ComSHER in Minneapolis

by Anthony Dudo

The ComSHER Division’s continued growth and excellence was on display at our 2016 annual meeting in beautiful Minneapolis, MN. We received more paper submissions than any other AEJMC division—again!—and enjoyed well-attended research, teaching, and PF&R programming across the board. We also facilitated yet another enjoyable SHER-themed field trip and, as always, shared laughs at our social. Our annual business meeting was productive as usual; here are some highlights in case you missed it:

We received eleven entries for the annual Article of the Year award, which were evaluated by seven judges comprised of either past ComSHER heads, journal editors or senior professors. First place was presented to Erik Nisbet, Kathryn Cooper, and R. Kelly Garrett for their article “The partisan brain: How dissonant science messages lead conservatives and liberals to (dis)trust science.” The second place article went to Jeannette Sutton et al. for “A cross-hazard analysis of terse message retransmission on Twitter.” The 2016 Top Poster Award, which was determined by fourteen judges across forty-six posters, was awarded to Jay Hmielowski, Rebecca Donaway, and Yiran Wang’s poster “Examining the differential effects of emotions: Anxiety, despair, and informed futility.” Both of these competitions showed the high-caliber scholarship that characterizes SHER-focused research. Congratulations to all the winners.

ComSHER continues to be financially healthy. Last year, we raised faculty member dues from $15 to $20 and this increase has helped strengthen our security and, crucially, has helped sustain our Eason prize, which continues to he the largest financial award given to graduate students in all of AEJMC. Our membership also remains robust (>230 members), but we discussed the importance of trying to enliven our graduate students’ involvement with the division, in terms of attracting more student members and in terms of the type of support, mentoring, and recognition the division can provide. This is one of our goals for 2016/2017.

Another goal for the coming year relates to teaching. Given our division’s impressive growth and our extensive award system for SHER-focused research, we decided it is an ideal time to consider how we might also reward our members for their SHER-focused teaching efforts. Led by our current teaching chair, Chris Clarke (George Mason U.), a committee of ComSHER officers will explore what it will take to initiate an Excellence in SHER Teaching Innovation annual award. Please stay tuned for more information about this exciting new award in the coming months.

Last, let’s all be sure to thank our former head, Michael Dahlstrom (Iowa State U.), for his many years of committed service to ComSHER. For the last decade, Michael has played a key part in the rapid growth of our division …  and he did it all with a radiant smile on his face. And thanks in advance to the new roster of ComSHER offices who are already working together to ensure another successful year for our division.

ComSHER Teaching Panels

by Chris Clarke

I am delighted to announce two interesting and insightful Teaching Panels for AEJ 2017 that ComSHER will either lead or co-sponsor.

Panel #1: Teaching Controversy in the Classroom: Best Practices for Engaging Students about Politically Contentious Science, Environmental, Health, and Risk Issues 

Organized by ComSHER, co-sponsored by the Political Communication Interest Group

From climate change to stem cell research to nuclear power, there is no shortage of contentious science, health, environmental, and risk issues that divide Americans along political lines. As these issues become more connected to ideologically divisive debates over government regulation, individual liberty, and other topics, science communication in effect becomes political communication (and vice-versa) as scholars seek to understand how this divisiveness emerges, how motivated reasoning shapes people’s reactions to information, and how to engage in public conversations across these fault lines. A related challenge is how to train the next generation of political and SHER scholars (both undergraduate and graduate students) to do the same. In this panel, junior and senior scholars with expertise in political and/or SHER communication will address this topic by drawing on their own course experiences and best-practices. Discussion topics will touch on must-have course readings, must-cover topics, and must-do class assignments and activities.

Panelists TBA: Stay tuned!

 

Panel #2: Public Relations, Public Health, Public Good: Preparing a New Generation of Nonprofit and Public Sector Communications Professionals

Organized by the Public Relations Division, co-sponsored by ComSHER

In recent years, public relations has become more focused on doing public good. The areas of health, science, and environmental communication have been recognized as growing areas within public relations and concurrently, the number of nonprofits that address these issues continues to increase. While public relations, science, and health are often considered separate domains, education in these areas overlap, particularly related to strategies and tactics that nonprofit organizations use to reach audiences and motivate actions. In response to student interest in these careers, sector demand for trained communicators, and the service-focused missions that many universities are adopting, numerous colleges are experimenting with varying pedagogical approaches. For instance, numerous public relations programs have been enhanced with courses focused specifically on nonprofit organizations. Health, science, and environmental communication courses and certificate programs are proliferating across the country. Still other colleges and schools are experimenting with preparing students through special topics and skills courses, and service and experiential learning.

