Chandrika C. Collins research interests straddle crisis communication, identity, and public policy focused on police-citizen interaction. She seeks to identify, understand, and isolate communication patterns between police and citizen, which contribute to positive outcomes during an encounter. Five years before starting the doctoral program in the Department of Communication, she taught at Truman State University courses in public speaking, conflict resolution, and leadership. She has also worked in the field as a conflict resolution specialist post-disaster – human-made or natural. During these on-the-ground experiences, she witnessed first-hand the disparity in resources for and engagement with marginalized citizens related to public services, such as law enforcement and federal disaster recovery assistance.
Chandrika recognizes that the institutionalization of the public service – law enforcement – is one of many factors that frame existing police practices, communication, and interactions with citizens. Notwithstanding, the authority given to officers alone does not guide the interaction among citizens and police. The influence of an individual’s lived social and cultural identity results in various communication processes and acts of implicit and explicit bias. The communication that results from a crisis or an everyday encounter is based on various attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions that emerge as products of public policy – institutionalization - and intergroup identity. Her overall aim as she obtains her Ph.D. is to generate knowledge, which will contribute to developing practical, applied interventions to improve police-citizen communication.
Chandrika also works as a Graduate Instructor in the Department of Communication. She served as the Treasurer for the Association of Communication Graduate Students for the 2021-2022 academic year. She is also a past Graduate Scholar of Excellence and recipient of the Switzler Fellowship award. In her spare time, she enjoys cycling on the Katy Trail, traveling, and helping her partner run a bed and breakfast in Rocheport, MO.