The Department of Communication at the University of Colorado Boulder is a vibrant community of scholars whose members share a commitment to excellence and innovation in communication research and teaching. ‘COMM Plishments is our way of sharing news about the accomplishments of all of us with each other. People are doing all kinds of wonderful things and we often are unaware of what others do.  It is valuable for us as a community to know and celebrate the accomplishments of each other.

If you know someone deserving of a ‘COMM Plishment, please feel free to brag by emailing Department Chair Pete Simonson.

John Ackerman, Associate Professor, published “Walking in the City: The Arrival of the Rhetorical Subject” in the edited collection Tracing Rhetoric and Material Life: Ecological Approaches.

Karen Lee Ashcraft, Professor, is beginning her term as the first Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in CMCI. In July, she delivered a keynote address with colleague Professor Tim Kuhn, entitled “Practicing Communication: Exercises in Relationality,” at the Aspen Conference on Engaged Scholarship. She also has a forthcoming chapter, called “Feeling Things, Making Waste: Hoarding and the Dis/organization of Affect,” coming out in a volume on disorganization.  

Nathan Bedsole, PhD student, published a soundscape project, Camel City Soundscape (with Grant Livesay, and COMM alum Jen Malkowski) in the Rhetoric Society of America conference proceedings, Rhetorics Change/Rhetoric’s Change (Jenny Rice et al, Eds.). He also had an essay accepted for publication at Argumentation and Advocacy, “Voice as Little Object (a)rgument: On Hearing Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley Jr.”

David Boromisza-Habashi, Associate Professor, had a well-earned sabbatical approved, and he is finding time to read, write, and think this fall.  Before he disappeared into that, he and Lydia Reinig published co-authored (with David Boromisza-Habashi) “Speech Genres and Cultural Value in the Anglo-American Public Speaking Course as a Site of Language Socialization” in the Journal of International and Intercultural Communication.

Kellie Brownlee, has joined our PhD program after taking her MA degree in May and winning the 2018 Department of Communication Outstanding Graduate Student Teacher Award. This summer, she won the Top Student Paper Award from the International Communication Association’s Language and Social Interaction Division for her paper, "Learning Beyond Language: An Ethnographic Study of Language Socialization in English Conversation Groups.”

Ellie Busch, MA student, co-presented (with Sam West and Logan Gomez) “Navigating Trauma to Create Compassionate Classroom Spaces” at the CU Diversity and Inclusion Summit this past spring.

Monica Carroll, Office Manager, won Spirit of Communication and Staff Achievement Awards for her outstanding all-around work keeping the Department running. In her spare time, she continues to paint and make beautiful artwork, some of which is pictured here.    

Sarah Chorley, PhD, defended her dissertation ADD TITLE. She is now a tenure-track e assistant professor of organizational communication in the Department of Communication Studies at Middle Tennessee State University.

Robert T. Craig, Professor Emeritus, published two essays: “Reframing the Paradox of Pluralism as a Communication Problem” in Javnost – The Public, 25(1-2), 193-201; and “For a Practical Discipline” in  Journal of Communication, 68(2), 289-297. He delivered the 2018 Leonardo Da Vinci Lecture and opening keynote address, “Communicating a Pluralistic Universe,” to the conference, “What Is: Universe?” at the University of Oregon in Portland in April. He also delivered the opening  keynote address, “Pluralism in Communication Theory and Praxis” to the Congreso Comunicación, Cultura y Cambio Social: Celebrando 20 años de investigación y reflexiones académicas desde el Caribe colombiano, Universidad del Norte, Barranquilla, Colombia, in September.

Joelle Cruz, Assistant Professor, published “Aliens” in the United States: A Collaborative Autoethnography of Foreign-Born Faculty with coauthors in Journal of Management Inquiry. She also won a top paper award in the Ethnography Division of NCA. Finally, she delivered the opening keynote address titled “Accessibility, Methods and Hyphenation in Engaged Critical Research” for the workshop (Per)formative Diversity: Critiques, Struggles, Possibilities” at Copenhagen Business School (CBS) in Denmark. She also designed and led a methods seminar for CBS doctoral students titled “Decolonizing Methods for (In)visibility in Organization Studies: Access, Assumptions, and Implications” as well as a pedagogical discussion with CBS colleagues on the challenges and opportunities of teaching about issues of diversity, intercultural communication, race, and gender.

