UAH professor Dr. Eletra Gilchrist-Petty — chair of the school’s Communication Arts Department — was recently honored with the Black Caucus Rex Crawley Outstanding Service Award from the National Communication Association.
Gilchrist-Petty teaches a wide variety of communication classes at UAH, including Dark Side of Interpersonal Communication, Research Methods, Public Speaking, Culture and Communication, Small Group Communication, Persuasion, Senior Seminar and Media Writing. Her programs of research focus on instructional communication, interpersonal communication and African American communication from both the quantitative and qualitative perspectives.
Dr. Gilchrist-Petty feels this award has brought her “full circle”
Founded in 1968, the National Communication Association Black Caucus supports the research, service, teaching, professional development and advocacy of its members. The Rex Crawley Outstanding Service Award is presented by the NCA each year, and Gilchrist-Petty received the honor at the NCA national conference in Seattle.
“This award truly feels like a full-circle moment for me. I attended my first National Communication Association conference in 2000 when it was held in Seattle. At the time, I was a young graduate student just learning the ropes. Fast forward 21 years, I’m back in Seattle for our national conference, but this time I’m receiving the Rex Crawley Outstanding Service Award!”Dr. Eletra Gilchrist-Petty, UAH
Gilchrist-Petty said Dr. Rex Crawley was among the first people she met when she became affiliated with the NCA. “He was a longtime professor at Robert Morris University’s School of Communication and Information Systems and he served for many years as an officer with NCA’s Black Caucus,” she said.
Why communication arts?
Heading up the Communication Arts Department at UAH is a source of pride for Gilchrist-Petty, as she said taking communications classes at the University of Alabama gave her an appreciation for the importance of the discipline.
“One thing I love about the communication discipline is that it is very experiential. We not only study theories and concepts, but we actually examine how the literature is experienced in our day-to-day lives in so many areas, including relationships, social media, persuasion and influence, work groups and the media, just to name a few.”Dr. Eletra Gilchrist-Petty, UAH
The path to teaching communication skills took a little longer to evolve for Gilchrist-Petty. “I did not decide to become a professor of communication arts until I took my first communication course as a freshman at the University of Alabama,” she said. “I had a wonderful professor named Mark Nelson, who at the time was working on his dissertation. He is now the Dean of the College of Communication and Information Sciences.”
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