Meet Erin Basinger

Meet Erin Basinger
Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Meet Erin Basinger, Ph.D., a faculty member in the Department of Communication Studies; learn about her experiences, why she loves teaching and advice for students.

Describe your role as a faculty member

I wear a few different hats as a faculty member at UNC Charlotte. I’m an associate professor in the Department of Communication Studies as well as the graduate program director of our master’s program in the department. I’m also affiliated with the Health Psychology Ph.D. program, the Public Health Sciences Ph.D. program and the Health and Medical Humanities minor. One of my greatest passions is mentoring, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to do that in multiple capacities here.

How long have you been at UNC Charlotte, and what brought you here?

I graduated with my Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2016 and started my job here as an assistant professor that same fall. During my last year as a graduate student, I interviewed for several academic jobs, but this one felt like the best fit by far, so I was ecstatic to receive a job offer from the department!

What keeps you coming to work every day? What’s the most rewarding part of your job

I love research, but my greatest passion is students. I love teaching, and seeing students wrestle with new knowledge is exciting. I feel lucky to teach about interpersonal communication and health, because those are both so central to people’s everyday lived experiences. Whether in graduate or undergraduate classes, it’s always a thrill to see students gain new insights about their own relationships.

What are your research areas of interest

Generally, my research centers on interpersonal processes (like stress and coping, conflict or social support) in health contexts like chronic illness or grief and loss. I’m also passionate about inclusion and equity, and I do research and advocacy work around weight stigma in health care.

Is there a past research project that you are most proud of? What made it special?

I recently finished a project with Dr. Maggie Quinlan (also in communication studies) about the embodied fat pregnancy and the messages that people in larger bodies receive while trying to conceive, and throughout pregnancy and postpartum. Overwhelmingly, our participants had been treated poorly by health care providers and loved ones. That research felt really powerful and important because it gave us new insight about the power of communication in this setting and pointed to some key sites of intervention for improving health outcomes among fat pregnant people.

What advice would you give to students to encourage their success at UNC Charlotte?

College is a unique time of life in which you’re offered time and space to explore new interests and experiences. I became a different person, one that I’m really proud of, because of the ways that I was pushed to grow as a student. My hope for UNC Charlotte students is that they are able to step, however tentatively, outside of their comfort zones and explore new sides of themselves. 

When you’re not on campus, how do you spend your free time?

I spend most of my time outside of work baking, reading mysteries, listening to true crime podcasts, binge-watching the Great British Bake Off and exploring Charlotte with my husband and our 1-year-old son.