Carol J. Bruess portrait

Carol J. Bruess

Professor and Director of Family Studies Program
B.A., St. Norbert College
M.A., Ph.D., Ohio University
OEC 125A
(651) 962-5829
Toll Free
(800) 328-6819, Ext. 2-5829
Mail 5011
University of St. Thomas
2115 Summit Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55105

Scholarship and service:

Carol J. Bruess (rhymes with “peace”), Ph.D., is a Professor of Communication and Journalism, and Director of Family Studies, at the University of St. Thomas, Minnesota. She has been a faculty member at St. Thomas for 18 years, and has for more than 25 years been passionate about the study of family, couples, and relationships — fully committed to understanding, and helping others learn and practice, the communication patterns of healthy relationships. Carol earned her B.A. in art from St. Norbert College, DePere, WI, and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Ohio University’s School of Interpersonal Communication.

She recently published the volume Family Communication in the Age of Digital and Social Media (ed., Peter Lang International, 2015), and has a forthcoming book The Happy Happy CoupleHow to Become One (Again) — an inspirational, illustrated tale of a married couple navigating the bumps, and enjoying the ride, along the martial road. She is co-author of the book Contemporary Issues in Interpersonal Communication (with Mark P. Orbe, Roxbury Publishing, 2005), and has published three contemporary self-help/​inspirational books based on her research of couples, families, and friends:What Happy Couples Do (2008), What Happy Parents Do (2009), and What Happy Women Do (2010) (with co-author Anna Kudak, Ph.D.; Fairview Press/Rowman & Littlefield).

An active researcher in the area of family, interpersonal, and relationship communication, Carol has presented her work at dozens of national, regional, and international conferences, and has published in national and international journals and professional books. She is a trained Gottman Seven Principles Educator and is dedicated to making a difference with her research in others’ lives and relationships. She has been quoted and interviewed in a variety of national media outlets, including PBS, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Men’s Health, American Health, Natural Health, and Cosmopolitan Magazine, and has provided expert commentary on local, regional, national, and international CBS, NBC, FOX, and ABC stations about relationships, family, health, and communication. She is currently the expert guest on a weekly CBS/​WCCO segment “Relationship Reboot.” She has been heard on over four-dozen radio programs, including Oprah Radio, and is an active provider of community-based, healthy-couple/healthy-family seminars and workshops.

Carol lives in St. Paul, MN with her husband (Brian) of 24 years. They have two children — Tony (19, a sophomore at Stanford University studying computer science) and Gracie (15, a sophomore at Cretin Derham Hall who’s into Snapchat, swimming, softball, and Grey’s Anatomy)—  and a little dog Fred (5.5 lbs). In her free time she enjoys sewing with vintage fabrics, doing hot yoga, and drinking hoppy beer (not all at the same time).

To contact her or learn more about her work, visit

Summer 2017 Courses

Summer 2017 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location
COJO 478 - 04 Experiential Learning - - - - - - - -
CRN: 30689 4 Credit Hours Instructor: Carol J. Bruess

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)

Fall 2017 Courses

Fall 2017 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location

J-Term 2018 Courses

J-Term 2018 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location