Laura O'Hara
Laura O'Hara
Professor in Communication Studies
Curriculum Vitae


Room:LB 364

About Laura O'Hara

Although she is a native of St. Joseph, Mo., Laura has lived in Muncie for over 20 years and has adopted it as her “new home town.” Laura enjoys her work at Ball State immensely—especially the teaching aspect. At the undergraduate level, Laura teaches “intercultural communication,” a 200-level university core-curriculum course, as well as “communication and conflict,” a senior-level capstone course. At the graduate level, Laura teaches “training and development,” and “consulting.” All of these courses are heavily immersive, which make them challenging, but very rewarding. Laura has been recognized numerous times for excellence in teaching—most recently receiving Ball State University’s “Outstanding Teaching Award.” Laura also maintains an active research agenda, most recently delving into topics related to health communication, intercultural communication, and graduate education. One of Laura’s most recent publications earned a “Top Paper” designation in the Health Communication Division at the National Communication Association. Laura also enjoys the service aspect of her career, serving the Communication Studies Discipline at the national level, and serving Ball State at the university, college, and department level.


Ph.D., Ohio University, 1998
M.A., Central Missouri University, 1994
B.A., Missouri Western State University, 1992

Research Interests

  • Health Communication
  • Intercultural Communication
  • Organizational Communication


COMM 290 Intercultural Communication
COMM 442 Conflict & Communication
COMM 650 Training & Development
COMM 653 Consulting

Awards and Honors

  • 2017 Ball State University Outstanding Teacher
  • 2017 Top Paper Award, Health Communication Division, National Communication Association
  • 2013 Dean’s Outstanding Faculty Award, College of Communication, Information & Media
  • 2010 Excellence in Research (co-recipient: Carolyn K. Shue), Communication Studies
  • 2005 Commitment to Community Award, College of Communication, Information & Media
  • 2005 Finalist: Brian Douglas Hiltunen Faculty Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Scholarship of Engagement, Indiana Campus Compact
  • 2003 Excellence in Teaching, Communication Studies
  • 2002 Outstanding Faculty Member, Mortar Board National Honor Society
  • 2001 Federation Prize for Outstanding Research, Central States Communication Association


  • Chair: Stephen E. Lucas Debut Publication Award, National Communication Association
  • Reviewer: Journal of Applied Communication Research
  • Reviewer: Journal of Intercultural Communication Research
  • Reviewer: Organizational Communication Division, National Communication Association
  • Reviewer: Health Communication Division, National Communication Association
  • Chair: University Outstanding Faculty Selection Committee (BSU)
  • Co-Chair: Engagement Committee (College of Communication, Information, & Media)
  • Co-advisor: Lambda Pi Eta Honor Society (Communication Studies)
  • Secretary: Curriculum Planning & Development Committee (Communication Studies)
  • Secretary: Graduate Committee (Communication Studies)

Selected Publications

  • O’Hara, L.L., & Stamp, G. (2019). Dialectical theory. Macmillan Encyclopedia of Families, Marriages, and Intimate Relationships, Volume 1, 215-216.
  • O’Hara, L. L., Lower, L., & Mulvihill, T. (2019). Mentoring graduate students in the publishing process: Making it manageable and meaningful for academics. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 31, 323-331.
  • O'Hara, L. L., & Shue, C. K. (2018). Discourses of diabetes management in patient-physician interactions. The Qualitative Report, 23, 1282-1300. Retrieved from
  • O’Hara, L. S. (2017). Discursive struggles in ‘diabetes management’: A case study using Baxter’s relational dialectics 2.0. The Western Journal of Communication, 81, 320-340. doi: 10.1080/10570314.2016.1241425
  • Chudnovskaya, E., & O’Hara, L. S. (2016). Experiences of Danish business expatriates in Russia: Power distance in organizational communication. Journal of Intercultural Communication Research, 45, 261-281. doi: 10.1080/17475759.2016.1188408
  • O’Hara, L. S. & Shue, C. K. (2015). Low-health literacy and the clinical encounter: Promoting understanding for patients through effective communication. Contemporary Case Studies in Health Communication: Theoretical and Applied Approaches (2nd ed.). Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt.
  • O’Hara, L. S. & Shue, C. K. (2014). A sensitive question: Asking about race in a research interview. The Qualitative Report, 19, 1-21. Retrieved from
  • O’Hara, L. S. (2013). Race tensions: How white women researchers deal with an uncomfortable question. Ohio Communication Journal, 51, 302-324.
  • Shue, C. K., & O’Hara, L. (2012). Usability: Patient-physician interactions and the EMR. In S. Jones & F. Groom (Eds.), Healthcare and Information & Communication Technologies (pp. 123-144). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
  • Shue, C.K., O’Hara, L.L.S., Marini, D., McKenzie, J., Schreiner, J.D. (2010). Diabetes and low-health literacy: A preliminary outcome report of a mediated intervention to enhance patient-physician communication. Communication Education, 59, 360-373.

Course Schedule
Course No. Section Times Days Location
Intercultural Commun 290 1 0930 - 1045 T R BC, room 103
Practicum in Comm St 380 1 1700 - 2010 T BC, room 105
Training in Organiza 650 1 1700 - 1815 M W LB, room 267