Summer 2014 News and Notes


Dr. Elisia Cohen (r) with Dean Dan O’Hair and Senior Lecturer Cyndy Miller

Dear Students, Friends, and Colleagues,

Thank you for your interest in the Department of Communication at the University of Kentucky. At present, we support over 400 major students and 100 minor students, and we will enroll over 3,000 students in seats for courses this fall.  To help with this growth, we are welcoming seven faculty to the Department of Communication, including five new faculty and two returning faculty who join the department from other appointments at UK:


Dr. Jeannette Sutton

Dr. Jeannette Sutton joins our faculty as Director of Risk Sciences and Tenure-track Assistant Professor of Communication from the University of Colorado – Colorado Springs. She will be teaching our risk and crisis communication courses in the spring and hosting the first-of-its-kind national risk science communication workshop this fall (details to come in September!).

We are delighted to report hiring three lecturers with expertise in social influence. Dr. Kim Stoltzfus joins our faculty after earning her PhD from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She will be teaching lower and upper division students in our organizational communication track, including a new offering for majors entitled “COM 326: Communication Strategies for Professional Excellence” that is designed to meet the university’s upper-level “GCCR” or graduation communication and composition skills requirement. Ms. Jenna Haugen is working on completing her PhD from the University of Kansas. Ms. Haugen will be teaching courses in advanced persuasive speaking, interpersonal, and organizational communication.  Third, Mr. Adam Parrish joins the department as a Lecturer in interpersonal communication and health communication. Mr. Parrish is completing his PhD at the University of Kentucky, and he has spent nearly two years as a project manager for the Rural Cancer Prevention Center.


Dr. Kimberly Parker

Dr. Kimberly Parker joins us as an Associate Professor in Media Arts and Studies with a secondary appointment in Communication; her primary responsibilities will include directing the College’s i-NET initiative. This fall, you will find her teaching COM 482: Persuasion for our majors. She moves to Lexington after spending time as a tenured faculty member at Bellarmine University.


Dr. Anthony Limperos

We also have two faculty members who have moved to the Department from other units in the College who are eager to teach communication majors. Dr. Anthony Limperos (Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University) is an Assistant Professor in the department who will teach COM 449: Mass Media and Social Influence. Dr. Limperos is known for his research on “serious games” and was featured this past year in local news (see:

Dr. Jeff VanCleave (Ph.D., University of Kansas) has returned to the Department as a Senior Lecturer. He will continue to direct the Department and College’s communication lab (currently named the MC3) while teaching courses in persuasive speaking, risk and crisis communication, and persuasion.


Dr. Jeff VanCleave

This summer has afforded many of our faculty and students opportunities to gain experiences in internships and education abroad programs. In this newsletter, Dr. Shari Veil reports on her trip with her COM 535: Risk and Crisis Communication students to Ireland. Dr. Kevin Real participated with college faculty exploring potential dual degree offerings with partners in China.

Dr. Shari Veil at the Cliffs of Moher in western Ireland this summer.

Dr. Shari Veil at the Cliffs of Moher in western Ireland this summer.

We are also delighted to share that Dr. Shari Veil received a promotion this summer to become Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs. During this year, Dr. Veil will continue to serve as the Department’s Director of Advising and Student Success. Dr. Alan DeSantis also is serving a dual role for the College by  welcoming 25 new first-year students in the College to our living learning community called “CI (Communication & Information) CONNECT” this August in Champions Court I. Please let Dr. DeSantis ( know if you are a local alumnus interested in giving back by offering to mentor or share your experiences with our incoming students. Finally, Ms. Cyndy Miller is helping me organize our department’s first student-professional networking event. We are calling this event “professional-amateur day.” Stay tuned for more information… it will be held in the community and at the Boone Center (for lunch) on October 29th, 2014.

Dr. Allison Scott (l) and Dr. Matthew Savage (r) at this year's Kentucky Conference on Health Communication

Dr. Allison Scott (l) and Dr. Matthew Savage (r) at this year’s Kentucky Conference on Health Communication

Faculty members in our department continue to make major contributions to research at the University that positively affects the Commonwealth.  Drs. Matthew Savage and Allison Scott have partnered with the College of Dentistry and were awarded a $1.5 million investment to support an oral health literacy campaign with Morehead State University that was recently recognized by Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Somerset), the Appalachian Regional Commission, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). My work with the CDC-funded Rural Cancer Prevent also received notice of a 5-year renewal supporting $3.75 million for community-based rural cancer prevention services.

Last, but certainly not least, our wonderful students provided us with a report of many of the honors that they received this past year. We have so many students in communication who go “above and beyond” their expected responsibilities as students to bring honor to themselves and to our department. In this newsletter you will find a list of awards our majors reported to us during 2013-2014, including our Outstanding Sophomore, Junior, and Senior Scholarship Award winners.  Click here to read more about our student award winners. Also, click here to read about recent alumni accomplishments. On behalf of the faculty and staff, I offer you congratulations!

As we begin our new academic year, we hope that you will be in touch with us to share your news of personal and professional success.


All the best,

Elisia L. Cohen, Ph.D

Department Chair, Department of Communication