Program Highlights

Our award-winning scholar-teachers have been recognized by academic, industry, and media outlets, and graduates of this program have been accepted to top PhD programs and pursue successful careers in and outside of academia. Here are just some of the ways that our faculty and students engage in transformational leadership through their work and service to better influence the world: 

Scholarly Work

Several faculty members have recently published or are currently working on book projects that interrogate contemporary issues in politics, culture, and identity:

  • Dr. Leslie Hahner’s co-authored book Make America Meme Again explains how memes influence public discourse, using the 2016 president election as a case study
  • Dr. Leslie Hahner and Dr. Scott Varda are currently writing a book about rape culture and the concept of precarity as a source of communal resistance. Dr. Varda will also spend his upcoming research leave on the project Resignifying Religiosity: The Rhetorical Practices of Noble Drew Ali (working title)
  • Dr. Sam Perry has authored a book titled, Rhetorics of Race and Religion on the Christian Right : Barack Obama and the War on Terror. This book examines the reaction to the candidacy and presidency of Barack Obama on the part of the Christian Right in the context of the war on terror, and explores the ways in which religious rhetorics were used to make racist and racial criticisms of President Obama. 

Selected journal publications of other faculty:

  • Dr. Ashley Barrett, “The pivotal role of change appropriation and the implementation of healthcare technology” (Top Three Article in Management Communication Quarterly, 2017).
  • Dr. Jessica Ford, “Pairing organizational and individual factors to improve employees’ risk readiness” (Management Communication Quarterly, 2018)
  • Dr. Lacy McNamee, “High-stakes volunteer commitment” (Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 2016)
  • Dr. Jacob Ford, “(Dis)identification as resilience in dirty volunteer work” (Corporate Communications, 2018)

Our faculty also influence the field through fellowships and as editors of books and journals such as:

  • Dr. Matt Gerber and Dr. Scott Varda, journal co-editors of Contemporary Argumentation and Debate
  • Dr. Lacy McNamee, co-editing a special issue of Management Communication Quarterly (2020) on the communication dynamics of nonprofit and voluntary organizations
  • Dr. Martin J. Medhurst, journal founder and editor of Rhetoric and Public Affairs
  • Dr. Mark Morman, co-editor of the book Widening the Family Circle: New Research on Family Communication
  • Dr. Blair Browning, awarded a Big 12 Faculty Fellowship (2019) to travel to member institutions and exchange ideas and conduct research
  • Dr. Ashley Barrett, a Baylor University Rising Star Fellow (2017) recognized by deans as an emerging leader in faculty research

Teaching Excellence

Dr. Jane Damron was one of ten Baylor University faculty selected to serve as a Baylor Fellow (2019-2020) for her transformational and innovative teaching. Dr. Damron also received the Collins Outstanding Professor Award in 2019, an honor bestowed to one faculty each year by Baylor’s senior class. Dr. Blair Browning (2012) also accepted this high honor in 2012.

Dr. Matt Gerber mentors graduate assistant coaches and leads some of the most successful undergraduate debaters in the country. Under his leadership, the Glenn R. Capp Debate Forum promotes argument and public advocacy through participation in intercollegiate competition, instruction in interscholastic competition as well as debates for the public forum.

Dr. Jessica Ford’s co-authored textbook Surviving Work: Toxic Organizational Communication enlightens students to the communicative theories and practices of navigating workplace dysfunctionality.

Outside The Classroom

Our faculty apply their research and teaching toward public good through various forms of engaged work. Dr. Lacy McNamee, Dr. Blair Browning, and Dr. Jessica Ford regularly provide consultation and training to organizations ranging from small nonprofits to Fortune 500 corporations on issues such as member engagement, presentation skills, hiring practices, storytelling, and conflict management. Dr. Kayla Rhidenour also works with Veteran communities across the country to assist in the development and implementation of Veteran service initiatives.

Faculty members also disseminate their scholarship through public lectures and various media outlets. Dr. Martin J. Medhurst has lectured widely throughout the United States and his work has been supported by grants from the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library Foundation, the Texas Committee for the Humanities, the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Dr. Matt Gerber and the Glenn R. Capp Debate Forum have hosted public debates on presidential elections and other political and cultural issues. Dr. Leslie Hahner engages various issues in public culture through invited lectures and podcasts.

Students also have the opportunity to take learning outside the traditional classroom setting through our Baylor in London program directed by Dr. Mark Morman. The 6-credit hour summer study abroad program invites students to develop the skills and abilities of collaboration, inquiry, and team facilitation in an international environment.

Alumni Impact

Jay Netherton (MA 2017) works in Dallas as an Executive Communication Consultant for the Office of the President for Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

Randall Fowler (MA 2016) is a doctoral student in the Department of Communication at University of Maryland and the author of More than a Doctrine: The Eisenhower Era in the Middle East.

Kayde Givens (MA 2015) is the Senior Sales Enablement Manager for equity management firm Carta in Salt Lake City. Givens also translated her Master’s thesis into a co-authored article with Dr. McNamee titled “Understanding what happens on the other side of the door: Emotional labor, coworker communication, and motivation in door-to-door sales,” which is published in the Journal of Ethnographic and Qualitative Research.

Dr. Heather Suzanne Woods (MA 2013) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Kansas State University and the co-author of Make America Meme Again with Dr. Hahner.

Laura Stewart (MA 2007) is Communications Manager for Lockheed Martin’s Energy and Engineering and Technology divisions.

Dr. J. David Cisneros (MA 2005) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at University of Illinois and the author of The Border Crossed Us”: Rhetorics of Borders, Citizenship, and Latina/o Identity.