M. Kelly Carr
Klein Family School of Communications Design
Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park
B.S., M.S., Florida State University
I became interested in public discourse during my junior year of college, in a class about rhetoric. I was particularly fascinated by discourse about the law and the perpetual struggle toward the goals of defining and achieving justice. I knew then that I was headed for graduate school. As a significant bonus to studying what I wanted, I found my career goal in my source of funding for graduate school—teaching!
After finishing my master's degree in speech communication, I worked as a project manager for training and educational multimedia. I missed both teaching and research, so I began doctoral work at the University of Maryland, College Park, where I studied legal rhetoric and public address.
I find that my research questions are often motivated by classroom discussions, and I love bringing my findings back to the classroom. My research explores the shift from equality to diversity in discourse about race, and my dissertation focuses on the U.S. Supreme Court's treatment of affirmative action in higher education. I have presented my work at both regional and national conferences.
I believe that studying oral communication gives students an opportunity to find their voices, both literally and figuratively. By understanding the principles and practicing the habits of communication, students build confidence in their abilities to articulate their ideas, needs and beliefs. Moreover, they learn how to listen to others in an open yet discerning manner. As a teacher, it's gratifying to see a student's hard work rewarded when a more confident, organized and perceptive person walks out of the classroom than walked in.
I began teaching at UB in 2007. I particularly enjoy the faculty's spirited commitment to their students, as well as the students' determination to squeeze practical knowledge out of every learning situation. Our students need little encouragement to apply classroom concepts to their own lives, and this makes me happy.