Faculty and students in this area consider ways that practices and processes of interaction in natural contexts create, sustain, and change sociocultural scenes, particularly communities. For theses and dissertations, students select a theoretical issue about social interaction and/or community that crosses contexts, and/or study social interaction within a specific social site. Sample foci include the communal functions of social interaction; use and circulation of communication ideas in society; communication activism for social justice; cultural communication; local practices of democracy and environmental governance, training programs for mediation or parenthood; and enactments of ethnic, racial, and gender identities in various contexts.

  • A distinguished faculty that is recognized via numerous awards, including two distinguished scholars of the National Communication Association
  • A focus on how microlevel communicative practices affect and are affected by macrolevel societal structures and processes
  • Monthly research lunches exploring ongoing projects conducted by faculty and/or graduate students
  • Monthly informal meetings to analyze discourse materials from faculty and/or graduate student research projects
  • Connection to an interdisciplinary group of faculty and a graduate certificate program in Culture, Language, and Social Practice (CLASP) to study language and society from an interdisciplinary perspective, acquiring a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches to the sociocultural analysis of language

For a detailed list of courses with descriptions, see the University Catalog.

  • Readings in Community & Social Interaction
  • Applied Communication and Community Problem Solving
  • Language, Ideology, and Identity
  • Deliberation and Public Engagement
  • Dialectics of Community
  • Discourse Analysis
  • Ethnography of Communication
  • Community-based Research Methods

  • Lori Britt, Assistant Professor, James Madison University (PhD, 2010)
  • Jone Brunelle, Internal Communications Assistant, International Labor Organization (MA, 2014)
  • Angie Davlyn, Director of Development and Evaluation, ACCESS Roaring Fork (PhD, 2012)
  • Maggie George, Associate Director, Class Programs, Cornell University (MA, 2013)
  • Kell Delaney, Product Experience Designer, Conversant (MA, 2012)
  • Ryan Hartwig, Associate Dean and Associate professor, Azusa Pacific University (PhD, 2010)
  • Peter Jensen, Assistant Professor, University of Alabama (MA, 2012)
  • Jessica Robles, Lecturer (tenure-track), Loughborough University (PhD, 2011)
  • Amy Thompson, Psychotherapist, Psychotherapy Aspen (PhD, 2014)