Academic Courses


Hear from students and learn about Dr. Ballard’s classes in this short feature.

NOTE: She did this interview after an event for one of her favorite charities—Run for the Water (pictured on her shirt). Learn more about it at

undergraduate course

Time Matters explores a range of “timely” issues emanating from societal shifts in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. These include increasing “work-life” tensions, shrinking vacation time, invisible work, information overload and distraction, multitasking, 24/7 communication, fast fashion, chronic sleep deprivation, perfectionism, and a host of other time-related issues that shape and are shaped by our communication behaviors. To provide more insight into these and other contemporary challenges—which constitute an area of scholarship called chronemics—we consider the human experience of time across diverse social, cultural, and historical contexts. Drawing from positive communication scholarship, we will also consider ways to improve our own quality of life through our experience of time including mindfulness practices.

graduate courses

On Time, Temporality, and Theory Building is an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary seminar exploring of one of the most central dimensions of human experience: Time. It is designed both for students interested in concepts that reflect underlying issues of time and temporality (for instance, involving social, behavioral, and biological processes, framed within historical and/or contemporary contexts, resultant from cultural norms and institutions, etc.) as well as for students interested in concepts that also reflect surface issues of time and temporality (for instance, new communication technologies and anytime/anywhere communication, speed, busyness, the Slow Movement, crisis communication, mindfulness, flow, multi-tasking, communication overload, “work-life” issues, lifespan issues, etc.). As part of the class, students engage a particular area of communication, or related research and consider how it might be better informed through (re)considering its relationship to time. Additionally, the process of theory-building (itself a temporal issue) is explored in detail offering students some grounding in the long-term process of theory construction and refinement.

Groups2, Teams, and Communities offers a broad overview of the major concepts and theories of group and intergroup communication processes. This includes a comparative examination of “top-down” models developed in traditionally studied contexts alongside newer “bottom-up” models that address the unique (inter)group dynamics found in less formal settings (such as communities of practice). The course is organized around a series of fundamental issues and topical concepts concerning communication in and between small groups, identity-based groups, teams, and communities across a variety of contexts.

Measurement Workshop: Scale Development and Instrument Design is a hands-on course that provides in-depth instruction on issues related to scale development and questionnaire design, ranging from establishing validity to increasing response rate. This class is well-suited both for individuals already engaged in a specific line of research and poised to develop appropriate measurement instruments as well as those new to an area of scholarship who expect to need such tools in the future.

For classes available in the current and upcoming semesters, please visit

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