Jeanne Persuit, Ph.D., Program Director

Persuit Headshot

Jeanne M. Persuit, Ph.D. is a Professor of Communication Studies and Graduate Coordinator for the M.A. Integrated Marketing Communication program. Dr. Persuit teaches courses in integrated marketing communication, public relations, advertising, and communication ethics. Her research area is the rhetoric and philosophy of integrated marketing communication and communication ethics. She is the editor of the Integrated Marketing Communication Series, published by Lexington Books/Rowman & Littlefield. Dr. Persuit is the author of Social Media and Integrated Marketing Communication and describes social media as a form of epideictic rhetoric (speech that praises or blames). She argues organizations should practice rhetorical decorum to become more ethical and effective communicators. She also serves as the Director of Marketing & Communication for the National Drug Court Resource Center, housed at UNCW in the Social Science Applied Research Center, and funded by a $1.6 million U.S. Department of Justice grant. Before returning to Duquesne University for her Ph.D., Dr. Persuit worked in integrated marketing communication in the consulting engineering field and was a marketing communications manager for a Fortune 500 manufacturing company. She is co-advisor, with Dr. Kati Sudnick, of Pier 601 Creative, a student-run integrated marketing communication agency.

Office: Leutze Hall # 240
Office Phone: (910) 962-2616
Fax: (910) 962-7061

Jennifer Brubaker, Ph.D., Associate Professor

Jennifer Brubaker, Ph. D. was appointed to the Department of Communication Studies full-time faculty in August, 2006. Her primary teaching areas are political communication, family communication and media effects. In addition, she serves as the coordinator of the journalism minor program. Dr. Brubaker earned a Ph.D. in communication studies at Kent State University, an M.A. in journalism & mass communication and a B.A. in business marketing & economics at The Ohio State University. For two years she served as Assistant Press Secretary & Special Assistant to the Mayor, City of Cleveland, OH.

Office: Leutze Hall #234
Office Phone: (910) 962-7869
Fax: (910) 962-7061



Chadwick Roberts, Ph.D., Associate Professor

Chadwick Lee Roberts, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Communication Studies and alumnus of University of Southern Mississippi. He earned the M.A. in Film Studies at Ohio University and the Ph.D. in American Culture Studies at Bowling Green State University. Roberts teaches courses in media studies with a focus on new and converging media. Undergraduate courses include: Engaging Contemporary Media; Introduction to New and Converging Media; Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies; Media, Culture and Society; Media, Identity and Difference; Rhetorical Theory; Rhetoric of Popular Culture; and Sexuality and Gender. In the M.A. program, he teaches Diversity, Inclusion and the IMC Challenge. Roberts is co-host, with Dr. Katie Peel, of Queer Currents a virtual safe space for thoughtful discussion of relevant LGBT topics. A native of Meridian, MS, Roberts is a lifelong supporter of public media.
Office: Leutze Hall #228
Office Phone: (910) 962-2882
Fax: (910) 962-7061

Christine Willingham, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Christine Willingham, Ph.D. joined the Department of Communication Studies in 2018 and teaches undergraduate courses in Integrated Marketing Communication; Message Design, Campaign Design and Brand Strategy & Research. In the graduate program, she teaches Organizational Culture, Identity and Brand. Her research interests include the role of ideographs and values in nonprofit branding and the rhetoric of abortion. She earned the Ph.D. in Communication at Florida State University, the M.A. in Public Relations and Corporate Communication from Barry University, Miami Shores FL, and a B.A. in Psychology from Salisbury University, Salisbury MD. Prior to entering the doctoral program, she had a 26-year career in sales/marketing/public relations. During that time she was co-owner of a commercial roofing business and a public relations/marketing consultant in South Florida.

Office: Leutze Hall # 238
Office Phone: (910) 962-7056
Fax: (910) 962-7061


Yiyi (Cici) Yang, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Yiyi Yang, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Communication Studies. She received her Master’s and Ph.D. degree from the University of Alabama. Dr. Yang teaches courses related to interpersonal communication, health communication, communication theory, research methods, and sports communication. She’s committed to providing students with applied learning opportunities (e.g., community engagement projects). Dr. Yang’s research focuses on health communication, social media, and sports communication. Her research has appeared in Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Health Communication, Online Information Review, Communication & Sport, Health Education Research, and other peer-reviewed journals. Her work has been recognized for its quality and originality via top paper awards at recent international and national academic conferences. She enjoys traveling, yoga, and watching movies.

Office: Leutze Hall # 236
Office Phone: (910) 962-7247
Fax: (910) 962-7061



Rick Olsen, Ph.D., Department Chair

Rick Olsen, Ph.D. is Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication Studies. Dr. Olsen believes the study of communication is the perfect major for a rapidly changing world and focuses his teaching efforts on professional readiness and student development. He teaches Rhetorical and Communication Theory, Research Methods, and Rhetoric of Popular Culture. His research projects are often rhetorical/critical analyses of popular culture artifacts and Olsen has published research about MTV, the NBA Draft, Desperate Housewives, and the popularity of SUVs. He is an experienced facilitator of communication training.

Office: Leutze Hall #223
Office Phone: (910) 962-3710
Fax: (910) 962-7061

Emily Jones, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Dr. Jones graduated from the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies and again in 2010 with a Master of Arts in Environmental Studies. Her concentration while in my graduate studies involved environmental communication, education, and interpretation. In December 2016, she graduated with a Ph.D. in Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media from North Carolina State University. Her research focused on cultivating and communicating a positive culture in the restaurant industry. Before returning to school for her Ph.D., she worked in the Wilmington, NC area for several years as a communication specialist, employee relations, media relations, and internal communication for organizations including the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher, UNCW Marketing and Communications Department, and the Cucalorus Film Festival. She is a full-time Communications Instructor at Cape Fear Community College and an adjunct faculty member for the UNCW Communication Studies Department as well as the IMC Graduate Program.

Office: Leutze Hall #236

Kati Sudnick, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Katie E. Sudnick, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Communication Studies. Dr. Sudnick teaches courses in integrated marketing communication. Her research interests are at the intersection of media ecology, integrated marketing communication, and communication ethics. Her current interests involve the philosophy of communication of social media influencer marketing as well as the utilization of popular culture artifacts as a hermeneutic lens for understanding communication this. Dr. Sudnick earned her MA in Integrated Marketing Communication and PhD in Rhetoric from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. She earned her BA in Mass Communications from King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, PA. Dr. Sudnick has experience in sports media and marketing relations, working with both the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and the Pittsburgh Penguins, as well as professional graphic design, event planning, and public relations experience. She currently serves as an editorial assistant for the Journal of Communication and Religion.

Office: Leutze Hall #228
Office Phone: (910) 962-0585
Fax: (910) 962-7061

IMC Program Perspectives

“We’re really empowering people to shape their destiny. We are going to be able to help students be their best selves in professional settings, collaborative settings, and beyond. This program is going to have a long-term impact on the quality of their professional lives and personal lives.”