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December 2013

»David Purnell is the most recent PhD to receive his degree from Communication at USF. He received his diploma during USF's Fall 2013 graduation ceremony.

David Purnell jumps for joy at graduation

David's dissertation is titled, Community on the Menu: Seven Courses to Cultivate Familial Bonds, Exchange Social Capital, and Nourish Community. His work reflects an appreciation for the unifying nature of food and the importance of promoting a sense of community, as well as a lot of hard work.

"You keep seeing the light at what you think is the end of the tunnel, but it was just a mirror reflecting the light so you could see around the bend and get a glimpse of what was coming next," he said.

David was hooded by department chair, Dr. Carolyn Ellis, who expressed pride at David's achievement."David is a committed teacher and scholar who gives back to the community in all kinds of wonderful ways. I am delighted to have him in our community and to have had the honor of hooding him at graduation."

An important member of the department's family, David is a visiting assistant professor, teaching Public Speaking, Popular Forms of Public Communication and Communicating Illness/Grief/Loss.

In the future, David hopes to continue teaching and perhaps use his knowledge and expertise in a community outreach capacity.

Undergraduate and graduate students performed for the public as part of their work in Serap Erincin's and Chris McRae's classes.

The first event, "Outcomes," was presented December 5th.. This event showcased undergraduate and graduate student performance work from the performance classes and workshops that have taken place during the Fall 2013 semester.

The second event took place on December 6th and featured final performances from our postdoc, Serap Erincin's, undergraduate class Performing Stories of Self.




November 2013

»Serap Erincin received  the National Communication Association, Best Debut Paper, First Place, in the "Theatre, Film and New Multi-media Division." Congratulations Serap.

»Blake Paxton received a top paper award in NCA's Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Division. His article was titled "We Don't Talk Talk About Her: Students Interrogate Connections with Deceased Family Members" and was based on a project he completed with students in a section of his interpersonal communication course.

The study explored how participating in rituals that continue a relationship with the deceased in the classroom aids students in storytelling and creating memorializing rituals for the deceased within their families. 

»Michael LeVan was awarded the National Communication Association Performance Studies Division Distinguished Service Award in Washington, D.C. at the 2013 NCA! Congratulations Michael. 

»Ambar Basu has been appointed senior editor of Health Communication starting January 2014. Congrats Ambar!

USF sweeps the NCA Ethnography Division Awards Robin BoylornRobin Boylorn was awarded “Best Monograph of 2013” for her book, Sweetwater: Black Women andNarratives of Resistance

»Kristen Blinne was awarded “Best Article of 2013” for her article “Auto(erotic)ethnography,” published in Sexualities.

»Laura L. Ellingson won Best Book Chapter for “Interview as Embodied Communication,” published in the Handbook of Interview Research.

»Lisa M. Tillmann’s, documentary on LGBT civil rights, Remembering a Cool September, has won Best Audio/Visual Ethnograph.

»Heather Curry has been recognized with the John T. Warren Award for Top Student Paper for “An Architecture of Erasure: Exploring Absences, Ruptures, Negotiations and Self-making in Families Organizing around Mental Illness.”

»Tony Adams and Stacy Holman Jones have won the 2013 NCA Ethnography Division Award for Best Special Issue for their issue of Liminalities: "On Studying Ourselves and Others." Congratulations Tony and Stacy, and also to Michael LeVan, the editor of Liminalities. Along with Tony and Stacy, Keith Berry and Robin Boylorn both had articles in this issue.

»Carolyn Ellis was awarded the Legacy Lifetime Award by the National Communication Association, Ethnography Division (Nominated by five members and honors a person whose work has exemplified living "the ethnographic life" and whose "ways of performing have consistently and passionately personified the spirit of the division.")

»Stacy Holman Jones, Tony Adams, and Carolyn Ellis were awarded "Best Edited Collection of 2013" for the Handbook of Autoethnography by the National Communication Association, Ethnography Division.

book award

These awards were given by the National Communication Association, Ethnography Division. Recipients received their awards at the NCA National Convention in November 2013.

Routledge, Taylor & Francis has generously created a scholarship fund to assist NCA student members with NCA convention costs. Nicholas Riggs received one of the four $250 "Studentships" with complimentary convention registrations. Congratulations Nick

»Heather Curry's paper titled "Precarity, Community and Panhandling in Tampa Bay: Seeking a Theoretical Framework at the Local Scale," received top paper in the Philosophy of Communication Division at NCA. Congratulations Heather. 