This panel will demonstrate how varying approaches can be used to prepare students to work in nonprofit public relations with a special focus on health, science, and environment. Panelists will share their experiences from classroom innovation including examples of effective activities and case study suggestions that will help prepare students for the unique challenges that face them in their chosen career paths.

Panelists include: Brooke McKeever (University of South Carolina); Geah Pressgrove (West Virginia University); Katherine E. Rowan (George Mason University); Autumn Shafer (University of Oregon); and Christopher Wilson (Brigham Young University)

 

2016 Research Paper Competition Summary

By Sol Hart

2016 was another excellent year for the ComSHER research paper competition! We received more paper submissions (129) than any other division. That means that of the 1,564 submissions across all of AEJMC, 8% were submitted to ComSHER. ComSHER is now truly one of the largest research divisions at AEJMC – we had more research paper submissions than any other division in 2016, 2015, and 2013, and were tied for the most submissions in 2014. While we continue to receive a high volume of submissions, we have been able to maintain reasonable acceptance rates. In 2016 we accepted 65 of the 129 submissions, for an acceptance rate of 50.3%. 59 of the accepted papers were faculty submissions, and 6 were student only submissions.

1Looking to the topics of the accepted papers, Health Communication again accounted for a little over half of the ComSHER papers. The remaining papers were roughly evenly distributed between Science, Environmental, and Risk Communication.

 

2The paper competition is made possible by the generous contribution of all of our reviewers. 114 reviewers volunteered to review for the 2016 paper competition. This is an increase from the 107 reviewers we had in 2015, and ensured that all submitted papers received 3 reviews, and reviewers had an average of 3.8 reviews to complete. Thank you to all of our reviewers!

We look forward to another excellent paper competition in 2017!

Table 1
ComSHER Research Paper Submission Summary 2013-2016
Submitted Accepted Acceptance Rate
2013 148 69 46.6%
2014 134 85 63.4%
2015 139 80 58%
2016 129 65 50.4%

 

Table 2
Topic of ComSHER Papers, 2013-2016
2013 (n=69) 2014 (n=85) 2015 (n=80) 2016 (n=65)
Science 2 (3%) 11 (13%) 9 (11%) 10 (15%)
Health 41 (59%) 46 (54%) 45 (56%) 36 (55%)
Environment 7 (10%) 16 (19%) 17 (21%) 10 (15%)
Risk 16 (23%) 9 (11%) 2 (3%) 13 (20%)
Multiple 3 (4%) 3 (3%) 7 (9%) *

*for 2016 there were a few papers that had overlapping categories, but we included them in all of the respective categories to offer a better sense of the distribution of paper topic areas. Thus the paper totals for the 2016 topics (69) presents a higher cumulative amount than the total papers accepted (65) due to multiple coding for some of the papers.

 

ComSHER in the Windy City – Calling for ideas for our 2017 field trip

As incoming Secretary, I am excited to be coordinating the field trip for next year’s AEJMC meeting in Chicago, Illinois. The last time we were in Chicago, we had a wonderful time visiting the Shed Aquarium and I look forward to planning another excellent excursion. Current suggestions include visits to The Field Museum or The Adler Planetarium.

The Field Museum of Natural History is one of the largest natural history museums in the world. Its exhibitions include Sue, the most complete and best-preserved Tyrannosaurus rex fossil ever discovered, and the new, interactive Grainger Science Hub, which allows visitors to engage with the museum’s scientists and collections.

The Adler Planetarium offers a number of itineraries, including a visit to the Space Visualization Lab where we can interact with experts to learn more about ongoing projects and engagement efforts, and participation in Skywatch Live! which uses real-time digital graphics to create an accurate scientific simulation of the night sky. We can also explore the possibility of doing an evening excursion at the planetarium.

I encourage you to reach out to me with more suggestions at kajsa-dalrymple@uiowa.edu.

