Area of Study
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Having joined the faculty in 2000, Catherine Phelan, professor of communication, focuses her research on the ways in which the human and technological interface alters the social domain. Drawing on the traditions of the social sciences and the humanities, her publications include The Digital Evolution of an American Identity (2013). Professor Phelan earned her bachelor’s degree and doctorate from the University of Illinois. Her teaching interests include the role of the press in American democracy, the First Amendment, and conflict mediation.

Recent Courses Taught

Introduction to Communication
Explorations in Communication
Conflict Resolution: Policies and Strategies
Communication Theory
Media and Politics
Communication Law: Freedom of Speech
Seminar: Privacy, Policy & Digital Communication
Methods of Communication Research
Senior Thesis

Selected Publications


  • Waite, C. (2013). The digital evolution of an American identity. New York, NY: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group.
  • Waite, C. K. (2003). Mediation and the communication matrix. New York: Peter Lang.

Juried Articles

  • Waite, C. (2009). “How to study communication.” Journal of Cultural Studies – Critical Studies. (9) 3, 438-445.
  • Waite, C. (2007). “On the evolution of a discipline.” Qualitative Research Reports in Communication. 8, 15-19.
  • Waite, C. K. (2006). “Notions of progress.” Explorations in Media Ecology. 5, 115-125.
  • Kaha, C. W. (2002). “The role of the self in the social world.” Studies in Symbolic Interaction. 25, 215-231.
  • Waite, C. (2011). “The digital evolution of an American identity.” Studies in Symbolic Interaction. (37) 223-235.
  • Phelan, C. W. (2008). “Museum.” In The International Encyclopedia of Communication. (Vol VII, pp. 3168-3170). Malden, MA: Blackwell.
  • Waite, C. (2007). “Outlasting us all.” Critical Studies in Media Communication. 24, 181-182.
  • Kaha, C. W. (1999). “From radio to television: space, sound and motion.” Studies in Symbolic Interaction. 23, 109-124.
  • Kaha, C. W. & D. Engen. (1999). “Moral conversations: A commentary.” College Teaching. 48.
  • Kaha, C. W. (1997). “A syntax of motion: time, space and television.” Cultural Studies. 2, 59-70.
  • Kaha, C. W. (1995). “Mastering technology: Studies in cognitive styles”. College Teaching, 43, 25-27.
  • Kaha, C. W. (1994). “Of boundaries and variable-flex space.” Proteus. 11, 18-21

College Service

  • Member, C.A.P. Subcommittee on Online Learning, 2012-13
  • Member, Task Force Implementation Group for Employer Relations, 2012
  • Member, Institutional Review Board, 2009-13
  • Member, Jurisprudence, Law and Justice Program Committee, 2011-13
  • Member, Prelaw Committee, 2008-11
  • Adviser, Media Board, student run group directing student media, 2001-09, 2012-15
  • Member, Committee on Pandemic Preparedness, 2007

Appointed to the Faculty


Educational Background

Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
B.A., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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