Dr. Kristen Cvancara is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Minnesota State University, Mankato. She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in Communication Studies, where she studied interpersonal communication and social influence. She has taught at MSU since 2005.
Dr. Cvancara investigates everyday communication patterns that involve the use of verbal aggression between sibling, family, and romantic relationship partners. She is interested in the process through which we learn to use verbal aggression and the factors associated with use in interactions with our close relationship partners. Her studies have examined how quickly and intensely young adults will use aggression to elicit emotional and physical intimacy from a resistant romantic partner. She has researched the effect of family communication patterns on adult communication behaviors, and the relationship between sibling use of verbal aggression and adult experiences with bullying. In 2012, she taught and conducted research at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland while on a Fulbright grant. She has presented her research at national and international conferences, has contributed chapters to volumes including Anti- and Pro-Social Communication and Bullying Among University Students, and is published in a variety of journals, such as the Journal of Family Communication, Personal Relationships, North American Journal of Psychology, Communication Quarterly, and Journal of Women in Educational Leadership.
Dr. Cvancara remains professionally active in the profit and not-for-profit sectors, where she worked before earning her graduate degrees. She actively supports leadership development and has facilitated leadership seminars for over a decade to university faculty/staff and community organizations. She enjoys consulting with organizations to enable them to conduct research to advance their causes, and uses these opportunities to mentor students in professional settings. She has served as Director of Graduate Studies and Chairperson of her department, is an active student advocate, and was awarded a Teacher of the Year award on her campus in 2014. She teaches a range of classes at MSU to undergraduate and graduate students, including her favorites of Interpersonal Communication, Research Methods, Family Communication, and Conflict Management. Her classes are designed to engage students in thoughtful reflection, discussion, and practical application of the course material throughout the semester.