Campus News 2006

For Immediate Release
September 18, 2006

Schreiner Professor To Discuss Communication Differences

Dr. Claudia SullivanSchreiner University theatre arts professor Dr. Claudia Sullivan will present the second Robert P. Hallman Chautauqua Lecture of the 2006-07 academic year Monday, Sept. 25.

Her topic, “You Just Don’t Understand: Cross Gender, Cross Cultural Communications in the 21st Century” is based in part on the book “You Just Don’t Understand” by Deborah Tannen.

The discussion will begin at 7 p.m. in the Floyd & Kathleen Cailloux Campus Activity Center Theatre.

Dr. Sullivan will discuss the role that inborn gender differences, as well as cross-cultural differences, play in communications between men and women. In her book on gender differences, Tannen observes, "For males, conversation is the way you negotiate your status in the group and keep people from pushing you around; you use talk to preserve your independence. Females, on the other hand, use conversation to negotiate closeness and intimacy; talk is the essence of intimacy, so being best friends means sitting and talking. For boys, activities, doing things together, are central. Just sitting and talking is not an essential part of friendship.”

Dr. Sullivan adds a cross-cultural perspective based on her extensive experience in this area, noting that, “Communicating across cultural distances adds to the complexity of male-female communications. A western woman in a business or professional situation in the Middle East, for example, faces not only the challenge of being a woman in a cultural context in which very different behavior is expected of men and women, but also faces the challenge of being an American in a cultural context where American communication style can easily come into conflict with the norms of Middle Eastern cultures – directness vs. deference, body language issues, and many other potential pitfalls.”

This event is free and open to the public.

The Robert P. Hallman Chautauqua Lecture Series brings together members of the Hill Country community and the scholars working, writing, and publishing at Schreiner University. The topics are varied, engaging, and intended to stimulate academic discourse and dialogue.  Hallman was a longtime English professor at Schreiner.

For more information, contact Martha York, director of the Center for Innovative Learning, at 830-792-7352 or visit the Schreiner Web site at

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