Feature Story: New Director of the Graduate Program of Communication


There have been a lot of changes at Villanova University lately. This school year the Graduate Department in Communication has a new director, Dr. Heidi Rose. I was able to interview Dr. Rose and get some insight about her life and role with the program.

Research Interests and Background

Dr. Heidi Rose is a faculty member in the Communication Department. Her research interests overall concern the body, identity, and the relationship between body and text. Her early research examined American Sign Language Literature and Deaf Culture. She was able to publish this into a book/DVD which is the first bilingual and bicultural text of its kind. In more recent years, she has been drawn to autoethnography as research method and performance. This led her to write and perform two performances.

“I have written and performed two related solo performances, Good Enough and Mirror Image, which I performed together last February on campus and hope to tour around the U.S.”

Like many students in undergrad, her interests of today are something she developed while she was studying at Northwestern University. As a Theater Major who realized that pursuing acting was not what she expected, she choose to return to academia.

“After meeting with Dwight Conquergood, who was one my professors and mentors at Northwestern, he steered me to a Master’s in Communication with a focus on Performance Studies. I was fortunate to be offered an assistantship, so while at Emerson College in Boston I taught speech section of a large public speaking class and began learning about research. I discovered that the teaching a research lifestyle made sense for me and that studying performance and culture gave me a great deal of satisfaction. The logical next move was to pursue a PH.D.”

Goals and Vision

Although Dr. Rose has only been in her position for a couple of weeks, she has developed a vision for the program. She wants students to use the concepts they learn in courses like Strategic Communication Theory and Research Methods to make sense of the world and to effect change in their own particular corner of the world.

“I would like this Graduate Program to be known as a place of possibility—a program in which students feel free and inspired to take intellectual and creative risks and to explore new professional options”

This year she decided not to teach in the Graduate Program because she wanted to focus on learning her role as the Director. However, this Fall she is teaching a Freshmen Honors Course called Interdisciplinary Humanities and in the Spring she is teaching an upper level course called Gender, Performance, and Social Change as well as a Senior Project. While Dr. Rose may not be teaching in the Graduate Program, she has listed her top 5 goals she wants to accomplish during her tenure as Director:

  1. To continue to distinguish this program from all other Master’s in Communication at area universities
  2. To grow our Graduate Alumni Connections
  3. To send more students to Ph.D. programs in Communication
  4. To make sure the program is doing its best to prepare students for a wide range of professional opportunities
  5. To Develop strong relationships with all current graduate students and work together to create the best experience possible for every individual.

For additional tips and announcements, follow the Communication Graduate Studies Department on Facebook and Twitter.

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