Dr. Vicki Crooks
Assistant Professor of Communication
Rio Grande Main Campus
varies by term, posted at office door
Ph.D. 2014 Ohio University, Scripps College of Communication
Advisor: William K. Rawlins
Dissertation Committee: William K. Rawlins, Lynn M. Harter, Joseph Bianco, and Brittany Peterson
Dissertation: Tanning Stories Truth & Consequences: A Narrative Examination of Indoor Tanning
M.S. 2006 Portland State University, Communication Studies
M.S. 2006 Portland State University, Educational Policy, Foundations & Administrative Studies
2005 Graduate Certificate, Intercultural Training & Development
B.S. 2001 Oregon Institute of Technology, Applied Psychology, magna cum laude
Communication is a broad academic discipline. Researchers use a wide variety of approaches to study communicative meaning-making. I identify my approach as qualitative, interpretive, and narrative. Stories are for me, the basic building block of meaning. We develop role identities through performances, and those performances of self all start with stories. Collectively, shared stories can become the basis of shared cultural identity. Telling stories, sharing stories, celebrating stories, and creating spaces for stories intrigues me and excites me as a scholar and practitioner.
My background in training, theater, and mediation has helped to shape my experience of stories, and my study of communication has informed my understanding of the power of stories. As a narrative researcher, my lived experiences and theoretical knowledge are combined. This is what I encourage my students to do, develop theoretical, applied knowledge. It is the interplay between message and meaning, between story and performance that engages me. My interest is in examining how, across contexts, and media, the performance of stories by individuals and organizations, the stories we tell, believe, and create, have the power to influence and shape our lived experience. Even our health is influenced by stories. In Narrative Medicine stories are incorporated in health care settings. The application of narrative and communicative strategies in such contexts has life-changing implications. As a rhetorical device, stories are used in organizations to create, sustain, and change organizational climate and culture. Stories are used in advocacy as a means of creating empathy and identification. Stories are the means to persuade, to influence and shape. Stories are the basis of health-shaping beliefs and rationales and stories are tools used to navigate the disruption of illness.
Throughout my career, a considerable amount of my time has been spent exploring creativity, innovation and the use of improvisation in non-theatre settings. I will continue working in this area. Using improvisational training allows for the development and refining of “narrative resourcefulness” –the ability to use stories strategically. Improvisation provides an experience of narratives that are constitutive, created collaboratively, and shaping our expectations and experiences. It is through stories that we learn, teach, share, interpret, understand, challenge and imagine. The skillful use of stories is important in effective communication across contexts. My personal goal and the focus of my research and teaching is to become more aware of stories, more practiced in creating stories and more sensitive in handling the stories of others.