Dawn O. Braithwaite, Ph.D. Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Communication Studies Professor, Department of Communication Studies
Dawn Braithwaite studies the use of communication to manage challenges in personal and family relationships. Her research focuses on communication of children and adult members of stepfamilies, specifically how stepfamilies interact and become families, and how members of stepfamilies communicate and manage role changes, expectations, and issues of disclosure and privacy. She has studied communication of people who are disabled, focusing on how people with disabilities communicate and manage the uncertainty and discomfort of many nondisabled persons. Braithwaite has also studied the experiences of women whose husbands live in nursing homes due to Alzheimer's disease and how this affects relationship and family communication.
Braithwaite was elected as president of the National Communication Association in 2010. She also served as the second and first vice president of the 8,000-member association in 2008 and 2009. Braithwaite serves on the Board of the Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA) in Washington, DC. She is a past president of the Western States Communication Association and was the 2002 recipient of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, College of Arts & Sciences Award for Outstanding Research and Creative Achievement in the Social Sciences. She received the 2006 Brommel Award for Scholarship and Service in Family Communication from the National Communication Association.
Braithwaite received her doctoral degree from the University of Minnesota, master’s degree from California State University, Long Beach, and bachelor’s degree from California State University, Fullerton. She teaches courses in interpersonal communication, family communication, qualitative and interpretive methods and small group communication.