Back to top

Courtney N. Wright


School of Communication Studies
Associate Professor & Director of Undergraduate Studies
Honors Program Director

Dr. Courtney Wright (Ph.D., Northwestern University) joined the faculty in 2008. Her interests are in interpersonal communication, conflict management, instructional communication, inclusion, communicating differences, and training and development. She offers training in these [and related] areas to enhance the communication effectiveness of organizations, education professionals and community groups. Dr. Wright also facilitates interactive workshops and mentoring to address the unique needs of faculty/GTAs across disciplines for effective teaching and classroom management (e.g., incivility, difficult dialogues). She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in interpersonal communication (CMST 312/510), conflict communication (CMST 419/560), the “dark side” of human interaction (CMST 412), and communication theory (CMST 352/510).

Research. Dr. Wright's interdisciplinary research program examines interpersonal communication processes in instructional settings (e.g., faculty-student, trainer-client relationships) and close relationships. With an emphasis on conflict and social cognition, her research focuses upon three communication behaviors through which the darker sides of interpersonal communication can manifest: (1) social confrontation (difficult dialogues), (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 if 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 and the experiences of underrepresented faculty, GTAs, and students. She also examines challenging interactions (e.g., difficult dialogues, incivility), engaging diverse identities, coping strategies, motivation and experiences of disappointment among these populations. 

293 Communications Bldg. (Office 274)
Office Hours: 
Thursday 12:30-1:30pm and by appointment

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 & Theory
Conflict Management
Inclusion, Difficult Dialogues and Incivility
Instructional Communication & Teacher-Training
Communication Training & Development