Communication Graduate Program Faculty
Dean of the James L. Knight School of Communication
Timothy, J. Brown, Ph.D.
Dr. Timothy J. Brown is the Dean of the James L. Knight School of Communication at Queens University of Charlotte. He is a rhetorical scholar whose research, teaching and consulting focus on the intersection of culture, communication, and identity. His publications include two co-authored textbooks, in addition to, research articles that appear in journals such as the Western Journal of Black Studies, Journal of Popular Culture, the Journal of Intercultural Communication Research, and Qualitative Research Reports in Communication. Furthermore, he has over 50 presentations at national and regional communication conferences with most occurring at the National Communication Association (NCA) and the Eastern Communication Association (ECA). Dr. Brown’s latest publication is the book, No One Cheers of Goliath, which is a memoir on leadership. Among his many honors includes being named a Distinguished Teaching Fellow and a Distinguished Research Fellow by the Eastern Communication Association.
Graduate Faculty & Staff
Jakita Cofer is the Director of Graduate Admissions and Student Support in the Knight School of Communication for Queens University of Charlotte's Master of Arts in Communication program. Her multifaceted role consists of cultivating relationships and building rapport with new and current students who demonstrate an interest and passion for the field of communication. Jakita helps students navigate through the graduate admissions process and assists them with academic advising and career coaching to support students in achieving their educational and professional goals. Her professional experience includes advertising sales, television broadcasting, and higher education recruitment. Jakita earned her bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication with a concentration in Public Relations from Virginia Commonwealth University and her master’s degree in Communication from Queens University of Charlotte.
Zachary White, Ph.D.
Dr. Zachary White earned his Ph.D. in communication from Purdue University. He is an Associate Professor of Communication in the Knight School of Communication and Director of the Critical Thought Symposium at Queens University of Charlotte. Dr. White’s academic research and teaching focus on helping people manage meaning and communicate challenging life experiences amidst high levels of uncertainty. Dr. White’s academic research has been published in Health Communication, Management Communication Quarterly, Journal of Family Communication, Communication Research Reports, OMEGA: Journal of Death and Dying, and Volunteering and Communication: Studies from Multiple Contexts. He is the co-author of the book, The Unexpected Journey of Caring: The Transformation from Loved One to Caregiver (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019). He is also the founder of the blog and resource, “The Unprepared Caregiver” and blogger for Psychology Today.
Carole Isom-Barnes, Ph.D.
Dr. Carole Isom-Barnes is an Assistant Professor of Strategic Communication at Queens University of Charlotte. She brings over 20 years of corporate executive experience into the classroom as she teaches courses such as: Organizational Identity and Branding, Principles of Public Relations, Communication and Leadership, and Crisis Communication. Dr. Isom-Barnes is a scholar-practitioner whose industry background includes senior leadership and consulting with various Fortune 100 organizations.
Roseann Pluretti, Ph.D.
Dr. Roseann Pluretti is an Assistant Professor of Communication in the Knight School of Communication. Her research and teaching expertise focus on new media, specifically social media, and how these media shape individuals’ identities, social norms, and communication professions such as journalism and public relations. She teaches a variety of undergraduate and graduate media courses at Queens University including Studies in New Media, Social Media and Audience, and Media Theory and Criticism. Her teaching emphasizes empowering students through media literacy skills to enable them to become critical media consumers and producers. Dr. Pluretti has published articles in the International Journal of Communication and Communication Quarterly and has presented over 20 presentations at international and national communication conferences.
Daina Nathaniel, Ph.D.
Dr. Daina Nathaniel is an Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Programs in the Knight School of Communication. A native of Trinidad and Tobago, her research interests focuses upon culture, identity, nationhood, and digital inclusion. Her primary research area is cultural studies which looks at the relationships between cultures within societies, issues of power and domination, the postcolonial experience, issues of race and ethnicity between disparate groups, and all the attendant challenges that arise as people try to find a sense of place within their various environments: home, school, work, church, community and online. Most recently, she has been exploring how the Caribbean diaspora use social media to create a sense of connection to their various homelands. Dr. Nathaniel was a pioneer in the establishment of the Accelerator Program at Queens University of Charlotte, in conjunction with the School’s Digital Charlotte initiative and Google Fiber.
Tracy Schaffer, Ph.D.
Dr. Tracy Schaffer has been teaching a variety of communication classes for the past fifteen years, including Oral Communication, Organizational Communication, Health Communication, Research Methods, Communication Theory, and Creativity and Networks. Her research interests involve health literacy, health narratives, addiction, social support, self-efficacy, and family systems. In 2014, her dissertation won both the Morton Dissertation Award as well as the Department of Communication Research Award, and in 2019 she was awarded the Top Teaching Award at the University of Memphis. Dr. Schaffer holds a B.A. in Political Science, M.A. in Organizational Communication, and Ph.D. in Health Communication from the University of Memphis.
Dr. Renee L. Cowan
Dr. Renee L. Cowan received her B.S. in Communication Studies from the University of Texas at Austin and her M.A. from Texas State University — San Marcos. She received her Ph.D. from Texas A&M University with an emphasis in Organizational Communication. Dr. Cowan’s research investigates contemporary organizational issues including: work/life issues, workplace bullying, workplace romantic relationships, and issues associated with the use of communication technologies in organizations.
Her research appears in such peer-reviewed journals as Human Resource Management Journal, Personnel Review, Management Communication Quarterly, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Communication Education, Communication Studies, Women & Language, Communication Quarterly, Western Journal of Communication, Qualitative Research Reports in Communication, International Journal of Business Communication, Communication Research Reports, and others.