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Dwyer Named Fourth Reilly Professor
Award Recognizes Excellence in Teaching and Research


Karen Kangas Dwyer, Ph.D.

Professor Karen Dwyer has been selected as the fourth Robert Reilly Diamond Professor, Dean Gail F. Baker has announced.


Dwyer has been previously recognized by the University of Nebraska system as a top teacher. Additionally, she was instrumental in developing the concept of the Speech Center, which received Excellence Funding in 2004. Dwyer is active nationally in the oral communication center movement, and she has published internationally in her research area of public speaking anxiety and apprehension.


Dwyer’s appointment begins in fall when she follows School of Communication Director Jeremy Lipschultz in the professorship. "The Reilly Professor recognizes outstanding teaching, significant research and important service," Lipschultz said. "Dr. Dwyer is clearly a leader in the School when it comes to amazing teaching and internationally recognized scholarship."


The professorship was previously held for six years each by Kayser Professor Bruce Johansen and Michael Sherer, who was the first Reilly Professor. The professorship remembers longtime Professor Robert Reilly and received major funding from philanthropist Richard Holland, who was a partner with Reilly in an advertising agency.


Additional Information:

Karen Kangas Dwyer, Ph.D. Professor, School of Communication, is the Coordinator of the Public Speaking Fundamentals program, including 100 classes, 2500 students, and 25 faculty/GTAs per year. She administrates of the UNO Speech Center as well as directs/mentors the GTAs who teach in the program and staff the Speech Center. In addition, she is the Chair of the Human Resources and Training Graduate Certificate Program and directs the UNO oral communication assessment program.


Dwyer received the 2006 University of Nebraska state top teaching award (Outstanding Teaching and Instructional Creativity Award or OTICA) as well as the 1998 University of Nebraska at Omaha top teaching award (Excellence in Teaching). In addition, she has received the 2004 American Society of Training and Development, Nebraska (ASTD) Champion Award for mentoring students to become training professionals and involving them in state ASTD chapters. Dwyer has developed five new undergraduate and graduate courses at UNO which make up a new emphasis in the speech undergraduate major and a new focus in the communication graduate program. She has mentored/ advised/directed graduate students and instructors in research or creative projects, including four doctoral dissertations and 43 theses, graduate projects, and independent research projects.


Dwyer is the author of the book Conquer Your Speech Anxiety (Wadsworth, 2005) and and the accompanying CD-ROM designed to help students overcome the fear and anxiety of public speaking; both are used in numerous college classes throughout the United States. In addition, she has written the Conquer Your Speech Anxiety Instructor’s Manual as well as the Public Speaking Workbook (McGraw-Hill, 2008). She has co-authored Vanzelfsprenkend (Harcourt, 2003), a public speaking book, published in the Netherlands.


Dwyer is the author of the Multidimensional Model for Selecting Interventions chapter in the Avoiding Communication book (Hampton Press, in press) on the dominant theories and programs of research on communication anxieties and avoidance for the 21st century. She has authored over 15 peer-reviewed research articles published in national and regional communication journals and has presented over 40 scholarly presentations at national and regional conferences. She has presented numerous workshops and presentations for business and community organizations in the state and region on effective public speaking, training, instructional communication, teambuilding, and reducing speech anxiety.


Dwyer is the Vice-chair elect of the National Communication Association (NCA) Communication Anxiety and Competence Division and will become Chair in 2009). She has chaired the Speech Communication Association Commission on Communication Apprehension and Avoidance (1998) and the National Association of Communication Centers Annual Conference (2006).in which she involved over 25 UNO students and faculty in the conference panels, activities and presentations.


Dwyer has served on the editorial boards for four communication journals, including the NCA top journal, Communication Education. She has supervised and instigated over 15 student panel presentations at national or regional conferences and led the UNO-Metro Exchange, an oral communication assessment project related to AQIP and North Central Accreditation, designed to improve the transition of community college students to UNO. At present Dwyer serves on the UNO Faculty Senate as Vice-Chair of the Faculty Personnel and Welfare Committee. She has served on many UNO and School of Communication committees.


Dr. Karen Kangas Dwyer was awarded the 2008 Robert T. Reilly Diamond Professorship, the School of Communication Endowed Chair for distinguished faculty performance in teaching, research, and leadership in academic and communication areas.

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