Communication Studies, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Communication Studies 65, No. 4 (September–October 2014), pp 441–445. DOI: 10.1080/10510974.2014.927295


Copyright © 2014 Central States Communication Association; published by Routledge/Taylor&Francis Group. Used by permission.


I was fortunate to start college during the earlier days of interpersonal communication classes being taught. From the first class, I was hooked. One of the best things about working in this area is being able to teach and study concepts and practices that make a difference in people’s lives. The theme guiding my work was adapted from a phrase Wayne Brockriede used— helping people expand their repertoire of communicative choices. This is the great joy and challenge of being an interpersonal communication (IPC) scholar.

I am honored to share this forum with such outstanding scholars. My article represents a personal reflection on my experiences navigating the waters of IPC research for 30 years. Given the brief nature of this article, I cannot review much literature; however, I will advance two arguments. First, to fathom the present and future of IPC, we must understand our historical roots. Second, to best address the challenges confronting us, IPC needs to open the doors to the breadth of perspectives and scholars. ...

In the end, I am arguing that it is incumbent on IPC to be open, welcoming, and relevant. There is so much about human communication we need to know. We need all excellent minds, research, and teaching of interpersonal communication to make a difference. If we can do this, I believe our future is bright indeed.