Kristine Mroczek

Kristine Mroczek


B.A., Magna Cum Laude with Distinction, University of Washington, Seattle, Communication
M.A., University of Washington, Seattle, Communication
Ph.D., University of Washington, Seattle, Communication

Office: Truly House
Email: mroczek@uw.edu
Mail: Box 358530, 18115 Campus Way NE, Bothell WA 98011-8246


My approach to teaching is influenced by my own experiences of working in public relations and event planning in the tourism industry, and then returning to school as a non-traditional, first-generation college student. I appreciated how I could apply my personal and professional experiences to what I was learning, and think outside of the textbook applications. There are two significant roles that I imagine for myself as an instructor: 1) to provide critical thinking tools for students to apply to real world examples and critically examine the ways that language functions in society; and, 2) to assist my students in recognizing their own power in becoming effective communicators and producers of knowledge.

In the first role, I aim to provide students with analytical tools to apply to the media and interactions they encounter each day. The value of communication studies is partially based on our ability to understand others and recognize meaning potentials in any given situation. This includes messages in the media that we encounter, the structure of our institutions, and what is deemed as the “norm” in our entertainment. For me, the best teachers provide a clear connection of how course materials go beyond the textbook and are interwoven into our everyday lives. By foregrounding analytical tools, students are able to approach common communicative situations and recognize how power functions through language.

In my second role as an instructor, I recognize my students as active participants in society, who have the potential to be our future media producers, artists, public relations and media professionals. Whether they are creating their own political message within their communities, or they are responsible for outreach or public relations for an organization, I strive to show my students that producing communication and representations is a position of power. Language has the power to frame ideas around particular ideologies. If my students can leave my classroom recognizing the ways inequality and difference is produced through language, then they also will have the ability to produce communication that creates inclusiveness and equal representations. I aim to help my students recognize how communication practices can maintain differences and inequality, but they can also forge more accurate depictions of people and their identities.

As various forms of communication inundate us through the course of any one-day, individuals need to be able to have the tools to process and critically engage with media. My approach for each course emphasizes critical thinking skills through the subjects of media that are relevant for students. My goal is that they can examine their consumption and understanding of those messages, and recognize their own power in becoming effective communicators.

Recent Courses Taught

BIS MCS 473: Visual Communication
BIS 317: Language, Society and Cultural Knowledge
BIS 178: Introduction to Communication (Spring 2019)


My research focuses on critical intercultural studies, discourse analysis, and visual communication / semiotics. I am interested in interrogating the centers of power through the analysis of discursive and visual representations. My dissertation, “Competing Host Discourses: Appropriation of Australian Aboriginal Culture in the Tourism Borderzones” examines communication and difference through marketing and identity narratives within the area of tourism. My project draws on scholars across the disciplines, such as Communication, Anthropology, Sociology, Cultural Studies and Geography. This project focuses on how Australian Aboriginal cultural artifacts are used to discuss identity through tourism situations, which ultimately reflects both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australian identities and power structures. I am particularly interested in those moments where marginalized people can create their own representations or counter the dominant ones.

Selected Publications

Thurlow, C & Mroczek, K. (eds). (2011). Digital Discourse: Language in the New Media. New York & London: Oxford University Press.