Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Speech Communication

First Advisor

Stucky, Nathan


The university classroom is an invaluable site for social activism. In this study, I focus on the university classroom in order to consider how university instructors care for students. More specifically, I consider what I call critical care--that is, care underscored by critical and critical communication pedagogy. I start by defining care, critical pedagogy, and critical communication pedagogy. Then, I focus on my own experiences autoethnographically to understand some of the ways I have come to understand care. After conducting interviews with teachers and those teachers' former students, I conducted dyad interviews between the teacher and the teacher's former student. I use the transcripts of these interviews as the data for an analysis of how these teachers and students understand care in their relationship. Because the teachers selected must have some background with critical and/or critical communication pedagogy, I also use the transcripts to build a case for critical care. I argue that critical care is the best way to build more humane and equitable classrooms.




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