Lisa Flores, Associate Professor, was elected to the board of directors of the Rhetoric Society of America. She also delivered three invited lectures: “Citizen Made Alien: Race, Gender, and Violence in the Politics of War” at the University of New Mexico; and “The Promise of Race and the Whiteness of Nation” at both the University of Kansas and the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

Larry Frey, Professor, published the co-authored “A Journey within the Theory–Practice Nexus of Conflict Management: Contributions of IACM Rubin Award recipient Benjamin Broome in Negotiation and Conflict Management Research. His new University of California Press co-edited book series on “Communication for Social Justice Activism” (with Patricia Parker), thus, far, has signed six books for publication.

Blake Hallinan, PhD student,  won the Marcella G. Hertzog Award through the College of Media, Communication, and Information.

Logan Rae Gomez, PhD student, was one of approximately 12 PhD students this summer to be accepted and participate the Wayne State University Summer Doctoral Seminar entitled "Feminist Complications: Rethinking Dominant Rhetorical Narratives.”  At the CU Diversity and Inclusion Summit this past spring, Logan co-presented (with Ellie Busch and Sam West) “Navigating Trauma to Create Compassionate Classroom Spaces.” She and Sam West also presented “Leading Through Protest: Changing Your Campus and Reclaiming Your Body” at the Women’s Leadership Symposium in Boulder.

 Constance Gordon, PhD, successfully defended her dissertation, “Troubling ‘Access’: Rhetorical Cartographies of Food (In)Justice and Gentrification,” and won the 2018 John Waite Bowers Award for Outstanding Graduate Student. Together with co-author Kathleen Hunt, she published "Reform, Justice, and Sovereignty: A Food Systems Agenda for Environmental Communication" in Environmental Communication. Constance is now a tenure-track assistant professor in the Department of Communication at San Francisco State University.  

Laurie Gries, Assistant Professor, is lead editor of Circulation, Writing, and Rhetoric, which was published in the spring by Utah State University Press. She also delivered a keynote address for SUNY Cortland’s Distinguished Voices in Literature Series entitled “Swastika Monitoring: Developing Digital Research Tools to Track Visual Rhetorics of Hate.”  Her 2015 monograph Still Life with Rhetoric,  recently received a very positive review in Technical Communication Quarterly.

 Jewel Gurule, Administrative Assistant, was the recipient of three departmental awards: the Spirit of Communication Award for embodying the values of COMM, a Merit Award for outstanding performance over the academic year, and a Length of Service recognition award for five-years of outstanding work with the Department.

Jerry Hauser, Professor Emeritus, was appointed to a second term as Executive director of the Rhetoric Society of America, with a term running from 2018-2022. He was also named editor emeritus of the journal Philosophy & Rhetoric.

Ruth Hickerson, was promoted to Senior Instructor and elected the new Vice President of ORWAC, the  Organization for Research on Women and Communication. Ruth also was appointed the new Director of CMCI’s Pathways to Excellence summer bridge program.

Danielle Hodge, PhD student, won the 2018 Department of Communication Outstanding Graduate Student Teacher Award in May.  Along with Karen Tracy, she published “Judge Discourse Moves that Enact and Endanger Procedural Justice” in Discourse & Society, 29(1), 63-85.

Jody Jahn, Assistant Professor, won a prestigious, campuswide Provost’s Achievement Award for her 2016 article, “Adapting Safety Rules in a High-Reliability Context,” which was also a 2016 Top 4 Article of the Year for Management Communication Quarterly. Her article “A Model of Communicative and Hierarchical Foundations of High Reliability Organizing” (co-authored with Anne Black) was selected as the 2017 Article of the Year for Management Communication Quarterly. She also has three recently published or pre-published articles: “Genre as Textual Agency: Using Communicative Relationality to Theorize the Agential-Performative Relationship between Human and Generic” in Communication Monographs; “The Communicative Constitution of Adaptive Capacity during Sweden’s Västmanland Wildfire,” lead article in a special issue on reliability and resilience in Corporate Communications: An International Journal (co-authored with Catrin Johansson); and “This is Getting Bad: Embodied Sensemaking about Hazards when Business-as-Usual Turns into an Emergency,” in press in the volume Crisis Communication and New Media (Keri Stephens, Ed.), part of Routledge’s New Agendas in Communication Research Series.

