Xavier University of Louisiana

Xavier University of Louisiana
Communication Studies

1 Drexel Drive

Campus Box 298

New Orleans, LA 70125

504-520-5087 phone

504-520-7982 fax



communication studies


MAY 2015 – Dr. Dominique Gendrin retired in May and was awarded the rank of Professor Emeritus. With 25 years in higher education and 16 years at Xavier, Dr. Gendrin served as the anchor for Communication Studies through its most transformative period in Xavier’s history.Throughout her career at Xavier, Dr. Gendrin earned the University’s highest research honor, the NCF Faculty Excellence in Scholarship award, served as Chair of the Department of Communications and Chair of the Department of Mass Communication, served as Associate Director for the Center for Undergraduate Research and served on Xavier’s Rank and Tenure Committee.

JUNE 2015 – The Departments of Communication Studies and Mass Communication collaborated with Smothers Academy Preparatory Charter School to hold a “Communication and Media Arts Camp."  This unique program exposed 30 college-bound local high school students to communication work; offered four DSBS majors invaluable, hands-on work experience in their chosen field, increasing their marketability post-graduation; and, raised Xavier’s profile as an excellent training ground for young media and communication professionals. Dr. Kimberly Chandler (Communication Studies) served as Project Coordinator and Mr. Arnold Crump and Ms. Melinda Shelton (Mass Communication) assistd with technical components of the camp.

JUNE 2015 – Communication Studies senior Kynisha Christmas will spend the summer interning with the Center for Restorative Approaches, a New Orleans non-profit that helps K-12 students resolve conflict by building problem-solving and decision-making skills that result in better connections, less conflict, and a healthier community.

JUNE 2015 – Dr. Ross Louis received a UNCF/Mellon International Faculty Residency Fellowship to fund his project “Performative Moments of Presence and Place in Richard Wright’s Haiku.” Louis will spend a portion of the summer in France investigating the sites that author Richard Wright composed over 4,000 haiku near the end of his life.

APRIL 2015 – Dr. Lisa Flanagan received the Norman C. Francis Faculty Excellence Award in Teaching for junior faculty. Dr. Flanagan was recognized for her innovative and creative teaching approaches, her sustained and meaningful service-learning partnerships that advocate for environmental justice, and her significant investment in working with students outside of class, especially at performance festivals.

APRIL 2015 – Dr. Liz Edgecomb completed a year of service as the Vice-Chair of the Ethnography Division of the Southern States Communication Association (SSCA). In this role, Dr. Edgecomb coordinated every ethnographic research presentation at the 2015 SSCA Conference in Tampa, FL. She will serve as Chair of the Ethnography Division in 2015-2016.

APRIL 2015 – Dr. Kimberly Chandler appeared in the Ashe Cultural Arts Center’s production of Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues” in April. The performance was held in coordination with the internationally observed “V Day,” a global call to end violence against women.

MARCH 2015 – Dr. Ross Louis adapted and directed  “This Other World,” a site-specific performance developed around the posthumously published haiku of Richard Wright.  The show ran outdoors in the sculpture garden at the Xavier Art Village.  Weaving Wright’s haiku with selections from his Native Son and Black Boy, “This Other World” explored the author’s writing process, formative experiences with race identity, and iconic scenes from his literature. 

NOVEMBER 2014 – Civil rights activist Dr. Angela Davis will participate in "Slavery, The Prison Industrial Complex," a panel discussion with P.3 artists Keith Calhoun and Chandra McCormick, on Tuesday, November 4 from 6-8 p.m. in the Xavier Qatar Pharmacy Pavillion. The Department of Communication Studies is proud to serve as one of the Xavier sponsors for the event.

SEPTEMBER 2014 – Dr. Lisa Flanagan and Dr. Ross Louis (along with Dr. Robin Vander from English and African American and Diaspora Studies) received a CUR/Mellon Grant for their project "Here Is Where You Turn Back: Performance as Praxis in Literary Studies." The interdisciplinary project uses Performance Studies praxis to analyze and interpret New Orleans-based short stories, and to construct staged presentations of the literary texts at Xavier (October 9-11, 2014) and at the Petit Jean Performance Festival in Morrilton, Arkansas (October 16-19, 2014).

JUNE 2014 – Dr. Lisa Flanagan and Dr. Ross Louis both received Faculty Resource Network Scholar-in-Residence Awards for the month of June at New York University. Dr. Flanagan conducted research on performance and tourism in preparation for a special topics course she will teach in Spring 2015. Dr. Louis conducted research for a creative scholarship project that will result in a staged performance of Richard Wright's haiku in Spring 2015.

JUNE 2014 – Dr. Ross Louis received a CUR/Mellon Grant to collaborate with a student (Thomas Nash, Theology) on archival research and scripting of a performance titled, "This Other World," based on Richard Wright's haiku. Louis and Nash traveled to Yale University's Beinecke Library to consult the Richard Wright archives.