Kajsa Dalrymple

Upcoming PF&R Panels at AEJMC 2017

Panel #1: Communicating Science and Environmental Issues within the Context of Elections (co-sponsored with the Political Communication Interest Group)
This panel will explore the intersection of media and politics with an eye toward scientific and environmental issues facing society. How are issues at the interface of science and society communicated to publics in periods of heightened media attention? What does this mean for journalists working in these areas? How do political and science/environment topics overlap in mediated spaces and what are the implications of these connections? Panelist information TBA—stay tuned!

Panel #2: Global Inequities in Health—The Ethics of Forgotten Communities (possible co-sponsors: Media Ethics, Minorities and Communication, International Communication)
In March 2014, Ebola cases emerged in West Africa. In total, 11,315 people died from the epidemic. 11,309 deaths occurred in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Nigeria. And yet, American media covered little of the epidemic until September, focusing primarily on the four cases in the United States. Likewise, Zika was given very little attention until a case emerged in Florida. This ethnocentric news coverage in American is not unique, nor is it a contemporary phenomenon. The proposed panel showcases the health concerns of different groups have been ignored, marginalized, and delegitimized, reinforcing hegemonic notions of race, ethnicity, socio-economic class, and other intersections. Through research on HIV in Tanzania, cultural barriers for the Roma people in Europe, eradication discourse of polio, and other studies, we will discuss the ethical implications for media’s role in these global inequities. Confirmed panelists: Katie Foss (Middle Tennessee State University), Adina Schneeweis (Oakland University), Ammina Kothari (Rochester Institute of Technology). Additional panelists TBA—stay tuned!

Sara Yeo

An Update from Science Communication

Science Communication: Linking Theory and Practice has been unofficially affiliated with AEJMC’s ComSHER Division and its predecessor, the Science Communication Interest Group, since the journal’s beginning in 1979. I am pleased to be able to report that the past year has been a really good one for us. As reported earlier in the summer, our two-year impact factor rose to 1.820 this past year, up 20% from 2014 and putting us in 14th place out of the 79 ranked communication journals. Our acceptance rate remained roughly steady at 18% for 2015, with the three prior years ranging between 15 and 17%. We received 150 manuscripts in 2015, 127 of which were research articles.

Almost all of these submissions received an initial decision within three months. We pride ourselves on providing timely, meaningful, and usually quite detailed feedback to our authors.

In hand at the moment: our October 2016 issue, which nicely illustrates the range of things we publish: An article on the strategies used by a Dutch food author to establish scientific credibility for his claims; an analysis of media coverage of the 2014 West Virginia Elk River chemical spill; an experiment comparing text-based and interactive presentations about NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope; and an article on how “green narratives” create affective responses that have implications for both environmental risk perception and policy. We also include two commentaries, one on informal science learning for older adults and one on “one scientist’s struggle” to become a better writer.

If you are not familiar with SC, you can learn more at scx.sagepub.com – and you can even order a free sample issue there, in case your university does not subscribe. You’ll spot a number of familiar ComSHER names both among our editorial board members and our authors, and you can browse the contents and abstracts for all of our issues there – even if your library does not subscribe.

In addition to refereed research articles, which fill about 80 to 90% of the space in our six annual issues, we also publish roughly one or two commentary articles per issue. These are non-refereed opinion pieces commenting on trends in the field, describing innovative and successful programs, or analyzing issues and opportunities in science communication theory and scholarship.

We publish in the full range of ComSHER disciplines, including submissions with qualitative, quantitative, or rhetorical methods – as well as, occasionally, analytical or historical ones.

Looking for something to write about for us? Although we do not normally publish review articles (other than occasional meta-analyses), the editorial board has recently expressed some interest in our considering reviews that present the history of our field. We are now much too large and diverse for a single article to cover this well; the few existing review articles that cover our entire broad history are now increasingly outdated. So there is room for more than one project here. If you are interested in creating such an article, identify the aspect of the field that you know best and discuss it with me directly at editorscicom@gmail.com. One thing I can practically guarantee: If your submission is successful, it will probably earn a lot of citations.

Following up on our successful special issue on Visual Communication in the Digital Age (Mary Nucci, guest editor), published in February 2015, we have issued a call for papers for a new special issue on Science Communication and Broad Societal Change. You can find the full call at the ComSHER website. Search “call for papers” to go directly to the appropriate section or use this link: http://aejmc.us/comsher/2016/06/15/cfp-science-communication-linking-theory-and-practice/

The submission deadline for the special issue is November 1, 2016. Late papers for the issue may be considered on a space-available basis; contact me at the email above for status.

