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Dena Huisman

Dena Huisman alternate profile photo

Specialty area(s)

Communication and Identity, Grief and Social Support Communication, Family Communication

Brief biography

I received a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in 2008, where I studied family storytelling as a means of creating and maintaining collective family identity. I currently study grief and social support. I teach courses in interpersonal communication and conducting communication research.

Personal Gender Pronouns: she, her, hers, they, them, theirs

Current courses at UWL

Introduction to Communication Studies; Advanced Interpersonal Communication; Gender, Race, and Class in American Institutions


A.A., Southewestern Community College, Creston, Iowa, 1997
B.A., Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, 1999 (Major: journalism, Minor: French)
M.S., Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, 2003 (Studied: journalism and mass media)
Ph.D., University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, 2008 (Studied: family communication)

Teaching history

Introduction to Communication Studies, Public Oral Communication, Communicating Effectively, Interpersonal Communication, Gender Communication, Communication Theory, Family Communication, Team Communication, Intercultural Communication, Conflict and Negotiation, Nonverbal Communication, Senior Project

Research and publishing

Ritrosky, M., & Huisman, D. (2017). Stardust & Moonbeams [novel]. BZB Publishing.

Jannusch, A., & Huisman, D. M. (2016). The person we knew: Perceptions of the identity of loved ones with dementia by family caregivers. Speaker & Gavel, 51.

Docan-Morgan, T., & Huisman, D., & Docan-Morgan, S. (2014). A “dynamic knot” of students: A classroom activity for teaching relational dialectics. Carolinas Communication Annual.

Huisman, D. M. (2014). Telling a family culture: Storytelling, family identity, and cultural membership. Interpersona, 8(2).

Tollefson, M., & Huisman, D. M. (2014). Creating parody to understand parody: Helping students understand humor as a persuasive communication strategy. Communication Currents, 10, 6.

Tollefson, M., & Huisman, D. M. (2014). Ads and parody: Understanding persuasion and culture in advertising. Communication Teacher.

Huisman, D. M. & Flood, H. (2011). Baloney or braunschweiger?: Communicating cultural identity in multigenerational German immigrant families. Iowa Journal of Communication, 44(1), 22-42.

Baxter, L. A., Akkoor, C., Henauw, C., Hua, S., Huisman, D. M., Livesay, C., Norwood, K., Wolf, B. M., & Young, L. B. (2009). Lay conceptions of “family”: A replication and extension. Journal of Family Communication, 9(3), 170-189.