The Transformation Project


September 29, 2017 – Dr. Gail Fairhurst, Hugh Downs School Research Fellow. “What the Hell is Water:” Translating Research on Framing into Practice

Gail Fairhurst

How do managers use communication to frame one reality over another? How do leadership attributions form from this? In this talk, Dr. Fairhurst will focus on the process of translating research on framing to help understand how managers and other organizational members can be generally smart and articulate, but unaware of the context- shaping features of their language. She will also focus on how we can use research on problem framing to understand how managers prefigure problems consistent with their preferred authority styles.

Gail T. Fairhurst is a Distinguished University Research Professor of Organizational Communication at the University of Cincinnati. She specializes in organizational and leadership communication processes, including those involving paradox, problem-centered leadership, and framing. She is the author of three books, including Discursive Leadership: In Conversation with Leadership Psychology and The Power of Framing: Challenging the Language of Leadership, which is now being translated into Mandarin. She has also published over 80 articles and chapters in communication and management journals and books, including The Academy of Management Annals, Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, Organization Studies, Human Relations, and Management Communication Quarterly. She is a Fellow of the International Communication Association, Distinguished Scholar of the National Communication Association, and Fulbright Scholar.

Friday, September 29th, 2017 from 1-2pm

College of Design South (CDS) #234, Tempe Campus


April 19, 2018 – Dr. Mark Orbe, Hugh Downs School Research Fellow. “Engaging Communities through Intercultural Communication

Mark Orbe

Dr. Orbe will draw from his experience in teaching, research, and consulting to highlight the importance of promoting cultural competency and cultural humility as a means toward developing empowered communicators. In this talk, Dr. Orbe will use narratives, experiences, and ideas from his scholarship to show the essential nature of intercultural communication in students’ future careers. Additionally, Dr. Orbe will discuss the important intersection of intercultural communication with community engagement and health communication.

Mark P. Orbe (Ph.D., Ohio University, 1993) is an internationally known educator, author, and consultant/trainer. His teaching and research interest's center on the inextricable relationship between culture and communication as played out in a number of contexts (intrapersonal, interpersonal, intergroup, mass media). In addition to publishing over a dozen books, he has also presented over 100 papers at regional, national, and international academic conferences, and published over 100 articles in scholarly journals and chapters in edited books.

In addition to his award-winning teaching, research, and service accomplishments, Dr. Orbe has actively sought out opportunities – across the U.S. and abroad – to utilize his expertise beyond the walls of the university. Through his consulting company, Dumela Communications, he has worked with a number of corporate, educational, health-care and community-based organizations in terms of promoting communication competence in an increasingly diverse society.

Thursday, April 19th, 2018, 3-4pm

 Ira D. Payne Educational Hall, L1 – 20, Tempe Campus

Transformation Project Writing Retreats

In the first Transformation Project Writing Retreat, 20 graduate students and faculty spent several days in March 2018, in Payson, AZ. The goal of this retreat was to create space for students and faculty to work on on-going research projects with the encouragement, support, and collaboration of the group of scholars.

The retreat included structured reflection and goal setting, focused work sessions, and collaborative spaces in order to best facilitate the on-going research efforts of students and faculty. Additionally, free time and shared meals allowed for time together as colleagues to have fun and continue to develop relationships with others in ways that busy school schedules rarely allow.

Students and faculty alike came away encouraged and refueled from the retreat. Though significant work was accomplished on existing projects and new collaborations were born, most walked away talking about how refreshing and revitalizing it was to get time away from campus with other passionate scholars and friends. 

L-R Assistant Professor Heewon Kim, Herberger Professor Sarah Tracy, and President's Professor Jess Alberts

Writing and collaborating

L-R Graduate students Carlos Flores, Dayna Kloeber, and Cristopher Tietsort

The second writing retreat, during the summer of 2018, featured a mindfulness workshop. 

Graduate student  Sophia Town presenting to the audience


2016 - 2017

Michael KimmelMarch 24, 2017 - Michael Kimmel, "Angry White Men: American Masculinity at the End of an Era"
In this lecture drawn from the book ANGRY WHITE MEN, Kimmel will discuss why men seem so angry, and the different groups that organize and express that anger -- from men's rights groups to men who "go postal" in their workplaces, to angry white boys, to the extreme right wing.



William HamrickApril 18, 2017 - William Hamrick, visiting scholar "Kindness and the Good Society"
will discuss the relationship between kindness and social justice and explain their roles in creating a practical wisdom for good citizenship. He also will explore their influence on the communication difficulties experienced by contemporary U.S. Americans across economic and political lines, with a special focus on current immigration issues.

A Way OutDecember 3–4, 2016 - A Way Out, “Reframing How We Communicate Compassion”, a film by Rosalie Fisher
This documentary film is about the events that took place on August 20, 2013, at an Elementary School in Decatur, Georgia, when a young man came to the school with the intention of carrying out a mass shooting.


intercultural studentsNovember 19, 2016 - Intercultural Dialogue Workshop
This workshop is an opportunity for students to participate in a dialogue with other student leaders to have meaningful conversations about how to create a more diverse and inclusive campus community.


Lawrence FreyOctober 13, 2016 - Larry Frey, “Takin’ it to the Streets and the Seats: Promoting Social Justice through Communication Activism Research and Teaching”
This presentation explains a new perspective—communication activism—that highlights the unique and central role of communication in promoting social justice, explicates theoretical commitments and applied practices of this perspective, offers concrete examples of such research and pedagogy and identifies lessons learned from that scholarship about being part of the solution.

2015 - 2016

Democracy ConferenceDecember 5, 2015 - Facilitating Structured Dialogue Groups: Characteristics of the Facilitator Role
This workshop is part of the Democracy Conference 2015 sponsored by Arizona State University. The conference will bring together academics, students, practitioners, researchers, appointed and elected public officials, teachers, administrators, members of community organizations, and all those interested in participatory democracy, public engagement, and citizenship education.

Thomas SochaOctober 5-6, 2015 - Thomas Socha, visiting scholar "Viewing Research Methods from a Lifespan Perspective" and "Positive Family communication: creating a new Norman"
Thomas J. Socha is a leading researcher of the communication dynamics of parent-child relationships and a prolific contributor to the literature on lifespan and family.



Conflict Transformation ProjectApril 24, 2015 - 2015 Conflict Transformation Summit 
During this one-day event, scholars and practitioners will meet to share findings, ideas, and strategies for the successful management of conflict in a variety of contexts. The day's activities will include panels, workshops, and roundtables on a variety of topics, including leadership, civil dialogue, marital mediation, and social transformation.