On Friday, November 1st the GCA sponsored a workshop that will help graduate students in practicing their conference presentations skills. Seven of the communication faculty members representing various research tracks in the discipline of communication attended to provide a variety of feedback to student presenters, helping to develop their panel and paper presentations.

»Shelly Dulman, an undergraduate Communication major has been accepted to an internship with the Cannes Film Festival!  She had to create an admissions application video to apply and you can check out the submission that won her a spot here.

If you'd like to help with defraying some of the cost of her internship (ie the flight to France), please go to this page. We are very proud of Shelly.

More than one hundred people gathered at LiLLies Restaurant and Bar at our annual NCA party, this year in Washington DC.

The food, drinks, and conversations were plentiful, stimulating, and flowing freely. It was a wonderful gathering of current USF students and faculty, alumni, friends, and future colleagues and students.

»Jay Zalinger has launched a new class to help propel students to professional and personal success.  Career Development for Life (COM 4958) features speakers from the local community who share their experiences and passions. The goal is for students to discover what they are passionate about and to use that insight in engaging and meaningful ways.

You can read more about Jay and his class by clicking here.

October 2013

»Carolyn Day received the first place paper award at the USF Sociology Identities and Inequalities Conference on Friday, October 18, 2013. Congratulations Carolyn.


»Dr. Serap Erincin gave a talk, entitled "Affective Politics of Silent Resistance and Protest: Transnational Human Rights Performances from Latin America to the Middle East," on Wednesday, October 30th, 2013 in CIS 3020. Serap is the Provost’s Postdoctoral Scholar in the Communication Department at the University of South Florida. She is also a Visiting Fellow at the University of London’s Institute for the Study of the Americas. Before moving to Florida, she lived and worked in Istanbul, London, and New York as a performer, director, and journalist. She got her Ph.D. from NYU’s Performance Studies. She published on performance and politics, especially human rights violations as well as experimental dance and theatre.

She is the editor of Solum and Other Plays from Turkey and the writer and director of plays such as Inside “Out”, Connected, and Atrocity Boulevard. She is currently revising a manuscript on how The Wooster Group achieves what she calls “reperformability” using embodied media and technology and discusses theories of senses and affect, neuroscience, and phenomenology. She is also working on a project on transglobal performances of resistance, another on digital humanities and archives, and writing a new performance piece called Suppression of Absence.

The first annual Tampa Improv Festival hosted by Post Dinner Conversation, Inc occurred Oct 31Nov 1 & 2 in Ybor City at Silver Meteor Theater. PDC Improv, which was started by a collaboration of graduate and a undergraduate communication students at USF in 2012, found itself among some of the best local and national companies for 3 days of raw, honest and spontaneous comedy. More information about tickets, workshops, troupes, and times is available at


Jobsite Theater's adaptation of Macbeth, opened the last week of October at the Straz Center, featuring contributions from several within the Department of Communication. David Jenkins (PhD candidate) adapted the text and directs, Chris Holcom (MA student) performs, and Dave Steinweg (Visiting Instructor) offers the sound design. This version is performed with a cast of eight and focuses on counterpointing the Macbeths and Macduffs under the watchful eye of four mysterious Powers who never leave the stage. For more info:

»Lori Roscoe and Keith Berry organized the 1st Happy Hour Journal Club  on October 23, 2013  to discuss postdoc Serap Erincin’s work in eager anticipation of her talk on October 30, 2013. 

»Abe Khan was a featured speaker at the University of Missouri's annual Black Studies Conference, "Dream With Our Abe KhanEyes Wide Open: Exploring the Black Experience in Sports and Paving New Directions"  on October 4-5, 2013.  Abegave a talk titled"Sport's Speaking Problem," which explains the way in which black athletes are caught in a rhetorical bind between those who demand that they use their celebrity platforms for the cause of social justice and those who admonish them for putting their wealth at risk. A link to the conference program can be found by clicking here.



»Carolyn Ellis has been awarded the William R. Jones Outstanding Mentor Award by the McKnight Doctoral Fellowship Program and Florida Education Fund (FEF). The McKnight Doctoral Fellowship program is designed to address the under-representation of African American and Hispanic faculty at colleges and universities in the state of Florida by increasing the pool of citizens qualified with Ph.D. degrees to teach at the college and university levels. Established in 1984, the FEF's McKnight Doctoral Fellowship Program has increased the number of African Americans who have earned Ph.D.'s in historically underrepresented, crucial disciplines where African Americans have not historically enrolled and completed degree programs.