Matt Koschmann, Associate Professor, concluded his sabbatical as Fulbright Fellow in the Philippines, where he delivered a lecture at the regional Fulbright conference in Kuala Lumpur: "Civil Society Collaboration in the Philippines.” Matt produced an animated video about his previous Philippines research with CU colleagues (a shorter teaser is here), and was also co-author of the published article “Household Construction Knowledge Acquisition in Post-Disaster Shelter Training,” in the International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 28, 131-139.

Rachel Larsen, MA student, recently accepted an exciting job directing CU Boulder's Restorative Justice Program.  In August, Rachel also delivered a paper to the International Conference on Media, Religion, and Culture, "There is More for Research…”.    

Kathryn J. Leslie, PhD student, was an invited panelist for "Silence is Complicity: Mindful Pedagogy in a World Gone Mad" at the Western States Communication Association annual meeting. She also presented a paper co-authored with Jody Jahn at the 2018 International Communication Association conference titled, “Tangled Action Nets: Community Voices Collide Over Localized Climate Action”. At that same conference she was awarded “Reviewer of the Year” by  the LGBTQ Caucus. Over the summer, Kathryn co-presented with Sean Kenney their workshop, “Queering Classrooms, Transforming Climate” at the inaugural LGBTQ Teacher Symposium in Boulder, CO.

Jeanette Musselwhite, PhD student, presented a paper co-authored with Natasha Shrikant at the  International Communication Association conference, “‘What’s that ROI Going to Look Like?’ vs. ‘We Represent a Community’: Indexing Neoliberal Identities in a Racially Diverse Business Community.” Jeanette also presented “Promoting a Dialogic Pedagogy: Employing the Fishbowl Discussion Activity in the Communication Discipline” and was a member of the panel presentation, “Working Toward Great Peer Tutoring Discourse: A Data Session” at the Rocky Mountain Communication Association Conference.  

Tiara Na’puti, Assistant Professor, published the lead article, “Decolonize Oceania! Free Guåhan! Communicating Resistance at the 2016 Festival of Pacific Arts” in AmerAsia Journal 43.3 (2017): 1-35 (with co-author Sylvia Frain). In February, 2018 she gave invited lectures in Aotearoa at the University of Auckland and Massey University-Palmerston North, at the School of Communication, Journalism, & Marketing and the School of Māori Knowledge. Her book review of Transnational Feminist Rhetorics & Gendered Leadership in Global Politics was published in Rhetoric & Public Affairs 21(1). In July 2018, she received a $10,000 Research Grant award from the Waterhouse Family Institute (WFI) for the study of communication and society, there was an unprecedented number of applications from across the world with only a 14.5% acceptance rate for 2018-2019. The grant will be used in the Mariana Islands to collaborate with indigenous communities and justice organizations challenging U.S. militarization and environmental impacts of military buildup.

Phaedra C. Pezzullo, Associate Professor, gave a Keynote, “On Crisis, Care, & Futurity: Fostering Environmental Communication in China,” at the Communication, Media, and Governance in the Age of Globalization Conference in Beijing, China, this past June; that conference has led to a co-edited book she is working on this academic year. In 2018, she published a textbook, 2 articles, and two book chapters: Environmental Communication and the Public Sphere, 5th Edition. (Second author: Robert Cox.) Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 2018; “Resistance: On the Practicality and Vulnerability of Hope,” (Coauthor: Ted Striphas). Rhetoric Society Quarterly. 50th anniversary issue. 48:3 (2018), 306-314 ; “Rethinking Rhetorical Field Methods on a Precarious Planet” (Coauthor: Catalina M. de Onís), Communication Monographs, 85.1 (2018), 103-122; “The Ethics of Embodied Engagement: Ethnographies of Environmental Justice” (Coauthor: Catalina M. de Onís) in Ryan Holifield, Jayajit Chakraborty, and Gordon Walker (Eds)., Handbook of Environmental Justice. London: Routledge, 2018, pp. 231-240; and “Afterword: Traveling Worlds to Engage Rhetoric’s Perennial Questions,” (Coauthor: Gerard A. Hauser). In Candice Rai and Caroline Gottschalk Druschke, Eds., Field Rhetoric:

Ethnography, Ecology, and Engagement in the Places of Persuasion. University of Alabama Press, 2018, pp. 253-263. Fall 2018-Spring 2019, she is serving as Director of the newly renamed Center for Communication and Democratic Engagement (CDE), which co-hosted (with the Department and CMCI) the 30th anniversary of the Public Address Conference in September with 161 people registered on the theme of Embodying Justice.

