Barbara S. Monfils is Professor Emerita of Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.Her undergraduate degrees are in speech communication and computer science. She earned the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees at Indiana University, with an emphasis in international and intercultural communication and an African Studies minor. She completed her dissertation research at the University of Ghana, West Africa.
Upon completion of the doctorate, she began her career as the Speech Specialist on a Title III project at Fort Valley State College, Georgia. After the project ended, she served as Assistant and Associate Professor in the Department of Speech Communication at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR).
She returned to Wisconsin in 1989, and was appointed as the Training Coordinator in the Division of Computer Services at Marquette University, a position she held for three years. Missing interactions with students in the classroom, she applied for a one-year position in the Communication Department at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (UW-W). She remained at UW-W for nineteen years, advancing through faculty ranks to Professor and Chair of the Communication Department. In 2002, she became the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs in the Provost’s office. Major duties included oversight of undergraduate curriculum development and assessment, academic program review, and working with UW-W and University of Wisconsin System personnel on issues of diversity. During two job searches for the Director of International Education at UW-W, she also served as the program’s Acting Director. She retired in May of 2011.
In addition to teaching a wide range of undergraduate and graduate courses in communication, she held leadership roles in regional, national, and international communication organizations. Her research interests included African political communication and women’s rights. To date (2016), she has attended every WCA biennial conference, beginning with the 1985 conference in Manila, Philippines. She served as WCA’s Vice-President- North America, Secretary-General (2000-2004), and President (2004-2008), and continues as a member of the Board of Advisors.