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Communication Studies - Masters

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Debra Ford

Courtesy Professor, Communication Studies
Leadership Program Director & Graduate Advising Specialist, School of Nursing
Ph.D. University of Kansas

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Debra J. Ford is program director of leadership majors in the MS and DNP programs at the University of Kansas (KU) School of Nursing.  She has joint appointments in Communication Studies at the University  of Kansas-Lawrence, and in the Department of Health Policy and Management, University of Kansas School of Medicine.  Previously, she was associate and assistant dean of Student Affairs for the KU School of Nursing. In that role, she was responsible for collaborating with other associate deans and the dean on strategic planning, policy development, annual budgeting and fiscal monitoring, developing and implementing new initiatives, reviewing and revising admission requirements and evaluating quality of all missions for the School. She is a member of the executive committee for the Kansas Action Coalition, charged with implementing at the state level the recommendations from the Institute of Medicine’s Future of Nursing report (2010).  She teaches leadership, organizational communication, health communication, and organizational rhetoric courses. Her research focuses upon strategies used by organizations to influence public policy, with a specific focus on health policy; interprofessional healthcare teams, leadership, group communication processes in public-private partnerships, and high reliability organizations.  Please click here to view Debra's full CV.

Angela Gist-Mackey

Assistant Professor
Ph.D. University of Missouri
116E Bailey

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Angela N. Gist-Mackey (Ph.D., University of Missouri) is Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Kansas with an expertise in organizational communication. After her career in the advertising industry where she served as a Senior Account Executive managing campaigns for regional, national, and global consumer and business-to-business brands, she decided to pursue a doctorate in communication. Dr. Gist-Mackey is an interpretive critical scholar who largely researches issues of social mobility and power related to organizational contexts. Her program of research frequently combines three areas of interest: social class, social identity, and organizational culture. Her most recent research analyzed the experiences of the unemployed across social class groups (working and upper/middle class) while they managed joblessness through organizational memberships. She also examines the identity work and negotiation of individuals’ experiences as they cope with stigma. Dr. Gist-Mackey teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in organizational communication, interviewing, organizational culture, identity, and qualitative methods.  Please click here to view Angela's full CV.

Joy Koesten

Lecturer, Department of Communication Studies
Ph.D. University of Kansas


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Joy Koesten (Ph.D., University of Kansas) has over 30 years experience working in business and academia. She and her husband have owned and operated a financial planning and wealth management firm in Overland Park Kansas since 1996, where they currently employ 14 professional staff members. While no longer active in the day-to-day operations of the firm, Dr. Koesten was instrumental in running the organization during the first three years of its start up while pursuing her PhD in Communication Studies at the University of Kansas. She remains on staff as a communication consultant today.

Since obtaining her degree, Dr. Koesten has served as a tenure-track faculty member in the Department of Communication at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, as an assistant research professor in the Department of Family Medicine at KU Medical Center and as assistant dean of the Graduate School at the University of Kansas. Dr. Koesten currently teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in health communication, research methods, communication theory, interpersonal and organizational communication at the University of Kansas, Communication Studies Department.

Dr. Koesten’s research has focused on family communication, interpersonal communication and health. Her current research is focused on exploring and understanding how communication within the family and the systems within which they function (i.e. work, school, community), affects health and health decisions across the lifespan. With over 40 peer reviewed publications and presentations, her research has been published in Communication Monographs, Journal for Applied Communication Research, The Journal of Family Communication, Communication Education, Communication Studies, The Journal of Sociolinguistics, and The Journal for Financial Planning, Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Journal of Rural Community Psychology, and Health Communication. . In 2007, her work on stress and burnout in the financial planning industry won the national award for cutting-edge research in practice management at the Financial Planning Association Annual Conference and Exposition in San Diego, California.

As a founding member of the Greater Kansas City Mental Health Coalition, Dr. Koesten serves as an advocate for individuals and families who are challenged with mental health and addiction disorders. Her most recent publications were for the Encyclopedia of Health Communication and focused on mental health and open dialogue treatment for schizophrenia. She currently serves on the board of Jackson County CASA whose mission is to be the child’s voice in court. CASA recruits, trains, and supports lay volunteers like myself to act as advocates on behalf of the best interest of abused and neglected children.

Dr. Koesten lives in Overland Park, Kansas with her husband Stewart. Please click here to view Joy's full CV.

Angie Pastorek

Program Manager & Faculty
Ph.D. University of Texas
Edwards Campus, Best 250B

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Angie Pastorek (Ph.D., The University of Texas at Austin) manages the four-course Professional Workplace Communication Graduate Certificate program at the KU-Edwards campus in Overland Park. Her teaching and research interests center around organizational culture and communication practices, membership negotiation, and organizational change. She teaches graduate courses in organizational communication, covering topics such as change management, decision making, conflict management, professional writing and speaking skills, organizational culture, team development, and engaging workplace diversity. Prior to joining the KU faculty in 2015, Angie worked for more than 10 years developing and delivering training programs and communication resources for global companies including Siemens Healthcare and Deloitte. Please click here to view Angie's full CV.

Tracy Callaway Russo

Emeritus Professor of Communication Studies
Ph.D. University of Kansas
104A Bailey Hall

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Tracy Russo is Emeritus Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Kansas. She teaches classes in organizational communication and communication theory at both Edwards and Lawrence campuses and provides business communication coaching and training for organizations. Her current research interests are communication and learning among generations and communication processes involved in attachment, trust, and feedback.  She received a Pew National Fellowship for Carnegie Scholars in 2001 to research presence in online environments and was awarded a Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence at KU in 2003.  

Before her academic work, Tracy worked for Knight-Ridder Financial Information for 17 years in roles ranging from assistant copy editor to Vice President Editorial and later Vice President Operations. Tracy earned a doctorate in Communication Studies from the University of Kansas in 1995. She has an MBA from the Rockhurst University’s Executive Fellows program, an MS in TV-Radio from Syracuse University, and a BA in Radio-TV from Indiana University. Please click here to view Tracy's full CV.

View a complete list of Communication Studies Faculty.