The USF Communication Department has had five McKnight Fellows: Deborah Austin, Michael Arrington, Nigel Malcolm, Chris Patti, and currently Lorraine Monteagu. Art Bochner was presented with this mentoring award in 1995, nominated by Deborah Austin. Carolyn was nominated by Chris Patti.

»Anita Galindo Croasmun, M.A., is a lecturer in NC State's Department of Communication. During her sixteen year tenure with NCSU she has served as director of the COM 112 curriculum, as special instructional & teaching faculty in the department's online curriculum initiative, and she teaches Interpersonal Communication for the NCSU summer study abroad program in the Czech Republic. Furthermore, while serving as director of the COM 112 basic course, Ms. Croasmun authored a book of interpersonal communication exercises, "Understanding and Adapting," published by Kendall Hunt.

Ms. Croasmun completed a Master of Arts degree in Communication at the University of South Florida, where she studied interpretive and narrative research methods. In addition to her work in the field of Communication, Ms. Croasmun earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry from North Carolina State University and served as a research associate in a genomics lab of the NCSU Biomedical Sciences department and a Duke University Medical Center immunology research lab. Her science education and experience has broadened her research interests to include the study of feminist rhetoric in science, identity formation within science communities, and communication between laypersons, medical experts, and science communities. In March 2013, she presented her paper, The Feminine Identity, Narrative, and Medical Discourse: Writing the Body, Writing One's Health, at the 5th International Conference on Rhetoric and Narrative in Barcelona, Spain. Ms. Croasmun's personal passion for film moved her to found and produce Praxis, an independent film festival held annually in Eastern N.C.

September 2013

»Megan M. Wood defended her M. A. thesis entitled When Celebrity Women Tweet: Examining Authenticity, Empowerment, and Responsibility in the Surveillance of Celebrity Twitter on September 12, 2013, which examines celebrity culture, new media and the intersection of race and gender.

»Henrietta Lacks was a cancer patient who died in 1951, whose cells were taken without her knowledge during the course of her treatment. Her cells, called HeLa, became the first immortal human cell line and were vital in developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, and more. Henrietta's family didn't know the cells existed until the 1970's, when scientists wanted to do research on her children to learn about the remarkable "immortality" of Henrietta's cell line. Rebecca Skloot wrote a book called, The Imoortal Life of Henrietta Lacks," and Henrietta's grandchildren now speak on college campuses to share their grandmother's legacy and discuss the bioethical and privacy issues surrounding the use of HeLa cells.

Jacob Abraham, Blake Paxton, Krystal Bresnahan, Lori Roscoe, Travis Bell (top row) and Lindy Davidson, Jennifer Whalen, and Alisha Menzies, all from the Communication Department at USF, are pictured with Henrietta's grandson, David Lacks, Jr., from the family's recent appearance at USF as part of the College of Arts and Sciences' Frontier Forum Speaker's Series.

Our very own Hannah Prince is featured on the cover of CrLo's Fall Arts Preview for her work with improv in Tampa!

Kari Goetz gets a shout out, too! Creative Loafing (Tampa) - August 29 - Sept 4, 2013 V.26, NO 25 Tampa Bay's alternative media source. Visit for the latest music, arts, food and drink, ...





»Rachel Dubrofsky was invited to join an impressive group of scholars to speak at the Frontiers of New Media Symposium held at the University of Utah in September 2013 on the topic “The Beginning and End(s) of the Internet: Surveillance, Censorship, and the Future of Cyber-Utopia.” Her presentation will look at the unique implications for the surveillance of gendered and racialized bodies with the rise in social media. Click here for more information.


August 2013

»Orientation 2013
The Communication Department's Week of Welcome for incoming graduate students was an exciting week packed with social activities and opportunities for students and faculty to reunite, or even to meet for the first time. The Graduate Communication Association (G.C.A.) held its annual lunch on Monday of Orientation Week, providing a variety of sandwiches and snacks for incoming graduate students to enjoy while socializing with members of the department. The incoming students were also able to spend time throughout the week with their peer mentors, who serve as liaisons for acclimating new students each year. 

