The Transformation Project

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Transformation Project Associates

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Jess AlbertsJess Alberts, President's Professor, focuses on conflict in personal and professional relationships. She is particularly interested in marital disagreements, how couples divide up domestic chores, and how they conduct their daily interactions. In addition, she explores ways to reduce workplace bullying and to improve legal negotiations and community mediation practices. Because of her experiences studying (and participating in) marital conflict, she appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show to discuss how couples can fight and complain more effectively.

Benjamin BroomeBenjamin Broome, professor, is an intercultural communication scholar whose work centers on the theory and practice of sustainable dialogue and its role in peacebuilding. His research is focused on finding ways to help groups, organizations, and communities respond to conflict through dialogue rather than violence. To do this, he and his colleagues have developed consensus-based processes that allow groups in conflict to move beyond the differences that divide them. By helping them envision a collective future, they are able to work together in realizing joint goals.

Professor Broome has facilitated dozens of workshops in North America, Europe, the eastern Mediterranean, and Australasia. Educational institutions, government agencies, professional organizations, large corporations, and Native American Tribes have sought his assistance. Much of his work over the past two decades has focused on peacebuilding efforts in Cyprus, where he was initially a U.S. Fulbright scholar and later worked with the United Nations Development Program and several diplomatic missions.

Sarah TracySarah J. Tracy, professor, studies stressful workplace issues such as burnout, work-life balance, faking emotions, and workplace bullying, as well as positive types of communication such as compassion, engagement, and generosity.  Through hanging out in the backstage areas of organizations and talking to employees, she has provided insight on correctional officers, cruise ship activity directors, 911-calltakers, and medical staff.  She works with a vibrant group of professors, graduate students, and community members as co-director of The Transformation Project, examining new possibilities related to collaboration, health, and work-life wellness.  She is author of two books (on on organizational change and another on research methods) and more than 60 published essays. Her favorite courses to teach include “Communication and The Art of Happiness,” “Emotion and Organizations," "Being a Leader" and "Advanced Qualitative Research Methods."  Professor Tracy aims to develop peoples’ 'on the court' practice in their work, scholarship, and life—where they not only learn 'about' but also learn 'to be.'

Linda Lederman, professor and director of the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication
Uttaran Dutta, assistant professor at Arizona State University
Heewon Kim, assistant professor at Arizona State University
Elissa Adame, assistant research professor at Arizona State University
Heather Elaine Canary (alumna), associate professor at University of Utah
Emily Cripe (alumna), assistant professor at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania
Kendra Knight (alumna), assistant professor at Christopher-Newport University
Pamela Lutgen-Sandvik (alumna), associate professor at North Dakota State University
Yvonne Montoya (alumna), assistant professor at Colorado State University-Pueblo
Sarah Riforgiate (alumna), assistant professor at Kansas State University
Kendra Rivera (alumna), associate professor at California State University San Marcos
Amy Way (alumna), assistant professor at Villanova University
Charee M. Thompson (alumna), assistant professor at Ohio University
Jennifer Scarduzio (Alumna), assistant professor at University of Kentucky
Shawna Malvini Redden (alumna), assistant professor at California State University Chico
Leslie Ramos Salazar (alumna), assistant professor at West Texas A&M University
Tim Huffman (alumnus), assistant professor at St. Louis University
Justin Boren (alumnus), associate professor at Santa Clara University
Lou Clark (alumna), assistant professor and director of Clinical Skills at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

The Transformation Project is pleased to offer its doctoral research associates competitive opportunities for conference travel funding. Below are excerpts of various projects and trainings they have been able to present and complete with the support of The Transformation Project, as well as formal initiative roles.

Bailey Oliver

  • Conference: Southern States Communication Association (April 2016)
  • Type of Presentation: Individual Paper presented at Self-Submitted on Half Sibling Autoethnography Panel
    • At the 2015 Conflict Summit, Bailey presented excerpts from an emerging narrative of her half sibling experience. After enormous support, encouragement, and feedback was provided through conversations within initiative members, Bailey expanded the deconstructed narrative into an autoethnography, using her experiences speak with overall literature on conflict common in nontraditional family dynamics. Thus, this project began with her original research on the dialectical tensions in blended families where she uncovered conflict management strategies utilized by blended family members. After extending this research to include a turning points graph of her own experiences, Bailey quickly realized the conflict management strategies from her previous study were evident in her own lived experiences. In order to provide these rich and important findings in a medium easily accessible to the general public and those currently experiencing these tensions (i.e., blended family members and half siblings), she constructed an autoethnography of blended family conflict and created a Half Sibling Autoethnography Panel at the 2016 Southern States Communication Association conference. During her individual presentation on this panel, Bailey used her autoethnography to highlight common issues of conflict, as well as conflict management techniques successful in promoting positive and resilient family relationships.

