Tracy Worrell Headshot

Tracy Worrell

School Director

School of Communication
College of Liberal Arts

Office Location

Tracy Worrell

School Director

School of Communication
College of Liberal Arts


BA, Otterbein University; MA, University of Cincinnati; Ph.D., Michigan State University


Professor Worrell has a B.A. in Speech Communication from Otterbein University, and degrees in Communication from the University of Cincinnati (M.A.) and Michigan State University (Ph.D.). Since coming to RIT in 2008, Professor Worrell has taught a wide variety of classes, advised undergraduate and graduate theses and furthered her own scholarly work.

As a researcher Professor Worrell has predominantly focused on examining health messages and the media. Her first book Disability in the Media: Examining Stigma and Identity was published March 2018 by Lexington Books. She also has written numerous conference papers and has been published in journals such as Health Communication and the Howard Journal of Communication. Publications have explored areas such as the portrayal of illness on television and its impact on those with said illnesses to creating effective health messages to promote behavior change. Professor Worrell’s current interests are in continuing to examine the portrayal of illness and disability in the media and studying the use of mobile health in promoting behavior change.


Select Scholarship

Invited Keynote/Presentation
Worrell, Tracy and Kelly Martin. "Vivid Evidence: The Development of Design Principle Scales for Visual Communication." National Communication Association. Rochester Institute of Technology. Rochester, New York. 15 Nov. 2019. Conference Presentation.
Worrell, Tracy R. and Kelly N. Martin. "Measuring Design Principles: Comparing the Perception of Two Cultures." International Communication Association. International Communication Association. Prague, CR. 22 May 2018. Conference Presentation.
Martin, Kelly and Tracy R. Worrell. "New Evidence for the Importance of Design Instruction and the Development of Design Scales." Visual Communication Division. National Communication Association. Dallas, TX. 20 Nov. 2017. Conference Presentation.
Worrell, Tracy R. and Kelly N. Martin. "Investigating reliable measures of visual proficiency and basic design principles." National Communication Association Conference. NCA. Philadelphia, PA. 11 Nov. 2016. Conference Presentation.
Worrell, Tracy R. "Focusing on effects: How does the portrayal of disability in the media impact individuals with said disabilities?" 20/20 Research in Focus. RIT. Rochester, NY. 12 Oct. 2016. Address.
Worrell, Tracy. "Please Tell Others About Us: An Examination of Individuals with Disabilities Responses to Media Portrayals of Disability." National Communication Association Conference. National Communication Association. Las Vegas, NV. 19 Nov. 2015. Conference Presentation.
Martin, Kelly and Tracy Worrell. "Do We See What We See?: Measuring Visual Proficiency and Visual Grammar." National Communication Association Conference. National Communication Association. Las Vegas, NV. 22 Nov. 2015. Conference Presentation.
Worrell, Tracy and Vanja Vejzagi. "Financially Sound or Obvious Marketing Ploy?: An Examination of CSR Communication within the Hotel Industry." 4th Annual World Conference on Business, Economics and Management. Business, Economics and Management. Izmir, Turkey. 22 Mar. 2015. Conference Presentation.
Worrell, Tracy R. "Image Echoes: The Portrayal of Disability in Fiction and the Popular Press." Kern Conference on Visual Communication. RIT. Rochester, New York. 24 Apr. 2014. Keynote Speech.
Worrell, Tracy R. "Why Do the Voices in My Head Always Say Kill?: An Analysis of Disability on Primetime Television." 98th Annual National Communication Association Conference. NCA. Orlando, FL. 15 Nov. 2012. Conference Presentation.
Worrell, Tracy R. "It Matters to Me: An Examination of the Impact of Information Utility on PSA Message Perceptions." 97th Annual National Communication Association Convention. NCA. New Orleans Marriott/Sheraton New Orleans, New Orleans, LA. 18 Nov. 2011. Conference Presentation.
Full Length Book
Worrell, Tracy R. Disability in the Media: Examining Stigma and Identity. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2018. Print.
Book Chapter
Cos, Grant, Tracy Worrell, and JD Blosenhauer. "Testing Benoit's Theory of Image Repair." Putting Image Repair to the Test: Quantitative Applications of Image Restoration Theory. Ed. J.R. Blaney. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2015. 85-97. Print.
Journal Paper
O'Mally, Aisha and Tracy R. Worrell. "Statistics or Stories, Black or White?: Examining Influences of African-American Organ Donation." Howard Journal of Communication 25. 1 (2014): 98-114. Print.
Rantanen, Esa, et al. "Linguistic Analysis of Clinical Communications: A Novel Method for Study of Diagnostic Errors." Proceedings of the 2014 International Symposium on Human Factors and Ergonomics in Health Care: Leading the Way 3. 1 (2014): 207-213. Print.
Huntington, Heidi and Tracy Worrell. "Information Communication Technologies in the Classroom: Expanding TAM to Examine Instructor Acceptance and Use." Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia 22. 2 (2013): 147-164. Print.

Currently Teaching

3 Credits
An in-depth study of the theories, practices, effects, and ethics of persuasion. Persuasion is defined as human communication designed to influence one’s beliefs, values, attitudes, and actions. This course examines persuasion from a receiver-oriented perspective with interpersonal, small group, organizational, and mediated perspectives.
3 Credits
Technology-mediated communication (TMC) was originally defined as a form of electronic written communication. As networking tools advanced, TMC expanded to include new software developments, such as instant messenger and the web. Today, the term technology-mediated communication is used to refer to a wide range of technologies that facilitate both human communication and the interactive sharing of information through computer networks. Through readings, discussions, and observations of online behavior, students will be introduced to TMC terms and theories to further develop their TMC communication and critical thinking skills.
3 Credits
An introduction to the subject of communication in health care delivery and in public health campaigns, with an emphasis on interpersonal, organizational, and mass communication approaches. Also covered is the interrelationship of health behavior and communication.
3 Credits
An introduction to the methods and ethics of scientific, scholarly communication research including methods of locating, analyzing, critiquing, and conducting communication research. The course focuses on empirical research methods and leads to the development of a research project proposal suitable for implementation in senior thesis in communication. This course should be taken during the student's third year.
3 Credits
A guided research seminar culminating in a major project that brings together the communication students’ communication studies and substantive work in his or her professional core. Focuses on designing, conducting, and completing an independent research project. The progress of each project is shared with the class for discussion and critiques.
3 Credits
Senior capstone course culminating in the production of a long-form piece of journalism, a website and a digital portfolio of select works. The course brings together each participant's work in journalism and the professional core.
0 Credits
Co-op in a field related to Liberal Arts (at least 80 hours). Students will apply the accumulated knowledge, theory, and methods of the discipline to problem solving outside of the classroom.

In the News

  • April 2, 2020

    person setting paper bag of groceries on the front step of a house next to a cardboard box of groceries.

    COLA Cares established for friendly support

    Nearly 30 faculty and staff members from RIT’s College of Liberal Arts have volunteered to help their colleagues run errands, walk their dogs or just offer a voice of support during this period of social distancing.