Ph.D., Purdue University
Relationships & Social Interaction
Dr. Kunkel teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in interpersonal communication, communication and gender, and social support. In 2002, Dr. Kunkel was recognized for her teaching by the Center for Teaching Excellence at the University of Kansas. In 2003, the Commission on the Status of Women and the Emily Taylor Women’s Resource Center named Dr. Kunkel the Outstanding Woman Educator of the Year at the University of Kansas. In 2004, she received the Silver Anniversary Award for Excellence in Teaching at the University of Kansas, and she was also recognized nationally with the Central States Communication Outstanding New Teacher Award. Dr. Kunkel is also a three-time recipient of the Communication Studies Donn W. Parson Graduate Faculty Mentorship Award (2003-2004, 2009-2010, 2010-2011) and, in 2011, she received the John C. Wright Mentor Award at the University of Kansas. In 2014, Dr. Kunkel was the recipient of the prestigious Mentoring Award, sponsored by the International Association for Relationship Research (IARR). Dr. Kunkel’s research interests include studying emotional support/coping processes in personal relationships and support group settings, romantic relationship (re)definition processes, sex/gender similarities and differences, sexual harassment, and domestic violence intervention (both organizationally and interpersonally). She has received grants from the University of Kansas to study how people cope with distressing events through narrative, how participation in support groups affects breast cancer survivors, and the goals, barriers, and challenges of domestic violence survivors and advocates. On a national level, Dr. Kunkel has received funding from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to study the processes that affect satisfaction and perceived support in doctor-patient interaction, particularly when mediated by emerging technologies. Along with an edited book (2012), “Relationship Science: Integrating Evolutionary, Neuroscience, and Sociocultural Approaches,” and a co-authored book (2014), “Researching Interpersonal Relationships: Qualitative Methods, Studies, and Analysis,” Dr. Kunkel has published several book chapters and she has published in a variety of journals, including Human Communication Research, Communication Monographs, the Journal of Applied Communication Research, the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, Health Communication, Death Studies, the Journal of Family Communication, and the Journal of Language and Social Psychology.