Following Fairytale Fragments PostereditedThe GCA kicked off this year’s social events calendar on Tuesday evening of Orientation Week by visiting a local favorite restaurant, Skipper’s Smokehouse. This mostly outdoor, live music venue did not disappoint. Over 30 attendees made this gathering one to remember. Students and faculty mingled, dined, and drank, and began the process of getting to know each other outside the classroom. On Wednesday night the GCA social took place at Mermaid Tavern, which offered a Orientationmore intimate setting, and introduced many new and returning students to a popular Seminole Heights hangout. Showcasing a wide array of on-tap and bottled beers, a good wine list, and a delicious food menu, this cozy, neighborhood gathering place extended a special discount to members of our group.

Our final social event held during Orientation Week took place at another "local favorite" hangout: Dave and Steve’s house. A former grad student and now a visiting faculty member, Dr. Dave Purnell, and his partner, Steve Johns, offered up their home to the department for the evening. Potluck dinners are always a blast and this was no exception! The menu items were delicious and ranged from lasagna and meatballs to fried chicken wings to homemade coleslaw to avocado brownies and pudding. This event provided an opportunity for incoming and past graduate students to mingle with faculty and staff.

Orientation week was successful in terms of acclimating newcomers to the Following Fairytale Fragments Postereditedprogram and integrating the new students with those who have been around for a while. We were able to learn about each other academically and personally. Years from now, we no doubt will look back at Orientation Week—like others who have come before us-- as pivotal to making lasting friendships, connecting to mentors of life and scholarship, and launching a fantastic 2013-2014 academic year.


»Improv@USF fights BOREDOM epidemic in 2013-2014
Are you bored or do you know someone who suffers from BOREDOM? Do you show signs of Basic OR Everyday Overbearing Monotony? If so, Improv@USF can lend a helping hand. This year they are launching their official campaign to raise awareness and put an end to the BOREDOM epidemic that has swept college campuses nationwide. Visit them at to tell your story, find out about meetings and shows, and ask about how you can get your free dose of fun each week. All USF students can join in the fight and put an end to BOREDOM!

»Garnet Butchart will be moving to the Department of Communication & Rhetorical Studies at Duquesne University in Fall 2013.  We will miss him but wish him well in his new adventure.

»Sheila Gobes-Ryan has received the Michael Brill Grant in Urban Communication and Environmental Design, sponsored by the Urban Communication Foundation (UCF) and the Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA).This program supports new and  innovative research projects that bridge the fields of communication and environmental design. Congratulations Sheila.

July 2013

»David Purnell and Steve Johns, with participation by the Department of Communication, hosted their 8th “Christmas in July” event on July 27, 2013, to provide backpacks for foster children for the new school year The event was attended by friends, neighbors, USF students, faculty and staff, bringing together different communities for a worthy cause.  The backpacks (~80) and donations and contributions ($1400) that were collected this year will be distributed by Friends of Joshua House.  Over the past eight years, as the event has grown, David and friends have contributed nearly 1000 backpacks and over $7000.00. Way to go, David and Steve. 


»Rachel Dubrofsky is quoted in on Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013 in an article on “The hipster racism of reality TV.”  

June 2013

»Magdaline Southard defended her MA thesis in June. Her thesis was entitled "Fracking TECO: Analyzing the Communication Strategies in TECO Peoples Gas Advertisements.  Toni Powell-Young also received her MA in June, 2013.

»David Purnell, Patrick Dillon, Huikyong Pang, Tammy Jeffries and Christopher Patti successfully defended their doctoral dissertations:

»Huikyong Pang: The 2008 Candlelight Protest in South Korea: Articulating The Paradox of Resistance in Neoliberal Globalization.

»Christopher J. Patti: Compassionate Storytelling with Holocaust Survivors: Cultivating Dialogue at the End of an Era.

»Patrick Dillon: African Americans and Hospice: A Culture-Centered Exploration of Disparities in End-of-Life Care.

»David Purnell: Community on the Menu: Seven Courses to Cultivate Familial Bonds, Exchange Social Capital, and Nourish Community.

»Tammy Jeffries: Examining the Ontoepistemological Underpinnings of Diversity Education found in Interpersonal Communication Textbooks.

Congratulations to each of them!

»Rachel Dubrofsky and Ambar Basu have been promoted to Associate Professors and granted tenure at USF.  Congratulations Ambar and Rachel!

»Robin Boylorn won the inaugural H.L. "Bud" Goodall and Nicholas Lee Trujillo "It's A Way of Life" Award in Narrative Ethnography for her book Sweetwater:  Black Women and Narratives of Resilience.

