A A Email Print Share

Department Spotlight

Dr. Eric Grabowsky (Alumnus)

Graduating Class and Major

2002 M.A. in Communication (Rhetoric/Philosophy of Communication), Duquesne University

2010 Ph.D. in Rhetoric, Duquesne University

Hometown:

"Whitehall Borough, which is located in the South Hills area of the greater Pittsburgh metropolitan area."

What is your job title?

"Associate Professor of Communication, Dickinson State University in Dickinson, North Dakota."

How did your communication coursework prepare you?

"My graduate coursework at Duquesne University provided various points of reflection on the theory, pedagogy, ethics, and practice of human communication with respect to the liberal arts and humanities. I approach both teaching and scholarship as a rhetorician. Having a big picture view of the importance and scope of the liberal arts and humanities enhances one's study, teaching, and practice of rhetoric. My graduate coursework at Duquesne University has a significant influence on my disciplinary activities in terms of teaching, service, and scholarship."

What is your advice for current and prospective students?

"I offer two items here for consideration. Firstly, read as much as possible from the works of both Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas. Secondly, never forget that we teach and study human communication. So, we must never lose sight of the human elements of all of our communication, even in this age of digital technology as we communicate with people around the world."

Fr. Dominic Maxi Ofori (Alumnus)

Graduating Class and Major:

Ph.D. in Rhetoric, emphasis areas Communication Ethics and Integrated Marketing Communication, '16

Hometown:

"I was born in Anlomatuope, but raised in Half Assini in the Jomoro District of the Western Region of Ghana, West Africa."

What is your job title

"I have been employed as a lecturer by the University of Ghana to teach in its Department of Communication Studies."

How did your communication coursework prepare you?

"My coursework helped me on several levels, including intellectual, social, and personal levels. At the intellectual level, my coursework gave me communication literacy, as it introduced me to important scholars such as Aristotle, Plato, Augustine, Karl Marx, Heidegger, Nietzsche, Gadamer, Foucault, Derrida, Habermas, Levinas, Arendt, Johanssen, as well as to our faculty (Drs. Arnett, Troup, Fritz, Arneson, Thames, Garrett, Maier, Sayrak, and Butchart). These giants in our discipline offered me the communicative registers critical for participation in our discourse community. Examples of the communicative registers that gave me the grounding I needed include 'dialogic communication,' 'enlightened self-interest,' 'enlarged mentality,' 'constructive hermeneutics,' 'hermeneutic entrance,' and 'radical alterity,' to mention just a few.

Importantly, too, the Department's approach of grounding doctoral courses in rhetoric and philosophy brought rigor to the kind of communication education I received. Also, the dense readings in Phenomenology overtime gave me a firm intellectual footing during my coursework. Having read pages and pages of phenomenological works presented in the form of what I felt at the time looked like word salad, I could breeze through any other reading material. Besides, the requirement that students write publishable essays at the end of every semester and present at conferences prepared me for my present scholarly existence. Thanks to my Duquesne experience, I read and write all the time.

At the social level, the coursework helped sharpen my social skills, that is, it helped me learn how to work and collaborate with fellow students in groups. Such collaborations helped me appreciate and respect the views of others even as they helped me develop intellectual humility.

Then, at the personal level, the coursework helped me to develop a good work ethic and a sense of responsibility, empathy, and humility. It taught me to brighten every corner I find myself, to laugh, and to know when to ask for help."

What is your advice for current and prospective students?

"Well, first of all, my advice to both current and prospective students is that the doctoral program of the Duquesne Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies is one of the toughest in the country, if not in the world. A lot of the material they will encounter is really not easy to unpack. Nonetheless, there is no cause for alarm because the Department is well resourced materially and humanly. The faculty members are among the best and most accomplished in our discipline.

All that they need to do is to immerse themselves in the lifeworld of the program, work diligently with the instructors of the courses they take, be thorough in their academic work, endeavor to attend conferences, and generally develop deep love for scholarly work.

Lastly, they should just do their work and eschew any tendency to complain. Certainly, there will be bumps along the way, but they should remain focused and keep their eyes on their ultimate goal. They are not the first to enroll in the program and they will not be the last. The experiences they are having in our Department will enrich them for life! They will never regret choosing to study at Duquesne. Indeed, I am very proud of my Duquesne education and will not trade it for anything else!"

Candace Okello (Alumna)

Graduating Class and Major:

M.A. Integrated Marketing Communication, '13

Hometown:

Youngstown, Ohio

What is your job title?

"Director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, La Roche College."

