Marcia Pentz-Harris headshot

Marcia L. Pentz-Harris

Associate Professor
Communication Coordinator
Unit: McIntire School of Commerce
Department: McIntire School of Commerce
Office location and address
Rouss & Robertson Halls, Room 320
40 South Lawn
Charlottesville, Virginia 22904
M.A., English, University of Virginia
M.Ed., English Education, University of Virginia
B.A., English, Yale University

Professor Pentz teaches Management Communication, with an emphasis on effective public speaking, business writing, and communication strategy. She has particular interests in communication in relation to leadership, diversity, interdisciplinary and cross-cultural communication in groups, corporate social responsibility, teaching the management of others’ writing, and coaching public speaking.

At McIntire, Professor Pentz teaches Communication, Public Speaking, and Corporate Communication in the core undergraduate ICE program. In ICE over the past 15 years, she has taught with both Teams II and VI, and currently serves as the Team Leader for ICE Team 2 (Blocks 3 and 4). Professor Pentz serves as the Communication Coordinator for the M.S. in Accounting Program, for which she also teaches a graduate-level Management Communication course. In her upper-level undergraduate Advanced Business Speaking course, Professor Pentz has for the last decade helped students develop their individual speaking style using techniques from improvisation, drama, and data-driven presenting.

Since 2015, Professor Pentz has served as Co-Director of the Meriwether Lewis Institute Summer Program. She has been an Instructor with the Jefferson Scholars Foundation's Institute for Leadership & Citizenship for over a decade, and has developed workshops and taught short courses for both UVA's Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and the School of Engineering and Applied Science. She is a member of “Speak Your Mind” and other interest groups centered on communicating research well and the importance of public communication skills for the successful UVA graduate. Professor Pentz is the recipient of an All-University Teaching Award (2010) and McIntire’s Order of Claw & Dagger Faculty Recognition Award (2012). Her research interests include integrating communication into cross-disciplinary curricula, developing communication strategies to empower people to speak more effectively about research, communication pedagogy, and adapting theater strategies as a tool to enhance group dynamics and teach presentation and public-speaking skills. Her graduate work in American literature focused on 19th century constructions of masculinity, specifically male ethical codes of commerce and competence as promulgated through popular literature and theatrical/entertainment culture.

CONC 104: Communication
The course focuses on fundamentals of business communication style, skills and metrics, including an introduction to direct style communication. Students will work to identify, and then improve, their personal speaking style; they will learn fundamentals of public speaking non-verbals, learn basic business briefing structure, and learn the importance of audience-centered business speaking.
COMM 3010: Strategy and Systems
Credits: 4
Provides an overview of a business from both a strategic process perspective and as a system and introduces a broad conceptual framework. The remaining ICE sessions provide more specific concepts and techniques. A current business, as well as cases and lecture, is used to develop the framework. Topics include the transformation of business, the role of the general manager, systems thinking and process management, strategic thinking and information systems, global strategy and culture, organizational architecture, information architecture, and the value chain. Prerequisite: Third-year Commerce standing.
COMM 3020: Behavioral Issues in Marketing and Management
Credits: 4
Studies the interaction of human behaviors both within the organization and within the business environment. Discusses personal effectiveness and interpersonal skills and introduces the marketing management process. Topics include individual differences, leadership, conflict resolution, group decision making, creating high-performance teams, globalization of markets and measuring markets, consumer markets and consumer behavior, developing communication strategies, organizational markets, organization buying behaviors, market segmentation, management of products and services, the use of the Internet and other promotion tools, and marketing decision systems. Prerequisite: Third-year Commerce standing.
COMM 3040: Strategic Value Creation
Credits: 5
Provides an overview of corporate & global strategy, introducing frameworks for valuing companies, assessing the impact of strategic initiatives on firm value, & understanding corporate communication strategies & techniques. Topics include corporate governance, diversification, mergers & acquisitions, alliances, international market entries, DCF & relative valuation methods, corporate reputation management, investor & media relations.
COMM 4643: Advanced Business Speaking
Credits: 3
COMM 4643 increases students' comfort with public speaking. In a safe environment students work to cultivate individual speaking styles by engaging in daily public speaking. Students deliver a wide variety of speeches, engage in activities designed to refine speaking styles, receive weekly feedback, and review their own recorded speeches. The most successful students participate fully, have a sense of fun, and help each other to improve.
GCOM 7641: Communicating Effectively as Accounting Professionals
Credits: 2
This course gives students an opportunity to strengthen both their oral and written communication skills within a framework designed to: emphasize the impact of audience and occasion on communication strategy; examine the power of well-designed, high-impact deliverables; develop professional presentation skills and increase their public speaking confidence. Restricted to MS in Accounting Students.