Dr. Michael Robert Dennis joined the department in 2008. His bachelor’s degree in computer science and communication was earned at La Salle University in Philadelphia. He received his M.A. in public affairs/issue management and Ph.D. in health communication from Purdue University. At Purdue, he primarily investigated communication strategies (e.g., health claims on cereal boxes, statistics versus stories, compliance gaining by romantic partners) for inspiring healthy behavior but also researched the effects of adopting computing technologies on social service organizations.
Dr. Dennis is most well-known for scholarship that examines the role of communication in coping with grief and loss. Several of his articles and chapters analyze grief in cultural texts such as eulogies, elegies, self-help books, television programs, cancer support group conversation, and the popular fiction and non-fiction books he has labeled “grief accounts.”
His publications can be found in journals such as Journal of Applied Communication Research, Death Studies, Health Communication, Journal of Sex Research, Communication Currents, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, and Psychological Reports, or as chapters in a variety of edited volumes such as Encyclopedia of Death and the Human Experience, On Meaning, and Engaging Theories in Family Communication: Multiple Perspectives. He is on the editorial board of Death Studies and serves as a reviewer for Preventive Medicine, Small Group Research, and Public Opinion Quarterly, among others.
Mike thoroughly enjoys the students in his Theories of Communication, Health Communication, Communication and Sports, and Public Speaking courses. A retired college soccer and recreational hockey player, he has competed with his Purdue buddies in fantasy baseball and football for over 20 years (before they were performed online) and has even won a few times!