Ph.D., Northwestern University, 1972


Gerry Philipsen is Professor of Communication at the University of Washington. He studies culturally distinctive codes of communicative conduct, and is the originator of the influential speech codes theory, an empirically grounded, testable, and tested scientific theory. Over the past thirty four years at the University of Washington, he has supervised thirty four doctoral dissertations that, taken together, encompass long-term fieldwork in nine language varieties and nine countries. He teaches the arts of discussion, conciliation, advocacy, intercultural communication, communal speech, and ethnography. At the university, he has been department chair, chair of the faculty senate, and secretary of the university faculty. Presently he is a conciliation officer for faculty-administration disputes and founding director of the university’s Center for Local Strategies Research. In 1984, he received the university’s Distinguished Teaching Award and in 2000 its first award for Faculty Distinguished Contribution to Lifelong Learning.

Selected publications

  • Gerry Philipsen, “Some Thoughts on How to Approach Finding One’s Feet in Unfamiliar Cultural Terrain,” Communication Monographs 77(2010), 160-168.
  • Gerry Philipsen, Coming to Terms with Cultures. Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 2010.
  • Gerry Philipsen, “Researching Culture in Contexts of Social Interaction: An Ethnographic Approach, a Network of Scholars, Illustrative Moves,” in Donal Carbaugh and Patrice M.Buzzanell (Eds.), Distinctive Qualities in Communication Research. New York, Routledge, 2009. 87-105.