Shelley D. Lane

Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies

Areas of Specialization:  Interpersonal and intercultural communication, the communication of civility, communication education

Office:  JO 4.510E
Office Hours:  By appointment only
Mail Station:  JO 31
Email:  [email protected]
Phone:  972-883-2931

I am someone who enjoys the laughter of children, the sound of a purring cat, and the love of a close family. I was once denigrated for possessing a "PBS mentality," but I take pride in this description and take pleasure in well-written programs such as Ken Burns' documentaries and shows that appear on "Masterpiece Theater" and "Mystery." I also enjoy engaging television series such as House of Cards and Homeland. I am someone who has eclectic tastes in music. While visiting me in my office, you might hear 1920s jazz, Big Band music, Bach's fugues, ragtime, Chopin's preludes, and songs performed by Ray Charles, Barbra Streisand, Louis Armstrong, The Beatles, or Franki Valli and the Four Seasons. My favorite composer is Mozart and my favorite opera is The Marriage of Figaro. I am a wife, a mother, and a college professor. I am a UCLA (Go Bruins!) and USC-Annenberg West alumna. I am an unapologetic Anglophile who spent the best year of her life as an exchange student at the University of Stirling, Scotland. And I am extremely grateful for my friends who provide me with encouragement, therapy, and the knowledge that there are kind, empathic, and decent people in this world.

Unlike most university scholars who tend to focus on a particular line of research, I half-jokingly describe myself as an academic dilettante because I am interested in many areas of communication inquiry. Specifically, I am interested in communication pedagogy and have researched and published in the areas of classroom communication and communication education in general. My interest in communication pedagogy is evidenced in my textbooks, Interpersonal Communication: Competence and Contexts and Communication in a Civil Society (lead author). Routledge recently acquired my textbooks and has requested that I write a 3rd edition of Interpersonal Communication. Another interest concerns perceptions of (un)civil communication and how (un)civil behavior influences attitudes and behaviors. This interest is important because surveys reveal that participation in politics and everyday interaction are affected by (un)civil communication. The research presented in my competitively selected convention paper, "Civility, Power, and Deliberation in the Public Sphere" received the "Top Paper in Political Communication" award from the Eastern Communication Association in 2015. I am currently working on a manuscript, tentatively titled Everyday (In)civility: A Communication Perspective, that will be published by Roman and Littlefield in late 2016. Still another interest concerns intercultural communication; specifically, how culture influences perception and behavior. My memoir, A Stirling Diary: An Intercultural Story of Communication, Connection, and Coming-of-Age, offers illustrations of how culture influences communication. I have also written and delivered a number of scholarly papers in this area and plan to write a scholarly text about U.S. American culture and communication. Other research interests include (the influence of technology on) interpersonal communication, gender communication, and the status of women in the academy.

What do a dancer, an audit specialist, an actor, a community college instructor, and a health care benefits specialist have in common? These former students enrolled in one or more of my communication courses and now have successful careers in their chosen fields. In addition to classes such as "Interpersonal Communication, Intercultural Communication," and "U.S. American Communication," I also teach first-semester freshmen in ARHM 1100, "Freshman Seminar." Students in my communication courses tend to be intellectually curious and interested in the topic, especially since the majority of these classes are taken on a "free elective" basis. Similarly, students in the "Freshman Seminar" are excited about their first semester at a university and are eager to learn about university life. I emphasize class discussion and group interaction in all of the courses that I teach. Having students actively engaged in coursework not only enables them to learn how to think critically about and present course content, but also allows me to learn from their diverse backgrounds and viewpoints. One of my former students summarized his experience in an Interpersonal Communication class when he wrote, "I believe you were one of the most effective college professors I ever had. (I graduated in December and moved to Florida.) Since taking your class I have been able to: #1) Use the methods of effective communication both in my marriage and in the workplace on a regular basis. #2) I am able to identify specific communication problems as they arise. I honestly can't believe how much I learn from you and how much of a help your class has actually been in my life." I truly believe that the classes I teach make a long-lasting positive impact on students' lives.

I am an academic anomaly. I am the only professor I know who began her career at the university level, taught for 20 years at a community college, and then returned to her academic roots, the university. I received my Ph.D. when I was twenty-five years old, and after an early career comprised of teaching and or administration, I became aware of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to establish a community college district. As one of 13 original faculty members who founded the Collin County Community College District (now called "Collin College"), I engaged in curriculum development, became Chair of the Communication Department, and honed my teaching skills. The highpoint of my community college career occurred when I was named a Minnie Stevens Piper Professor, a statewide university and community college teaching award. However, I never lost sight of my scholarly background while working at Collin College. In spite of teaching five classes per semester, participating on committees, advising students, and engaging in community service, I published or presented at least one professional paper each year during my community college tenure. After 20 years at Collin College, I realized that I missed the rigorous academic environment of the university. Therefore, I jumped at the chance to work at the University of Texas at Dallas when I was approached about the possibility of becoming a Visiting Associate Professor. Fortunately for me, the School of Arts and Humanities was in the process of creating a major based in communication, and I was eventually hired on a permanent basis to help develop the major. In addition, my background in academic administration enabled me to take on the role of Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies in A&H.

Recent Courses:  View courses taught by Shelley D. Lane


Ph.D, "Communication Arts and Sciences," University of Southern California (Annenberg West)
M.A., "Communication Arts and Sciences," University of Southern California (Annenberg West)
B.A., "Communication Studies," University of California at Los Angeles

Curriculum Vitae:  Shelley D. Lane's CV