Allen Nationally Recognized as Outstanding Graduate Mentor

Dr. Myria Allen
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Dr. Myria Allen

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Myria Allen, professor and graduate director in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences' Department of Communication, was recently recognized as the National Communication Association Master's Section 2018 Outstanding Mentor in Master's Education. 

The award is presented annually to one faculty member in an M.A. program in the U.S., who has made positive contributions to graduate education. In particular, Allen was selected because of her success in mentoring and collaborating with students on research projects as well as her leadership in re-designing the current Department of Communication Master's Program. 

Since joining the U of A Department of Communication in 1993, Allen has co-authored over 40 publications and conference presentations with graduate students. One of those former graduate students, Christopher Craig, is currently an assistant professor at Montana State University-Billings. 

"Dr. Allen served as the head of my master's committee, as a member of my doctoral dissertation committee, and still today continues to mentor me as an assistant professor. I continuously bring questions about teaching and research to Dr. Allen because I have witnessed first-hand how she can shape the lives of her students and publish meaningful research. If I can become half the teacher and researcher that Dr. Allen is, I would consider this a great success," Craig said. 

In addition to her continued collaboration with former graduate students, Allen has developed innovative graduate seminars where she has led student research teams to collect and analyze data over the course of the semester. Currently, Allen's seminar course, COMM 5513 Sustainability and Communication, collected the first data in the Center for Communication and Media Research's theater space. Students used multiple techniques including cognitive mapping and perception dial analysis to study attitudinal effects of environmental messages.

Dusan Stojanovic, a communication graduate student enrolled in the seminar, said, "Her attitude toward communication research and passion for preserving the environment have been very inspiring and uplifting. I am both proud and fortunate enough to be able to receive her guidance in this program." 

For the last seven years, Allen has served as the Department of Communication's graduate director. Over the last four years she oversaw the re-design of the master's program to emphasize civic engagement. As part of this focus on applied, community-based research, Allen developed a capstone project where students identify a community problem, conduct secondary and primary research, and create a theoretically-grounded product to address the issue. Allen's leadership and vision for the graduate program was instrumental in the Department of Communication winning the 2017 National Communication Association's Outstanding Master's Program Award. 

Robert Brady, chair of the Department of Communication, said, "Dr. Allen is a truly outstanding faculty member. She is passionate about her research as well as her commitment to our students and to graduate education." 

About the National Communication Association: The National Communication Association advances communication as the discipline that studies all forms, modes, media, and consequences of communication through humanistic, social scientific, and aesthetic inquiry. The association serves the scholars, teachers, and practitioners who are its members by enabling and supporting their professional interests in research and teaching. Dedicated to fostering and promoting free and ethical communication, the National Communication Association promotes the widespread appreciation of the importance of communication in public and private life, the application of competent communication to improve the quality of human life and relationships, and the use of knowledge about communication to solve human problems. For more information, visit natcom.org.

Contacts

Matthew Spialek, assistant professor
Department of Communication
479-575-3046, mspialek@uark.edu

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