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Courtney N. Wright


School of Communication Studies
Associate Professor

Dr. Wright's interests are in relational communication, conflict management, instructional communication, and diversity and inclusion. She offers seminars and interactive workshops in these and related areas for organizations, education professionals, and community groups. In addition, Dr. Wright facilitates training and mentoring activities to address the unique needs of faculty/GTAs across disciplines and instructional settings in areas related to teaching effectiveness, difficult dialogues, incivility, and classroom management. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in interpersonal communication, conflict communication, the “dark side” of human interaction, and communication theory.

Research. Dr. Wright's interdisciplinary research program examines interpersonal communication processes in instructional settings (e.g., faculty-student relationships) and close relationships, with special attention to the positive and negative implications of relational communication and conflict on well-being. Her research focuses upon three communication behaviors through which the darker sides of interpersonal communication can manifest: (1) social confrontation, (2) social influence, and (3) paradoxical forms of communication (e.g., teasing, the silent treatment). She is particularly interested in the factors that influence if, and how, someone engages in these behaviors and whether the consequences of doing so are constructive or destructive. 

Diverse teaching experiences and undergraduate studies in secondary education inform her interests in communication processes in instructional settings. In this area, she also examines challenging classroom interactions (e.g., faculty-student conversations about grades, incivility), engaging diverse student identities, student motivation and experiences of academic disappointment, and effective classroom management. 

274 Communications Bldg.

Ph.D., Northwestern University - Communication Studies 

M.A., Northwestern University - Communication Studies

B.S., Vanderbilt University - English & Secondary Education, Mathematics minor (TN Teacher Certification Grades 7-12)

Research Interests: 
Interpersonal/Relational Communication
Interpersonal Conflict/Conflict Management
Instructional Communication & Teacher-Training
Diversity & Inclusion
Training & Development