As a teacher-scholar of interpersonal, family, and dialogic communication, I’m committed to understanding the myriad ways communication matters in people’s lives. I believe strongly that communicators do more than transmit information; they are active agents in the construction and reconstruction of personal, relational, and social realities. My lived experience as a communicator in combination with my education in communication has helped me recognize the epistemological value of both logic and emotion, storytelling and storylistening, and self and social awareness, and in turn, has equipped me to pursue my work with humility, curiosity, and an open mind and heart.
My current passion is in the area of interpersonalization. I enjoy thinking carefully and deeply about ways to support connection, belonging, and humanization through acquiring and applying personal knowledge. Although this type of interaction is often viewed as a hallmark of personal relationships, I find myself interested in understanding its potential value in educational contexts and professional organizations.
My education at the University of Nebraska (Ph.D. in Communication Studies, 2006), Syracuse University, (M.S. in Speech Communication, 1999), and Bloomsburg University (B.A. in Communication and Sociology), equipped me with rich theoretical knowledge of interpersonal and family communication and qualitative and critical methods. As a member of both the National Communication Association and Eastern Communication Association, I find great value in learning from others and joy in sharing my individual and collaborative scholarship. My research, which can be found in the Journal of Family Communication, Journal of Applied Communication Research, Iowa Journal of Communication, and Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, has detailed identity-related experiences of families formed through adoption and third-party reproduction; working parents' sensemaking regarding family labor; mothers’ and daughters’ meaning-making processes, and various meaningful relational experiences of emerging adults, most recently, the fear of missing out. My most valued professional accomplishments include receiving the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Sandra Petronio Dissertation Excellence Award, serving as the Chair of the Eastern Communication Association’s Interpersonal Division and Co-chair (along with my colleague Dr. Atsushi Tajima) of the James C. McCroskey and Virginia P. Richmond Undergraduate Scholars Conference. As a faculty member in the Department of Communication, my tenure at SUNY Geneseo has provided an opportunity to share and enhance my communication-related knowledge through course offerings in Interpersonal, Family, Organizational, Small Group, and Cultural Communication and through related campus initiatives such as Intergroup Dialogue coursework and the Cultivating Community series. Together, my education and experiences have bolstered my passion for the study of communication and strengthened my belief in the interconnectedness of communication, relationships, and quality of life.
Office Hours (Fall 2023)
Open Hours: Monday 11:00-1:00 pm
Other Hours by appointment
Ph.D., University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2006
M.S., Syracuse University , 1999
B.A., Bloomsburg University, 1997
National Communication Association
Eastern Communication Association
Miller-Ott, A. E., & Harrigan, M. M. (2023). Using facework to examine complicated conversations in mother-daughter relationships. In S. S. LeBlanc and S. O’Shay (eds.). Casing the family: Theoretical and applied approaches to understanding family communication (2nd ed.). Kendall Hunt Higher Education.
Hosek, M. H. & Harrigan, M. M. (2023) Attributions and framing in working mothers’ reports about division of family labor, Journal of Family Communication, doi: 10.1080/15267431.2023.2165080
Harrigan, M. M., Benz, I., Hauck, C., LaRocca, E., Renders R., & Roney, S. (2021): The dialectical experience of the fear of missing out for U.S. American iGen emerging adult college students, Journal of Applied Communication Research,
Alford, A. M., & Harrigan, M. M. (2019). Role expectations and role evaluations in daughtering: Constructing the good daughter. Journal of Family Communication. doi.org/10.1080/15267431.2019.1643352
Harrigan, M. M., Hosek, A., & Yang, S. (2019). Daughters’ discursive constructions of working mothers. Constructing motherhood and daughterhood: Communicating across generations.
