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How Communication Scholars Think and Act

A Lifespan Perspective

Series:

Julien C. Mirivel

Every great scholar begins as a student. But what does it take to get there? And what is the journey like? This book explores the lifespan development of some of the best-known communication scholars in the United States. Grounded in 30 in-depth interviews, personal stories, and communication theory, the book reveals the nature of human development, the curvature of disciplinary thinking, and the values that drive communication professionals. With powerful examples from great thinkers and teachers such as Robert Craig, Valerie Manusov, and Gerry Philipsen, the book shows that communicating well is a slow, gradual awakening toward others. How Communication Scholars Think and Act is designed to inspire students and faculty alike to persevere in the face of setbacks, to learn about communication more deeply, and to improve human relationships across contexts. This is an ideal text for courses in communication theory, interpersonal communication, and introductory courses to the field. It is a must-read for anyone who wants to become a communication professional.

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Chapter 7. How Do Communication Professors Communicate Across their Career?

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HOW DO COMMUNICATION PROFESSORS COMMUNICATE ACROSS THEIR CAREER?

When I interviewed Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, she was in Australia. At the end of my interview, I asked her to reflect on her journey. She said, “you know I was thinking about this before we started our conversation. We have been doing a lot of hiking in what they call the bush here. I found myself taking pictures of a tree trunk [and] you can see the rings.” She explained to me, “you can see how old it is and which years, you know the thicker the rings mean it was a good year, there was a lot of rain and sod and the thin years are the years that there wasn’t as much.”

For Wendy, that tree trunk represented her own lifespan. She laughed, “the tree is not dead you know,” but now “it feels a little bit like I am getting to see the attrition of the rings and the development of the rings, but I am also getting to shape the next rings.” Much like a tree, human development is slow. As I will show in this chapter, this is particularly true for the ways in which communication professors grew in their approach to interaction.

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