Dr. Carla Ross is an Associate Professor of Communication at Meredith College. She specializes in relational communication such as interpersonal, nonverbal, relational and forgiveness communication. She discussed what inspires her, why she began teaching communication and some of her favorite things with The Herald in this third article in a new series highlighting Meredith’s professors.
When asked about her time in undergrad at the University of Southern Mississippi, Dr. Ross says, “I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I became a broad communication major and took all kinds of courses.” Following her graduation, she worked at a TV station and loved it, but eventually decided to pursue a graduate degree. She recalls, “I wanted to go to the University of Georgia for my master’s degree to study under a particular nonverbal researcher, and while I was there, I had to [become a teacher’s assistant] in order to pay for school. As soon as I began teaching, I loved it and decided to pursue the rest of the degrees necessary to be a professor, including my doctorate.”
In the ’90s, Dr. Ross taught at a small private school in Florida before moving to North Carolina to teach at North Carolina State University. She knew she would love teaching at Meredith because of her experience in Florida, so she started working part-time at Meredith while teaching at NC State and started full-time teaching at Meredith in 1999. She says she “like[s] working at smaller schools because [they] are more relational than big schools.”
Once Dr. Ross got her Ph.D., she thought she was done with school and settled into a career. After hearing about a friend who was planning her return to school, Dr. Ross explains that “[she] was so envious...that [she] decided to go back to school for four years” to receive a second master’s degree in counseling. Dr. Ross believes that “it’s never too late to learn new things or change your profession.”
Besides being a professor and an active member of Meredith’s community, Dr. Ross is passionate about counseling. A big dream of hers is “to have a forgiveness retreat center on a beach where [she] can teach and people can get away to learn and grow outside of normal life.” She is also passionate about writing a forgiveness manual. She started this manual before going on sabbatical but had to halt her research due to COVID-19. Dr. Ross’s research and forgiveness manual are still in the works and are awaiting publication.
When asked where she finds inspiration, Dr. Ross mentions people such as “Maya Angelou, Corey Tenboom, mentors from her personal life and Jesus because they are deep and real people. They have been through real struggles, overcame them and lived to tell their stories.”
Dr. Ross enjoys teaching communication because “it is relevant to everybody…and everyone can benefit from healthy relationship communication.” Dr. Ross wants the entire Meredith community to know that if one’s relational communication is not healthy, it is hard to live a good life. According to Dr. Ross, “relationships without forgiveness are doomed.”
By Freya Dahlgren, Staff Writer