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College of Mass Communications and Information Studies


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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. 

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. 

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. 

Strategic Communication

Students interested in strategic communication will be surrounded by research in a wide range of promotional fields and contexts. The school’s faculty take leading roles in generating new knowledge in public relations.  Groundbreaking work is being conducted on the formation of a new set of ethical standards for the industry, how public relations professionals handle crises and the role strategic communication plays in sectors such as nonprofit health organizations.  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 Carol Pardun's "Advertising and Society: An Introduction."

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."

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’s changed the way we communicate.  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.


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