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College of Information and Communications

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Journalism and Mass Communications Research

Faculty in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications are committed to scholarship in the field and the generation of new knowledge through a variety of research activities. The university has begun a number of interdisciplinary research initiatives, and many of our faculty work across disciplines inside and outside the school. In addition, the research faculty within the program embraces a wide range of epistemological foundations. 


Research efforts in advertising focus on technology — cellular phones, for example — as a vehicle for advertising to Chinese consumers or markets — targeting products and industries to minority populations in the United States. Our faculty have produced major texts in the field — Bonnie Drewniany's "Creative Strategy in Advertising" and Dr. Carol Pardun's "Advertising and Society: An Introduction."

Media and Civil Rights History

The school hosts a biennial Media and Civil Rights History Symposium, which brings together civil rights and media historians to share scholarly knowledge on the vital relationships between civil rights movements and issues and various types of public communication in the modern world. We also honor a scholar with the Farrar Media and Civil Rights History Award at the symposium.  The award recognizes the best journal article or chapter in an edited book on the historical relationship between media and civil rights published during the previous two years. 

New Technology

The study of new technology spans all of our communication majors. Research efforts within the school focus on integration, and the management of new media systems.  We are digging into big data, the abundance of information now accessible in the digital age.  And we don’t use social media just to tweet or check our Facebook friends.  The study of social media is really a social science.  We need to understand how it has changed the way we communicate.  Dr. Augie Grant is editor of "Communication Technology Update and Fundamentals," which provides an overview of the latest developments in mass media, consumer electronics, telephony, computers and networking.

Public Relations

Our faculty are some of the world’s leading experts on ethics and theories in public relations, relating to the reputations of organizations and the relationships they maintain with strategic publics and stakeholders.  Groundbreaking research is being conducted on how public relations professionals handle crises, the role strategic communication plays in nonprofit or health care organizations, ethics, activism, analytics, internal relations, research, government relations, public policy, leadership, history, and the crucial role of organization-public relationships in modern strategic management. We publish our research in top-tier journals, such as "Public Relations Review," and have research numerous award winners, Hall of Fame members, and industry board members on our faculty. The school’s faculty take leading roles in generating new knowledge and texts in public relations. Dr. Shannon Bowen’s "Overview of the Public Relations Function" (Business Expert Press), is in use in journalism schools as well as business schools and top MBA programs around the country.

Science and Health Communication

Recent risk-related faculty publications deal with media coverage of smoke-free public policies, the representation and influence of psychological depression in entertainment media and coverage of health-related topics on local news web sites. Science communication works address disaster communication on the Internet, media representations of genetically modified food as a public policy issue and news media coverage of the Food and Drug Administration.  Our graduate students also take part in such work through the Science and Health Communication Research Group.  A Certificate of Graduate Study in Health Communication is offered in coordination with the School of Library and Information Science and the Arnold School of Public Health. 

Visual Communications

Visual communications faculty look at the vital role of visual media in the public sphere, technical and ethical topics of importance to photojournalists, and the notion of visual values.  Faculty work with students on international projects driven simultaneously by research and outreach to develop graphic and web communications.  Creative projects, such as documentary films, put into practice elements of visual communication focused on research. Texts by the faculty include Keith Kenney's "Visual Communication Research Methods" and  Scott Farrand's " Design and in Design."

 Want to see specific faculty interests? Visit our Faculty Research and Areas of Interest webpage.