Kristen Cvancara, Ph.D.


Address: 230 Armstrong Hall (AH 230)
Phone: (507) 389-5538


  • Ph.D. in Interpersonal Communication from University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
  • M.A. in Communication Theory from University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
  • B.S. in Business Marketing & Speech Communication from St. Cloud State University

A native Minnesotan raised in the heart of the prairie, Kristen Cvancara began her professional career with degrees in Business Marketing and Speech Communication (1992) from SCSU. Initial work in her first career began in the financial industry marketing investments and quickly shifted to managing direct-mail fundraising campaigns for the American Lung Association on a regional/national level. In 1998 she shifted to graduate school in the University of Minnesota’s Communication Studies department where she earned her MA (2000) and Ph.D. (2004). Kristen’s expertise as an interpersonal scholar examines the process of relating to others in a variety of close relationships (familial, romantic, friendship, collegial, community), with a unique focus on the use of verbal aggression when partners are resistant to comply with a request. Her work investigates social agents who model the use of verbal aggression and the severity with which people express it.  Recent publications have examined bullying, the use of verbal aggression among young adults, as well as pedagogical interests that impact student learning.

Besides teaching and research, Kristen’s work on campus and in the community encompasses her interests in leadership and social influence. She has worked with the MNSU Leadership Institute since it launched in 2005, enabling faculty, staff, administrators, and facility managers to improve their effectiveness and efficiency in a variety of positions. She volunteers as a Social Justice facilitator with the Mankato YWCA, and works with local community groups to consult on leadership transitions, research grassroots initiatives, and fosters community engagement in service learning projects. She welcomes you to stop by her office and say hello.

Recent Publications:
Pörhölä, M., Cvancara, K., Kunttu, K.., Kaal, E., Tampere, K., & Torres, B. (2019). Bullying in university between peers and by personnel: Cultural variation in prevalence, forms, and gender differences in four countries. Social Psychology of Education.

Jacobi, L. & Cvancara, K. (in press). Cognitive learning in large lectures of the basic communication course: Does delivery format matter? Journal of General Education, 68(3/4).

Cvancara, K. (2018). Relationship duration & social power: Understanding patterns of verbal aggression use among young adult romantic partners. North American Journal of Psychology, 20, 239-260.

Cvancara, K. (2017). Optimizing how we teach research methods. Communication Teacher, 31, 35-40.

Cvancara, K., Youngvorst, L., Otto, V., & Brown, C. (2016). Testing role models’ differential effect on use of aggressive compliance gaining strategies.  Communication Quarterly, 64, 36-54.

Pörhölä, M., Cowie, H., Cvancara, K., Kaal, E., Myers, C-A., Tampere, K., & Torres, B. (2016). Cross-Cultural Comparisons of Bullying Among University Students: Perspectives from Argentina, Estonia and Finland, United Kingdom and United States. In H. Cowie & C.-A. Myers (Eds.). Bullying Among University Students (pp. 127-141). London: Routledge.

Curriculum Vita:


  • Minnesota State University, Mankato Leadership Institute Facilitator (2005-present)
  • Director of Graduate Studies (2008-2011)
  • Fulbright Scholar (2012, Finland)
  • Department Chair (2012-2014, 2017-2018)
  • Teacher of the Year Award (2014)
  • Semester at Sea Faculty (Fall 2018), 125th Voyage
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