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Rising Stars: Meet Leeanne Bell McManus

Today we’d like to introduce you to Leeanne Bell McManus. 

Hi Leeanne, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself
I grew up in a small steel mill town called Leechburg, PA. My father, grandfathers, and almost everyone I knew worked in the steel mill. I was fortunate enough to have a family that encouraged my love of learning. I knew I wanted to go to college but I did not know what I “really” wanted to do with my life. After my undergraduate education, I decided to continue my education in graduate school. I can honestly say I went to graduate school because I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I had no ambition to be a college professor; I loved college and never wanted to leave. 

After finishing my Ph.D., I traveled all over the United States looking for the right fit. I ended up at Villa Julie College (now Stevenson University) because it felt like home. The small college, filled with first-generation students, proudly proclaimed that “We meet students where they are” and I knew I could have an impact on many of these students. I have called Maryland home for the last 14 years. I love the city and everything it has to offer to the community. 

Leeanne M. Bell McManus (Ph.D., Duquesne University, 2007) is a professor in the Department of Communication at Stevenson University. She has co-authored four books, Communication Ethics Literacy: Dialogue and Difference, Conflict Between Persons: Origins of Leadership, Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, and Communication Ethics: Activities for Critical Thinking and Reflection. She has published excerpts in Integrated Marketing Communication: Creating Spaces for Engagement, Exploring Communication Ethics: Interviews with Influential Scholars in the Field, The Encyclopedia of Social Identity, and The Encyclopedia of Communication Ethics. Dr. Bell McManus has also published in Atlantic Journal of Communication, Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, Communication Annual: Journal of the Pennsylvania Communication Association, Communication Education, Journal of the Association for Communication Administration, and Review of Communication. She is a member of the National Communication Association (NCA), the Eastern Communication Association (ECA), and the Southern States Communication Association (SSCA). She is the past president of the Communication Ethics Division of NCA and past president of the Eastern Communication Association. She was named Teacher of the Year by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), Maryland Chapter and is a Teaching Fellow for the Eastern Communication Association. She teaches and conducts research in communication ethics, event planning, conflict, leadership, instructional communication, and interpersonal communication. 

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
The biggest obstacle along the way was trying to figure out what I wanted to do in life. I never dreamed a college professor was what I was going to “grow up” to be. It has been a fun educational journey that brought me to Baltimore where I met my husband (for the second time) and where we started our family. 

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I am a professor at Stevenson University in the department of communication studies. I specialize in communication ethics, event planning, organizational communication, conflict and resolution, crisis communication, and instructional communication. 

I am most proud of writing my first book with my mentors Ronald C. Arnett and Janie Harden Fritz. 

I am excited for the Eastern Communication Association to come back to the city of Baltimore in 2023. We will bring close to 1,000 professors, students, and communication professionals to our city to discuss the ever-changing discipline of communication. The best part of bringing a conference to your hometown is having the ability to showcase the wonderful attractions of the Inner Harbor. 

I think what sets me apart from others is my conversational style. I am always up for a good conversation and will make time to check in with others. 

We’d love to hear about any fond memories you have from when you were growing up?
Yearly family vacations to the beach. I love the beach and hope to continue the tradition with my family. 

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