John Stewart, Ph.D.

Dubuque, Iowa

After a B.A.. at Pacific Lutheran University, John, his wife, and two young daughters journeyed to Evanston, Ill, where he completed his M.A. at Northwestern. He then taught and coached forensics for two years at Wisconsin State University-Stout in Menomonie, and then moved to the PhD program at the University of Southern California. In 1970, John accepted a position at the University of Washington, where he taught for 32 years. Summers, weekends, and holidays, he worked as an executive trainer, offering seminars, workshops, and individual consultations to engineers, architects, physicians, attorneys, parent groups, and public employees. In 2001, John accepted the position of Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Dubuque, in Eastern Iowa. He retired from that position in 2010 to become Special Assistant to the President at UD. He retired a second time in June, 2016. John’s twin loves, interpersonal communication and philosophy, led him to study communication in close relationships and work groups and to help people understand how the quality of their lives is directly related to the quality of their communicating. This was a central theme of his first book, Bridges Not Walls: A Book About Interpersonal Communication, thirteen editions of which were published between 1973 and 2013. The broad acceptance of that work led him to co-author six editions of Together: Communicating Interpersonally between 1975 and 2005.

In 1995 and 1996 John summarized thirty years of his research in Language as Articulate Contact: Toward a Post-Semiotic Philosophy of Communication and Beyond the Symbol Model: Reflections on the Representational Nature of Language. In 2014, he published U&ME: Communicating in Moments that Matter, which summarizes his earlier work in interpersonal communication, and in 2017, Personal Communicating and Racial Equity, which connects his life-long focus on personal communicating and his post-2002 work on diversity, equity, and inclusion issues. In 2023, John published one of the few antiracism books focused on interpersonal, as contrasted with systemic racism, Dismantling Racism One On One: Uniqueness Narrative Equity (Strategic Book Publishing Co). Along the way, John received some teaching awards, served professional, community, and church organizations, and published articles and chapters about communication, philosophy, and interpretive research. Between 2022 and 2024 John introduced the construct “co-constructing uniquenesses” to label what he found when closely reading several transformative conversations. His most recent effort is a chapter called “Through Empathizing to Co-constructing Uniquenesses,” in the open source book, Through Your Eyes: Research and New Perspectives on Empathy.

John lives with his wife, Becky in Dubuque. Their blended families include two daughters, two sons, five grandchildren, and a great-granddaughter.