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Dr. Varner is an Associate Professor of Communication at St. Edward’s University (Austin, TX). She holds a Ph.D. in Communication with an emphasis in Performance Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. She teaches basic courses in communication, communication theory, nonverbal communication, public speaking, and active listening.
Her ethnographic qualitative research interests range from women of color in American higher education to hair/body politics to increase the amount of classroom instruction devoted to teaching students how to actively listen in the 21st century. She has over 15 years of diversified experience in higher education including classroom instruction, directing, lecturing and coaching with an emphasis on communication skills enhancement, and oral interpretation. She has more than eight years of performing, directing, adapting poetry, prose, non-fiction and theatrical projects. She is highly skilled in editing and writing academic research and presenting both written and performance-based scholarly presentations at national conventions.
Dr. Varner is an active member of the National Communication Association (NCA) the International Listening Association (ILA) and Southern States Communication Association (SSCA). Her current research examines metacognitive listening strategies and takes a qualitative look at strategies that United States American students report using before, during, and after a listening event. The study investigates strategy usage, as well as identifies any strategies unique to L1 listening in the United States.