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In addition to being outstanding teachers, our faculty are active scholars who consistently publish books and articles, present at conferences, and engage in public projects that further our mission. The faculty has expertise in a wide range of areas, including conflict resolution and domestic violence, urban sustainability and food cultures, public argumentation and political debate, personal identity and media analysis, and similar themes related to communication and society.

Name Title Field of Research/Work Recent Professional Development
Carlos A. Flores, Ph.D

Assistant Professor in Residence

  • Theories of Publics and Counterpublics
  • Participatory Critical Rhetoric
  • Media and Popular Culture Studies
  • Civic Engagement
  • Flores, C. (2018). Young at heart: Advocating a rhetorical theory of youth in the public sphere. Panel presentation for the 18th Biennial Conference of the Rhetoric Society of America. Minneapolis, MN. 
  • Hess, A., Carlson, A. C., & Flores, C. Invoking the spirits: A rhetorical séance. Book chapter for the edited volume:Rhetorics Haunting the National Mall: Displaced and Ephemeral Public Memories. Lanham, MD. Lexington Books
  • Hess, A. & Flores, C. (2016). Simply more than swiping left: A critical analysis of toxic masculine performances on Tinder Nightmares. New Media Society, 20(3), 1085-1102.
David Henry, Ph.D.

Emeritus Professor

  • Critical Analysis of Political Speech with Emphasis on Presidential Rhetoric
  • Political Discourse
  • Social Movements
  • Nuclear Culture
  • “Free Speech at Berkeley, 1964-1967: Mario Savio, Clark Kerr, and Ronald Reagan,” with James Arnt Aune. Social Controversy and Public Address in the 1960s and Early 1970s: A Rhetorical History of the United States, vol. IX. Ed. Richard J. Jensen. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2017, 119-137.
  • Rethinking Rhetorical Theory, Criticism, and Pedagogy: The Living Art of Michael C. Leff. Ed. Antonio de Velasco, John Angus Campbell, and David Henry. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2016.
  • “Criticism of Metaphor,” with Thomas R. Burkholder, The Art of Rhetorical Criticism. Second Edition. Ed. Jim A. Kuypers. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2016, 105-124.
Donovan Conley, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

  • Rhetoric and Public Culture
  • Materiality and Aesthetics
  • Food and Citizenship
  • Hartnett, S., Keranen, L., & Conley, D. Imagining China: Rhetorics of Nationalism in an Age of Globalization (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2017).
  • Donovan Conley, “M/Orality.” Forum on “Rhetorics and Foodways,” Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies (Spring 2015). Eds. Amy Young, Donovan Conley, & Justin Eckstein.
  • Keranen, L., Dodge, P., & Conley, D. “Modernizing Traditions on the Roof of the World: Displaying ‘Liberation’ vs. ‘Occupation’ in Three Tibet Museums,” Journal of Curatorial Studies 4:1 (2015), 79-106.
Emma Frances Bloomfield, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

  • Scientific Controversies
  • Rhetoric of Science and Religion
  • Rhetoric and Identity
  • Bloomfield, E. F. (2019). Communication Strategies for Engaging Climate Skeptics: Religion and the Environment. New York, NY: Routledge Series on Advances in Climate Change Research. 
  • Bloomfield, E. F., & Tillery, D. (2019). The circulation of climate change denial online: Rhetorical and networking strategies on Facebook. Environmental Communication, 13(1), 23-34.
  • Sangalang, A., & Bloomfield, E. F. (2018). Mother Goose and Mother Nature: Designing stories to communicate information about climate change. Communication Studies, 69(5), 583-604.
Erika Engstrom, Ph.D.


  • Mass Media Portrayals of Gender and Weddings
  • Engstrom, E. (2017). Feminism, gender, and politics in NBC’s Parks and Recreation. New York: Peter Lang.
  • Engstrom, E., Lucht, T., Marcellus, J., & Wilmot Voss, K. (2016; 2014). Mad Men and working women: Feminist perspectives on historical power, resistance, and otherness. New York: Peter Lang.
  • Engstrom, E., & Valenzano III, J. M. (2016). Religion and the representative anecdote: Replacement and revenge in AMC’s The Walking Dead. Journal of Media and Religion, 15(3), 123‐135.
Jennifer Guthrie, Ph.D.

