Jessica L. Ford
Office Location: Castellaw Communications Center 143
Office Hours (Fall 2020): By appointment
Department of Communication
One Bear Place # 97368
Waco, TX 76798-7368
- B.A., Communication, Pepperdine University
- M.A., Organizational Communication, Pepperdine University
- Ph.D., Organizational Communication and Technology, University of Texas at Austin
“Good teachers possess a capacity for connectedness. They are able to weave a complex web of connections among themselves, their subjects, and their students so that students can learn and weave a world for themselves” - Parker Palmer
I believe teaching and learning is a process that requires active engagement. My students quickly realize that my class requires more from them than just their presence. Every class is highly interactive because I see the classroom as a space where students learn from one another as well as from their instructor. Most of my classes involve a short lecture, an activity that challenges students to apply the concepts or learning objectives, and a discussion where students connect the activity with a real-world application. I am continually looking for innovative ways to engage students while teaching communication concepts. Each semester I try out new ways of helping students recognize how organizing and communicating processes imbue their lives.
Additionally, my approach to teaching is student-centered. My goal is for students to develop a critical and engaged orientation toward their world that helps transform their relationships in meaningful ways. Within the classroom, I use my own industry and non-profit management experience to demonstrate the importance of communicative actions. I often share my experience as a first-generation student to connect with students who feel excluded or different from their peers. Outside of the classroom, I strive to be a champion for my students—whether this means writing a letter of recommendation, helping them network, or advocating for scholarships.
My research centers around organizational disruptions that effect the health, safety, and identity of individuals. This driving interest has led me to conduct research on a spectrum of issues and contexts such as: workplace health promotions, crisis communication surrounding active-shooter events, and injury and illness in high-reliability organizations. I am currently working on a research project with several graduate students that investigates how workplace sexual harassment, whether online or in-person, affects survivors’ coping mechanisms, propensity to report the behavior, and perceived vulnerability to future incidents. My research is published in various outlets including: Management Communication Quarterly, Journal of Applied Communication, Communication Studies, Communication Yearbook, and the Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
Family, Outside Hobbies and Interests:
I am happiest when I am enjoying the outdoors with my husband (Jacob), daughter (Hannah), and furry friend (Olive). We regularly take walks around our neighborhood or find our way to the zoo when it is not too hot in Waco. I also love to explore new cities, which means that I am often looking up flight tickets to both US and international locations. Some of my favorite adventures include scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef, rafting the Nile, camping in New Zealand, and summiting Mt. Kilimanjaro.
- Ad hoc journal reviewer: Communication Monographs, Journal of Applied Communication Research, and Management Communication Quarterly
- Member of award nominating committee for Organizational Communication Division, NCA (2017)
- Member of the core committee responsible for planning the Legacy Training Series, NCA (2017)
- Paper reviewer for International Conference of Information Systems (2016)
What is the best thing about being a Baylor Bear?
As an alumna of Pepperdine University, I have been profoundly shaped by a Christian education. I love teaching at a university where students are challenged academically, encouraged spiritually, and inspired to serve passionately.