Dr. Eletra Gilchrist-Petty

Department Chair of Communication Arts Professor


1310 Ben Graves Drive
Morton Hall
Room 278F
Huntsville, AL 35899
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Dr. Eletra S. Gilchrist-Petty is a Professor of Communication Arts at The University of Alabama Huntsville. She teaches a wealth of communication classes, including Dark Side of Interpersonal Communication, Research Methods, Public Speaking, Culture and Communication, Small Group Communication, Persuasion, Senior Seminar, and Media Writing. Her programs of research focus on instructional communication, interpersonal communication, and African American communication from both the quantitative and qualitative perspectives.

Gilchrist-Petty has produced two scholarly books: Contexts of the Dark Side of Communication (2016, Peter Lang) and Experiences of Single African-American Women Professors: With this Ph.D., I thee Wed (2011, Lexington Books). She has also published in many leading scholarly outlets, including Review of Communication, Journal of Intercultural Communication Research, Communication Reports, Journal of the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA), NIDA Journal of Language and Communication, Communication Teacher, Southern Communication Journal and The Northwest Journal of Communication. Gilchrist-Petty has authored a number of book chapters and presented scholarly research at many academic conferences spanning the international, state, regional, and local levels. Additionally, Gilchrist-Petty has held several offices with the National Communication Association (NCA), including chair of the African American Communication and Culture Division (AACCD), Legislative Assembly, Nominating Committee, and Affirmative Action and Intercaucus Committee. Gilchrist-Petty is the 2012 winner of the Top Research Journal article presented by the AACCD of NCA, and she received the 2012-2013 Martin Luther King Jr. Service Award presented by The University of Alabama in Huntsville's Minority Graduate Student Association. She also serves as a motivational speaker and organizational trainer/consultant. Prior to arriving at UAH, Gilchrist-Petty was employed as an Assistant Professor at Middle Tennessee State University. She earned her Ph.D. from The University of Memphis, and her M.A. and B.A. degrees in Communication Studies from The University of Alabama. Gilchrist-Petty served as the Spring 2016 Interim Communication Arts Department Chair.

Curriculum Vitae


  • Ph.D., Communication, University of Memphis, 2004
  • M.A., Communication Studies, University of Alabama, 2001
  • B.A., Communication Studies, University of Alabama, 1999


  • National Communication Association
  • World Communication Association
  • Southern States Communication Association


  • Culture and Communication
  • African American Communication
  • Communication Pedagogy

Recent Publications

  • Gilchrist-Petty, E. S. (2020). Hair. In O. L. ​Dyson, J. L. Jeffries, & K. L. Brooks, (Eds.), ​African American Culture: An Encyclopedia of People, Traditions, and Customs ​(417-420)​. ​Santa Barbara, CA:Greenwood.

  • Gilchrist-Petty, E. S., & Bennett, L. K. (2019). ​Cross-sex best friendships and the experience and expression of jealousy within romantic relationships. ​Journal of Relationships Research​, 1-9. doi: 10.1017/jrr.2019.16

  • Gilchrist-Petty, E. S. (2019). “You don’t know what you don’t know”: Mitigating Uncertainty in Transracial Adoption. In S. LeBlanc (Ed.), ​Casing the family: Theoretical and applied approaches to understanding family communication ​(15-25)​.​ Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt.

  • Gilchrist-Petty, E. S. (2019, June). eTools: Using Turnitin in the Classroom. 2019 eTools: Using eTools in the classroom. National Communication Association.

  • Gilchrist-Petty, E. S. (2018). Taking interest in students’ disinterest: Best practices for mitigating a motivation in the basic course. ​Journal of Communication Pedagogy, 1​(1), 101-108​. ​doi:10.31446/JCP.2018.17

  • Gilchrist-Petty, E. S. (2018). ​Deviant communication in teacher-student interactions: Emerging research and opportunities​. ​​Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

  • Gilchrist-Petty, E. (2017). Unraveling complexities in the teacher-student relationship: Perceptions of immediacy, credibility, and learning. ​Carolinas Communication Annual​, ​XXXIII, ​45-61.

  • Gilchrist-Petty, E. (2017). When lifestage matters: A narrative account of a pregnancy-related invisible illness. In K. Morant Williams (Ed.), ​Beyond the Veil: Women, Invisibility & Health ​(pp. 66-80)​. ​Lanham, MD:Lexington Books.

  • Gilchrist-Petty, E. S. (2017). Uh, um, you know: How discourse markers affect perceptions of speaker character. In R. Garner (Ed.), ​Brain waves: A compendium of ideas and views from UAH campus thought leaders ​(pp. 155-158). Huntsville, AL: UAH.

  • Gilchrist-Petty, E. S., & Long, S. D. (Eds., 2016). ​Contexts of the Dark Side of Communication. ​New York, NY:Peter Lang Publishing Inc.