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What is going on in the Department of Communication

Professor publishes research on promoting civil discourse online

LeAnnBrazealResearch by assistant professor of communicationDr. LeAnn Brazeal, has been published in the nationally recognized peer-review journal, Communication Research Reports.

About Brazeal’s research

Brazeal, together with Kansas State University professor, Soo-Hye Han, wrote, “Playing Nice: Modeling Civility in Online Political Discourse.” The research examines how modeling civil discourse may change the tone and productivity of online political discussions. Brazeal, also director of the basic course, presented this research at a Missouri State campus colloquium last spring.

About CRR

Communicaiton Research Reports is a peer-review journal sponsored by the Eastern Communication Association. It publishes brief empirical articles on a variety of topics of human communication. Submitted manuscripts should focus on the method, results, and interpretation of the results.  However, manuscripts must contain a concise theoretical rationale and relevant literature review.

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Students have until Jan. 10 to submit papers for Spring Break communication conference

Communication students interested in submitting papers to the 26th Annual Sooner Communication Conference have until Jan. 10. The submission website will be available Dec. 15.

About the conference

Each year, Missouri State provides transportation, accommodations and some meals for a group of students to go to the two-day Sooner’s conference during Spring Break. The 2015 conference will be held at the University of Oklahoma campus in Norman, Oklahoma, March 6 – 7. The theme this year is “From Discourse to Action: Communication, Culture, and Democracy in Contemporary Society.”


Submissions may include competitive research papers (including theory and position papers), case studies, panel proposals, round table proposals, or abstracts for works in progress. Scholarship on any topic relevant to human communication within various areas of the discipline is welcome. Top paper awards will be presented in the graduate and undergraduate divisions. Only completed competitive papers will be considered for awards. Completed papers from non-OU BA or MA students are eligible for $100 travel scholarships.

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Talk the talk: using open dialogue to create more inclusive communities

How can we become more inclusive in our communities? Dr. Stephanie Norander and Dr. Gloria Galanes, researchers and professors of communication at Missouri State University, studied efforts in Springfield, Missouri to become a more diverse and inclusive community to answer this question. They found that engaging and embracing racial differences through ongoing dialogue are central to creating and maintaining a strong sense of community.

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Students to compete in Public Speaking Showcase


The Vicki Stanton Public Speaking Showcase will be held at the Plaster Student Union Theater on Nov. 24. Preliminary rounds are at 3 and 4 p.m., with the final round from 5:30-7 p.m.

What is the Public Speaking Showcase?

About 50 students will give speeches, representing each Missouri State COM 115 section. Students who aren’t speaking are encouraged to come to the final round and watch the semester’s best speakers. Audience members will have a chance to give their own opinion as part of COM 115 class assignment.

Preliminary and final rounds

Participants will present a persuasive speech in front of a panel of judges in two preliminary rounds, competing against up to five other students for the top rankings in the round. Preliminary judges are communication department instructors and teaching assistants.

Once preliminary scores are tabulated, the judges then advance up to five top speakers to the final round. The final judging panel is comprised of University faculty and community members.

Winning speech criteria

Students are judged based on speech organization, creation of sound arguments, proving evidential support, creativity, delivery, and connection with the audience.

For more information, contact Jerri Lynn Kyle by email or at 417-836-6323.

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Professors’ research chosen as lead article in esteemed communication journal

Dr. Gloria Galanes

Research conducted by the communication department’s Drs. Stephanie Norander and Gloria Galanes is receiving high accolades in the communication studies field. Their article on race and community dialogue has been chosen as lead research article for the Journal of Applied Communication Research (JACR), one of the most selective and prestigious publications in the field.

About the research

In the article, “’Bridging the Gap’: Difference, Dialogue and Community Organizing,” Galanes, College of Arts and Letters dean and professor, and Norander, associate professor and provost fellow for writing, explore how diversity and difference are integrated into public discourse within a predominantly white community, exemplifying Springfield and three area non-profits—the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, The Network and Minorities in Business.

Dr. Stephanie Norander
Dr. Stephanie Norander

The research project was based on long-term engagement with the community and involved several communication graduate students over a two-year period.

“It is a great example of the public affairs mission, and in particular, cultural competence and community engagement, coming to life through research and teaching at Missouri State University,” Norander said.

Differences serve as community’s ‘foundational building blocks’

“Our study shows that by engaging racial differences openly and honestly through dialogue, community members can safely articulate how hard it is to talk about race in their work and community organizations,” Norander said. “In recognizing this struggle from multi-racial perspectives, community members can then discuss how differences, racial and otherwise, are actually the foundational building blocks of a community rather than an external variable to be dealt with or a problem to be fixed.”

Download the article

Appearing in JACR’s current issue, Vol. 42, Issue 4, the article is available to download for free.

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Colombian trip gives arts faculty opportunities to share expertise, recruit

Only about one percent of college students from the United States study abroad. With such opportunities to increase cultural competency, gain leadership skills and improve world views, Missouri State University has made efforts to get more students to take these trips and for more international students to study at MSU.

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COAL faculty hoping to gain ‘global perspective’ from Colombia trip

Several College of Arts and Letters faculty will be traveling to South America next week in an interdepartmental effort to increase the college’s “global perspectives” and “cultural competency,” said communication department head Dr. Shawn Wahl.

Five professors representing four departments will depart for Colombia Oct. 25 to visit universities in Bogota and Cartagena, each with educational objectives to benefit both Missouri State and the Colombian institutions. They return Oct. 31.

Wahl said several opportunities are made available by organizing these kinds of trips, including recruitment of international students, building relationships with institutions that Missouri State students can study abroad to, and bringing a broader cultural perspective to COAL’s programs and facilities.

Faculty going to Colombia

Institutions they will visit


  • Drs. Morris, Pardue and Wahl will present on research panels the Universidad de La Sabana Communication Week.  Morris will present on debate formats during the 2012 presidential election, Pardue will present on journalism from a U.S. perspective and Wahl will present on Business and Professional Communication in a Global Context (the focus of his 2015 Short Term Study Away course he will teach at Universidad de La Sabana).
  • Dr. Hausback will be perform an international recital at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana and teach master classes in trombone at several universities in Bogota.
  • Dr. Jolley will be networking with department head and faculty at all of the Colombian universities to explore study away program and language training programs.


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