Asbury Communication Professor Presents Environmental Communication Research – Asbury University
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Asbury Communication Professor Presents Environmental Communication Research

February 15, 2024

Professor of Communication Dr. Jim Shores recently presented his research at the Coalition for Education in the Outdoors 16th Biennial Research Symposium in Asheville, N.C. Shores co-authored a study (with Dr. Brad Daniel and Dr. W. Brad Faircloth) titled, “Inspiration in the Galapagos Islands: Characterizations of Awe, Wonder and Sublimity,” which explored these three components in visitor experiences of the Galapagos Islands during a 10-day university field course.

“The Latin origin of ‘inspiration’ asks ‘What do you breathe in?’” Shores said. “Our study looked at inspiration motivating people to do something new, especially something creative.”

Shores and his colleagues explored uncharted territory in outdoor literature.

“Until recently, inspiration primarily has been viewed through a philosophical perspective,” Shores said. “Our study looked at it through a psychological lens as a response to being in the outdoors, notably the Galapagos Islands in 2022.”

Shores shared the study findings.

“Awe, wonder, and sublimity (a balance of fear and awe) were examined with respect to how they influenced the experiences that participants identified as inspirational,” he said. “Awe was most often associated with direct experience of new species, new ecosystems, vastness, and power. Wonder was most often associated with the beauty and intricacy of wildlife and fascination with new species or ecosystems. Sublimity was most often associated with direct experience of potentially harmful wildlife and potentially dangerous locations such as the Sierra Negre volcano.”

Shores and his colleagues found that “inspiration was most often associated with direct experiences of the new and beautiful. Specifically mentioned were new species flourishing in a harsh ecosystem, overcoming personal challenges, conservation as a cultural value, cultural interactions and beauty.”

In addition to presenting his research in N.C., Shores and Theatre Lecturer Carol Anderson recently performed and conducted workshops (with their professional Christian touring company, Acts of Renewal) on the “Love Like You Mean It” cruise hosted by FamilyLife. On the MSC Divina with 3,600 passengers, their marriage-focused performances also featured Jackson Wilhelmi ’22 and Cincinnati-based actress Kayla Stroud. 

“The ministry on the ship was significant,” Shores said. “Many couples were there because their marriages were in trouble. Others were there simply to have fun and strengthen what’s working. Either way, it was a week of top speakers, incredible musicians, fun locales, and yes – theatre with Acts of Renewal.”

Shores received his M.S. in Environmental Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his Ph.D. in Communication Studies from Regent University.  His academic research encompasses both entertainment-education and environmental communication. Shores is also a playwright and runs Acts of Renewal (a professional Christian touring company) with his wife, Carol Anderson.

The Asbury University Communication & Theatre Department offers three majors (in Communication, Health Communication, and Theatre), five minors (in Communication, Leadership, Public Relations, Social Media, and Theatre), and an M.A. in Communication. Learn more: