“Watching students go from having a question about the world to researching and finding answers and finally to presenting their hard work is my favorite part of my job.”

 “When you’re in charge of your own learning, you’re going to get a whole lot more out of life,” Dr. Jayson Dibble, associate professor of communication, said. Pointing to some of the books on the massive bookshelf flanking a portion of his office, he detailed lessons he had learned from investing in his own learning. Taking words from the page and making them applicable to his everyday life is an important part of Dibble’s educational approach.

About the Hope People Series
Some work directly with students; others behind the scenes.  This ongoing series highlights the dedicated faculty and staff who help provide the acclaimed Hope education and community, sharing not only what they do, but why.

He considers the fact that he can be both an educator and a student a major perk of working in academia. “It’s best of both worlds: I have a chance to teach and watch light bulbs turn on, but I also get a chance to be on the bleeding edge of discovery with communication issues.” He doesn’t take for granted the opportunity to teach and conduct research, explaining that Hope is unique in inviting and encouraging faculty to excel in both areas. “At Hope, you don’t have to pick between research or teaching in the classroom. They want us to do both and be great at both. This is really rare for a small, liberal arts private school.” 

In the classroom, Dr. Dibble can often be found teaching communication research methods, courses on interpersonal communication, and introductory-level courses. He has a special fondness for introductory-level courses because they provide the opportunity to meet students from a wide range of majors, as well as give future communication majors their first taste of the department. 

Dr. Dibble researches in interpersonal communication, specifically in the realm of how people share bad news and reasons they don’t want to be the bearer of an unfavorable message. He attributes his original interest in the subject to his undergraduate pre-med roots. “It was a medical setting that inspired me to research bad news in the context of doctor-patient relationships,” he said. Since then, he has expanded his scope to all kinds of bad news and his research has appeared in a variety of publications such as The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal and TIME. 

As passionate as Dibble is about his research, his favorite projects are student-driven. “Watching students go from having a question about the world to researching and finding answers and finally to presenting their hard work is my favorite part of my job,” he said. “I’m really interested in helping students to learn and pursue their own ideas.” Equipping students with the right communication tools for their proverbial toolbox is just one way Dibble hopes to instill the same curiosity and drive to be a lifelong learner that he has found to be so valuable in his own life.