Associate Professor of Communication Arts
At North Park since: 1991
North Park’s diversity is one reason why Victoria Nelson enjoys teaching at the school, which is not surprising considering it is integral to some of her courses. Students who take her intercultural communication class, for example, are assigned to explore a subculture in the city, be it Native American, Indian, Mexican, African-American, Korean, Arabic, or another group. They will not only meet with students on campus that are representative of the group, but they will also attend a religious service, eat at an ethnic restaurant, visit a cultural center, or participate in numerous other activities that get them out exploring Chicago.
Encountering a wide range of voices and experiences is integral to the study and practice of communicating, something Professor Nelson’s students will see time and time again across her curriculum. “I try to include a diversity of voices and perspectives, particularly in the areas of interpersonal experiences, cultural backgrounds, and even in selections of speeches in American rhetorical history,” she says.
In all her courses—whether it’s Public Speaking, Introduction to Communication Studies, Interpersonal Communication, Intercultural Communication, Rhetorical Theory and Analysis, or the Rhetoric of Social Movements—Professor Nelson also emphasizes principles of social justice, openness, humility, and respect for others’ uniqueness.
She is actively developing new courses to help students encounter these principles in unexpected areas, including communication and friendship, an area often overlooked by communication studies scholars. The course will examine the nature of friendship in the age of social media, cross-sex friendships, friendships with those with different backgrounds, and the role of friends across the lifespan.
A family communication course will consider changes in family structure, blended families, how couples become a family, and the impact of children on the couple’s relationship as well as conflict in marriage and the family, and the transformation from conflict to more effective forms of communication.
Professor Nelson is a member of National Communication Association.
PhD, Communication Studies with an emphasis on rhetoric and argumentation, Northwestern University
MA, Communication Studies, Northwestern University
BA, English Literature, University of Notre Dame