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Courtney N. Wright

Profile Information

School of Communication Studies
Associate Professor
Faculty Fellow, Tennessee Teaching & Learning Center

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. 

Representative Publications and Media Reports.

Honeycutt, J., & Wright, C. N. (in press). Predicting affectionate and aggressive teasing motivation on the basis of self-esteem and imagined interactions with the victim. Southern Journal of Communication.

Wright, C. N. (2017, February 1). "Why Faculty Experiences with Incivility Matter" Inside Higher Ed. 

Wright, C. N. (2016, October 4). "Framing Classroom Incivility" Inside Higher Ed.  

Wright, C. N., & Roloff, M. E. (2015). You should just know why I’m upset: Expectancy violation theory and the influence of mind reading expectations (MRE) on responses to relational problems. Communication Research Reports, 32(1), 10-19.

Wright, C. N. (2012). Educational orientation and upward influence: An examination of students' conversations about disappointing grades. Communication Education61(3), 271-289. 

(2015, March 21). "Read My Mind!" or "Read My Lips": Relationships, Mind Reading, and Expectations. Apis Communication Science. 

(2015, January 14). “Do You Need Your Partner to be a Mind Reader?” Psychology Today. [Based upon mind reading expectations research article (Wright & Roloff, 2015)].

(2014, February). Getting students to talk about those disappointing gradesThe Teaching Professor. [Based upon academic disappointment/grade conversation research (Wright, 2013)]. 

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