O Hara_Laura

Laura O'Hara

Associate Professor

LB 364   Phone: 765-285-1998  

Communication Studies
David Letterman Communication and Media Building, room 351
2000 University Ave.
Muncie, IN 47306


B.A., Missouri Western State University
M.A., Central Missouri University
Ph.D., Ohio University


COMM 290 Intercultural Communication
COMM 441 Organizational Culture
COMM 442 Conflict & Communication
COMM 440 Advanced Interpersonal Communication
COMM 605 Qualitative Research Methods in Communication

Research interests include:

  • Assessment of health education programs
  • Critical-cultural studies in health communication
  • Critical-cultural studies in organizations

Selected publications, creative projects, conference presentations:

  • McKenzie, J. Shue, C.K., O’Hara, L., Marini, D., Flanagan, J.R. (2008). Improving communication between patients with diabetes and their physicians, Health Education & Behavior, 35, 599-601.
  • Shue, C.K., O’Hara, L.L.S., Marini, D., McKenzie, J., Schreiner, J.D. (2009). Diabetes and Low-Health Literacy: A Preliminary Outcome Report of a Mediated Intervention to Enhance Patient-Physician Communication. Communication Education (currently under final review).
  • O’Hara, L., Shue, C.K., Marini, D., McKenzie, J., Flanagan, J.R., & Daniel, L. A simple demographic question: A discursive negotiation of face when asking the “race question.” A manuscript presented to the language and Social Interaction Division of the National Communication Association, November 2009, Chicago, IL. Selected as a Top Four Paper for the Division.
  • Shue, C.K., O’Hara, L., Marini, D., Flanagan, J.R., & McKenzie, J., & Brown, S.C. Low health literacy, diabetes, and patient-physician communication: An interdisciplinary collaboration. Presented at the Center for Disease Control’s 2009 Diabetes Translation Conference, Long Beach, CA, April, 2009.
  • Shue, C.K., O’Hara, L.L.S., Marini, D., McKenzie, J., Flanagan, J.R. November, 2008). Diabetes and Low Health Literacy: Designing a Mediated Intervention to Enhance Patient-Physician Communication. A paper presented to the Scholar-2-Scholar Division of the National Communication Association, San Diego, CA.
  • O’Hara, L.L.S. (2007). Small group processes in action. Allyn & Bacon/Pearson Education. Created five digital assets/case studies that serve as “living illustrations” of the group communication process. Digital ancillary materials in various undergraduate texts in Communication Studies.
  • O’Hara, L., & Meyer, M. (2004). Keeping it Real: The Self-directed Focus Group as an Alternative Method for Studying the Discursive Construction of Prejudice. The Journal of Intergroup Relations, 31, 25-54.
  • Meyer, M., & Shue O'Hara, L. (2004). When they know who we are: The National Women's Music Festival comes to Ball State University. In P. M. Buzzanell, H. Sterk, & L. Turner (Eds.), Gender and Communication in Applied Contexts. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • O'Hara, L.L., & Meyer, M. (2003). “I never felt more uncomfortable in my life": University students' discursive constructions of "The Lesbian Convention." Communication Studies, 54, 137-153.
  • O’Hara, L. (2001). Service learning: Students' transformative journey from communication studies graduate to communication professional. Southern Communication Journal, 66, 251-266.
  • Shue, L., & Beck, C.S. (2001). Stepping out of bounds: Performing feminist pedagogy with a dance education community. Communication Education, 50, 125-143.


