Christopher Comer, Dean
Professor, Department of Communication Studies
Past President, National Communication Association, 2009
COMX 210 - Small Group Communication
COMX 220 - Professional Communication
COMX 421 - Communication in Nonprofit Organizations
COMX 423 - Organizational Communication Training and Consultation
COMX 491 - Propaganda in Context: Nazis and the GDR (with Professor Sara Hayden)
COMX 540 - Seminar in Instructional Communication
COMX 561 - Qualitative Methods
I began my career at Montana in 1983. From 1999-2005, I served in two administrative roles: Assistant Provost for Enrollment Management and Retention, and then as Interim Dean of the Davidson Honors College from 2003-2005, both here at UM. I have been an adjunct faculty member at the Chalice of Repose Project at St. Patrick Hospital, where I offered communication courses to graduate students preparing to be music thanatologists–people who use song and harp to counsel the dying. From 2010 to early 2012 I worked as the Director for Academic and Professional Affairs at the National Communication Association in Washington, DC.
I received my Ph.D. in Speech Communication from the University of Washington in 1985 and specialize in organizational communication, where my two major research areas are the mentoring and socialization of organizational newcomers. I enjoy listening to the experiences of organizational newcomers as they try to negotiate life in organizations, and find their experiences of change, contrast, and surprise very exciting. I use these stories to coach organizational "veterans" how to make the socialization experiences of newcomers less stressful (for both newcomers AND veterans). More recently, I am investigating the role of communication in organizational exit as well as the impact of communication privacy on patient-targeted googling.
My passion is teaching, which I enjoy tremendously. I was honored to receive the University of Montana's Distinguished Teacher Award in 1991 and the Master Teacher Award from the Western States Communication Association in 1992. I just learned that I will receive the National Communication Association's 2017 Donald H. Ecroyd Award for Outstanding Teaching in Higher Education. The award is given to honor an NCA member who exemplifies superlative teaching in higher education. I will receive this award at the NCA annual meeting in Dallas this November.
I also enjoy management responsibilities and was very grateful to be nominated by the COMM department for (and be awarded) Montana's Academic Administrator Award in 1996, I have also served as President of the Western States Communication Association, the Northwest Communication Association, and as Director of the Educational Policies Board for the National Communication Association. In 2009 I was elected as President of the National Communication Association, and was very honored to serve in this capacity.
I haven't always been an academic. For three years I worked as a police officer in Holland, Michigan, where I served as Community Service Officer and Domestic Dispute Liaison (where I mediated a number of domestic disputes and learned to duck flying pots and pans).
Although I consider myself a fourth-generation Montanan (my great-grandfather settled here in 1863), I was born and raised nine miles from New York City. I have a tthirty year old son who graduated from my alma mater, Hope College, and have adopted rescue springer spaniels. I enjoy serving on nonprofit boards and have been on the board of the Missoula Art Museum since 2007, and just completed a three-year stint as president. I have recently been appointed to the board of the Jeanette Rankin Foundation, located in Athens, GA. Their mission is to provide scholarships for women over 35 who wish to pursue higher education.
Ph.D., University of Washington
M.A., University of Montana
A.B., Hope College, Holland, Michigan
Organizational identification, socialization, and exit, and the development of mentor relationships
Communication in voluntary kin relationships
Communication privacy and social media
Field of Study
Organizational communication, with an emphasis in instructional communication
PUBLICATIONS – Books
Albrecht, T. A., & Bach, B. W. (1997). Communication in complex organizations: A relational approach. New York: Harcourt, Brace.
PUBLICATIONS - Book Chapters
Bach, B. W., & Wilson, C. E. (2017). Interpersonal skills. The international encyclopedia of organizational communication. New York: John Wiley and Sons.
Braithwaite, D. O., Bach, B. W., Dirks, S., Kranstuber, H., & Mumm, S. S. (2015). Talking family: The discourses of voluntary kin. In D. Braithwaite & J. Wood (Eds.), Casing Interpersonal Communication: Case Studies in Personal and Social Relationships (2nd Ed). Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt. Retrieved from http://www.kendallhunt.com/braithwaite_wood/
PUBLICATIONS - Referred Articles
Backlund, P., Bach, B. W., Hefferin, D., Johnson, D., Mello, B., Procopio, C., & Sypher, H. (2011). NCA Program Review Standards: Background, Application and Data.
Area of Expertise
Communication in Small Groups; Fundraising and Development; Meeting Management; Strategic Planning; Volunteer Relationships
Pedagogy Department Field
Police Officer, Holland Police Department, Holland, Michigan (1974-1977)
Assistant Provost for Enrollment Management and Retention, University of Montana (1999-2004)
Interim Dean, Davidson Honors College, University of Montana (2004-2006)
Director for Academic and Professional Affairs, National Communication Association, Washington DC (2010-2012)
Study abroad, Coatzacoalcos, Mexico 1969
Study abroad, Vienna; U.S.S.R. 1972
Wintersession 2009 course that I taught in Central Eurpoe with Dr. Rafael Chacon in the Department of Art - we visited Vienna, Munich, Nurenburg, Berlin, and Prague.
Wintersession 2014, 2016, and 2018 course co-taught with Dr. Sara Hayden on Nazi and GDR Persuasion and Propaganda - Salzburg, Munich, Nurnberg, Berlin Warsaw, Krakow, and Prague
Academic Travel to:
Basel, Switzerland, September 2008
Istanbul, Turkey, July 2009
Havana, Cuba, October 2009
Panama City, Panama, July 2010
Verona, Italy, September 2010
St. Andrews, Scotland, September 2012
Amsterdam, September 2014
France, January 2015
Ireland, October 2016
National Communication Association, Member
International Communication Association, Member
Western States Communication Association, Member
Central States Communication Association, Member
Northwest Communication Association, Member