Meadows, M., & Harrigan, M. M. (2019) Virtual and non-virtual disclosure patterns between long-distant mothers and emerging adult daughters. Constructing motherhood and daughterhood: Communicating across generations
Harrigan, M. M., Priore, A., Wagner, E., & Palka, K. (2017). Preventing face loss in donor-assisted families. Journal of Family Communication 17:3,273-287, doi:10.1080/15267431.2017.1322971
Harrigan, M. M. (2017). Sperm donor. Entry in the SAGE Encyclopedia of Psychology and Gender
Harrigan, M. M., & Bergelson, M. (2015). Bringing theory to practice: Developing facework competence in intercultural collaborations. In A. S. Moore and S. Simon (Eds.), Globally networked teaching in the humanities. Routledge.
Harrigan, M. M., Dieter, S. Leinwohl, J., & Martin, L. (2015). “It’s just who I am… I have brown hair. I have a mysterious father”: An exploration of donor-conceived offspring’s identity construction. Journal of Family Communication, 15, 75-93.
Harrigan, M.M., Dieter, S., Leinwohl, J., & Martin, L. (2014). Redefining family: An analysis of adult donor-conceived offspring’s discursive meaning-making. Iowa Journal of Communication, 46, 16-32.
Harrigan, M. M., & Miller-Ott, A. (2013). The multivocality of meaning making: An exploration of the discourses college aged daughters voice in talk about their mothers. Journal of Family Communication.
Harrigan, M. M. (2012). Instructor’s manual for Your interpersonal communication by Mottet, T. P., Vogl-Bauer, S., & Houser, M. L. (2012). New York, NY: Pearson.
Harrigan, M. M. (2010). Exploring the narrative process: An analysis of the adoption stories mothers tell their internationally adopted children. Journal of Family Communication, 10, 24-39.
Harrigan, M. M., & Braithwaite, D. O. (2010). Discursive struggles in families formed through visible adoption: An exploration of dialectical unity. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 38, 127-144.
Soliz, J., Ribarsky, E., Harrigan, M. M., & Tye-Williams, S. (2010). Family communication with gay and lesbian family members: Implications for relational satisfaction and outgroup attitudes. Communication Quarterly, 58, 77-95.
Harrigan, M. M. (2009). The contradictions of identity-work for parents of visibly adopted children. Journal of Social and Personal Relationship, 26, 634-658.
Schrodt, P., Braithwaite, D. O., Soliz, J., Tye-Williams, S., Miller, A., Norman, E. L., & Harrigan, M. M. (2007). An examination of everyday talk in stepfamily systems. Western Journal of Communication, 71, 216-234.
Suter, E. A., Lamb, E. N., Marko, M., & Tye-Williams, S. (2006). Female veteran’s identity construction, maintenance, and reproduction, Women and Language, 29, 10-15.
COMN 210: Interpersonal Communication
This course provides theoretical and practical knowledge about interpersonal communication from both quantitative and qualitative perspectives. This course is designed to help students become more mindful and effective communicators across a number of relational contexts. We will explore the role of communication in creating, maintaining, altering, and terminating relationships. Topics include identity and perception, investment, support, emotional intelligence, relational development, and conflict management.
COMN 410: Theory/Resrch in Relation Comm
This course involves theory-grounded empirical research in relational communication. Students will learn the history, assumptions, axioms, and vocabulary of various theories used by researchers to explain relational communication. Students will develop basic skills in data collection, theory-based analysis, manuscript preparation, and research translation within the context of relational communication.
XLRN 250: Intergroup Dialogue
In a multicultural society, discussions about issues of conflict and community are needed to facilitate understanding between social/cultural groups. In intergroup dialogue, students will participate in semi-structured face-to-face meetings across social identity groups. Students will discuss relevant reading material and will explore group experiences in various social and institutional contexts. The goal is to create a setting in which students engage in open and constructive dialogue, learning, and exploration concerning issues of intergroup relations, conflict, and community. The framework will include the examination of broad contemporary and historical power structures, personal testimonies, and experiences within our own campus community. During the course, participants will examine various types of evidence and engage with personal narratives and reflections; exercises will include participation in intensive group discussions and weekly journals.