Dr. Calloway-Thomas’s research focuses on the rhetorical/intellectual history of Black Americans, intersections between empathy and race, intercultural/interracial communication, pedagogy of empathy, and civic engagement. She studies how words work in framing people’s perceptions of race and ethnicity, as well as how discourses of change impact Black Americans. She is past president of the World Communication Association. She is coauthor of Fifty Years of Generating Minds: The Groups Program (2019); author of Empathy in the Global World: An Intercultural Perspective (2010); coauthor of Intercultural Communication: a Text/Reader (2007) and Intercultural Communication: Roots and Routes (1999); and coeditor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Sermonic Power of Public Discourse (1993). Her coauthored book on Intercultural Communication between Chinese and North Americans is forthcoming in 2020.
She has served in many leadership positions, including associate dean of the faculties, member of the Educational Testing Service (ETS) Praxis Speech Communication National Advisory Board, director of the Interracial Communications Project (funded by the C. S. Mott Foundation), and past president of the Central States Communication Association (CSCA). In 2012, she was inducted into the CSCA’s Hall of Fame. In 2007, she was invited to participate in the Oxford Round Table conference on diversity and public policy at Oxford University in England. Her national awards include the National Communication Association’s 2020 Samuel L. Becker Award for Distinguished Service; the National Council for Black Studies’ Paul Robeson and Zora Neale Hurston award for outstanding leadership in advancing the discipline and promoting social justice; a “Presidential Citation” from the National Communication Association for “exceptional service” to the organization and for her efforts in building partnerships between NCA and China; a Ford Postdoctoral fellowship; a Fulbright scholarship to Nigeria, West Africa; a Carnegie scholarship; the National Communication Association’s Robert J. Kibler Award; and the Distinguished Alumni award from Grambling State University. She currently serves as Book Review Editor of the Howard Journal of Communications and as a member of the editorial boards of Communication Education and Journal of Intercultural Communication Research, a publication of the World Communication Association.