Jessica Kamrath  (Graduate Student coordinator: 2016 - present) 

  • Conference(s): Creating Course Leaders Workshop (St. Andrews Club and Conference Centre, Toronto; Summer 2015); Being a Leader Course (Clemson University; Summer 2016)
  • Type of Presentation: N/A
    • Jessica studies ontological/phenomenological approaches to teaching and learning, specifically the areas of happiness and leadership. An ontological/phenomenological approach focuses on a level of mastery that leaves the student being in a new way rather than epistemological learning, which focuses on knowing. The approach provides access to transformation, leaving those engaged with the approach access to be in a new way. In Summer 2015, Jessica attended “Creating Course Leaders” in Toronto, which focused on mastering the principles and effective delivery of the ontological/phenomenological access to leadership. The course was an intensive 58 hours of workshops and assignments to master the effective delivery, course content, course distinctions, and method to create the access necessary for students to discover for themselves the distinctions for the effective exercise of leadership. She also attended a seven-day intensive course in Summer 2016 at Clemson University to advance her research and mastery of the material. Jessica continues to research students' and teachers' experiences engaging with the approach.She teaches courses using the approach at the undergraduate level and works as part of a teaching team at both the undergraduate and doctoral level, in addition to leading workshops, such as a leadership workshop at the CLAS Student Leader Night.

Matt Donovan

  • Conference(s): Lecole (Learning Community for Ontological/Phenomenological Leadership and Education) annual conference (UCLA; Summer 2015); Creating Course Leaders (Erhard-Jensen Phenomenological/Ontological Initiative: Toronto; Summer 2015); ICNAP (International Coalition of North American Phenomenologists (ASU; Summer 2016); Being a Leader training (Clemson University; Summer 2016)
  • Type of Presentation/output: Field Report (Lecole); Training Certification (Erhard-Jensen Phenomenological/Ontological Initiative); Conference Paper (ICNAP); Industry Training (Being A Leader)
    • Matt's primary research interests broadly focus on how and why people think and act the way they do, most often in organizational contexts. His research involvements related to the Transformation Project primarily center around transformational experiences, utilizing ontological and phenomenological approaches, that have a profoundly positive impact on individuals’ lives and increase awareness about human potential. Over the past two years Matt has attended several conferences and training opportunities, as well as presented about aspects of phenomenological-ontological methods of inquiry across North America. Matt’s research continues promote new approaches to education and provide opportunities for the HDSHC to offer courses in transformational leadership at both the undergraduate and graduate levels

Sarah Jones (Website Liaison: April 2016 - present))

In her role as Website Lisison, Sarah works alongside the Transformation Project Co-Directors and the Hugh Downs School Communications Specialist, Lynne MacDonald, to revise and maintain the Transformation Project website; this includes soliciting materials from all initiative members, researching current interactive resources and classroom materials, ensuring updated publications and functional web links, and collaborating on design.

  • Conference: Organization for the Study of Communication, Language & Gender (OSCLG), 38th Annual Conference (October 2015)
  • Type of Presentation: Competitively Selected Individual Paper Session
    • At the Organization for the Study of Communication, Language, and Gender (OSCLG) conference on “Gender & Sexuality,” Sarah presented her work on negotiating trans* identity in the workplace. The project examines the historical landscape of difference in organizational communication scholarship with special attention to trans* identities, presenting standpoint theory as an epistemological frame for organizations to acknowledge the consequences of hierarchical organizational voice, thereby providing an opportunity for emancipation and transformation. Sarah argues that the standpoints inherent in negotiations of trans* identity in the workplace must be elevated if understanding is to be brought, if emancipation and transformation are to be achieved, and if critical approaches in organizational communication are to evolve. Indeed, if organizations are to exist as communities where trans* employees’ are not ‘othered’ for their identity and where their unique perspectives on organizational processes are solicited, it begins with facilitating accounts of their social worlds of as they navigate the workplace, such that acknowledgment, accommodation, and acceptance of trans* employees are seen as integral to effective organizational function.

Versha Anderson (Graduate Student Coordinator: 2014 - 2016)

Versha's research intersects intercultural and international communication, with a focus on conflict and negotiation, facilitation, dialogue, and peacebuilding. She has presented numerous papers and projects connected to her areas of expertise at the local, national, and international level and has published at both the local and national level with the support of The Transformation Project. Last year, she attended an international peace conference in the Hague, Netherlands culminating the 100 year anniversary of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, where she conducted interviews and participant observations while serving as a volunteer student coordinator for the event. For her dissertation, Versha traveled to Munich, Germany to conduct a qualitative research project studying positive intercultural interactions between German citizens and Syrian refugees.

Luke Brenneman

Rosalie Fisher

Elizabeth Eger (Alumna), Doctoral Candidate at University of Colorado Boulder