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Tim Huffman, Ph.D.

Associate Professor; Interim Chair
Department of Communication

Courses Taught

Community-based Inquiry; Human Communication and Culture; Organizational Communication (both undergraduate and graduate); Organizing Nonprofits; Organizing Shelter; Public Speaking; Qualitative Inquiry for Communication and Social Justice; Social Justice Communication


Ph.D., Hugh Downs School of Human Communication - Arizona State University

Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership - Arizona State University

M.A., Speech Communication - Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville

Research Interests

Social justice, nonprofit organizing, homelessness, compassion, community, pragmatic and relational epistemology, participatory and community-based research.

Huffman's research focuses on social justice organizing, particularly around issues of homelessness. He takes a community-based approach to understanding and promoting socially just communication, like compassion and community. He is committed to improving the way we communicate and organize in response to social justice issues.

Publications and Media Placements

Huffman, T. (2021). Making claims using qualitative data. In C. Vanover, P. Mihas, & J. Saldana (Eds.), Analyzing and interpreting qualitative research: After the interview (pp. 313–328), SAGE Publications.

Huffman, T., Leier, C., Hinrichs, M., & Generous, M. (2021). Climbing the 'scaffolded city': Tactics used by homeless young adults to navigate employment barriers. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 49(1): 1-20. 

Sokol, B. W., Sweetman, L., Wassel, B., Franco, C., & Huffman, T. (2020). Reconciling structural and personal expressions of justice in Jesuit education. Christian Higher Education: An International Journal of Research, Theory, and Practice, 19

Huffman, T., Tracy, S. J., & Bisel, R. S. (2019). Beautiful particularity: Using phronetic, iterative, and heuristic approaches to a positively deviant case. Communication Research and Practice. doi: 10.1080/22041451.2019.1676632 

Huffman, T., & Tracy, S. J. (2018). Making claims that matter: Heuristics for theoretical and social impact in qualitative research. Qualitative Inquiry, 24, 558–570. doi:10.1177/1077800417742411

Huffman, T. (2018). Paradigmatic tools for communication scholar-activists: Toward a pragmatic and relational epistemology. Review of Communication, 18, 19–36. doi:10.1080/15358593.2017.1405460

Huffman, T. P.(2017). Compassionate communication, embodied aboutness, and homeless young adults. Western Journal of Communication, 81, 149-167.

Tracy, S. J., & Huffman, T. P. (2016). Compassion in the face of terror: A case study of recognizing suffering, co-creating hope, and developing trust in a would-be school shooting. Communication Monographs, 84, 30-53.

Huffman, T. (2015). Resolving spirited debates: Recasting communication inquiry as a spiritual practice.  Journal of Religion and Communication. 38.

Huffman, T. (2015). Ruptures in organizational compassion. Electronic Journal of Communication in special issue on emotions and organization.

Huffman, T. (2014). Imagining social justice within a communicative framework. Journal of Social Justice, 4.

Honors and Awards

Dr. Norman White Award for Engaged Scholarship and Service, 2021

Fr. James Veltrie, S.J. Cura Personalis Faculty Excellence Award, Student Government Association, awarded to a faculty member who humbly exemplifies extraordinary commitment to the spiritual and intellectual development of members of the SLU community, 2018.

Spirit of the Billiken awardee mentor, chosen by Alex Mueller, 2018.

Top Paper Awards in activism and social justice, philosophy of communication, communication theory and research, and spirituality interest groups.

Professional Organizations and Associations

  • Member, National Communication Association
  • Member, St. Louis City Continuum of Care

Community Work and Service

  • SLU Winter Emergency Shelter, faculty support
  • St. Louis Housing is Healthcare Program, community facilitator
  • St. Louis Continuum of Care COVID-19 Task Force, member
  • St. Patrick Center: research partner, member of Board of Directors, co-chair of Program Committee, co-chair of Advocacy Committee
  • St. Louis City Continuum of Care, SLU representative
  • Labre Ministries for and with the Homeless, faculty mentor
  • Social Justice Communication Collaborative, co-founder
  • Community Action Lab, founder and facilitator
  • Servant Leadership Program, workshop lead
  • Leadership and Social Change Learning Community, presenter
  • St. Louis Area Regional Commission on Homelessness