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Applied Communication Studies


Dr. Wai Cheah is an Associate Professor in the Department of Applied Communication Studies at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. He earned his Ph.D. in 2004, M.A. in 1997, and B.S. in 1995 in Communication from the University of Kentucky. He also received a certificate in Medical Behavioral Science from the College of Medicine at the University of Kentucky in 2004. Previous to joining SIUE in 2006, he taught at the University of Kentucky, Sunway College University in Malaysia, and Saint Louis University. Dr. Cheah teaches health communication courses at undergraduate and graduate levels as well as Communication Theory, Research Methods, Persuasion and Social Influence, Intercultural Communication, Gender Communication, Small Group Communication, Public Speaking, and Interpersonal Communication Skills. In 2009, Dr. Cheah was the recipient of the Teaching Recognition Award at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Dr. Cheah’s research focuses on testing the influence of personality factors and cultural orientation on the effects of fear appeal messages, and examining factors that influence Bosnian refugees' cross-cultural adaptation in the St. Louis area. His work on message design was funded by the National Science Foundation and his work with Bosnian refugees was funded by both the Russell Sage Foundation and the Missouri Foundation for Health. Dr. Cheah has also started researching the challenges faced by LGBTQ individuals in Malaysia. In 2011, his research team won the Overall Top Paper Award, and he won the Best Non-native English Speaker Presentation Award, at the biennial conference of the World Communication Association (WCA), and in 2013 he won the Best Overall Conference Presentation Award at WCA’s conference. Dr. Cheah has also published his research in journals such as the Journal of Intercultural Communication Research and the Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies. He is currently the Undergraduate Program Co-coordinator and Co-Director of Assessment of the department. He serves as a member of the college’s Tenure and Promotion Committee, and has been a member of the university’s Graduate Committee on Assessment since 2009. Dr. Cheah is from Malaysia, and he enjoys traveling and playing sports, particularly badminton and tennis. He loves to eat and cook as well.

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