Christine Willingham, Assistant Professor
"I am here to provide instruction, guidance and inspiration. Looking forward to getting to know each of you!"
- M.A. Public Relations & Corporate Communication — Barry University, 2010
- Ph.D. Communication — Florida State University, 2019
Prior to entering the doctoral program at Florida State, Dr. Willingham had a 26—year career in sales/marketing/public relations. During that time, she was co-owner of a commercial roofing business and a public relations/marketing consultant in South Florida.
In which online programs do you teach?
Which class do you teach online?
COM 533 Organizational Culture, Identity, and Brand
What types of projects can online students expect in your course(s)?
Discussion board posts, infographics, video presentations and communication audits.
What do you want students to learn in these courses? What is the expected learning outcome?
In COM 533, we will be using theories of organizational communication to define, discuss and analyze organizational culture. We will think about how we can use "brand" as a symbol that guides all organizational communication internally and externally. Finally, we will learn how to conduct a communication and brand audit and make recommendations for improving organizational communication. Many of the assignments will ask you to apply concepts toward your own personal experiences working in an organization.
Why did you start teaching?
Changes in my personal life led to a midlife career change and, as I was debating my future, I decided increasing my skills with graduate education was an important step. I had children at home, worked full time and squeezed in the necessary work to complete the Master of Arts in Public Relations and Corporate Communication. I found graduate work immensely rewarding. During my undergraduate studies, I was a little more committed to "life experiences" than to my academic work, so graduate work gave me an opportunity to discover what I could really accomplish if I put my heart and soul into it. The theories we discussed helped me make sense of the intuitive professional knowledge I had gained during my career. I was amazed to find that "there was a theory for that!" I also wanted to update my credentials to be more competitive in the marketplace.
What I didn't expect, however, was that I would fall in love with being in the classroom. I applied to a dozen Ph.D. programs and was accepted to Florida State University. I finished the Ph.D. in Communication in 2019.
What advice would you give to those considering this online program?
Your journey will be unique to you but I wish for you the intellectual stimulation, the sense of achievement and the close friendships you will gain through the program. I am here to provide instruction, guidance and inspiration. Looking forward to getting to know each of you!
What is the one book you think everyone should read?
I don't think there is just one. I read widely. I think a well-lived life is one that includes books — on the coffee table, on the bookshelf and on the nightstand.
Tell us something interesting about yourself that your students might not know about you.
I am a first-generation college student. My grandfather once told me all I ever needed to know was in the Bible. I went to college anyway, because I thought the world is big, there is a lot to learn and I wanted to experience more.