, financial advisors) in terms of credit cards. In this line of research he is interested in the intersection of how mass and interpersonal communication can influence materialistic attitudes, financial literacy and debt.

 

Rekha Sharma

Rekha Sharma (M.A., M.S., Kent State University) is a doctoral candidate in the School of Communication Studies in the College of Communication and Information at Kent State University. Her primary research area is mass communication, with a secondary specialization in political communication. Building upon an educational background in journalism and information use, she has explored a range of media topics, including news, film, cartoons, infotainment, political social media use, viral marketing, and fandom.

Her academic research has been published in journals such as the Ohio Communication Journal; Mass Communication & Society; Electronic News; Global Media Journal—Canadian Edition; Media, War, & Conflict; and the Journal of Fandom Studies. Additionally, she has contributed to the published anthology War and the Media: Essays on News Reporting, Propaganda and Popular Culture (McFarland) and to the forthcoming compilations We Are What We Sell: How Advertising Shapes American life … and Always Has (Praeger) and Heroines of Film and Television: Portrayals in Popular Culture (Scarecrow Press).




David Trebing


David Trebing, Ph.D., is non-tenure track, full-time, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at Kent State University. Dr. Trebing received a bachelor’s degree in Communication with a minor in American History from Hiram College, Hiram Ohio in 1980 and his masters and doctoral degrees in Rhetorical Studies from Kent State University in 1983 and 1990 respectively. His master’s thesis examined the “Rhetoric of Failure in Nineteenth Century American Utopia” while his dissertation examined the rhetoric of the Movement for the Liberation of Palestine in America. Other academic interests include the rhetoric of social movements including the Motorcyclists’ Rights Movement and the Tea Party Movement as well as the rhetoric of Popular Culture, Rock music specifically, and political rhetoric.