Strategic Initiatives

Graduate Emphases & Scholarly Initiatives

Communication Studies Department, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Updated September 17th, 2017

 

Our department is organized around three cross-cutting scholarly initiatives that guide our research and teaching:

  • Civic Engagement
  • Health and Well-being
  • Identity and Difference

The department offers graduate emphases in Interpersonal, Family, & Health Communication and Rhetoric & Public Culture. We introduce undergraduates to these three areas by focusing on the ways in which communication helps them Advocate, Negotiate and Relate across contexts.

Civic Engagement

The role of communication in facilitating public participation, mediating public controversies, and organizing for social change and citizen involvement.

Topics include:

  • Public deliberation about science and technology, moral controversies, and political issues
  • Forms of organizing enabling and constraining participation and voice
  • Historical analysis of how citizens mobilize for social change
  • Stakeholders in community consensus-building
  • Uses of new media to spark citizenship practices and engagement across social divides
  • Family socialization of prosocial behavior and civic engagement

Health and Well-being

The role of communication in understanding and explaining individual and relational health, promoting healthy behaviors, and helping persons navigate challenges.

Topics include:

  • Interacting and negotiating family change and challenges as it relates to health and well-being
  • Mental, physical, and relational health outcomes of individual and collaborative storytelling, accounting, and communicated perspective-taking
  • Family communication and psychosocial well-being in nontraditional families (e.g., interfaith, multiethnic step-, lesbian and gay headed, voluntary)
  • Communication challenges and designing interventions for health care teams, patients, and family caregivers in the context of serious or terminal illness

Identity and Difference

The role of communication in constituting identity in a complex and diverse world.

Topics include:

  • Rhetorics of identity, power, and difference in public argument and address
  • Marginalized groups exercising civic agency
  • Family socialization and influence on worldviews, attitudes, and orientations toward others
  • Role of communication in creating and enacting nontraditional families
  • Discourses of racism and poverty in contemporary political discourse
  • How various forms of organizing enable and constrain the development of voice