Gary Radford

Professor of Communication, Chairperson, Department of Communication

Contact Information

Courses

  • Perspectives on Communication
  • Literary and Communication Theory
  • Small Group Communication
  • Research Methods
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Language and Communication

Research

  • European Approaches to Communication
  • Philosophy of Communication
  • Semiotics
  • Cultural Studies
  • Critical Theory

Education

  • BA (First Class with Honors), Sheffield Hallam University, UK
  • MS, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
  • PhD, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey

Profile

I pride myself on getting to know each of my students on a personal level. Research states that the most effective communication is that which takes place in a face-to-face and personal manner, recognizing and valuing the unique aspects of each individual. I try to bring this insight to all of my interactions with the students, both inside the classroom and outside.

Communication theory is a raging battlefield in the United States, and it is wonderful to be in the middle of it. Dominant Anglo/American models of communication, based in technology metaphors, are slowly being challenged by European models of communication, based in metaphors of art and culture. The Anglo/Americans are obsessed with the transmission of messages: how can I send a message further, more quickly, and with the most effectiveness? We have all grown up with a view of communication that turns us all into receivers, essentially machines that process messages. Through my teaching and scholarship, I want to expose students to European theories of communication that recognize the value of human beings, not as receivers or targets, but as people that play an active role in the communication process.

I want to show students that communication always takes place in the context of human relationships, and that meaning is always something that is created by people in unique ways, and not simply transmitted to us by some anonymous sender. Students resist me at first. After all, they want to go into communication professions such as advertising and PR which absolutely depend on Anglo/American conceptions of communication. But, sooner or later, they come around to my way of thinking that the Europeans explain communication much better.

Please visit my personal website

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