How did your communication coursework prepare you?

"As the Director of Diversity and Inclusion, I advocate for students, develop educational programs around multiculturalism and justice as well as develop initiatives to forward the institutional diversity agenda. As I do this work, I recognize how the communication coursework has prepared me and how it is evidenced in practice.

I see my service to students as a communicative act. In order for me to program with intention and implement initiatives that speak directly to their needs, it is imperative that I engage in critical listening and welcome an open exchange of ideas as well as concerns. I cannot truly be an advocate if I do not acknowledge their voice or have an understanding of their experiences.

Additionally, the coursework prepared me to effectively facilitate difficult dialogues around important, but sometimes, polarizing issues. I work to ensure that civility remains central to those dialogues so that learning takes place, ideas can be both challenged and affirmed and where no one's thoughts or experiences are invalidated.

Also, because of courses like organizational communication, I not only understand how to analyze the culture and climate of my institution but how to shift culture. Looking through a critical social justice lens, I help to make sure that our policies and practices are just and inclusive and in alignment with our mission."

What's your advice for current and prospective students?

"One of my favorite quotes is from Audre Lorde who said, 'I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood.' With this, my advice is to figure out and remain connected to what is important to you throughout your coursework. I believe by doing this, it will help guide you into a career that marries your passion and professional interests.

For those who are getting ready to graduate, pay attention to where you are being led to serve. You may not find yourself in what has been defined as a 'communication profession,' but communication has its place in every field, and your theoretical and practical knowledge can inform and transform any space you find yourself in."

Taylor Coniglio (Alumna)

Graduating Class and Major:

2015 B.A. in Communication Studies and B.S./B.A. in Entrepreneurship
2017 M.A. in Corporate Communication

Hometown:

Moon Township, Pennsylvania

What is your job title? 

"I'm a sponsorship and advertising analyst on the Marketing Strategy & Planning team at American Airlines."

What is your main job responsibility?

"Several team members and I work to make sure that our integrated marketing strategy is consistent with American Airlines, its identity, and goals across various sponsorships and paid media outlets in the United States."

How did your communication coursework prepare you?

"My communication coursework prepared me for this position by challenging me to think critically--not to get caught up in ‘silo' analyzing ‘parts' of a whole. In a time where work is global and change is part of just about every job landscape, I'm thankful for an education that recognized the importance of ‘tools,' but was grounded in getting students to analyze, question, and view things from multiple lenses."

What's your advice for current and prospective students?

"Don't be afraid of what you don't know. Tackling a new research topic or presenting a paper are moments of uncertainty that end up teaching you a lot about yourself and the material-- you just have to be open to the new opportunity."

Dr. Leeanne M. Bell McManus (Alumna)

Graduating Class and Major:

Ph.D. Rhetoric, Duquesne University 

Hometown:

Leechburg, PA

What is your position?

"Currently, I am the Vice President of the Eastern Communication Association. In April of 2018, I will become the President of the Eastern Communication Association, the oldest professional communication association in the United States. The organization is a distinguished service-oriented organization with a history of achievement in research, criticism, communication theory, and excellence in teaching."

How did your communication coursework prepare you?

"Many of the classes I took in the Department of Communication &Rhetorical Studies taught me how to apply theory to everyday situations. The practical application of complex theories has trained me to become a leader in my profession."

What's your advice for current and prospective students?

"Take every possible opportunity given to you and learn to create opportunities that serve your future profession. I learned to be a leader through service to others."

Dr. Leeanne Bell McManus is a professor at Stevenson University. Her publications include: Event planning: Communicating theory and practice (with C. Rouse & S. Verni), Conflict between persons: The origins of leadership (with R.C. Arnett & A.G. McKendree), and Communication Ethics Literacy: Dialogue and Difference (with R.C. Arnett & J.H. Fritz).

Dr. Maria Del Guadalupe Davidson (Alumna)

Graduating Class and Major:

M.A. English, Duquesne University
M.A. Communication, Duquesne University 
Ph.D. Rhetoric, Duquesne University

Hometown:

Syracuse, New York

What is your job title? 

"Associate Professor & Director, Women's and Gender Studies Program;
Co-Director, The Center for Social Justice, at the University of Oklahoma (Norman, OK)."

How did your communication coursework prepare you?

"My training at Duquesne was invaluable. I received a broad and rich humanities education that prepared me to do critical and engaging interdisciplinary research."

What's your advice for current and prospective students?

"Read widely and bravely. Take courses that will challenge you and pull you outside of your comfort zone. Cultivate a spirit of inquiry."