Associate Professor and Graduate Coordinator

  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Romantic Relationships
  • Small Group Communication
  • Organizational Collaboration
  • Domestic Violence
  • Gender
  • Guthrie, J. A., & Kunkel, A. (2016). “No more trapping me!”: Communication scholarship in the service of women experiencing domestic violence and substance abuse. Communication Quarterly, 64, 434–453. doi:10.1080/01463373.2015.1103296
  • Kunkel, A., & Guthrie, J. A. (2016). Survivor: Women’s stories of navigation and tensions in a domestic violence shelter. Western Journal of Communication, 80(1), 100–120. doi:10.1080/10570314.2015.1078904
  • Robinson, A. L., Pinchevsky, G. M., & Guthrie, J. A. (2016). A small constellation: risk factors informing police perceptions of domestic abuse. Policing and Society. Advance Online Publication. doi:10.1080/10439463.2016.1151881
Michael Lane Bruner, Ph.D.

Department Chair, Communication Studies, Professor

  • Deceptions and Distortions in Public Argument
  • Critical Theory
  • Group Identity
  • Political Economy
  • “Recuperating the Real: New Materialism, Object Oriented Ontology, and Lacanian Ontical Cartography,” Philosophy & Rhetoric (in press, 2017). Caleb Cates, M. Lane Bruner and Joseph Moss.
  • “Critical Rhetoric and the Analysis of Unintentional Persuasion.” The Bulgarian Journal of Rhetoric and Communication 13 (July 2014), online (lead article), 1-18.
  • Snyder v. Phelps: The U.S. Supreme Court’s Spectacular Erasure of the Tragic Spectacle,” Rhetoric & Public Affairs (Winter 2013), 242-67. First author, co-authored with Susan Balter-Reitz.
Natalierose Pennington, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Social Networking
  • Impression Management
  • New Media Technologies
  • Pennington, N. (2017). Tie strength and time: Mourning on social networking sites. Special issue of the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 61, 11-23. doi:10.1080/08838151.2016.1273928
  • Bouc, A., Han, S., & Pennington, N. (2016). "Why are they still commenting on his page?": Using Facebook profile pages to continue connections with the deceased. Computers in Human Behavior, 62, 635-643. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2016.04.027
  • Pennington, N. (2016). Living social: Comparing social media use in your 20s and 30s. In P. G. Nixon, R. Rawal, & A. Funk (Eds.), Digital media usage across the lifecourse. Surrey, UK: Ashgate Publishing.
Philip Tschirhart, Ph.D.

Visiting Assistant Professor

  • Media and Persuasion
  • Global Development Initiatives
  • Transnational Social Movements
  • Public Land Controversies
  • Warner, B. Galarza, R., Coker, C. R, Tschirhart, P., Hoeun, S., Kennings, F. & McKinney, M. S. (2017). Comic agonism in the 2016 campaign: A study on Iowa caucus rallies. American Behavioral Scientist, 61(3), in-press.
  • Tschirhart, P. (2015). (Re)Imagining poverty: A critical visual analysis of the communicative and affective labor of gendered international development discourses. Critical Studies in Media Communication, 32(4), 240-255.
  • Tschirhart, P. (2015). Communicating solidarity: Theorizing a coalitional feminist ethic of love. Badiou Studies, 4(1), online.
Rebecca Rice, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

  • Organizational Communication
  • Interorganizational Collaboration
  • High Reliability Organizations
  • Security
  • Natural Hazards
  • Bean, H. & Rice, R. M. (2019). Organizational communication and security. B. C. Taylor and H. Bean (Eds.). The Routledge Handbook of Communication and Security. Routledge.
  • Rice, R. M. (2018). When Hierarchy becomes Collaborative: Collaboration as Sensemaking Frame in High Reliability Organizing. Corporate Communications, 23(4), 599–613.
  • Rice, R. M. (2018). Negotiating the Professional in Media Representation: The Carnivalesque and Privatized Security Work. TAMARA: Journal for Critical Organizational Inquiry, 16(1–2), 25–36.
Tara Emmers-Sommer, Ph.D.

Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education

  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Relational Communication
  • Health Communication
  • Media
  • Sexual Communication
  • Sex and Gender
  • Quantitative Methods
Tara McManus, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Communication Report Editor-Select

  • Family and Interpersonal Communication
  • Information Regulation, Stress, and Coping in Families
  • McManus, T.G., & Willes, S.S. (accepted for 2016, November). A dyadic assessment of romantic partners’ commitment and disclosure about stressors.
  • McManus, T.G., Yurashevich, Y., & McDaniel, C. (2016, November). When friends experience romantic relationship uncertainty: A test of the information provider role in the Theory of Motivated Information Management. In A.A. Lucas (chair), Uncertainty management and information seeking across interpersonal contexts. Session conducted at the NCA Convention Philadelphia.
  • McManus, T. G. (2014). Commitment and marriage. In J. F. Nussbaum (Ed.), Handbook of Life Span Communication (pp. 235-252). New York: Peter Lang.