Faculty & Staff Spotlight Robert

Meet Robert Carroll

What do you currently do at UT?
- “Assistant Professor of Instruction in Communication Studies. I oversee COM 302E: Foundations 2 for all Moody Students and teach an Honors Service Learning and Community Engagement course each Spring.” NOTE: Robert will also be teaching Intercultural Communication for us this fall.

When did you decide you wanted to work/get a degree in Communication?
- “Honestly, I sort of fell into it. While working full time at the University of Kansas as an Academic Advisor, I began to take advantage of the "one free class a semester" program they had and by chance took Interpersonal Communication with Dr. Adrianne Kunkel. I fell in love with the field. The concepts and theories we were covering helped make my day-to-day job so much easier and I felt it gave me insights into how effective communication could actually be. It also helped explain why some of my co-workers were such terrors (sorry to them if they are reading this).”

What’s one of the most memorable things that happened during your Undergraduate years?
- “Being selected as a Summer Welcome Leader, aka an Orientation Leader, during the summer between my Junior and Senior year. In this role I met and worked with people who would become life-long chosen family. A few live here in Austin and this wouldn't be the same city without them.”

What’s one of the most memorable things that happened during your Graduate years?
- “It isn't an understatement to say that graduate students procrastinate on a world class level. So to help calm my nerves and anxiety, I decided to train for a 13 mile Tough Mudder obstacle course race. Nothing says "look over there" more than running a half marathon and doing strength based obstacles to avoid your comps.

The other memorable thing (because this is truly a tie) was completing a research fellowship in Bodo, Norway. Thanks to Dr. Browning and others we were able to live in the Arctic Circle for 3 months and explore one of the most gorgeous countries in the world. And no, I didn't see the Northern Lights because the sun was up 24 hour a day.”

What was your Master's Thesis/PHD dissertation about?
- “My dissertation was on LGBTQIA+ Coming Out Narratives and explored how messages were constructed in relation to goal achievement. It was a heavy undertaking and I was able to gather 100+ narratives and share insights on this unique and important phenomenon. Research in this area is lacking and considering today's political climate, supporting minority communities is more important than ever.”

What is your favorite Austin restaurant or eating place?
- “Uchiko on Lamar. I cannot count the number of amazing meals and laughs I've had with friends and family over some of the best sushi in town. Happy Hour is exquisite and is a chance to try the weird things you'd never think of (like eel, ew).”

If you could go back in time, what’s one piece of advice you would give to yourself?
- “Just do it (but in a non-copyrighted way). The worst anyone can tell you is no, so what's to stop you from continuing to push forward and try things out? Nothing. Oh, and invest in Apple stock. You're welcome.”

Where would you love to travel to next?
- “Well, considering I'm leaving in a few days to teach abroad in Copenhagen...Copenhagen! But truly, I'm going to Croatia this summer and am so excited - it has been on my list for years and I cannot wait to live my best Game of Thrones fantasy.”

What are you proudest of?
- “Visiting 35 countries before turning 35. I think I was born with wanderlust and nothing makes me happier than experiencing a new culture, trying new foods, or exploring. Truly I work to travel.”

What is a fun fact about you that most people here don’t know?
- “I'm a 4H State Fair Blue Ribbon winner for...cake decorating. Do with that information what you will.”

Robert Carroll
Roberts Cats

If you were stranded on an island, what three things would you bring?
- “My cats (yes I am that guy), my Costco membership card (just in case), and coffee beans to plant (coffee seeds? Unclear on what you need - the thing that makes the plant grow).”

What movie genre is your favorite? 
- “Mockumentary/Comedy, hands down. I could probably quote the entirety of "Best in Show" at any point in time.”

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
- “Ability to sleep anywhere. People who can fall asleep on planes are my idols. Teach me please.”