Jon A Hess

Contact Information

  • Email: Jon A Hess
  • Phone: 937-229-2602
  • Location: OR 108A

Jon A Hess

Professor; Associate Dean for Faculty Scholarship, Internationalization and Inclusive Excellence

  • Full-Time Faculty


Dr. Jon Hess's scholarship centers on communication of relational messages. His interest in how people can best maintain personal relationships has led him to study how people deal with challenges in relationships - such as getting along with people we dislike--and how people manage closeness and distance in intimate relationships. He has also been interested in how relational connections between teachers and students affect classroom outcomes. This research has focused on how teacher immediacy and messages that support students’ face needs impacts student learning and other classroom outcomes. His research has been published in Human Communication Research, Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, Journal of Applied Communication Research, and many others.

Jon is currently editor of the discipline’s leading journal for research on communication and learning, Communication Education. His research has been recognized with the International Network on Personal Relationships dissertation award for best dissertation in 1996-1997 and with five top-four awards for papers he has presented at regional and national conferences. He has done numerous newspaper, radio, and TV interviews about his research in outlets such as the BBC, Boston Globe, Men’s Health, Cosmopolitan, and more. At the University of Missouri, where he served from 1997-2008, he was recognized as the inaugural recipient of the iCOM Outstanding Professor Award (iCOM is the MU Department of Communication’s undergraduate student organization).

Faculty Perspective

I love being at a university that balances teaching with scholarship. The opportunity to conduct research allows faculty to keep themselves at the cutting edge, and the emphasis on teaching gives students the benefit of that research at faculty bring their expertise into the classroom. And, I'm impressed with the sense of community that exists here. For both students and faculty, UD offers the opportunity for development and accomplishment, and does so in an environment that feels welcoming and supportive.


  • PhD, University of Minnesota (1996)
  • M.A., Ohio University (1991)
  • B.S., Manchester College (1989)

Research Interests

  • Impact of teacher immediacy and facework on classroom outcomes
  • Communication strategies for maintaining difficult relationships
  • Closeness and distance in personal relationships
  • Social scientific measurement and scale development

Selected Publications

Hess, J. A. (2015). Making sure the work is good work: Communicating ethics to tutors. In W. Atkins-Sayre & E. L. Yook (Eds.), Communicating advice: Peer tutoring and communication practice. New York: Peter Lang Publishers.

Hess, J. A. & Sneed, K. A. (2012). Communication strategies to restore working relations: Comparing relationships that improved with ones that remained problematic. In B. L. Omdahl & J. M. H. Fritz (Eds.), Problematic Relationships in the Workplace, Volume II (pp. 235-256). New York: Peter Lang Publishers.

Trees, A. R., Kerssen-Griep, J., & Hess, J. A. (2009). Earning influence by communicating respect: Facework’s contributions to effective instructional feedback. Communication Education, 58(3), 397-416.

Hess, J. A., Fannin, A. D., & Pollom, L. H. (2007). Creating closeness: Discerning and measuring strategies for fostering closer relationships. Personal Relationships, 14(1), 25-44.

Hess, J. A., Smythe, M. J., & Communication 451. (2001). Is teacher immediacy actually related to student cognitive learning? Communication Studies, 52(3), 197-219.