Sara Docan-Morgan profile photo

Sara Docan-Morgan

Specialty area(s)

interpersonal communication, family communication, Korean adoptees, race and culture

Brief biography

Sara Docan-Morgan (PhD, University of Washington) is an associate professor of Communication Studies.

Dr. Docan-Morgan's work has been published in Adoption Quarterly, the Journal of Family Communication, the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, and the Journal of Korean Adoption Studies, as well as in edited volumes. Her research focuses on how personal identity and family identity are formed, maintained, and negotiated through discourse in both adoptive and birth families. She teaches courses in interpersonal communication, research methods, intercultural communication, and advanced topics in interpersonal communication, and directs senior thesis projects.

During the 2016-17 academic year, Dr. Docan-Morgan was a Fulbright Senior Scholar in Seoul, South Korea, lecturing at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. She is a 2014 recipient of the UW-L Provost's Teaching Award, the UW-L College of Liberal Studies Excellence in Teaching Award, and has been honored by the University of Wisconsin System as an Outstanding Woman of Color in Education.


PhD, University of Washington
MA, University of Arizona
BA, Augustana College

Teaching history

Before coming to UW-L, Sara taught communication courses at her two graduate alma maters, the University of Arizona and the University of Washington. She also taught communication courses at several community colleges in the Bay Area.

Research and publishing

Docan-Morgan, S. (2017). Korean adoptees’ discursive construction of birth family and adoptive family identity through names and labels. Communication Quarterly. Advanced online publication.
Docan-Morgan, S. (2016). Cultural differences and perceived belonging during Korean adoptees’ reunions with birth families. Adoption Quarterly, 19, 99-118.

Docan-Morgan, S. (2014). "They were strangers who loved me”: Discussions, narratives, and rituals during Korean adoptees’ initial reunions with birth families. Journal of Family Communication, 14, 352-373.

Docan-Morgan, S. (2014). Adoption bibliography for interpersonal communication. Adoption and Culture, 4, 98-102

Docan-Morgan, S. (2010). “They don’t know what it’s like to be in my shoes”: Topic avoidance about race in transracially adoptive families. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 27, 336-355.

Docan-Morgan, S. (2010). Korean adoptees’ retrospective reports of intrusive interactions: Exploring boundary management in adoptive families. Journal of Family Communication, 10, 137-157.