Meet Dr. Sheryl Goodman and Her Furry Adjunct

Courtesy of Jenni Berrios

Amelia Kunko (

Dr. Sheryl Goodman, Associate Professor and Chair of the Media and Communication Studies department, has been an active member of the Ursinus community for 25 years. In addition to being passionate about research related to race and gender, she facilitates a classroom where students can openly discuss different topics. Even her pup, Fiona, joins these discussions actively listening [or not as she steals contents from the garbage] while chewing on her favorite bone. 

    Goodman enjoys teaching classes that allow students the opportunity to talk out and share their ideas. “I like teaching discussion-based courses in which students can open up and develop an understanding of each other,” she commented. She is also keen on helping students with their own research. “I also enjoy teaching courses in research methods and being able to see students create their own research on topics they are interested in.” 

     Goodman’s personal areas of research revolve around ideas of culture and communication, specifically the roles that race and gender play in these regions of study. “I have always been interested in how culture shapes our communication with others, how we believe we should interact with people, how we believe others should interact with us, and what specific communicative behaviors mean,” she explained. “Specifically I examine communicative dilemmas and how they are perceived and managed.”  For the past 15 years or so, Goodman has focused her work “on communicative dilemmas involving race and gender, the experiences of students of color at a predominately white institution, and how people talk about issues related to race and gender.” Her interest in these areas stem from a desire to foster communication between different groups of people. “I’m passionate about these topics because I see so much misunderstanding and distrust in our communities, and I would like to help foster real heartfelt dialogue between people who have had different life experiences and have different perspectives and worldviews in the hopes that will inspire societal change.” 

     The love that Goodman displays for Ursinus is evident by the time she has dedicated to the college. She has made strong connections with her students and continues to do so. “This is my 25th year at Ursinus. I love being part of a small, caring community. It’s important to me that I can really get to know my students and have them in multiple classes and watch them perform in theater productions or dance shows, or play their sport.” In addition, Ursinus has allowed her to continue exploring other avenues like, for example, CIE. “I also love that I get to teach courses that push me to move beyond my areas of specialization.” 

    Lastly, in June of 2020, Goodman rescued her dog, Fiona. “I got Fiona mainly for my daughter who was in her freshman year of college and got sent home like everyone else. When I realized how friendly she was, I thought that I would bring her to campus to cheer up my students since I started out teaching in a tent in the fall of 2020,” she added. Fiona fit right into the campus community and was an instant hit. “She loved students more than I could have imagined. She made students smile, so I continued to bring her,” Goodman concluded. 

    When you have a minute, feel free to stop by Goodman’s office, Ritter 216-B, and give Fiona a big bear hug.