Robin Boylorn wins "It's a Way of Life" award.The award is co-sponsored by the Ethnography Division of the National Communication Association and the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry and was initiated to honor the life work of Goodall and Trujillo.  Sandra Goodall, Bud's wife, presented the award at the 9th ICQI on May 17, 2013.



»Tony Adams's book, Narrating the Closet: An Autoethnography of Same-Sex Attraction, has been selected as the winner of the first annual NCA GLBTQ annuual NCA GLBTQ Division and Caucus Book of the Year Award. Congratulations Tony!

Tony Adams

»Emily Ryalls has accepted a tenure track position with Mississippi State University. Her tenure home will be the Communication Department, and she will also teach in the Gender Studies program. The Communication Department is in the process of building an MA program in media studies.  Congratulations Emily.

»Ken Cissna has won the prestigious USF Distinguished Service Award. This award is one of the university's highest honors given in recognition of many years of outstanding service to USF. The award is conferred by USF on faculty who have distinguished themselves through services they have provided without personal gain on behalf of the University, and that have contributed significantly to the welfare of their profession, USF, or the community. Congratulations Ken.

Humor Doesn't Pause with Improv@USF & PDC

During the summer months Improv@USF will be playing university orientation events for incoming Freshman, working on their own recruitment. The executive officers will be working hard to restructure meetings and plan more shows on and off campus to accommodate for their growing numbers and visibility on campus. Also, the core members of Improv@USF will be playing all over the Tampa Bay area every week in the summer, including Tampa Pitcher Show, Jobsite Theater and The Roosevelt 2.0 with Post Dinner Conversation, a local improv company that originated in 2012 under the direction of Kari Goetz as she was working on her MA in Communication. PDC's schedule, video, and more is available online at
In the fall, Improv@USF will be taking the campus by storm with more events, more shows, and more guerrilla theater! They will be playing monthly shows with the USF Stand Up club at Beef O'Brady's on campus and opening for Post Dinner Conversation's Bulls Nite Out event in the MSC ballroom. Anyone who wants to play is welcome join in the mayhem! Contact the group via their Facebook page at facebook/improvatusf or follow along at

You can also click here to read more about Improv@USF and Post Dinner Conversation in an article published by the USF Oracle.

»Travis Thompson was recently appointed to USF’s Undergraduate Studies office as the Senior Director of Tracking and Advising.  In this new role for the university, Travis will provide leadership to cultivate and continue the growth of our academic tracking and advising programs throughout the institution.

»Heather Curry has had her paper, "An Architecture of Erasure: Exploring Absences, Ruptures, Negotiations and Self-making in Families Organizing Around Mental Illness," accepted as a top paper in the Ethnography Division, to be presented in a special session at NCA, 2013.

»Ken Cissna, Carolyn Ellis, and Art Bochner have been selected as three of the 70 outstanding, senior scholars who will be participating in this year’s NCA Scholars' Office Hours program at the National Communication Association convention. These sessions are intended to facilitate networking between budding scholars and more established scholars by providing a space for one-on-one interactions.

May 2013

»Carolyn Ellis spent a week (May 19-26, 2013) with Holocaust Warsaw Ghetto survivor, Jerry Rawicki, in Warsaw, Poland. They returned to Jerry's hometown of Plock;  visited museums, monuments, and the Ghetto Wall in Warsaw; and traveled to Treblinka to pay respects to Jerry's family who died there.  Carolyn and Jerry have co-authored four articles together. While in Poland, they made a film and shot additional footage that they hope to make into a documentary about Jerry's experiences during the Holocaust and his experiences now remembering. Carolyn and Jerry in front of the Ghetto Wall.

»Jacob Jenkins has received USF's Golden Bull Award for 2013. This award is described as "One of USF's highest honors given annually to undergraduate and graduate students who encompass the spirit of the institution and have demonstrated its values. Recipients must exemplify exceptional leadership and service to the university and the community." Jacob's name will be added to the "Leaders of Distinction" wall within USF's Marshall Center. Congratulations Jacob!

April 2013

»COMM DAY, 2013
This year's Communication Day, inspired by the theme of the 60s, was a day of activities and community involvement. Kicking off the day was the Seventh Annual Speak Out event, organized by Jennifer Whalen. Six students from the Public Speaking course (SPC 2608) competed for cash prizes. Maddie Southard’s student, Rufus Beacham, won the first place award. A special thanks to the Speak Out judges: Abraham Khan, Mahuya Pal, and Lori Roscoe.





Following Fairytale Fragments PostereditedThe undergraduate students in Chris McRae's Communication as Performance Lab class--Ryan Bernier, Warren Buchholz, Jared Debusk, John Lawson, Hannah Prince, Jose Rodriguez-Rivera, Tyler Sloan, and Kristina Wilson--presented their performance, Following Fairytale Fragments, during Communication Day. The students devised, wrote, and staged a performance combining fragments of their personal narratives with the forms and functions of the fairytale genre.

Our invited speaker was Ronald C. Arnett (Ph.D., Ohio University, 1978), who  is chair and professor of the Department of Communication & Rhetorical Studies and the Henry Koren, C.S.Sp., Endowed Chair for Scholarly Excellence at Duquesne University. He also is the editor of the Review of Communication and executive director of the Eastern Communication Association. Dr. Arnett's talk was entitled "Doing Communication Ethics in an Age of Diversity: Modernity as a Moral Cul de Sac." His address relied principally on his latest book, Communication Ethics in Dark Times: Hannah Arendt's Rhetoric of Warning and Hope, which critiques the secular trinity of modernity: efficiency, individual autonomy, and progress. The presentation discussed the necessity for this critique and offered a communicative alternative.

Comm Day 2013 Friday April 19, 2013
8:30a-9:00a / Breakfast (CIS 3020)
9:00a-10:00a / Bulls Speak Out-Sponsored by Pearson Publishers (CIS 3020) Lambda Pi Eta Induction
10:30a-11:30a / Performance Showcase (CIS 3020)
11:30a-12:45p/ Lunch (CIS 3063)
1:00p-2:15p / Grazier Lecture: Dr. Ronald C. Arnett, Duquesne University (CIS 1016) 
Doing Communication Ethics in an Age of Diversity: Modernity as a Moral Cul de Sac.
2:30p-3:30p / Round Table Discussion with Dr. Ronald C. Arnett (CIS 3020)
6:30p-10:00p / Evening Celebration
After the Grazier Lecture and round table, faculty, staff, and students put on their leather vests, tie-dye t-shirts, floral dresses, mini-skirts, and other 60s-inspired apparel before heading to the top floor of USF’s brand new Interdisciplinary Science Building for the annual Comm Prom. The evening featured a variety of delicious appetizers, an open bar, dancing, and live 60s music featuring the talents of some of our very own, including Summer Cunningham and friends, Eric Eisenberg, Heather Curry, and Ciara Curry.
Carolyn Ellis thanked everyone for coming and then presented a list of accomplishments of faculty and students. [All these can be found on this website.] As well, she listed 53 publications of the graduate students, all occurring during 2012 or after. Quite an achievement. She also mentioned the 2012 graduates: David Steinweig, Rachel Binns Terrill,Carly Giesler, Steve Schoen, Sarah McGhee, and Jacob Jenkins, and the first in 2013, Allison Weidhass. Noted also were all those who are leaving to take jobs at other universities [also noted on this website].

No Com Prom would be complete without the awards portion of the evening. Students recognized by the faculty at this year's event include:
Jennifer Pickman Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award: Leah June, and Melissa Milectic
Undergraduate Nader Award: Hannah Prince
MA Nader Award: Megan Wood
James E. Popovich Award: Magdalene Southard
Barney Downs Spirit Award: Tasha Rennels
GTA Outstanding Teaching Award: Chris Patti
Bochner Award for the Outstanding Doctoral Student: Patrick Dillon

Then the Graduate Communication Association presented three awards, which recognized:
Jane Jorgenson, who received both the faculty HUB Award as well as the Faculty Recognition Award.
Kristen Blinne, who received the GCA Outstanding Peer Mentor Award.
Tasha Rennels, who received the GCA Outstanding Departmental Service Award.
Nicholas Riggs, who received the GCA Outstanding Community Engagement Award.
At the end of the award ceremony, the dancing continued. Who knew students—and faculty—could get down like that!

Click the image below for a slide show:

60s Portal

»Kristen Blinne organized the 2nd Annual Pedagogy Potluck on Friday, April 12, 2013, which featured a wide array of innovative teaching activities presented by graduate students. At this event, Nick Riggs, pictured below, explains an improv game called the "Gibberish Translator" as Nathan Hodges, Alisha Menzies and Joey Bartell perform this activity for the audience.

Pedagogy Potluck

Pedagogy Potluck

Also pictured is Jen Whalen,setting up the space to illustrate her activity, "Staging Dates to Teach About Dating."   

