“How do we seek courage to encourage others when facing adversity? How do we dig deeply into life’s surface to bring out our own and others’ innermost virtues when working through challenges? These questions among others guide the aims for many of my courses.”
Drawn to issues concerning individual and collective well-being, Dr. Laura Russell’s interests center on understanding the communication of personal and relational health. As a phenomenologist at heart guided by theories of narrative and dialogue, she observes, participates in, and examines processes of human recovery in an array of contexts. In her recent work, she has investigated how self-proclaimed workaholics support one another and construct new understandings for what it means to live “well.” Inspired by this study, she currently explores ethical questions concerning the social politics of health and human worth. Her recent publications appear in Health Communication, Qualitative Inquiry, and Communication Theory.
Dr. Russell’s interests in well-being transpire through both her teaching and community service involvements. The courses she designs, such as Narrative Ethics, Communicating Kindness, and “Ill”usions of Wellness, invite students to reflect deeply on how they make sense of their well-being through relationships with others. Moreover, she encourages students to question the value of human life — how individuals construct meaning for their personal worth.
For the campus community, Dr. Russell is a member of the Eating Disorder Intervention Team (EDIT), a group that offers supportive outreach to students. She also serves as a Restorative Justice facilitator, collaborating with others through dialogue on resolving campus issues. Beyond the campus, she volunteers in collaboration with Behavioral Health Partners (BHP) in Newark, while serving as a “Big” for Big Brothers Big Sisters.