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C. N. Wright-Bio

Associate Professor & Director of Undergraduate Studies and the Honors Program

Dr. Courtney Wright’s (Ph.D., Northwestern University) interdisciplinary research program examines the positive and negative implications of interpersonal communication and conflict on well-being. In addition to cognitive processing, three communication behaviors through which the darker sides of interpersonal communication can manifest guide her research: (1) social confrontation, (2) social influence/compliance-gaining and (3) paradoxical forms of communication (e.g., teasing, ostracism).

Broadly described, her work informs conflict resolution processes, the management of difficult interactions (e.g., challenging conversations, incivility) and the communication of differences in professional and educational settings. She is particularly interested in factors that influence crucial conversations (e.g., about performance, incivility, inclusion of diverse identities, controversial topics) and their implications for personal and professional outcomes. As a dispute resolution practitioner, she offers professional development training in these [and related] areas to enhance the conflict management skills, communication and leadership effectiveness of organization employees, education professionals and community groups. She is also a Rule 31 Civil and Family Mediator listed with the Tennessee Supreme Courts.

Diverse teaching experiences and undergraduate studies in secondary education (B.S., Vanderbilt University) inform her interests in communication processes in instructional settings and the conflict-related experiences of faculty, GTAs, and students. Additionally, she facilitates professional development workshops for faculty and GTAs across disciplines in areas related to creating inclusive learning environments, addressing incivility, teaching effectiveness, innovation and classroom management.

Dr. Wright teaches undergraduate/graduate courses and honors seminars in conflict management & communication (CMST 419/524), interpersonal communication (CMST 312/520/625), relational communication/the “dark side” of human interaction (CMST 412/522), and communication theory (CMST 352/520).

Selected Publications:

  • Horan, S., & Wright, C. N. (2018). Bridging campus and community: Religion and violence as expansive and socially relevant instructional communication research. Communication Education 67(4), 481-487.
  • Honeycutt, Honeycutt, J., & Wright, C. N. (2017). Predicting affectionate and aggressive teasing motivation on the basis of self-esteem and imagined interactions with the victim. Southern Journal of Communication, 82(1), 15-26.
  • Wright, C. N. (2017, February 1). “Why Faculty Experiences with Incivility Matter” Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved from https://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2017/02/01/exploring-faculty-experiences-incivility-help-deal-it-essay
  • Roloff, M. E., & Wright, C. N. (2013). Social cognition and conflict. In J. G. Oetzel & S. Ting-Toomey (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of conflict communication (2nd ed.) (pp. 133-160). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage
  • Wright, C. N., & Roloff, M. E. (2013). The influence of type of teasing and outcome on the negative experiences of teasers. Human Communication, 16(2), 95-107.
  • Wright, C. N. (2012). Educational orientation and upward influence: An examination of students’ conversations about disappointing grades. Communication Education, 61(3), 271-289.