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Dr. Jennifer Wood

Dr. Jennifer Wood


Ph.D., 1999, Communication & Rhetoric, University of Pittsburgh
MA, 1989, Communication & Rhetoric, University of Pittsburgh
BA, 1984, Political Science, Chatham College




CAS 100         Effective Speech
CAS 201         Introduction to Rhetorical Theory
CAS 252         Business & Professional Communication
CAS 404         Communication in Conflict Resolution and Negotiation
COMM 494     Senior Research Project



Dr. Wood is interested in studying the challenges and obstacles that people face when they attempt to speak their minds.  She applies this general interest to specific contexts, such as the classroom, the university or legal settings. For example, some of her publications examine victims' rights legal reforms, with attention toward the kind of reforms that help crime victims speak and those that may limit what crime victims can say, especially in a courtroom context.  More recently, with a group of colleagues across the country, she developed a white paper (a rhetorical document) that presents the current state of research, education and activism regarding prisons and prison policies in the United States.  She is now co-editing a book, tentatively titled Working for Justice, which is a compilation of the latest communication scholarship on prison issues in the United States.  She is also working on a project that examines restorative justice policies across the country.

Dr. Wood also strives to practice what she preaches and in that regard, she serves as a mediator for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections’ Office of Victim the Advocate where she mediates cases with crime victims and the people who have harmed them.  She has also served as a victim/offender mediator for the Center for Victims of Violence and Crime.  This program offers an alternative to the court system for some juveniles who have been arrested.  It enables young offenders to meet with the people they've violated in order to work out an agreement for restitution.  There's a lot of evidence to suggest this makes a difference in the lives of everyone involved.



Hartnett, Stephen, Bryan McCann and Jennifer Wood. (Forthcoming). "Turning Silence into Speech and action: Prison Activism and the Pedagogy of Empowered Citizenship." Accepted for publication by Communication in Critical/Cultural Studies.

Wood, Jennifer K. and Thomas Oates. (2009). "Brand ex:  The unhappy marriage of branding and higher education.”  In Greg Giberson and Tom Giberson, Eds., Knowledge Economy: The Commodification of Knowledge and Information in the Academic System, 191-201.

Wood, Jennifer K. (Fall 2005). "In whose name? Crime victim policy and the punishing power of protection."  National Women’s Studies Association Journal, 17: 1-17.

Wood, Jennifer K. (April 2005). "Balancing innocence and guilt:  A metaphorical analysis of the US Supreme Court’s rulings on victim impact statements."  Western Journal of Communication, 68, 129-147.

Wood, Jennifer K. (Summer 2003). "Justice as therapy:  The Victim Rights Clarification Act." Communication Quarterly, 51, 296-311.

Wood, Jennifer K. (Spring 2002). "Using the syllabus to create a ‘talk friendly’ environment on the first day of class." Communication Teacher 13-15. Reprinted in Selections from the Speech Communication Teacher, 1999-2002.  Supplement to Lucas, The Art of Public Speaking, 8th ed., Boston:  McGraw Hill.

Wood, Jennifer K. (Spring 2001). "The rhetorical transformation of Miranda v. Arizona." Qualitative Research Reports in Communication, 2, 42-48. 

Wood, Jennifer K. (Winter 1999). "Refined raw: The symbolic violence of victims’ rights reforms.” College Literature, 26, 150-169. Reprinted in Un-Disciplining Literature: Literature, Law & Culture. Ed. Kostas Myrsiades and Linda Myrsiades (New York, NY:  Peter Lang) 2000: 72-93.

Wood, Jennifer K. (1996). "Should class participation be required in the basic communication course?" Basic Communication Course Annual, 8, 108-124.



For several years, Dr. Wood was a medical advocate for Pittsburgh Action Against Rape.  She also worked as volunteer instructor at the State Correctional Institution in Pittsburgh, a maximum security prison for men, where she taught college communication courses.

She has been a communication consultant and in that role has worked on a range of projects: With colleagues, she's developed a number of anti-violence teaching materials to be used in elementary, middle and high school classrooms.  She's worked with non-profit organizations on special promotion projects. And she has helped managers and executives develop their speaking, conflict resolution and management skills.

She is a passionate dog lover (and enthusiastic collector of “dog art”).  In 2005, she and her partner became beekeepers!  They tend beehives in their backyard and are completely engaged by these fascinating creatures.  If you have a few hours, ask her about her bees!



Certified Victim/Offender Mediator, 2008, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, Office of the Victim Advocate.

Excellence in Teaching, full time faculty, 2002, Penn State New Kensington

Certified Victim/Offender Mediator, 2001, Pittsburgh Mediation Center

Certified Domestic Violence Counselor, 1991, Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Certified Rape Crisis Advocate, 1989, Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape.