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About the Graduate Program

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Interpersonal and Health Communication

The graduate program in Interpersonal & Health Communication provides students with a theoretical and methodological foundation in the study of verbal and nonverbal communication in contexts related to interpersonal interaction (including socio-cognitive, relational, influence, interracial, and mediated contexts) and health settings (including doctor-patient, campaign, intervention, and mediated contexts). Our faculty are committed to maintaining high standards in both undergraduate and graduate instruction and our alliances with the Institute of Behavioral Research and the Center for Health and Risk Communication allow for a focused study of interpersonal communication and health communication processes that are directly relevant to a variety of real world contexts.

Rhetorical Studies

The aim of the graduate program in Rhetorical Studies is to prepare students to conduct significant scholarly inquiry into the relation of rhetorical processes and civic life. Students therefore are exposed to a variety of qualitative research methods and invited to explore the insights into rhetorical processes and practices - oral, written, visual, and mass-mediated - that have been advanced by a wide array of intellectual traditions and theoretical conversations. The program has particular strength in 20th and 21st century rhetorical theory and criticism, public argument, feminist theory and criticism, and the rhetoric of science.

The Faculty

The Department's faculty members are nationally recognized authorities in rhetorical studies, interpersonal communication, persuasion, and health communication. No matter the interest area, the faculty are active scholars and committed teachers who embrace a philosophy of accessibility and supportiveness to graduate students.


Faculty Research and Teaching Interests:

Interpersonal and Health Communication:

Analisa Arroyo, Ph.D., University of Arizona. Interpersonal communication, family communication, communication about weight and appearance

Soroya J. McFarlane, Ph.D., University of Miami. Health communication, health disparities, and reproductive health

Mackensie Minniear, Ph.D., University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Health communication and racial identity

Chelsea L. Ratcliff, Ph.D., University of Utah. Health communication, persuasion, media, and message effects

Sachiko Terui, Ph.D., University of Oklahoma. Global health communication, cross-cultural communication, and interpersonal communication


Rhetorical Studies: 

Maryam Ahmadi, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison. Rhetorical theory and history, critical studies of colonialism and empire, global rhetorics, and social movement studies

Barbara A. Biesecker, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh. Modern and contemporary rhetorical theory and criticism, cultural studies, visual studies, feminist studies

Kelly Happe, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh. Rhetoric of science, women's studies, rhetorical theory and criticism

Peter O'Connell, Ph.D., Harvard University. Ancient rhetoric and poetics, Greek literature of all periods, and Classical Athens

Roger Stahl, Ph.D., Penn State University. Rhetorical theory, critical and post-structural theory, war and media

Belinda Stillion Southard, Ph.D., University of Maryland. Rhetorical criticism, public address, gender studies, nationalism, and citizenship

Bjørn Stillion Southard, Ph.D., University of Maryland. Early U.S. Public Address, particularly discourses concerning race and law

Some Recent Faculty Accomplishments and Awards:

As Researchers...

Marie Hochmuth Nichols Book Award
NCA Douglas Ehninger Distinguished Rhetorical Scholar
NCA Golden Anniversary Monograph Award
NCA Carroll Arnold Lecturer
SSCA Outstanding Gender Scholar
NCA Distinguished Scholar Award
NCA Golden Monograph Award
UGA Creative Research Medal
UGA Institute for Behavior Research Fellow
AND Over 50 Top Paper Awards

As Teachers...

NCA Religious Communication Scholar of the Year
RCA Scholar of the Year
SSCA John I. Sisco Excellence in Teaching Award
SSCA Freshley Outstanding New Teacher Award
SSCA Outreach Award
UGA Center for Teaching and Learning Writing Fellow
UGA Josiah Meigs Distinguished Professor
UGA Lily Teaching Fellows
UGA Office of International Education Award
UGA Sandy Beaver Teaching Award
UGA Scholarship of Teaching and Engagement Fellow

As Leaders...

The faculty have held numerous leadership positions in regional and national professional associations. Some highlights:

Member, Finance Committee, Southern States Communication Association
Chair, Interpersonal Communication Division, NCA
Secretary, Interpersonal Communication Division, NCA
Member, Organization and Activities Board.  The Southern Colloquium on Rhetoric
Editor, Quarterly Journal of Speech
Associate Editor, Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies

As Grant Recipients...

Our faculty receive several research-related grants from UGA each year. At the national level, we have recently received grants from the following agencies:

Centers for Disease Control
National Cancer Institute
National Institutes of Health
National Human Genome Research Institute
National Institute of Mental Health
United States Department of Education
Arthur W. Page Society

Support our Department

We greatly appreciate your generosity. Your gift enables us to offer our students and faculty opportunities for research, travel, and any number of educational events that augment the classroom experience. Support the efforts of the Department of Communication Studies by visiting our giving section.

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