»Matt Brooks (PhD 2007) received the Community Endowed Teaching Chair in Fine Artsaward from Indian River State College in Fort Pierce, Florida.  He will be formally presented with the “Golden Medallion for Teaching Excellence” at the annual Golden Medallion Endowed Teaching Chair Breakfast and Faculty Meeting in August.  The Award provides a three-year stipend that allows the recipient to pursue a project that improves instruction or enhances professional development at IRSC.   Brooks’s project seeks to spark discussion about involving social media in pursuing general education learning outcomes.  Specifically, he will be hosting a series of TED events that culminates in IRSC’s own TEDx conference built around the topic “Sustaining Public Dialogue: Evolving General Education Learning Outcomes in and through Social Media.”  Brooks is an associate professor in the Department of English, Communication, and Modern Languages and Director of the Center for Media and Journalism Studies at IRSC. 

 Matt Brooks

»Undergraduates Warren Buchholz, John Lawson, Jose Rodriguez-Rivera, and Tyler Sloan, from Chris McRae's Communication as Performance Lab class, presented on their semester-long creative research project, Following Fairytale Fragments, at the 2013 USF Office for Undergraduate Research Undergraduate Research and Arts Colloquium.

 2013 Research Colloquiumedited

»Department faculty and alumni received a number of significant awards at the recent Southern States Communication Association convention in Louisville.  Ken Cissna received the prestigious Michael M. Osborn Teacher-Scholar Award, which “honors SSCA members who have balanced professional careers, having achieved excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service.”  Jane Jorgenson received the Gender Studies Scholar of the Year from the Gender Studies Division. 

In addition, two doctoral alumni won important association-wide awards:  Emmett Winn (PhD 1999; Professor and Associate Provost, Auburn University) received the T. Earle Johnson–Edwin Paget Distinguished Service Award, which “honors SSCA members who, through their service and leadership to the Association and the profession, have made significant contributions and merit recognition,” and Michael Arrington (PhD 2002, Assistant Professor, University of Kentucky) received the John I. Sisco Excellence in Teaching Award, which “honors SSCA members who have consistently demonstrated excellence in teaching communication throughout their academic careers.” 

All of these awards have been won by departmental members previously:   The Osborn Teacher-Scholar Award was won by Art Bochner in 2008.  Previous departmental winners of the Gender Studies Scholar include Elizabeth Bell(2006) and Navita Cummings James (1991) as well as Marsha Vanderford (1996) and Carol Jablonski (1993), both of whom are no longer with the Department.  Ken Cissna received the Distinguished Service award in 2007, and Marsha Vanderford was the inaugural winner of the Sisco award in 1994, with Elizabeth Bell winning it in 2007.  The John I. Sisco Excellence in Teaching Award was named for John Sisco, now retired, who served on our faculty for many years, including as chair. 

»Amanda Firestone recently contributed a chapter to Teaching with Harry Potter: Essays on Classroom Wizardry from Elementary School to College, edited by Valerie Frankel. In her chapter, "Casting Lumos on Critical Cultural Studies," she relates how she uses Harry Potter as a key example in the classroom to help explain concepts like gender, sexuality, and hegemony.

»Graduate students land teaching positions:

Allison Weidhaas has accepted a tenure-track position with Rider University in Lawrenceville, NJ in the Communication and Journalism Department, and she will teach in the university's new Business Communication MA program.

Chris Patti has accepted a tenure-track Assistant Professor position in the Department of Communication at Appalachian State for Fall 2013.

David Purnell has accepted a one-year visiting position in USF's Department of Communication.

Jacob Jenkins has accepted a tenure-track position in Communication at California State University at Channel Islands.

Patrick Dillon has accepted a tenure-track Assistant Professor position in the Department of Communication at University of Memphis for Fall 2013.

»Senior Send Off: As part of their final course project, the students in Dr. James's communication senior capstone course organized a Senior Send Off for graduating communication majors. This event took place on Monday, April 22nd. It was an opportunity for graduating majors to celebrate their accomplishments at the university. It was a fun and informal event that allowed students to share their future plans, hear a few words from faculty members, enjoy refreshments, and gather one last time before graduating. This initiative was the result of hard work by Jenny Buxhoeveden, Hannah Crucet, Marcus Graham, Chelsea Reynolds, Christine Vargas, and Kelly Will.