Lydia Reinig, PhD student, co-authored (with David Boromisza-Habashi) “Speech Genres and Cultural Value in the Anglo-American Public Speaking Course as a Site of Language Socialization” in the Journal of International and Intercultural Communication.  She published a book review of Communicating User Experience: Applying Local Strategies Research to Digital Media Design (ed. Trudy Milburn) in Discourse Studies, 20(1). She also received a prestigious Summer Dissertation Fellowship from CU’s Graduate School, and presented "Participating in Boulder's Energy Future: Theorizing Energy Democracy in Practice" at the 2018 conference of the Western States Communication Association.

Rebecca Rice, PhD student, published the essays “When Hierarchy becomes Collaborative: Collaboration as Sensemaking Frame in High Reliability Organizing” in Corporate Communications and “Negotiating the Professional in Media Representation: The Carnivalesque and Privatized Security Work,” forthcoming in TAMARA: Journal for Critical Organizational Inquiry, along with the book chapter "Resisting NSA Data Collection through Media-Activism and Public Sousveillance," in Alternative Media and Panopticon 2.0. She also presented at the NCA Doctoral Honors Seminar in Nashville, Tennessee this summer, and will present at the Organizational Communication Mini Conference in Rutgers, New Jersey in October.

Vincent Russell, PhD student, received CU Engage’s Graduate Fellowship in Community-Based Research for academic year 2018-2019, a departmental graduate student summer research grant, and a domestic travel grant from the Graduate School. He presented a paper at the Rocky Mountain Communication Association, “A Pedagogical Epilogue: Continuing Civic Education After the Semester Ends,” on a panel that he organized with Juan Ahumada and Jeanette Musselwhite, “Make Communication Great Again: (Re)Claiming Communication Pedagogy for Civic Participation.” He also presented a paper titled “Going ‘Rogue’: National Parks, Identity and Twitter” at the Union for Democratic Communications Conference with co-authors Joanne Marras Tate, Ellie Busch, and Rachel Larsen. Lastly, Vincent presented “Organizing for and Evaluating Participatory Budgeting” at CommonBound on a panel, “Our Cities: Participatory Budgeting for Inclusion and Equity.”

Natasha Shrikant, Assistant Professor, is published "Who's the Face?": Communication and White Identity in a Texas Business Community” in Ethnic and Racial Studies and “There’s no such thing as Asian”: A Membership Categorization Analysis of Cross-Cultural Adaptation in an Asian American Business Community in the Journal of International and Intercultural Communication.

Jamie Skerski, Senior Instructor, became the Department’s new Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies. Jamie also gave a stellar TEDxCU talk in the spring, “Tomboys and Gender Rebellion.”

Peter Simonson, Professor and Department Chair, was selected to be a 2018-19 Faculty Fellow for the Center for Western Civilization, Thought, and Policy, whose theme this year is Truth and Rhetoric.

Leah Sprain, was tenured and promoted to Associate Professor. She is enjoying a yearlong sabbatical this year, though keeping busy in her work with the City of Boulder for the Department’s newly renamed Center for Communication and Democratic Engagement.

Bryan Taylor, Professor, Bryan Taylor  moderated a 2018 Conference on World Affairs panel on nuclear nonproliferation. Panel members included Beatrice Fihn, recipient of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for her work as Executive Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

Karen Tracy, Professor Emeritus, published (with Danielle Hodge) “Judge Discourse Moves that Enact and Endanger Procedural Justice” in Discourse & Society, 29(1), 63-85.

