Stephen Spates


Campus: Springfield


Dr. Stephen Spates is an associate professor in the department of communication. He currently serves as the interim department head and the director of the Missouri Fine Arts Academy. His primary research focuses on organizational communication within health environments. Specifically, Dr. Spates looks to explain and predict communication behaviors of individuals, or teams, who work in hospitals or medical centers. His secondary research focuses on exploring source credibility of information disseminated in the Black community. He has published research in academic journals such as Southern Communication JournalCommunication Teacher, Communication StudiesHoward Journal of Communications, Frontiers in Communication, and Communication Research Reports.

In the classroom, Dr. Spates holds an exceptional teaching record and is recognized as an outstanding teacher by the Central States Communication Association. Dr. Spates puts his research into application through community workshops on diversity communication, family dynamics, and spiritual communication. He has partnered with several community organizations as well as campus organizations like the Center for Dispute Resolution. His success in the community continues to grow as the lead researcher on a grant (worth over $500,000) from the United States Department of Homeland Security. The grant will be used to provide educational resources to help individuals learn about bias and discrimination.



  • PhD, Communication and Information, 2017, The University of Tennessee – Knoxville
  • MA, Communication Studies, 2012, Western Michigan University
  • BA, Communication Arts, 2009, Oakwood University – HBCU

Awards and honors

  • Missouri State University Board of Governors Faculty Excellence in Public Affairs Award, 2022
  • Pearson and Nelson Outstanding New Teacher Award, Central States Communication Association, 2022
  • Top Research Paper, Instructional Development Division, NCA, 2021
  • The ComBotLabs Award, Communication and Technology Interest Group, CSCA, 2020
  • Alpha Delta Pi (MSU Chapter), Teacher of the Month, Missouri State University, November, 2019
  • Special Recognition of Service (Newsletter Editor), Central States Communication Association, 2019-2020
  • Special Recognition of Service (Legislative Assembly), National Communication Association, 2018-2020
  • Outstanding Graduate Faculty Member, Department of Communication, Missouri State University, 2017-2018
  • Summer Research Grant Recipient, Missouri State University, 2017
  • 120 Faces of Oakwood University-Special Recipient, Oakwood University, 2017
  • Bernard King CCI Scholarship, The University of Tennessee, 2015
  • Courage to Climb Leadership Award, Student Life-The University of Tennessee, 2014
  • ESPN Award of Student Excellence in Scholarship, The University of Tennessee, 2013
  • All-University Graduate Research and Creative Scholar Award, Western Michigan University, 2012
  • Excellence in Research Award, School of Communication, Western Michigan University, 2012
  • Special Honor, TA Mentor Award, School of Communication, Western Michigan University, 2012
  • Delbert W. Baker Excellence in Communication Scholarship, Oakwood University, 2007 and 2008