March 2013

»Lorraine Monteagut, who will enter our Ph. D. program in Fall 2013, will receive her certificate in April as part of the first class of eleven Doctoral Student Leadership Fellows sponsored by USF Graduate School to prepare doctoral students to be global leaders.

»Two of our doctoral candidates and one of our recent graduates have articles featured in the new edition of College Teaching: Kristen Blinne's commentary, "Start with the Syllabus: HELPing Learners Learn Through Class Content Collaboration,"and Patrick Dillon's and Jacob Jenkins's essay,"Improving Students' Formal Writing: The IDOL Writing Device." Readers can access this issue by clicking> .

»Robin Boylorn spoke about her recently published book, Sweetwater: Black Women and Narratives of Resilience (Peter Lang Publishing) on March 19th in Carolyn Ellis's Autoethnography class. Robin received her Ph.D. from the department in 2009. A trailer for her book is available at!book-trailer/c1dsk.

»Ken Cissna presented "The Past as Prologue: Applied Communication in the 21st Century" to the faculty and graduate student colloquium of the Department of Communication at the University of Southern Mississippi. He also taught the first session of the graduate seminar on Interpersonal Communication that he is taking over for the rest of the Spring semester from USM's Dick Conville who is recovering from surgery.

February 2013

»Edgardo Valentin received the USF Staff Senate Quiet Quality Award on Feb. 13, 2013 in recognition of his dedication to co-workers, faculty, and students. The award was presented at a reception in the Communication Department, where we also wished him well in his new position as Office Manager in the Department of Humanities and Cultural Studies. Edgardo is part of our department family and he has a standing invitation to all departmental activities. We will miss his daily presence.

»Art Ramirez was quoted extensively in a special to CNN, entitled "Why it's really possible to fall in love online." The link to the article is:

»The Department of Communication held its second retreat of the academic year on February 22nd, 2013, as a follow-up to its initial retreat on October 26th, 2012.

In the first retreat, we discussed the history of the department; how we see ourselves as a community, professionals, and colleagues; and what our opportunities and challenges are as we move forward together to create a workplace and a legacy we desire. The second retreat followed up on these ideas. We clarified further our thoughts on who we are; how we fit into the profession, university, and community; who and where we want to be in five years; and set forth goals to achieve.

The faculty enjoyed having extended time to reflect on these important ideas and plans.

January 2013

» Carolyn Ellis has assumed the position of Chair of the Department.  She replaces Ken Cissna who served as Chair since 2006.  Cissna joined the department in 1979 and has retired.  Ellis is joined in administrative positions by Lori Roscoe who is assuming the position of Associate Chair, stepping down from her position as Director of Undergraduate Studies.  Michael LeVan will be serving as the new Undergraduate Director.  Jane Jorgenson continues in her role as Director of Graduate Studies. 

» Aphrodite Kocieda , explains to ABC Action news the troubling implications for women of the "Swallow" campaign by the USF Wellnes center (a campaign to encourage people to drink more water) in a culture of violence against women.

» Jane Jorgenson has been selected to receive the 2013 Gender Scholar of the Year Award, which is given annually by the Gender Studies Division of Southern States Communication Association.   The award will be given at SSCA’s Award’s Luncheon during the annual convention in April in Louisville, KY.

» Amy Kilgard, of San Francisco State University, presented her solo performance, Triskaidekaphobia: 13 Consumer Tragedies,at 8pm on Friday, January 11, 2013 in CIS 3020. This show was a performance ethnography that explores, critiques, and questions our practices and aesthetics of consumerism. She also conducted a workshop in Chris McRae's Performance Lab class.

» The department now has a faculty, staff, and alumni lounge, complete with sunshine, a beautfiful view of the trees and natural beauty of the campus, and comfortable couches and chairs.  Tea and a boiling teapot are always available.   This is a place for us to relax, talk socially to our colleagues, and meet with alumni, students, and other visitors.  We alternate between calling it the “Tea Room” and the “Sun Room.”   Soon one of those names is sure to stick.  Come visit us and have a cup of tea and good conversation.

» Aisha Durham is a featured panelist for the “Hip Hop Literacies: Pedagogies for Social Change” and for the National Council of Teachers of English Assembly Research (NCTEAR) conference at The Ohio State University, February 15-17, 2013. The panel and NCTEAR keynote conversation will highlight hip hop as pedagogy and as an interdisciplinary field of study as well as a critical tool in contemporary freedom movements.

» Mariaelena Bartesaghi received the Teacher of the Year Award from the Florida Communication Association at its recent convention in Orlando.