  • Lead Author: Provost’s International Initiative Grant. Awarded $40,000.00 to develop a study abroad exchange with Hong Kong Baptist University. Awarded, Spring, 2009.
  • Author: Center for Media Design Stipend to Develop Marketable Products. Awarded $20,000 to create six assets/case studies that serve as “living illustrations” of the group communication process in an undergraduate text in Communication Studies. Awarded, Summer, 2005.
  • Author: Faculty fellow, Virginia Ball Center for Creative Inquiry. Awarded $52,500.00 to implement a course in which students produce video documentaries about community members recovering from a life/health threatening situation. Awarded February, 2003.
  • Lead author: Faculty icommunication Fellowship (internal grant). Awarded $14, 619 to develop an interactive international business communication course. Awarded January 2002.
  • Co-author: Central States Communication Association's Federation Prize (external grant). Awarded April, 2001.
  • Author: Excellence in Leadership Teaching Award. Awarded $3,000.00 by the Provost and the Office of Leadership and Service to fund an innovative adaptation of an existing course to enhance students' leadership development and moral responsibility through Servant leadership. Awarded April 2001.
  • Author: New Faculty Grant. Awarded $1494.00 to develop formative research examining how osteopathic physicians and allopathic physicians currently view the legitimacy of osteopathic medicine. Awarded March 1999.
  • Author: Diversity Associates Curriculum Development Stipend. Awarded $1350.00 for a Curriculum Development Project submitted to the Diversity Associates Program. Awarded May 1999.

Selected service:


  • University Senate, Spring, 2009.
  • Immersive Learning Task Force, Ball State University, 2008-2009.
  • Graduate Faculty Fellow, Graduate School, Ball State University, 2009.
  • Graduate Education Advisory Committee, Ball State University, 2008-2009.
  • Student Advisor, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, Ball State University Chapter, 2006-2007.
  • President, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, Ball State University Chapter, 2005-2006.
  • CCIM Representative, University Core-curriculum Task Force II, 2004-2006.
  • Professional Affairs Council, 1999-2005 (Vice-chair, 2004-2005; Secretary. 2001-2004; Chair, Ad Hoc
  • Subcommittee Trailing Spouses; Chair, Ad Hoc subcommittee investigating the possibility of extending university benefits to university employees' same-sex domestic partners.
  • CCIM representative, University Core Curriculum Re-visioning Task-force, 2002-2004.


  • Secretary, CCIM Promotion & Tenure Committee, 2006-2007.
  • CCIM International Program Interest Group, 2005-2007; 2008-2009.
  • Dean’s Search Committee, 2004-2005.
  • CCIM Multicultural Day Committee.
  • Secretary, CCIM Promotion and Tenure Committee, 2000-2001.
  • CCIM Communication Week Committee. Instrumental in planning and facilitating events. 1999-2000.


  • Interim Graduate Director, 2009.
  • Departmental Promotion & Tenure Committee, 2000-2009 (Chair 2006-2007; 2000-2001)
  • Departmental Curriculum & Planning Committee, 1997-1998; 2006-2009 (Secretary 2007-2008; co-chair 2008).
  • Faculty Advisor, Lambda Pi Eta Honor Society, 2006-2009.
  • COMM 210 Director Search Committee, Chair 2006; Co-chair 2009.
  • Coordinator, Comprehensive Examinations, 2006; 2009.
  • Co-Sponsor, National Communication Association Student Club, 2006.
  • Library Resource Committee, 2000-2004 (Chair 2002-2003).
  • Social Functions Committee. 1997-1998; 2001-2002, 2005-2006.
  • Departmental liaison for Brayton-Clevenger Residence Hall. 2001-2002.
  • Chair Search Committee, 2000-2001.

Awards and Honors:

  • CCIM Commitment to Community Award, Fall, 2005.
  • Indiana Campus Compact. One of five finalists for the “Brian Douglas Hiltunen Faculty Award for Outstanding
  • Contribution to the Scholarship of Engagement.” Spring, 2005.
  • COMM CLUB “Most Valuable Professor,” Spring, 2005.
  • Communication Studies “Excellence in Teaching Award,” Spring, 2003.
  • CCIM Social Responsibility Award, Fall, 2002.
  • Mortar Board, “Outstanding Faculty Member,” Spring, 2002.



Course Schedule
  • Course
  • Course
    Intercultural Commun
    T R
    LB 125
  • Course
    Practicum in Comm St
  • Course
    Communication and Co
    T R
    BC 103