Amy Gaffney

Amy Gaffney, director of the Oral Communication Center, co-authored an article recently published in the journal Communication Education. “Spewing nonsense [or not]: Communication competence and socialization in optics and photonics workplaces” was written with colleagues at Rochester Institute of Technology, California State University Monterey Bay, and West Virginia University.

The article presents results from a study of “how managers, entry-level employees, and hiring professionals in the optics and photonics industry socialize each other to enact the communication norms and expectations in their workplaces.”

Using transcripts of interviews with 33 employees at 15 companies, the authors identified five common themes related to “what optics and photonics employees consider competent communication (proactive questioning, efficient decision-making, familial-like humor, tactful translation, and fluent modality switching) and three socialization processes (presumed competence, informal mentoring, and structured training).”

This research was the first phase of an ongoing study, funded by the National Science Foundation, that examines “the optics and photonics workforce and how entry-level employees transfer their knowledge of math, physics, and communication into their work.”

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