MAY 2014 – Congratulations to 2014 CMST graduates Ms. Allyson Graham (Atlanta, GA) and Ms. Lexus Jordan (Kenner, LA)! Graham was accepted into the teachNOLA, a teacher preparation program that prepares Teaching Fellows for public schools in New Orleans. Jordan was accepted into the M.A. program in Applied Theatre at the City University of New York, where she will study the use of theatre to address social and educational issues.

APRIL 2014 – Communication Studies students presented a wide range of research during Xavier's annual Festival of Scholars on April 10-11. Mireille Lonian, Lexus Jordan, Mia Ruffin, Randi Lemons, Veronica Miles, Kellie Richardson, Kennedi Crosby, and Jacqueline Billings all participated on panels. Presentations included work developed in Communication Studies Capstone, Race, Culture & Communication, Intercultural Communication and Performance of Literature.

APRIL 2014 – Congratulations to Dr. Lisa Flanagan who was named a finalist for the 2014 Norman C. Francis Excellence in Teaching Award for junior faculty. Dr. Flanagan was nominated by her peers and reviewed by a committee before being named one of four finalists for the award.

MARCH 2014 – Dr. Liz Edgecomb had an article accepted in Text and Performance Quarterly, a peer-reviewed Communication Studies journal.Her piece, “Grinchma, The Pixie Made Me Cry, and Other Stories of Coming to Performance Studies,” uses a personal narrative to explain the discipline of performance studies as process-based.

MARCH 2014 – Communication Studies faculty participated in the launch of Xavier’s new Performance Studies Laboratory by staging creative scholarly work during the Faculty Performance Showcase on March 25. Drs. Liz Edgecomb and Lisa Flanagan performed “The Diaries of Adam and Eve” by Mark Twain. Dr. Flanagan also performed “The School,” a short story by Donald Barthelme. Dr. Kim Chandler performed “Give Me Liberation and Give Me Soul: A Poetic Exploration of Oppression Versus Freedom,” a compilation of poetry, spoken word, and song. Dr. Ross Louis performed “5900 St. Roch,” a devised work reflecting on the relationship between architecture, presence, and absence. See showcase photos here.

FEBRUARY 2014 –Lexus Jordan (CMST major), Mia Ruffin (CMST minor) and Tiara Barthe (CMST minor) attended the Patti Pace Performance Festival in Augusta, GA on January 31 – February 1. Jordan performed “River Psalms,” a devised performance combining oral history, archival research, song, and movement to highlight both historical and contemporary acts of resistance along River Road. All the students participated in group workshops with students from other universities, creating final performances that addressed the festival theme of community engagement. See festival photos here.

NOVEMBER 2013 – Our honors public speaking course is working to inspire young people to take action toward building and strengthening community in New Orleans through sayNOLA, an event hosted at Xavier University for 200 high school and college students on November 12 from 6-9 p.m. in the Administration Building Auditorium. Modeled after the format made popular by TED Talks, sayNOLA will feature New Orleans citizens who will give the 15-minute “talk of their lives” to activate young people to create change. Speakers represent a wide range of change agents, including:

  • 2-Cent (Hip hop grassroots media collective)
  • Javon Bracy (Student Government Association President, Xavier University)
  • Kelly Harris-DeBerry (Poet and New Orleans literary activist)
  • New Renaissance (Hip hop artists)
  • Anne Rolfes (Founding Director, Louisiana Bucket Brigade)
  • Gian Smith (New Orleans spoken word artist)

The event will also include story circles that allow high school and college students to share their own personal narratives and discuss meaningful social action. Participants will be invited to network with presenters and community-based organizations to discover ways to take action themselves.

AUGUST 2013 – Dr. Dominique Gendrin, Professor in Communication Studies, will go on sabbatical leave during the 2014 spring semester. She will be working on an anthology on the HBO series Treme and developing cross-cultural studies reception studies on the same series in collaboration with ELICO Research Lab at the University of Lyon-3 (France).

MAY 2013 – Congratulations to Ms. Brittany Martin (Chicago, IL), Xavier’s very first graduate in Communication Studies! Brittany earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies and completed a capstone project entitled, “What Sex Tape? Voyeurism, Celebrity Worship and Reality Television. See photos from her one-woman show.

APRIL 2013 – During the Spring 2013 semester, Communication Studies students partnered with the Louisiana Bucket Brigade through its Art-to-Action initiative. Students enrolled in CMST 3030: Race, Culture and Communication developed oral history presentations as part of the Down By the River project, a multidimensional environmental and African-American history media project that weaves together layered “storytelling” maps, oral histories, a site-specific performance and a digitally-guided biking/walking tour to explore the connection of people and place along the Mississippi River Road between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.