Fall 2023 Course Descriptions


Erin Donovan (erindonovan@utexas.edu)
08790  M 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. CMA 6.152

The purpose of this course is for students to become familiar with research and theories that examine why and how people exchange, conceal, and otherwise interact with health-related information. We will explore the antecedents, processes, and outcomes of communicating about matters of health and illness, with a focus on implications for personal well-being, relational quality, and public health. An emphasis will be placed on contemporary scholarship from communication and allied fields that addresses disclosure, avoidance, information behavior, and uncertainty management in personal relationships and in health care settings. This course is appropriate for students from all areas with interests in interpersonal, relational, and/or health communication.



Nik Palomares (nicolas.palomares@austin.utexas.edu)
08795  T 3:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. CMA 6.152

This survey course provides an overview of theories and research relevant to verbal and nonverbal communication in interpersonal relationships.



Talia Stroud (tstroud@austin.utexas.edu)
08800  TTH 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. CMA 5.190

The primary goal of this course is to give you a solid understanding of the logic of quantitative social science. The class will focus on the process of defining research problems, the logic of research design, and a limited number of techniques – for measurement, for design and sampling, and for analysis of data. There are no pre-requisites for this course.



Rene Dailey (rdailey@austin.utexas.edu)
08805  TH 3:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. CMA 6.152

This course is designed to provide an overview of the theories and major research areas related to nonverbal communication in interpersonal relationships. Specifically, the course will cover a brief review of nonverbal channels, methods used in nonverbal research, the role of nonverbal behaviors in various communication goals (e.g., impression management, dominance, deception, communicating emotions), and patterns such as adaptation, reciprocity, and compensation. Students will read foundational as well as recent research, present a summary of a theory used in nonverbal research, engage in coding projects, and create a research proposal related to nonverbal communication.



Michael Butterworth (michael.butterworth@austin.utexas.edu)
08825  TH 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. CMA 6.152

Iris Marion Young argues that “we have arrived at a paradoxical historical moment when nearly everyone favors democracy, but apparently few believe that democratic governance can do anything.” Young’s comments remind us that contemporary discourses of democracy tend to emphasize the installation of democratic institutions—e.g., voting—while simultaneously delimiting democratic practices. Ironically, then, the presumed “triumph” of liberal democracy as a system of governance threatens the very nature of that system: that is, rule of the people. A rhetorical approach to democracy, therefore, demands that the health of any democracy requires an expansion of democratic expression and contestation. In particular, rhetoric offers a means of communicating across differences and reaching provisional consensus on political matters. To this end, this course will engage various rhetorical themes, including democratic style, constitutive myths of democracy, democratic citizenship, the public sphere, deliberative democracy, and agonistic pluralism.



Josh Gunn (josh_gunn@austin.utexas.edu)
08834  TH 3:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. CMA 7.120

This course is a rhetorical studies alter call.  The course surveys and investigates rhetorical criticism contrapuntally.  The first "voice" we will hear is a survey of the theories and practices of rhetorical criticism, largely within the fields of communication and rhetorical studies, from the 1920s to present.  The second "voice" we will sound consists of a number of independent research projects that engage the various components of the critical quest.  Together, the survey and research projects should inform one another, leading to lively class discussions and a publishable, article-length hymn at course's end.



Shiv Ganesh (shiv.ganesh@austin.utexas.edu)
08835  W 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. CMA 6.152

The concept of power registers in any number of popular discourses. We use the term to explain issues in subjects as diverse as government, religion, globalization, popular culture, gender, sexuality, management and organizational behavior, technology, and personal relationships. Small wonder then, that power has been a formative category in social theory over the last several hundred years, and a prime vector in how we understand a central issue of our times, inequality. Such range and importance shape the objectives of this course in two major ways.

First, given that one can find a treatment of power in the work of most prominent social theorists (in many ways the history of the study of power is the history of social theory itself), it becomes important to consider this history. Moreover, debates about power and control that have occurred over the last two hundred years have significantly influenced communication inquiry and, as students of communication, we need to better understand such influence. Given this heavy ideological baggage, an important objective of the seminar is to give its participants a sense of the history of the concept of power itself.

