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"She is an excellent teacher, a productive scholar, and active member of [the] campus community."

Image by Joanna Kosinska

Letter from Dr. Knopf

My career is invested in rhetoric and communication studies, in diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility, and advocacy, and in democracy, community, and civic engagement. The importance of communication skills and familiarity with rhetorical techniques for both professional success and civic welfare cannot be understated. I am committed to developing undergraduates’ critical thinking, visual, written, oral, and aural skills, and to encouraging new generations of knowledge-producers through graduate study.

 

Through more than sixteen years of full-time experience, I have affiliated with programs in communication and media, English and speech communication, discourse studies, women’s and gender studies, Africana studies, and sociology - and have taught communication classes for not only communication students but also specifically for childhood education, criminal justice, international studies, and dance and drama students, as well as for general educationIn twenty-plus years of teaching, I have taught more than 30 distinct courses at the 100 (first-year)- through 600 (graduate)-levels in communication, rhetoric, discourse studies, and media. I have also sponsored undergraduate internships, served on senior thesis, master’s thesis, and doctoral dissertation committees, and worked with honors students as the faculty advisor to the Delta Omicron chapter of the Lambda Pi Eta communication honor society.


In my courses, students are exposed to diversity in communication to improve their oral and aural skills, whether in public, interpersonal, or organizational contexts, and to improve their critical thinking for professional and civic engagement. The effectiveness of my teaching can be seen, in part. through a career mean score of 4.5 and a career mode score of 4.6, on a scale 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent) in course-teacher evaluations. Student comments indicate that I make the classroom a welcoming and safe space, that my teaching is energetic and clear, and that I try to make classes fun. As an undergraduate academic advisor to communication and interdisciplinary majors and minors since 2006, I meet with 30 to 40 undergraduate students regularly for scheduling and, occasionally, disciplinary purposes. I help to guide students through the undergraduate degrees and through the internship, employment, and graduate school search and application processes.

Integrating digital resources into my classes since 2004, I am familiar with assorted techniques and technologies for online, hybrid, and hyflex education. At SUNY Cortland, I served on the college’s Online Teaching Group from summer 2020 through Spring 2023 and acted as one of the pilot faculty for the campus switch from Blackboard to D2L. With the onset of COVID-19, I led the pivot from fully in-person to fully online instruction for all eleven sections-per-semester of public speaking. This involved creating asynchronous options for Spring 2020 and then developing a combination of synchronous instruction support and asynchronous resources for the 2020-2021 academic year, including faculty training and the curation and provision of digital materials.  I continue to maintain and update these resources online for public speaking and communication across the curriculum instruction and assessment.

I have served as both a member and chair of departmental curriculum committees in Communication & Media Studies at SUNY Cortland and in English & Communication at SUNY Potsdam. In this capacity, I was -and continue to be- active in both programmatic and course development and assessment. I chaired the Cortland Communication & Media Studies Department Curriculum Committee while it redesigned its Communication Studies major, minor, and concentrations in public relations/advertising, journalism, and popular culture in the 2021-2022 academic year. And I have instigated explorations of new student clubs, microcredential programs, and other innovative curriculum initiatives.

At SUNY Potsdam, I served both the English & Communication Graduate Committee and the college’s Graduate Affairs Committee – bodies that dealt with graduate program development, revision, recruitment, and funding. For the master’s program in discourse studies, I developed and executed a communication audit for the department’s use in considering program revisions, and I created a survey at the request of the program director to assist with recruitment and retention efforts.

Beyond curriculum development and program recruitment, I am experienced in assessment and accreditation practices. I have participated actively in the external review process of my departments at SUNY Cortland and at SUNY Potsdam, and in the Middle States review and accreditation processes at SUNY Cortland, SUNY Potsdam, and the College of St. Rose. I developed the program assessment instruments for the Speech Communication major at SUNY Potsdam, and at SUNY Cortland I developed the assessment rubrics for the public speaking courses and guided the work in crafting the assessment instrument for the Presentation Skills General Education requirement. I have worked with the Convention Committee of the National Communication Association in interpreting survey data and developing survey items for improved member benefits.

In addition to teaching, developing, and assessing curriculum for communication programs at both SUNY Cortland and SUNY Potsdam, I am experienced in promoting those programs, acting as a departmental ambassador at open houses, contributing to the development of promotional materials, and implementing new ideas to boost the department’s visibility, such as affiliation with Project Censored, the U.S. Media Literacy Week, and Free Speech Week.

As a rhetorician and qualitative sociologist, specializing in political communication, I study rhetoric of the popular arts for what, and how, it communicates about our socio-political world. I am especially interested in visual rhetoric and concerns of gender, race, health, community, and democracy/civic engagement. My work explores what pop culture texts can mean to/for their audiences and recognizes the myriad ways in which pop culture interacts with our daily lives. Invested in visual-verbal rhetoric, my scholarship considers such things as politics in a converged media environment, discourses of war,  representations of gender and race, and discourses of health and death. Heavily interdisciplinary, my research recognizes the “multivocal” aspect of political discourse and contributes to the growing scholarship that seeks a more complete understanding of American political processes and institutions by giving attention to rhetoric that contributes to cultural meaning beyond traditional or legacy venues.

