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Communications faculty member wins dissertation award

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Kelly Rhodes, chair of the Communications and Criminal Justice Department, has won the 2018 Dissertation-of-the-Year Award from University of Phoenix.

Her doctoral dissertation is titled Influencing Corporate Social Responsibility Decision Making in a Major League Baseball Team: A Case Study.

Rhodes said winning the award was both “surprising and affirming.”

Rhodes’ case study examined the philanthropic activities of a Major League baseball organization as both a business and a sport. She researched what the franchise has done for its community, the environment, etc.

“I wanted to know if there was more than just philanthropy,” said Rhodes, “more than just writing a check and saying ‘here you go.’ I found that there was.”

Rhodes looked at the team’s annual reports and reviewed newspaper articles that addressed the organization’s activities in its community over an eight-year period. She also conducted a series of interviews with staff members in the organization.

“The organization I studied crafted pillars,” said Rhodes. “They said ‘these are the tenants that we believe are important for us to be involved with.’”

Another SFU Communications faculty member, Pat Farabaugh, served on Rhodes’ doctoral dissertation committee.

“Kelly produced an outstanding piece of scholarship that makes an important contribution to the literature on this subject,” said Farabaugh.

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