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Steve McCornack

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Heritage Hall 331
(205) 934-3877

Research and Teaching Interests: Communication in Close Relationships, Romantic Relationship Problems, Public Speaking, Deception, and Deceptive Message Production

Office Hours: MWF 11:00 am - 1:00 pm and by appointment


  • B.A., University of Washington
  • M.A., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Steve McCornack grew up in Seattle, Washington, in the years before Microsoft, Amazon, and grunge music — although he does love “hometown” bands such as Fleet Foxes, Death Cab for Cutie, Soundgarden, and Alice in Chains. For as long as he can remember, Steve has been fascinated with how people create, maintain, and disband close relationships, especially the challenges confronting romantic couples. This fascination led him to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees in interpersonal communication.

Experiences with a duplicitous girlfriend in his teens kindled a lifelong interest in deception. Steve has published more than 30 research articles examining deception and is one of the world’s foremost authorities regarding deceptive message production. But his peak passion is undergraduate teaching. Steve loves working with students to improve their communication skills and relationships, and he has received numerous awards in recognition of his teaching quality, including the Lilly Endowment Teaching Fellowship, the Amoco Foundation Excellence-in-Teaching Award, and the National Communication Association Donald H. Ecroyd Award for Outstanding Teaching in Higher Education. Steve has also written several undergraduate textbooks embodying his teaching philosophy; the most well-known of which is Reflect & Relate: An Introduction to Interpersonal Communication, which currently is used by students and faculty at more than 300 universities and colleges worldwide.

Other than his love of teaching and his fascination with all things interpersonal, Steve’s principal passions are his family (wife Kelly and three redheaded sons, Kyle, Colin, and Conor), his music (playing drums and listening to vinyl records), yoga (he teaches classes at the UAB Rec Center!), Kona coffee, Swiss mechanical watches, his Subaru WRX, and the vehicle for which his UAB email ID is named: his 1985 Porsche 911.


  • Recent Courses

    Steve joined the faculty at UAB in Fall of 2015. He is currently coordinator of the Public Speaking course CMST101. For the previous 27 years, Steve taught classes on interpersonal communication, close relationships, and language usage at Michigan State University.

  • Select Publications
    • McCornack, S.A. (2015). Interpersonal Communication and You (1st Ed). Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s Press.
    • McCornack, S.A. & Ortiz, J. (2015). Choices & Connections: An Introduction to Human Communication (1st Ed). Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s Press.
    • McCornack, S.A. (2016). Reflect & Relate: An Introduction to Interpersonal Communication (4th Ed). Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s Press.
    • Morrison, K. & McCornack, S.A. (2014). Rethinking susceptibility: Examining the cognitive and emotional processing of other-directed fear appeal messages. Communication Reports. DOI: 10.1080/08934215.2014.980436
    • McCornack, S.A., Morrison, K., Paik, J.E., Wisner, A., & Zhu, X. (2014). Information Manipulation Theory 2 (IMT2): A propositional theory of deceptive discourse production. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 33(4), 348-77.
  • Academic Distinctions and Professional Societies
    • International Communication Association (ICA), Member
    • National Communication Association (NCA), Member
    • 2013 recipient of the NCA’s Donald H. Ecroyd Award for Outstanding Teaching in Higher Education