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Rhonda Parker

Rhonda G. Parker

Communication Studies



  • B.S., The University of Southern Mississippi
  • M.A., The University of Georgia
  • Ph.D., The University of Georgia



Rhonda Parker arrived at Samford in August 2002, having spent nine years in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of San Francisco, where she served as chair and director of the university’s public speaking program. Though she loved living on the west coast, she says it’s great being back in the south.

Her primary area of research is interpersonal communication in intimate relationships. She studies all kinds of close relationships, and is currently completing several quantitative research projects that explore such areas as long-distance romantic relationships, sibling relationships, and male friendships. She is also interested in animal welfare and has begun qualitative explorations of communication strategies used in the animal rescue subculture.

She enjoys teaching at Samford because she loves the kind of students Samford attracts. She says they come well prepared for the rigors of college, which enables her to take them much farther than students anywhere else she’s taught. She says that since she’s been here, her students have conducted research that rivals that produced by graduate students, which she finds very exciting. In addition to her students, she says she is also continually amazed at the supportive environment at Samford. She describes Samford as a very caring community, saying that her colleagues and students make this a wonderful place to work and live. Parker says she has taught at several universities, but none rival Samford in terms of the quality of education students receive or the strong community network that enables students to grow and learn in a caring, supportive environment.Parker says that in her own teaching philosophy, and in Samford’s, students are empowered to make a difference in the world, no matter what career path they may choose.

Parker often likes to remind her students of Margaret Mead's observation: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."  


Awards and Honors

  • Outstanding Teacher of the Year, 2006.  Howard College ofArts and Sciences, Samford University.
  • Skill Initiative Award, 1999.  Given foroutstanding contributions to the Division of Student Affairs at the Universityof San Francisco, this award recognizes faculty who integrate teaching withcampus and community service.
  • The University of San FranciscoDistinguished Teaching Award, 1998.  Competitively awarded by faculty in theCollege of Arts and Sciences, School of Nursing, School of Business, and Schoolof Education.
  •  Outstanding Teacher of the Year, Department of Communication Studies, 1996, 1997, and 1998. Award given by University of San Francisco’s Student Communication Association.
  •  1998award for toppublication appearingin Women’s Studies in Communication.Awarded by the Organization for Research on Women and Communication.
  •  Top Paper Award, 1996, Interpersonal and Small Group Interest Group, Western StatesCommunication Association.
  •  Top Paper Award, 1996 , Language and Social Interaction Division, Southern StatesCommunication Association.
  •  Top Four Paper Award, 1995, Language and Social Interaction Division, Southern StatesCommunication Association.
  •  Top Paper Award, 1992, Student Division, Southern States Communication Association.
  •  Bostrom Young Scholar Award, 1992,  sponsored by Southern States CommunicationAssociation.

Contact Information

Howard College of Arts and Sciences

Communication Studies Department

Samford University
800 Lakeshore Drive
Birmingham, AL 35229

Office: BROOK 201

Phone: (205) 726-4261

Fax: (205) 726-4280