The Dean Blog

October 18, 2009

October 15th – College Colloquium #1 for AY10

Filed under: Uncategorized — LBA @ 1:06 pm

On October 15th, at 10:50 a.m., we held our second in a series of planned college colloquia. The last was held in the spring and focused on new/participatory media and pedagogy. This particular session was focused more upon the sharing of research interests between members of the college. Three college members, from different programs, presented some of their research to us, and it was extremely interesting!

First up was Christa Teston (Writing Arts). Christa, a new tenure track member of the Writing Arts program, presented her visual rhetoric work related to medical images. For her project, she studied the images used in tumor board discussions of oncology patients, and examined the elements of the images as well as how they were used rhetorically in the discussion. It was fascinating. In fact, I’ve already given my class the lowdown on her work and the field of visual rhetoric, as we discussed a research piece that used self-portraits as a way to study identity changes for pregnant mothers! To find out more about her research, you can contact Christa at

Next, Clara Popa (Communication Studies) gave us some information about her extensive research work in trust. Clara has examined trust in small group settings, interpersonal relationships, and organizational settings – not only in the U.S., but also with cross-cultural comparisons. Again, fascinating stuff! Clara covered some of the existing theoretical and “in practice” understandings of trust that people have (like trust being an economic exchange – I’ll trust you if you trust me). She also addressed some differences that she has noted in her research – for example, in interpersonal relationships, men seemed to view trust as something that you automatically have (until you mess that up), while women felt that it had to be earned. To speak with Clara about her trust research, email her at

Finally, David Hackney (PR/Advertising) spoke to us about his research and life experience with the Millennial student. David gave us an overview of the current generational groups that are a part of U.S. culture (and explained how/why they are divided the way they are) and told us about some of the characteristics we often find in those groups. He then turned his attention to the Millennial group in particular, focusing on how the characteristics of that group – which comprises much of our student population – impacts their learning skills and desires. Many of the things he discussed (i.e. these students are very focused on success, but may not believe it should take extensive work to reach it), seemed to ring true for the audience members and there were many nods and comments of agreement. If you would like more information about his work, David can be reached at

All in all, it was a very interesting session and provided a wonderful opportunity to get a glimpse into the work of our colleagues, something that we don’t always have time to do in the business that is the everyday. I’m looking forward to upcoming sessions this year!


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