Second, the sheer diversity of perspectives, problems and polemics that are invoked when one considers power signals the inevitable ambiguity of a course simply titled ‘communication, power and inequality.’ Given such diversity, selectivity is inevitable. However, important exceptions aside, the concern with power and politics in communication studies has been a central concern of what might loosely be called ‘the critical tradition’ in several key areas of communication inquiry. Another prime objective of this seminar, then, is to provide its participants with a broad-based understanding of critical communication studies of inequality. We will meet these objectives by spending the first several class meetings examining some key classical and modern theorists of power, including Machiavelli, Marx, Weber, Gramsci and Foucault. As we do so, we will compare their ideas with the work of more contemporary scholars in communication studies. We will then move into a consideration of the highly contemporary theme of organized inequality, and take up several recent critical, journalistic and theoretical treatments of the subject both inside and outside the field of communication studies.

Seminar participants will read several books throughout the course of the semester, and these will be complemented with other readings, some of which will be mandatory; others will be assigned to individual students, in order to broaden the scope of seminar discussions and better align course content with graduate student interests. Students will complete three kinds of assessment during the course of the semester: a set of critical précis (20%), a book review(30%), and a seminar paper (50%).



Craig R. Scott (craig.scott@austin.utexas.edu)
08840  W 3:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. CMA 6.152

This class examines key challenges (and opportunities) at the intersection of communication technology use and the workplace. Through readings and discussions we will critically evaluate issues surrounding topics such as non-work related computing, privacy/ surveillance, digital harassment/bullying, telework, work-life balance, identity/image management, online complaints/whistleblowing, virtual collaboration, and digital work stress/overload as they relate to the use of new communication technologies in the workplace. Students will have two main assignments: (1) Literature review paper on a topic related to communication technology challenges in the workplace and (2) research project analyzing organizational policy documents or other texts/data related to communication technology challenges in the workplace.



STEPHENS, KERI K (keristephens@austin.utexas.edu)
08844  T 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. CMA 6.152

This seminar course prepares graduate students to understand and participate in the grant-writing process. Many of the assigned readings are actual grant proposals that we will analyze and critique. Students will also gain graduate student teaching experience when they prepare and teach the class about their particular research interests that will inform their grant proposal development. This is an important assignment because peers in the class will serve as grant reviewers for others’ proposals. The course concludes by having all students write a grant proposal and participate in grant review panels. As an introduction to the grant-writing process, we will explore some fundable topic areas like health, technology/artificial intelligence, disasters, risk and decision making, and organization science.  We will explore interdisciplinary teams, team science, and how to negotiate site access and build collaborations for funded research projects.  While we will explore opportunities from large federal agencies like the National Institute of Health and the National Science Foundation, we will cover at least 20 additional funding sources, including several sources unearthed by students in our class.  Many students will identify a dissertation improvement grant or an early career grant that they will develop for the final course project.



John Daly (daly@austin.utexas.edu)
08845/ 08850  TTH 12:30 p.m.-2:00 p.m. DMC 3.204

Analyze strategic communication issues. Examine research and theory on interpersonal influence--what it takes to successfully persuade others in personal and organizational environments.


CMS 398T - Supervised Teaching

Johanna Hartelius (j.hartelius@austin.utexas.edu)

08920  M 3:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. CMA 6.152

DESCRIPTION: Whatever the ambitions and professional plans of students in 398T—whether you want to become university professors, consultants, or something else entirely—honing your teaching skills is imperative. They will make it possible for you to do good in the world, and to be able to earn a living. The stakes of the course are both ideological and material. Like any experience, you get from it what you put into it. A worthwhile graduate seminar requires and facilitates both teaching and learning for everyone in the room. Students who participate intentionally/mindfully in this course will

  • Read about and consider through reflection and discussion various teaching methods and philosophies.
  • Read about and consider through reflection and discussion the particularity of communication studies and/as pedagogy
  • Read about and consider through reflection and discussion what critical pedagogies might look like and accomplish from 2020 onward.
  • Learn about and practice course design in the form of a syllabus, a teaching philosophy, and a lesson plan