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UA Little Rock Professor Founds Positive Communication Network, Will Hold First Conference

Dr. Julien Mirivel
Dr. Julien Mirivel

A University of Arkansas at Little Rock professor who launched a Positive Communication Network last year is spreading the joy of positive communication by holding the group’s first conference on Friday, March 17.

The inaugural 2023 Positive Communication Network Conference will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 17. The event, which is free and will be held virtually, will feature presentations of positive communication theory, research, education, and pedagogy.

Dr. Julien Mirivel, a professor of applied communication and author of “The Art of Positive Communication,” said he co-founded the network with a group of like-minded positive communication researchers and educators. Its mission is to foster a community dedicated to creating better social works for all through positive communication research, education, and practice.

“We want to create a community of people who are teaching positive communication and conducting positive communication research,” Mirivel said. “We are also doing a number of scholarship projects. It’s about harnessing our energy to create a network, a community, and a way of sharing that information with a large group of people.”

Some of the conference  research presentations will cover how positive leaders create a culture of care, how people can overcome speaking-related anxiety through dialogue skits featuring positive communication, and how Heifer International is using positive communication to create personal transformation in India and Uganda.

The conference is being held just a few days ahead of the United Nations’ International Day of Happiness celebration on March 20. The conference will end with a call to action to “use the power of positive communication to build better relationships in every sphere of our lives: at home, at work, and across our society and cultures. We will share tips for doing just that,” Mirivel said.

The network’s co-founders include Kristen Christman of the University of North Carolina Greensboro, Ryan Fuller of California State University, Sacramento, Phillip Glenn of Emerson College, Maggie Pitts of the University of Arizona, Thomas Socha of Old Dominion University, and Amy Young of the University of Michigan.

In addition to the conference, Mirivel said the Positive Communication Network plans to unveil a new website in March that will share tips for how people can teach positive communication and use positive communication to improve their workplace. The website will also spotlight ongoing research projects involving positive communication.

The network is also creating a special issue for the International Journal of Business Communication focusing on business communication pedagogy as well as editing a textbook on positive communication pedagogy.

“Our biggest goal is to create a community of people who are focused on this work,” Mirivel said. “This expands the mission of the Applied Communication department at UA Little Rock. I want to take our mission and expand it beyond our classrooms and university. This network is a way to take it globally.”