The Graduate College is proud to announce the addition of Dr. Julie Apker, Associate Professor in the School of Communication, to our team as a Graduate Faculty Fellow for 2014. Dr. Apker joined the faculty of WMU in 2001 after receiving her M.A. and Ph.D. in Communication Studies at the University of Kansas. Her book, Communication in Health Organizations, explores the communication processes, issues, and concepts that comprise the organization of health care, focusing on the interactions that influence the lives of patients, health professionals, and other members of health institutions. Dr. Apker’s research work appears in publications such as Journal of Applied Communication Research, Health Communication, Qualitative Health Research, Journal of Nursing Administration, Nursing Economic$, Annals of Emergency Medicine, and Academic Emergency Medicine. She serves on the editorial board of Health Communication, a noteworthy journal that seeks to improve practical communication between caregivers and patients and between institutions and the public.
Along with teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in Organizational Communication, Dr. Apker conducts research in organizational and health communication. She looks as physician communication patterns and strategies that affect patient safety and the development and negotiation of caregiver roles, particularly communicative behaviors that affect bedside care delivery and caregiver identity. She also investigates communicative and organizational stressors that contribute to outcomes such as quality of work life, job satisfaction, and retention for health care professionals. For that same audience, she examines supportive communication that can help minimize or prevent job-related stressors and enhance team dynamics. She uses qualitative research methods including focus groups, interviews, and observations.
As a faculty fellow, Dr. Apker will focus on creating online training modules for new graduate students as well as graduate assistants who are doing research, service, or teaching. She will also facilitate the once-yearly face-to-face Graduate Assistant Training, usually held in Brown Hall at the beginning of fall semester. Her duties also include supporting the Graduate College Ambassadors as they interact with current and prospective students and serve on numerous committees. In addition to Julie Apker, Dr. Louann Bierlein-Palmer, Professor in Educational Leadership, will continue her duties as Graduate Faculty Fellow for the 2014 year. She has already made great progress in recruiting efforts through the creation of the “one-page” handouts from every department outlining key information on each graduate program. Dr. Bierlein-Palmer also helped redesign the Graduate College website and the Graduate College brochure. Please join us in welcoming these outstanding faculty members to the Graduate College team.