In the communication discipline, Rich's 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 as well as being recognized as a Distinguished Research Fellow. He is currently on the Academic Board of Directors for the Global Listening Centre, based in London.

Rich's 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 7 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/2018, Interpersonal Communication/4th edition/2019, and Introducing Communication Theory: Analysis and Applications/6th edition/2018). His theory book has been published in 7 languages and his family book has been translated into 3 languages. 

His most recent co-authored book ("An Introduction to Communication") was published by Cambridge University Press (2019).  

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 three times 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" by the Association of College and Research Libraries.  

Rich also served as Co-Editor of The Routledge Handbook of Communication and Bullying (2019), which has been described as the "first published collection of communication research on one of our world's most pressing cultural issues." 

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."  

With respect to teaching, Rich has taught over 25 different courses in both face-to-face and online delivery modes. He currently teaches courses in intercultural communication, family communication, research methods, and communication theory.

Rich's service 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 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 the College's Washington, D.C. Internship Program.  In addition, he has also served as Chair of the Institutional Review Board and the Faculty Development and Research Committee.  

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, Vanity Fair, 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.

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  • Communication Studies
    Since 2007


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