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College of Information and Communications

Faculty and Staff

Haley R. Hatfield

Title: Assistant Professor
Department: School of Journalism and Mass Communications
College of Information and Communications
LinkedIn: My LinkedIn profile
Resources: Personal Website
Curriculum Vitae


B.F.A., Digital Art, Kansas State University
M.F.A., Digital Art, Louisiana State University
M.A., Media Arts & Sciences, Indiana University
Ph.D., (ABD) Mass Communication, University of Georgia


Prior to joining the University of South Carolina, Haley Hatfield was a research fellow for the Center for Children’s Health Assessment, Research Translation, and Combating Environmental Racism (CHARTER), one of six NIEHS-funded collaborative centers in the Children’s Environmental Health Network.


  • 2023 UGA College of Journalism & Mass Communication Diversity and Inclusion Advocacy Award 
  • Top Paper Abstract – February 2023 | Midwinter AEJMC Conference, Mass Communication & Society Division
  • Top Student Paper - May 2022 | International Communications Association Conference, Information Systems Division
  • Top Paper – November 2021 | National Communication Association Convention, Human Communication & Technology Division


Hatfield’s research scrutinizes virtual environments as reflections of and potential solutions to systemic inequities. By critically examining how entrenched power structures are maintained, Hatfield aims to reimagine digital and virtual ecosystems to be equitable and inclusive, challenge norms, and advocate change through immersive experiences and practices.

Grants and Funded Research

2023-2024 Career Development Fellow. Translating Environmental Justice through Virtual Environments. (Role: Research Fellow; $15,000). Center for Children’s Health Assessment, Research Translation, and Combating Environmental Racism (CHARTER); NIEHS Collaborative Centers in Children’s Environmental Health Research and Translation (CEHRT). August 2023 – July 2024.

2022 AEJMC Collaborative Scholar Research Program. Do Black Lives Matter in the Empathy Machine? Investigating Whiteness and Immersion on Creating a Shared Reality with 360-Degree Videos. (Role: Co-PI with Dr. Sun Joo (Grace) Ahn; $2,000). Associations for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. June 2022 – May 2024.


Hatfield’s courses emphasize creating experiences that capture a multitude of perspectives. Leveraging their expertise in virtual reality and immersive communication, Hatfield encourages students to push the boundaries of visual storytelling and digital innovation. Hatfield’s visual communication courses are grounded in fostering a critical mindset for inclusive and ethical design principles. This approach supports exploration and collaboration, thereby preparing students for the constantly changing landscape of digital visual communication.

Recent Publications

Hatfield, H. R. & Bowman, N. D. (2024, June). Immersion or Identity Tourism? A Cautionary Note on our Emotionally Connected Future. Panel (organized by Katrin Döveling). International Communication Association, Gold Coast, Australia.

Hatfield, H. R. (forthcoming). Radicalizing Social Virtual Environments. In N. Bowman (Ed.), Entertainment Media and Communication (pp. TBD). De Gruyter Mouton.

Hatfield, H. R., Ahn, S. J. G., Klein, M., & Nowak, K. (2022). Confronting whiteness through virtual humans: a review of 20 years of research in prejudice and racial bias using virtual environments. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 27(6), zmac016.


Hatfield serves as the 2024-25 Student & Early Career Representative for the Information Systems Division of the International Communication Association. They also are part of the DEIA Committee for the Virtual Experience Research Accelerator (VERA). Hatfield is a member of the Board of Vision & Sustainability for ASU’s Center for Research Advancing Racial Equity, Justice, and Sociotechnical Innovation Centered in Engineering (RARE JUSTICE) led by Dr. Brooke Coley. Additionally, Hatfield has served as the Champion for IU’s Center of Excellence for Women & Technology’s MediaMakers Student Alliance Team for the past four years.


Born in El Dorado, Kansas, Haley’s academic pursuits have taken them from Manhattan, KS, to Baton Rouge, LA, and then from Bloomington, Indiana, to Athens, Georgia. Now settling in Columbia,  Haley and her wife love cheering on their favorite college women’s basketball teams like the LSU Tigers, K-State Wildcats, Indiana Hoosiers, and of course, the South Carolina Gamecocks! They spend their weekends watching their nieces play softball, traveling, and tending to their ever-growing collection of plants.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.