Sam West, MA student, had a paper accepted into an edited book volume project. The book is called Building Sexual Misconduct Cases Against Powerful Men, and her chapter is titled “Cliff or Cosby? The Jury and ‘Happy Objects’ in the 2017 Trial of Commonwealth v. William Henry Cosby, Jr.”

Previous Issues:

COMM 'Plishments: Volume 5, Issue 1: September 8, 2017

Sept. 12, 2017

Juan Ahumada, PhD student, was selected to be a member of the National Communication Association’s Task Force for Community College Connections, just one of two PhD students selected from a large and strong pool of applicants. Karen Lee Ashcraft, Professor, returns to the Department from a productive sabbatical. Along with...

'COMM Plishments, Volume 4, Issue 8: May 1, 2017

Aug. 29, 2017

Harry Archer, PhD student, became a proud papa. His son is named Douglas and his wife Kirstin is doing well. Nicoli Bowley was the recipient of two awards at the Communication Department’s Spring celebration: the Phillip K. Tompkins Award for Student Achievement and the BoulderTalks Civic Engagement and Community Leadership...

'COMM Plishments, Volume 4, Issue 7: April 1, 2017

Aug. 29, 2017

Kellie Brownlee , MA student, had her review of the book by Hacker Daniels (Ed.). (2016). Communication and the Global Landscape of Faith , published in the Central States Communication Association Newsletter ; February 2017, Volume 85, Issue 1. Nick Burk , PhD student, accepted a tenure-track position in Communication...

'COMM Plishments, Volume 4, Issue 6: March 1, 2017

Aug. 29, 2017

Harry Archer , PhD student published with M. Bradney an article titled “A pilgrim's view of communication: Pathways to a meaningful politics” that will appear in the Journal of Communication and Religion , 40 (1), 2017. Karen Ashcraft , Professor, published a paper based on the colloquium she gave at...

'COMM Plishments, Volume 4, Issue 5: February 1, 2017

Feb. 16, 2017

Patrick Bujold , MA student, will be presenting two papers at the annual conference of the Western States Communication Association: “Macabre Images: Picturing Climate Change,” and “Melodrama and Climate Change: Nadarev “Yeb” Saño’s COP19 Address.” Emma Collins , MA student, and Rebecca Rice, PhD student, published an annotated bibliography for...

'COMM Plishments, Volume 4, Issue 4: December 15, 2016

Dec. 22, 2016

Bob Craig , Professor Emeritus, published an article, “Pragmatist realism in communication theory,” in Empedocles: European Journal for the Philosophy of Communication , 7 (2), 115-128. doi: 0.1386/ejpc.7.2.115_1, 2016. He also presented a keynote lecture entitled “For a Practical Discipline” in honor of the 30th Anniversary of the Departamento de...

'COMM Plishments, Volume 4, Issue 3: November 1, 2016

Nov. 1, 2016

Sarah Beck, PhD Student, had her paper, “Leaky Closets: The Potentiality of Queer Digital Space” accepted to the Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association conference. David Boromisza-Habashi , Associate Professor, was elected Vice-Chair of the Language and Social Interaction Division at ICA, a position that morphs into division chair in the...

'COMM Plishments, Volume 4, Issue 2: October 1, 2016

Oct. 1, 2016

John Ackerman , Associate Professor, Leah Sprain , Assistant Professor, and two additional coauthors, published “The skunkwork of ecological engagement” in Reflections: A Journal of Public Rhetoric, Civic Writing, and Service Learning , 16.1, 75-95. This article is part of a special issue on Sustainable Communities and Environmental Communication, that...

'COMM Plishments, Volume 4, Issue 1: September 1, 2016

Sept. 1, 2016

Promotions David Boromisza-Habashi was tenured and promoted from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor. Monica Carroll was promoted from Academic Scheduling & Student Services to Office Manager of the Communication Department. Matt Koschmann was tenured and promoted from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor. Matt Laszewski was promoted from Graduate Program Assistant...

COMM 'Plishments: Volume 3, Issue 9: May 2, 2016

2016 Spring Commencement News Savannah Bathke and Cheryl Foland , both undergraduate students, will receive the Academic Achievement Award. The award is presented to the top one percent of graduating seniors as determined by grade point average, communication skills, intellectual curiosity, analytical capabilities and academic creativity. Jayne Colorado-Caldwell undergraduate student,...