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Communication Arts and Sciences

Matthew Isbell

Assistant Professor of Communication

Communication Arts and Sciences


PhD: University of Texas at Austin, MA: University of Montana, BA: Michigan State University


Nonprofit Organizations & Communication

This course provides looks at communication problems encountered by civil society organizations (CSOs). We explore the civil society sector; understand the similarity and differences that are set this type of organization apart for government and for-profit organizations. Among the topics discussed:  Superior subordinate relationships in volunteer-based organizations, interactions with special stakeholders (e.g., volunteer boards, funding agencies, community groups, under-served client populations), inter-organizational coordination efforts within communities of CSOs, image and representation of civil society organizations, formal and informal structure within CSOs, and planned change implementation in the context of multiple stakeholder relationships

Professional Communication and the Virtual Workplace

This course provides an examination of communication issues encountered with emerging virtual and Internet based communication. We explore several issues that confront the new globalized and “always on” workforce, while learning the similarity and differences that emerge from the traditional versus virtual work space. Among the topics explored are telework, social identity, cyber-bullying, privacy, and work/life balance. In addition, student will work on several practical skills and develop a better understanding of how to conduct virtual work. Skill development includes online meetings and collaborations, professional digital identity creation and digital communication for different levels of organizational authority.


Isbell, M. G., Seth, J. G., Atwood, R. D., & Ray, T. C. (in press). A client-centered nutrition education model: Lessons learned from Texas WIC. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior,

This article examined the implementation of client-centered nutrition education (CCNE) in Texas WIC as it relates to the Participant-Centered Education (PCE) model and identify additional components relevant to practical application. The findings document the model’s potential usefulness for programs with similar audiences and goals. This research highlights an expanded PCE model to assist practitioners in implementation of similar client centered programs.

Isbell, M. G. (2012). The role of boundary spanners as the interorganizational link in nonprofit collaborating.Management Communication Quarterly, 26 (1), 159-165.

Although much of the research on interorganizational relationships uses resource dependency to investigate and describe the relationship, more research should focus on the individuals participating in the collaboration. This paper explores the communication process, sensemaking and negotiation that occur with the “front-line” boundary spanners in nonprofit collaborations.

Mathew Isbell is an outdoor enthusiast who is currently trying to complete the New England 100 Highest. Born and raised in Detroit, cheering for his sports teams is mandatory no matter where he lives. Healthy living and eating are personal goals that he strives for through running and getting his butt kicked in the gym by his spouse. 




Cushing Hall #306B