With more than 50 publications and over 140 presentations, executed while teaching 9- and 12-plus-credit teaching loads, my scholarship has been recognized with several honors, including the John P. Wilson Fellowship of the New York State Communication Association, the Past Officers’ Award and the Distinguished Research Fellowship of the Eastern Communication Association (ECA), the SUNY Potsdam President’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities,  faculty membership to Phi Kappa Phi, and multiple conference "top paper" acknowledgments with the ECA. As a recognized expert in the intersection of politics, the military, and comics, I have been interviewed for features with the Washington Post, Newsy, and Back Issue Magazine, as well as for podcasts, and I have been an invited speaker with the National Park Services in Boston, Microsoft, Border Town Comic-Con in Oregon, San Diego Comic Con, Radford University, the Sorbonne, The Ohio State University, and Fairleigh Dickinson University.

I have been a regular participant in the National Communication Association (NCA) and the ECA since 2002 and in the Rhetoric Society of America (RSA) since 2007. With lifetime memberships in NCA, ECA, RSA, and the New York State Communication Association (NYSCA), I am deeply invested in the discipline and integrated into the larger communication and rhetoric communities. I have chaired both the Political Communication Interest Group and the Rhetoric and Public Address interest group of ECA. I have served the Michael Pfau Outstanding Article award committee of the Political Communication division of NCA, the NCA Convention Committee, and the membership and student paper award committees of the Peace, War & Social Conflict section of the American Sociological Association. I am a Past President of NYSCA. I twice served on a conference planning committee for the interdisciplinary Digital Frontiers/Digital Cultural Studies Cooperative non-profit community. Additionally, I am a co-editor for the Routledge Advances in Comics Studies series, a member of the inaugural editorial board for the Home Front Studies journal, and I served the editorial board for the Lambda Pi Eta Journal during its brief tenure.

With experience in varied service and leadership positions at both departmental and institutional levels, as well as in the larger academic community, I am familiar with many aspects of governance, personnel, curricular, operational, fiscal, and student oversight. In 2023, I became the Assistant Dean in the School of Arts of Sciences at SUNY Cortland, where I engage in policy and program initiatives and serve students from across the college, including work with Phi Kappa Phi, interdisciplinary degree programs, and policy clarification. I have a history of involvement in college governance as a member of SUNY Cortland's Educational Policy Committee, and as a member of SUNY Potsdam's Faculty Senate, Arts & Sciences Council, and General Education Committee. Through this experience, I understand the channels and procedures, opportunities and limitations, for a college's maintenance, change, and growth in policies and programs.

As the conference planner for the 2021 NYSCA conference and as the faculty sponsor for the SUNY Potsdam chapter of Lambda Pi Eta from 2011 to 2017, I have experience with event planning, fundraising and budgeting, group communication, multi-party coordination, scheduling, decision-making, and Parliamentary Procedure. As chair of the SUNY Cortland Presentation Skills Committee, I oversee the approval process for courses seeking to fulfill the Presentation Skills requirement within the General Education program (something I also did for ten years as Oral Skills Coordinator at SUNY Potsdam). And, as coordinator/director of public speaking in Communication and Media Studies, I supervise the curriculum and assessment for approximately twenty annual sections of the Fundamentals of Public Speaking course and direct the hiring decisions for adjunct instructors of public speaking. In addition to annually reviewing and recommending applications in the adjunct pool, I have experience in personnel matters through service on multiple search committees and as the current the chair of the Communication and Media Studies Personnel Committee – a committee I have served in different capacities for three years, including during a revision of the department’s personnel policy documents. I have also served on the Arts & Humanities Personnel Committee at the college level and was involved in personnel decisions during all eleven years of my time at SUNY Potsdam where my department operated as a committee-of-the-whole.

 

Through these assorted leadership, advisory, and teaching positions, I am familiar with a host of technological platforms in higher education, including Banner, DegreeWorks, OnBoard, Curriculog, and Handshake; Blackboard, Brightspace, Moodle, Google Classrooms, and Canvas; SurveyMonkey, FormStack, Qualtrics, Doodle, and PollEverywhere; and, Attendee Interactive, Discord, Slack, WebEx, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams. I am also very comfortable in the Microsoft Office Suite, especially with Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneDrive, and in Google Workspace, particularly with Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, and Jamboard. I have a solid working familiarity with Adobe Acrobat and Adobe PhotoShop. And, though I have less experience in Apple operating systems, I have enough to functionally navigate the iWork applications.  I have used a variety of social media for personal and professional purposes including X (Twitter), Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Threads, TikTok, BeReal, Reddit, WordPress, and Mastodon.

I am committed to supporting and expanding diversity, equity, inclusion - including accessibility, and justice (DEIJ) in the academy. I served on SUNY Cortland's Antiracism Task Force (as a member of the Policies and Procedures Subcommittee and previously on the Educational Programming and Dialogue subcommittee, which I co-chaired), and on the Sexual-Orientation & Gender Identity Expression committee. While at SUNY Potsdam, I served on the Diversity & Inclusivity Action Coalition and worked with the student group P.O.W.E.R, which successfully advocated for systemic changes following a series of racist and homophobic threats the college received in 2015.

Expanding DEIJ is an ongoing process, and so I regularly seek out and partake of workshops for inclusion and belonging, with topics such advocating for justice, fostering more inclusive classrooms, improving accessibility, and mitigating biased hiring practices. In my classroom, I am working to embrace more principles of universal design, eliminate ableist policies, and increase diverse representation and voices. As Vice President of NYSCA, I implemented a Land Acknowledgement as part of the annual conference and the use of pronoun stickers with conference badges, and I assisted in the creation of a code of conduct and the establishment of a code of conduct review committee.


I am excited by the prospect of leveraging my assorted experiences and networks to continue, and advance, the work of my institutions and the success of my students. With service and leadership experience at multiple colleges and in multiple communication associations, and with twenty-plus years of undergraduate and graduate teaching and program development experience, I understand the value of both tradition and innovation.

Christina M. Knopf, PhD

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