Celebrating Gerry Philipsen

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Since 1978, Professor Gerry Philipsen has been an asset to the University of Washington, and more specifically to the Department of Communication. In 35 years, he has held numerous positions: Professor, Chair of Speech Communication, Secretary of Faculty, Departmental Graduate Program Coordinator, and mentor. In addition, he is the Founding Director of the Center for Local Strategies Research since 2009, which has the mission to “support research that informs and assists efforts to develop and implement practices and policies for meeting human needs in local communities.”

Philipsen’s academic specialty is the ethnography of communication, the descriptive-comparative study of culturally distinctive ways of communication. He is the originator of speech codes theory, an empirically grounded, testable, and tested scientific theory. He has frequently taught fieldwork methods to graduate students in a dozen different disciplines and to the more than thirty students whom he has supervised toward completion of the doctorate in communication.

To add to his long list of honors and awards, which includes the UW’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 1984 and the Faculty Distinguished Contribution to Lifelong Learning in 2000, Philipsen has been chosen as an NCA Distinguished Scholar for his career-long record of outstanding scholarly work. He received the award in November at the National Communication Association’s 99th Annual Convention in Washington D.C.