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Jonathan H. Amsbary

Professor; Director, Graduate Program This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Heritage Hall 335
(205) 934-3878

Research and Teaching Interests: Research Methods, Small Group Communication, Organizational Communication, and Interviewing.

Office Hours: MW 1:30 – 2:30 pm, 4:30 – 5:30 pm, and by appointment


  • B.A., University of New Mexico, Speech Communication/Psychology
  • M.A., Indiana University, Speech Communication
  • Ph.D., Speech Communication

I first encountered the study of communication at the University of New Mexico as a member of the Speech and Debate team. I took on a double major in Psychology and Communication and became fascinated with the idea that one could make a living researching and teaching all things communication. Under the encouragement of my advisor, Professor Richard Jenson, I was fortunate to earn my first publication as an undergraduate in the NewMexiCom, a publication of the New Mexico Communication Association.

I earned my Master’s and Doctorate degrees at Indiana University. I learned two very important things there. The first was that I absolutely loved being in the classroom. I was completely hooked on the very first day of my first class. I knew that I didn’t just want to teach, I had to teach. The second was that communication was a practical and empowering skill, especially in the applied areas of Small Group and Organizational Communication. It was my desire to know more about these subjects that propelled me through my doctoral research and into my career. To this day I still consider myself a scholar of applied communication.

My first jobs out of graduate school were at the University of Hawaii, and then North Dakota State University. I came to UAB in 1988 and have been here ever since. In those years I have seen UAB grow from an excellent commuter university to a world-class full-service university. I saw the creation of our football team, the growth of our student organizations, the construction of a number of dorms and the creation and growth of many academic programs, including the creation of our own nationally ranked Communication Management Master’s program. The one thing that has never changed at UAB is our institution’s commitment to excellence and diversity. I feel privileged to be part of an institution that prides itself in a large number of first-generation students we have and how this experience is especially transformative for them. I consider this a career well spent.

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  • Research Interests

    I specialize in areas of applied communication and persuasion. My Specific interests include how communication changes in various contexts like small groups, organizations and virtual realities. I have recently begun some work in popular culture, with the study of western movies and western movie actors. I enjoy employing both quantitative and qualitative methods in my investigations.

  • Recent Courses
    • Research Methods
    • Public Speaking
    • Small Group Communication
    • Interviewing
    • Communication Models (Graduate)
    • Small Group Communication (Graduate)
    • Organizational Communication (Graduate)
  • Select Publications
    • Amsbary, J. & Powell, L. (2018). Interviewing in a Changing World. New York: Rutledge.
    • Powell, L. & Amsbary J.H. (2018). Becoming John Wayne: The Early Westerns of a Screen Icon, 1930 – 1939. Jackson, NC: McFarland & Co. Pub.
    • Powell, L., Amsbary, J., & Hickson, M. III (2015). Talking Sports: The Role of Communication in Sports 2nd ed. Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt.
    • Powell, L., Vickers, J.S., Amsbary, J., Hickson, M. (2009) Surviving Group Meeting: Practical Tools for Working in Groups. BrownWalker Press. Boca Raton, FL.
    • Skelton, K., Evans, R., LaChenaye, J., Ambsary, J., Wingate M. & Talbott, F. (2018). Utilization of online focus groups to include mothers: A use-case design, reflection, and recommendations. Digital Health, 4, 1-6. doi: 10.1177/2055207618777675
    • Powell, L., Amsbary, J, & Johnston, J. R. (2017). Rickwood Field: A symbol of segregation and healing: In D. Herbeck & S. J. Drucker, Communication and the Baseball Stadium Community, Commodification, Fanship, and Memory. New York: Peter Lang Publishing.
    • Powell, L., Hickson, M. McCrosky, J.C. & Amsbary, J. (2015). Perceptions of authenticity in the Watergate hearings. Journal Political Science Public Affair, 2, 169.
    • Powell, L., Hickson, Amsbary, J, (2015). The Boston Marathon bombing and the rhetoric of sacrifice. The North American Journal of Psychology,17, 187.
    • Amsbary, J.H. & Powell, L., (2013). Content analysis of self-help internet discussion boards: What they do, what they don’t do. Human Communication, 16(2), 49-57.
  • Academic Distinctions and Professional Societies
    • Southern States Communication Association
  • Student Groups
    • HerUAB