Eberly College of Arts and Sciences

Christine Rittenour

Christine Rittenour head shot.
Christine Rittenour sitting on a rock, overlooking water.

For students wanting to be their very best at their jobs, in their relationships, and as citizens, Communication Studies offers an empowering opportunity.

“For students wanting to be their very best at their jobs, in their relationships, and as citizens, Communication Studies offers an empowering opportunity,” she says.

To her, this field places special emphasis on an area of life that we have a strong capacity to control: our behavior.

“Communication Studies is versatile and speaks to the person who craves a deep, useful, and meaningful understanding of why and how humans interact as they do.”

Christy uses her communication expertise to give her fullest as an instructor.

“I enjoy learning – particularly the messy and vulnerable parts of the process – and I love watching students dive in with me. They impress me most when they work hard through difficult situations, are comfortable with making mistakes, and bravely proceed in prosocial ways.”

She says technology is important in today’s world, but it should always be used to connect us to others.

“I encourage students to prevent technology from interrupting or impeding our individual, relational, and social growth. This is sometimes as simple as prioritizing rich face-to-face interaction with the person next to you, even when it means waiting to respond to that incoming text message.”

About Her Students
They care about each other. They care about their school, state, country, and world. I REALLY love that!

Pedagogical Changes on the Horizon
In our discipline, I think and hope we will see greater interdisciplinary pursuits! For instance, I am working with WVU psychologists to better understand how parent/child interactions influence health practices over time. I also work with sociologists, women’s and gender studies scholars, and experts on higher education through my work with our university’s ADVANCE center.

Research Currently Working On
I study social (in)justice, particularly that which is experienced and cultivated within the family.

Publication Most Proud Of
I am most proud of my recent book chapter in which I address family’s role in socializing “difference” to and among its members. I drew largely upon research on racism, anti-racism, and race-based pride in American families.

Importance of Mentoring
It seems that one great mentor is what’s really required to help us find our way. As a faculty member, I still benefit from others’ mentorship, and my own mentoring is one of my favorite things about my life here at WVU.

Book Reading Right Now
I am reading White Fragility by Robin J. DiAngelo. I am also reading all the books my children ask me to read with/to them.