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Carol Bishop Mills, Ph.D. - Florida Atlantic University. Boca Raton, FL, US

Carol Bishop Mills, Ph.D.

Professor and Director, School of Communication and Multimedia Studies | Florida Atlantic University


Carol Bishop Mills' research covers the lifespan from teasing and bullying in childhood through workplace bullying and sexual harassment.





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Carol Bishop Mills is a professor of Communication Studies and the director of the School of Communication and Multimedia Studies at Florida Atlantic University. Prior to her current position, she served as the associate dean for Undergraduate Studies for the College of Communication and Information Sciences at the University of Alabama.

Bishop Mills is an interpersonal communication and health communication scholar whose work research covers the lifespan from teasing and bullying in childhood through workplace bullying and sexual harassment. Her research has been published in journals such as Journal of Personal and Social Relationships, Communication Education, International Journal of Business Communication, and Workplace Health & Safety. She has served on the editorial board of three journals, and was the co-chair of the National Communication Association’s Anti-Bullying Task Force.

She has presented for multiple organizations on the importance of communication skills. Her most recent work focuses on how communicators navigate relationships with disliked others in "frenemyships." She believes that listening is the foundational skill that separates positive communication from negative interactions from friendship and family relationships to workplace affiliations, and often separates managers from leaders.

Areas of Expertise (2)

Relational and Interpersonal Communication

Health Communication

Accomplishments (2)

NCA Mid-Career Scholar Writer’s Workshop Awardee/Attendee (professional)


Board of Visitors Excellence in Teaching Award, College of Communication and Information Sciences, University of Alabama (professional)


Education (3)

Purdue University: Ph.D., Communication Theory 2001

Emerson College: M.A., Health Communication, 1994

University of Miami: B.S., Organizational Communication & English 1991

Selected Media Appearances (4)

Florida poll set out to find how voters get their news. It revealed big differences along age, gender and party lines.

Sun Sentinel  online


Other findings, such as differences between men and women in consumption and trust in media, were more intriguing, said Wagner and Carol Bishop Mills, director of FAU’s School of Communication and Multimedia Studies.

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Academe must rethink the term "deadwood" and its implications (opinion)

Inside Higher Ed  online


Those of us in higher education need to rethink the pejorative term and its implications, writes Carol Bishop Mills.

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Professors worried about free AI writing program ChatGPT

WSVN  online


Florida Atlantic University’s Dr. Carol Bishop Mills says ChatGPT is the talk among her faculty.

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10 Things You Should Never, Ever Tease Your Kids About

Reader's Digest  online


“Teasing done well should be enjoyed by both sides, it should be playful,” says Carol Bishop Mills, PhD, graduate coordinator and associate professor at the College of Communication and Information Sciences at the University of Alabama.

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Selected Articles (5)

He said, she said: the effectiveness and outcomes of responses to sexual harassment

International Journal of Business Communication

2023 Recent high-profile cases of sexual harassment focused the spotlight on inappropriate workplace behavior. Much of the prior research on sexual harassment focuses on organizational culture, what organizations can do to create harassment-free environments, and to increase reporting when it does occur. Less work explores what happens in the actual harassment situations, or how the immediate responses to the incivility affect future interactions. This study seeks to fill that gap by exploring effectiveness of the message responses used by female targets of sexual harassment by male harassers to curtail future harassment in the workplace. We also explore how the target’s responses affect bystanders’ perceptions of her communication effectiveness and her future potential of being promoted.

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Frenemies: Acting like friends but feeling like enemies

Western Journal of Communication

2023 Frenemies, partners who appear to be friends on the surface, yet purport to dislike one another, have received less attention in the scholarly literature than friends and enemies. To explore the discordant and complicated relationship known as frenemyship, 72 undergraduates completed an open-ended online survey that was coded using inductive thematic analysis. Findings indicate that frenemies play a significant role in people’s lives and represent not just a behavioral form (e.g., relational aggression), but an independent relational type characterized by disguised disdain. Results indicate that people maintain frenemyships because relational benefits (e.g., saving face, maintaining social networks, and sustaining potential instrumental connections) outweigh negative ramifications of dealing with the relationship or terminating it.

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Workplace Bullying in Academia: A Conditional Process Model

Management Communication Quarterly

2022 Guided by the job demand-control-support model of workplace strain, this study tested a theoretical model of academic work environments to explain workplace bullying in academia. College professors (N = 503) completed a questionnaire about working in academia and experiencing bullying at work. Results of a conditional process analysis revealed that psychological job demands affected workplace bullying incidents directly, and indirectly through increased occupational stress; however, the mediated effect depended on how supportive the supervisor was and how much control professors had over their job duties (moderated moderated mediation). In departments where supervisors provided low to average social support to faculty, the indirect effect on bullying was weakened when professors had more decision authority over how they completed their job demands (moderated mediation).

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Examining the COMM in COMMunity Policing: Communication Accommodation, Perception, and Trust in Law Enforcement-Suspect Encounters

Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology

2021 Since the 1980s, community policing has been embraced as the dominant police strategy. Thompson and Jenkins (2013) estimated that 97% of an officer’s time is spent communicatively interacting with the public, indicating a strong incentive to study how communication affects those involved in police interaction. Utilizing communication accommodation theory, this study examines the relationship between accommodation, trust, and overall perceptions of police. An experiment using hypothetical situations was conducted with 257 students at a large, southeastern university in the USA. The data indicates that accommodative behavior can lead suspects to be more trusting of an individual police officer but did not significantly affect their overall perceptions of police officers.

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No laughing matter: Workplace bullying, humor orientation, and leadership styles

Workplace health & Safety

2019 Workplace bullying is associated with a host of negative outcomes for the worker who is the target of bullying, as well as for the organization where the bullying occurs. Moreover, we know that rates of bullying are particularly high in health care settings; however, we are less familiar with the factors that may reduce workplace bullying in hospitals. Thus, this study was conducted to determine whether the humor orientation styles of individuals, including nurses working in hospitals, as well as their managers’ leadership styles, can influence perceptions of bullying in the workplace.

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