Faculty Research Areas | Communication Studies

Faculty Research Areas

Dedicated to fostering and promoting free and ethical communication, the NCA promotes the widespread appreciation of the importance of communication in public and private life, the application of competent communication to improve the quality of human life and relationships, and the use of knowledge about communication to solve human problems.                  National Communication Association


The field of communication focuses on how people use messages to generate meanings within and across various contexts, cultures, channels, and media. The field promotes the effective and ethical practice of human communication.                                          Association for Communication Administration

Kimberly M. Cuny (MFA, University of North Carolina Greensboro) focuses on the radical pedagogy of multiliteracy speaking center studies as a means of both lifting marginalized voices and providing student educators with agency.  As a North Carolina Theatre for Young People teaching artist, her theatre work focuses on utilizing storytelling and process drama to help children of all ages and adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities make sense of the world around them.

Cristiane S. Damasceno (Ph.D., North Carolina State University) studies digital cultures with an emphasis on participation in learning communities and inclusion of populations with little experience using networked technologies. Her work addresses three overarching questions: 1) How do digital media open new possibilities for learning? 2) How do socioeconomic structures and power relations shape participation in communities of practice? 3) How do learners appropriate educational resources for their benefit? She uses both traditional and innovative approaches to qualitative methods to explore these questions, in particular, digital ethnography.

Spoma Jovanovic (Ph.D., University of Denver) conducts long-term ethnographic and community-based research programs in partnership with schools, grassroots organizations, and local nonprofits to consider: 1) the communication features that shape public interactions and the factors individuals and groups point to for the success or failure of their social change initiatives; and, 2) how specific pedagogies and curriculum foster democratic sensibilities to inspire participation in public, political action.

Pete Kellett (Ph.D., Southern Illinois University) focuses on the centrality of storytelling and narrative in how people create and transform relationships.  He is particularly interested in narrative approaches to understanding and transforming conflicts in close personal relationships.  He also has ongoing interests in health communication, narrative approaches to disability studies, and positive communication.

Etsuko Kinefuchi (Ph.D., Arizona State University) studies communicative and cultural constructions of environmental and sustainability issues and of human relationship with the more-than-human world. She is interested in how communication may be mobilized to advance ecojustice that recognizes the interconnectedness of diverse beings.

Marianne LeGreco (Ph.D., Arizona State University) researches the relationship between food policy, nutrition promotion programs, and healthy eating practices.  Her current work focuses on: 1) urban farming and other community food programs; 2) theorizing access as an important concept for health communication; 3) mapping geographic and discursive structures of food deserts; 4) developing a measure of health literacy geared toward food practices; and, 5) community-based participatory research including discourse tracing and multiple methods.

Loreen Olson (Ph.D., University of Nebraska, Lincoln) conducts research on gender, family, and interpersonal communication, focusing on the dark side of communication and the communicative management of identities on the margins.  She has published on the dark side of family communication, intimate partner violence, campus sexual assault, the discourse of motherhood, family secrets, verbal aggressiveness, and the luring communication of child sexual predators. Her current projects examine 1.) intimate partner violence and traumatic brain injury, 2.) the discourse of the breast-is-best paradigm and hegemonic mothering, and 3.) graduate students’ experiences with sexual harassment.

Christopher N. Poulos (Ph.D., University of Denver) conducts auto/ethnographic and narrative research into communication in close relationships, with a particular focus on family and friendship stories, family identity, secrecy and stigma, communication breakdowns, and dialogue. His current work focuses on 1) how people shape their communicative lives through memory, storytelling, dialogue, and secret keeping; and, 2) how communicative practices, in turn, shape our individual and collective relational identities. 

Roy Schwartzman (Ph.D., University of Iowa) conducts personal interviews with Holocaust survivors and witnesses regarding their process of personal and collective identity construction after the Holocaust. The AfterWords Project, a partnership with the NC Council on the Holocaust, assembles multimedia educational resources about NC’s post-Holocaust immigrants. Material is interfaced with selections from the Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive. Educational resources are being developed for schools and the public.

Jenni M. Simon (Ph.D University of Denver) Dr. Simon’s research focuses on gender and cultural issues, as well as the critical and rhetorical intersections that exist between culture and social movement. Her most recent work explores feminism and social change, resistance to women’s movements, women in organizations and politics, and the changing role of motherhood in the post-modern area. Dr. Simon has published in Communication Review, Southern States Communication Journal, Western Communication JournalWomen and Language and in the Proceedings on the International Conference of Gender Research. She is the co-editor of Michelle Obama: First Lady, American Rhetor and the author of Consuming Desire and Agency: Stories of Love, Laughter, and Empowerment. Dr. Simon is also the co-author of Trump in the Land of Oz: Pathologizing Hillary Clinton and the feminine body, a chapter published in Nasty women and bad hombres: Historical reflections on the 2016 Presidential Election.  Dr. Simon is a past Chair of the Southern States Communication Association’s Gender and Women’s Studies Division.