His research encompasses ethnography of religious organizations and intersections of religion and media, and he serves on the Executive Council of the Religious Communication Association (RCA) and Editorial Boards of the Journal of Communication and Religion, Journal of Media and Religion, and Women & Language. In 2021 he was elected by the membership of the National Communication Association (NCA) as a Member-at-Large to its Legislative Assembly.
His studies of American evangelical popular culture and media have been published in more than 40 scholarly articles and essays, and his work has been nationally recognized with the Digital Religion Research Award (2020), David R. Maines Narrative Research Award (2018), RCA Article of the Year Award (2020, 2019, 2014), and NCA Spiritual Communication Outstanding Article Award (2022, 2020, 2019). He has been quoted on the subject of televangelism in The New York Times, Politico, Bloomberg, ABC News, Associated Press, Religion News Service, Christianity Today, World, and other national media outlets.
Dr Ward is editor of God Talk: The Problem of Divine-Human Communication (Peter Lang, 2023), named the 2023 Outstanding Edited Volume by the NCA Spiritual Communication Division, and the multivolume series, The Electronic Church in the Digital Age: Cultural Impacts of Evangelical Mass Media (Praeger, 2016), for which he received the 2017 Clifford G. Christians Ethics Research Award. He is also author of The Lord’s Radio: Gospel Music Broadcasting and the Making of Evangelical Culture, 1920-1960 (McFarland, 2017).
In 2018 he was named his university’s scholar of the year when he received its annual Research and Scholarly Activity Excellence Award. In 2022 he received the Outstanding Scholar Award from the Communication Theory Division of the Southern States Communication Association and has won numerous Top Paper awards (2022, 2021, 2020, 2019) from the SSCA Language and Social Interaction Division.
His research in organizational ethnography also includes the book Deadly Documents: Technical Communication, Organizational Discourse, and the Holocaust (Routledge, 2014) which examines the organizational culture of the Holocaust through analyses of everyday Nazi bureaucratic and technical documents, and related studies appearing in several scholarly journals.
PhD, Clemson University
MA, Spring Arbor University
BA, University of Virginia
He is author of Introduction to Public Speaking: An Inductive Approach (FlatWorld, 2022) and coauthor (with Jason Wrench and Narissra Punyanunt-Carter) of Organizational Communication: Theory, Research, and Practice (FlatWorld, 2015).
Before entering academe, Dr Ward was communications director and journal editor for several national and international nonprofits and industry trade associations. He continues to write regularly as an independent business journalist and has authored more than 2,000 feature articles for business-to-business magazines covering numerous industries. In addition to print media, his professional experience includes work as a broadcaster in roles from local radio announcer to national radio syndication.
A member of the UHV faculty since 2010, Dr Ward is director of the UHV Speech Program and Professional Communication Program and serves as a Faculty Senator. His professional memberships include the National Communication Association, Religious Communication Association, Southern States Communication Association, and Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. Locally, he is a monthly opinion columnist for the Victoria Advocate newspaper and is active in interfaith dialogue through Communities of Faith Victoria.