She has degrees in Communication (M.A., University of Washington), Deaf Studies: Cultural Studies (M.A., Gallaudet University), Communication Studies (B.A., Creighton University), Sign Language Interpreting (Iowa Western Community College), and a graduate certificate in Values in Society (University of Washington). She uses her many years of international fieldwork experience with diverse cultural communities to ground her scholarship in listening and dialogue, communication ethics, cultural studies, and disability studies.
Embracing a mixed method approach that draws from both social sciences and humanities, her current research focuses on the ways in which cultural diversity and embodied difference impacts perceptions and practices of “good listening” that ultimately promote ethical dialogue across difference. Fluent in American Sign Language, she pays particular attention to the ways that diverse sensory and linguistic experiences impact the ways that we conceptualize and experience listening in our relationships. She works actively with the Center for Public Deliberation at Colorado State University to expand the ways that everyday dialogue and deliberation are practiced in everyday democracy. Her first book, The Ethics of Listening: Creating Space for Sustainable Dialogue, was published in 2019 and she is the recipient of a 2019-2020 J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Award. She has twice served as a guest editor for Listening: Journal of Communication Ethics, Religion, and Culture and her research has been published in journals such as the Journal of International and Intercultural Communication, International Journal of Listening, Ethics & Behavior, Journal of Research in Gender Studies, Critical Issues in Language Studies, Journal of International Communication, Multilingua: Journal of Cross-Cultural and Interlanguage Communication, and Organizational Development Journal.
Her personal website can be found at www.elizabethsparks.org.