Department of Communication goes digital with annual Summer Doctoral Seminar

The Department of Communication hosted its annual Summer Doctoral Seminar June 5-9, 2020. This year’s seminar was held fully online and examined a timely topic: Health, Risk and Crisis Communication. The guest scholar for the seminar was department alumnus Timothy L. Sellnow, Ph.D., professor of strategic communication at the University of Central Florida, who led a group of 18 doctoral students from 14 universities (including Wayne State) in an intensive exploration of theory related to health, risk and crisis communication.

Seminar participants shared that although they may have been initially disappointed at not having the opportunity to travel to Detroit and connect with others face-to-face at this year’s event, they were very pleased with how the online format turned out.

Participants also expressed that with the online transition, this particular seminar provided the opportunity to interact with several guest speakers from outside their own department and institution and talk with them about research as well as receive academic career advice from them.

The seminar also included a free public lecture/webinar by the guest scholar on the topic of Chaos at the Intersection of Crisis and Health: Navigating the Paradox of Communicating Certainty in Uncertain Times. The webinar had over 150 attendees from 10 countries.

For more information about the seminar, please visit

2020 Summer Doc Seminar