Scholarship and service:
Passionate about the study of family and couple ritual and construction of a family co-culture through language and ritual, Professor Bruess is committed to understanding – and helping others learn and practice – the communication patterns of happy and healthy relationships. Co-author of the book Contemporary Issues in Interpersonal Communication (with Mark P. Orbe, Roxbury Publishing, 2005), she has also written contemporary self-help/inspirational books based on her research of couples and adult friendship: What Happy Couples Do, What Happy Parents Do, What Happy Women Do (each with Anna Kudak, former St. Thomas student), published by Fairview Press. To find more information about the books and her work, visit: www.whathappycouplesdo.com
Professor Bruess has presented her work at dozens of national, regional, and international conferences, and has published in national and international journals and professional books. Her research is internationally known, as is her commentary about issues of relationships and communication in the popular media. She has been quoted and interviewed in a variety of national media outlets, including PBS, CBS, The Chronicle of Higher Education, American Health, and is a regular expert in Cosmopolitan Magazine. She has been heard on nearly four-dozen radio programs, including Oprah Radio, and is a regular blog contributor not only at St. Thomas (The Scroll) but also in her own popular blog http://www.whathappycouplesdo.blogspot.com featuring tips and research about healthy relationships and communication for couples.
A member of the faculty at St. Thomas for 13 years, Professor Bruess also is director of the St. Thomas Family Studies program.