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Kate Lavelle

Communication Studies
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

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Kate Lavelle


Communication Studies

Specialty area(s)

public communication & advocacy, communication & sport, mental health & athletes, rhetoric of the WNBA

Brief biography

I teach in the area of Public Communication and Advocacy

I am the First Year Seminar Coordinator

Since coming to UWL in 2013, I have taught a variety of courses in public communication and advocacy, the CST research core, General Education, and Communication and Sport. 

From 2018-2023, I directed the Public Speaking Center

In 2016-17, I was a Teaching Fellow as part of the Wisconsin Teaching Fellows & Scholars Program.

At UWL, I enjoy working with students as they develop their persuasive writing, speaking, and research skills. 

Current courses at UWL

FYS 100: Change starts with us


Wayne State University, Ph.D. (Rhetoric & Communication) (2006)
Miami University, M. A. (Speech Communication) (2002)
John Carroll University, B. A. (Speech Communication & Political Science) (2000)


Teaching history

Other courses I have taught at UWL:

General Education:

UWL 100/FYS 100: Change starts with Us: Gender, race, and identity in sports 

CST 110: Communicating Effectively

Public Communication & Advocacy

CST 210: Presentational Speaking

CST 310: Debate

CST 315: Communication Criticism

CST Research Core:

CST 498: Research Methods

CST 499: Senior Project

CST 322: Communication and Sport

Professional history

Prior to coming to UWL - I was involved in NDT/CEDA policy debate for more than two decades.

I have served on the Board of Directors for the International Association of Communication and Sport since 2012 (Treasurer since 2016)


Research and publishing

My research program focuses on the representation of race, gender/sex, and nationality in sports. Publications include:

Lavelle, K. (2022). Developing a rhetoric of mental health from a communication and sport perspective (pp. 31-46). In Health Communication & Sport Connections. Lexington.

Lavelle, K. (2022). “An injury like any other”: Counter story, mental health discourse, and Liz Cambage. Howard Journal of Communication.

Lavelle, K. (2021). The Face of Mental Health: Kevin Love and Hegemonic Masculinity in the NBA. Communication & Sport, OnlineFirst.

Lavelle, K. L. (2020). Striking a middle ground: A Neocolonialist analysis of the NCAA’s mascot ban. In M. Milford & L. R. Smith (Eds.), Communication and contradiction in the NCAA: An unlevel playing field (pp. 235-247). Peter Lang. 

Lavelle, K. L. (2019). A "fireable offense?" Jemele Hill and the rhetoric of public correction. In G. G. Armfield, J. McGuire, & A. Earnheardt (Eds.), ESPN and the changing sports media landscape (pp. 127-145). Peter Lang.

Lavelle, K. (2019) “Change Starts with Us”: Intersectionality and Citizenship in the 2016 WNBA. In D. Grano & M. Butterworth (Eds.), Sport, Rhetoric, and Political Struggle (pp. 38-53). New York, NY: Peter Lang. 

Lavelle, K. (2016). No Room for Racism: Restoration of Order in the NBA. Communication & Sport, 4, 424-441. Doi: 10.1177/2167479515584046

Lavelle, K. (2015). As Venus turns: A feminist soap opera analysis of Venus Vs. Journal of Sport Media, 10-2, 1-16. 

Lavelle, K. (2014). Cullen Jones is my Friend!: Increased Diversity in Swimming through Parasocial Relationships on Facebook. In B. Brummet & A. Ishak (Eds), Sport and Identity: New Agendas in Communication (pp. 44-59). London, UK: Routledge.

Lavelle, K. (2014). “Plays like a Guy”: A Rhetorical Analysis of Brittney Griner in Sports Media. Journal of Sports Media, 9 (2), 115-131.

Lavelle, K. (2013). Guns are no Joke: Framing Plaxico Burress, Gilbert Arenas, and Gunplay in Professional Sports. In L. A. Wenner (Ed.), Fallen Sports Heroes, Media, & Celebrity Culture (pp. 179-192). New York, NY: Peter Lang.

Lavelle, K. L. (2012). Great Expectations: An analysis of the fan base for WNBA's Expect Great. In A.C. Earnheardt, P. M. Haridakis, & B. S. Hugenberg (Eds.), Sports Fans, Identity, and Socialization, (pp. 237-254). Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Lavelle, K. L. (2010). “A critical discourse analysis of black masculinity in NBA game commentary.” The Howard Journal of Communications, 21 (3), 1-21. Doi: 10.1080/10646175.2010.3966675.



Kate Lavelle, Communication Studies, authored the chapter "Corrupt means, but the potential for millions: Rhetorical approaches to studying corruption in sport" in "Corruption and Scandal in American Sports: Causes and Consequences" (2023), published on Aug. 24 by Bloomsbury. She also co-authored the chapter "Playing here doesn't pay my bills: A comparative international conversation of pay equity as discursive practice" in the edited volume "Social Justice and The Modern Athlete Exploring the Role of Athlete Activism in Social Change" (2023), published by Lexington/Rowman & Littlefield.

Submitted on: Oct. 13, 2023


Kate Lavelle, Communication Studies, presented "Celebrating 50, duplicating inequality: A rhetorical analysis of Title IX celebratory fragments as sport diplomacy" at the International Association for Communication and Sport Summit on March 10 in Barcelona, Spain. She also presented "COVID, NIL, and mental health: How collegiate student athletes juggle increased pressures and stressors" on March 11 at the same conference.

Submitted on: Oct. 6, 2023


Katherine Lavelle, Communication Studies, authored the article "An Injury Like Any Other: Counter Story, Mental Health Discourse, and Liz Cambage" in Howard Journal of Communications and was accepted for publication by Taylor and Francis. This essay argues that Cambage’s mediated mental health disclosures function as resistance to stereotypes about Black women and mental health.

Submitted on: Nov. 1, 2022


Katherine Lavelle, Communication Studies, authored the chapter "Developing a Rhetoric of Mental Health from a Communication and Sport Perspective" in Health Communication and Sport: Connections, Applications, and Opportunities published on June 1 by Lexington (Rowman and Littlefield). The text evaluates health communication issues in sport contexts and inspires work that will answer contemporary questions and problems.

Submitted on: Nov. 1, 2022


Katherine Lavelle, Communication Studies, presented "A voice for the voiceless: Enactment of citizenship in ESPN’s 144" at the International Association for Communication & Sport Summit on March 4 in Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ. She also presented "‘Burn It All Down’: NWSL players’ engagement in critical rhetoric to challenge systemic abuse and interest ideology," along with with co-authors, Beth Fielding-Lloyd & Korryn Mozicek, at the same conference.

Submitted on: May 5, 2022