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Author, communication professor to give job talk April 18

Erika Kirby to speak on how communication in relationships helps or hurts work-life balance in second annual Seehra Lecture

Erika Kirby, the A.F. Jacobson Endowed Chair in Communication and a professor of communication studies at Creighton University, will present “Leading an Integrated Life: Relational and Reflective Communication Practices” Wednesday, April 18 at 4 p.m. in the Mountainlair Student Union’s Shenandoah Room.  

Erika Kirby

The talk is the second-annual presentation in West Virginia University’s Seehra Lecture Series, coordinated by the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies in partnership with the Council for Women’s Concerns

Kirby’s lecture will explore the communicative implications of how relationships – whether in the workplace, in the “homespace” or beyond – can be supportive and encourage work-life integration or non-supportive and create situations of overwork and stress.

"We are delighted to be able to host this expert in communication skills,” said Cari Carpenter, interim director of the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies. “I look forward to learning about her research into how communication with family, friends and colleagues, as well as self-talk, can be used to mitigate our stress levels and make for a stronger work-life balance."

Kirby will also discuss findings on intrapersonal communication and the utility of self-talk practices for finding balance, especially related to reflection and discernment. For both areas, her academic findings will be combined with practical tips for leading a more integrated life. 

Kirby studies the everyday intersections of working and personal life, or work-life balance. Her research emphasizes how differing social identities, especially gender, assimilate into and collide with organizational structures as individuals strive for work-life integration and integration.

Kirby co-edited the book “Gender Actualized: Cases in Communicatively Constructing Realities,” and her research on work-life has been published in numerous outlets in her discipline, including chapters in the “Handbook of Conflict Communication” and the “Handbook of Organizational Communication.” In 2015, Kirby received the National Communication Association’s Charles Woolbert Award.

In addition to the public lecture, Kirby will speak to WVU students in COMM 606, Theory and Research in Organizational Communication, COMM 426, Organizational Culture and WGST 170, Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies.

The Seehra Lecture Series was established by Mohindar Seehra, the Eberly Distinguished Professor Emeritus, and supports the professional development of women. Seehra has guided the research and careers of 65 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, including more than two dozen women. He retired in August 2016 after 47 years of teaching and research at WVU. The lectures cover topics like work-life balance, including both historical and contemporary issues and the influence of today’s economy.