Rich West



B.A. Illinois State University
M.A. Illinois State University
Ph.D. Ohio University

Contact Information

Office: Walker 802
Phone: 617-824-8205
richard_west [at] (E-Mail »)

Rich has taught nearly 25 different courses throughout his career, whether face-to-face or online.  In the communication discipline, his leadership spans several areas and he has been recognized for his teaching, scholarship, and service to the profession.  

At the national level, Rich is a former President of the National Communication Association (NCA), an 8,000 member organization that promotes the teaching and scholarship of communication. He is also a past President of the Eastern Communication Association (ECA), the oldest professional communication organization in the country. Rich has chaired or served on over 2 dozen ECA committees and is a recipient of ECA's "Distinguished Service Award." 

His scholarship intersects family, communication, and identity and he has co-authored research with his colleague/friend of 3 decades, Lynn Turner (past NCA President). Rich has also written in the area of classroom communication and has been recognized as a "Leading Scholar" in classroom communication by the Communication Institute for Online Scholarship.

Rich is the co-author of 5 books in multiple editions (IPC: Interpersonal Communication, Gender and Communication/3rd edition, Understanding Interpersonal Communication: Making Choices in Changing Times, Perspectives on Family Communication/5th edition/2017, and Introducing Communication Theory: Analysis and Applications/6th edition/2017). His theory book has been published in 6 languages and his family book has been translated into 3 languages.

Rich is also co-editor of The Family Communication Sourcebook which was awarded the Outstanding Book by the National Communication Association. Rich has been appointed twice as Guest Co-Editor of the Journal of Family Communication. In addition, he has (co) authored dozens of articles and book chapters and is a current member of five journal editorial boards in communication studies and family studies.  

He (and Lynn Turner) are also co-editors of the acclaimed Handbook of Family Communication, which has been recognized as "the leading compendium of scholarship in family communication."

Rich has received a number of accolades over the years.  He was awarded Emerson's prestigious Norman and Irma Mann Stearns distinction and was recognized as Distinguished Faculty. In addition, NCA bestowed its Bernard J. Brommel Award in Family Communication for his family communication research. He has also been awarded "Outstanding Alum in Communication" by both Ohio University and Illinois State University; ISU also recognized him for "Distinction in Forensics" and "Outstanding Graduate in Teacher Education."  

Rich's service to Emerson is expansive. In 2007-2008, he served as the Interim Director/Dean of the Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies at Emerson. During that year, he was also the Founding Project Director for the (now) Emerson College Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning.  From 2008-2012, Rich served as the College's Chair in the Department of Communication Studies and from 2008-2014, he was the first Director of Emerson's Washington, D.C. Internship Program.  In addition, he has also served as Chair of the Faculty Development and Research Committee.  He teaches courses in interpersonal communication, family communication, research methods, intercultural communication, and communication theory.

In 2016-2017, Rich serves as the Chair of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at Emerson and as a member of the Faculty Status Committee, the College Board overseeing Tenure and Promotion.  He is currently completing two books: one related to the history of the communication field and the other on bullies, bullying, and communication.

Rich's research has been featured in a number of very diverse media outlets including the Toronto Globe & Mail, Boston Globe, New England Cable Network, Fox & Friends, USA Today, PBS, Christian Science Monitor, NPR,, among many others. When he has some free time, Rich also enjoys working on his 115 year-old home on the coast of Maine where he is an avid gardener so he can quiet the anxieties within--if that's even possible.





Communication Studies
Family Interaction