Susanna Priest, Editor-in-Chief

 

 

A faculty position at Portland State University

The Department of Communication seeks a full-­‐time, nine-­‐month, tenure-­‐track/tenured, Assistant or Associate rank position to begin September 16th, 2017. The department seeks a scholar with a record and promise of research productivity in Environmental, Risk, and Science Communication; candidates should have expertise in quantitative methods. Job requirements include publishing research, pursuing external funding, effectively teaching undergraduate and graduate students, and participating in departmental and university service. This position is part of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ interdisciplinary cluster hire focusing on “Environmental Extremes (impacts, adaptations, and solutions)” and includes seven additional faculty hires in the Departments of English, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geography, and Environmental Science and Management.

Candidates must be able to teach courses in one or more specific topics in environmental, risk, and science communication. Although not required, optimal candidates will also have some affinity with other areas of departmental focus, which include: health, (new) media, political communication,   and organizational communication. Applicants must have their Ph.D. (in Communication or a   closely allied discipline) in hand by time of hire (i.e., by September 16th, 2017).

PSU is Oregon’s urban research university, with approximately 29,000 students. PSU is an Affirmative-­‐Action, Equal-­‐Opportunity Institution and welcomes applications from candidates who support diversity. Women and members of minority groups are encouraged to apply. PSU offers an excellent benefits package (including healthcare), a generous retirement and vacation package, and reduced tuition rates for employees, their spouses, and their dependents. PSU offers benefits to same-­‐sex and different sex domestic partners. Candidates are encouraged to utilize PSU’s total-­‐ compensation  calculator  (http://www.pdx.edu/hr/psu-­‐total-­‐compensation-­‐calculator).  For  more information about our department and university, please visit our website (http://pdx.edu/communication).

 

To apply, please visit the Portland State University Human Resources website:   https://jobs.hrc.pdx.edu/postings/20717. In addition to filling out the required fields, you will be required to submit/attach the following information:  (1) cover letter of application, which should include complete contact information (including email and phone); (2) curriculum vitae; (3) up to three samples of published (or in-­‐press) research; (4) evidence of teaching effectiveness (e.g., student-­‐evaluation scores for courses taught); and (5) a separate page with the name and contact information of three people who agree to act as references/recommenders. Note that actual letters of reference will be requested later after an initial review of applications. Review of applications   will begin October 3, 2016, and will continue until the position is filled. If you have any difficulties   or questions, please contact Dr. Jeffrey D. Robinson via email (jeffreyr@pdx.edu) with the subject line “COMM Job Search 2017” or directly via cell phone (971-­‐400-­‐4125).

 

Two faculty positions at University of Missouri

The University of Missouri School of Journalism is seeking applications for two faculty positions in science communication. The School has a long-standing reputation for providing cutting-edge research, teaching, and outreach work that influence and lead the industry. With an increasing need to deepen the public understanding of science and improve public discourse about science, these two new positions have been created to further the School’s mission of facilitating high-impact research activities that can help bridge the divide between scientists, science communicators and the broader public. Candidates may come from academic disciplines such as journalism, strategic communication or a related field, with research expertise in science communication as broadly defined.

This significant investment continues MU’s strategy of hiring faculty from key interdisciplinary areas to strengthen its culture of academic collaboration and industry outreach to attain a global impact. Successful candidates for the positions will be expected to help the University build an interdisciplinary, innovative, and forward-thinking center of science communication, bringing together researchers, students and professionals from journalism, strategic communication, science, engineering, public policy, law, business and other fields. The new faculty members will be housed in the School of Journalism and hold joint appointments in the College of Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources.  They are also expected to work closely with the Christopher S. Bond Life Science Center and other STEM programs across the campus. They will have the opportunity to work with the Health Communication Research Center at the School of Journalism.

Position 1: Full or Associate Professor
Qualifications and responsibilities: A Ph.D. in journalism, communication or related fields is required. The successful candidate must have an established research program including high impact publications and vigorous extramural funding with a primary focus in science communication. The successful candidate will be committed to interdisciplinary teaching, have a demonstrated ability to mentor graduate students and help create a climate that attracts students of diverse backgrounds. The new faculty member must have an enthusiastic desire and demonstrated ability to help develop a center for science communication, be able to collaborate
on interdisciplinary research and teaching with other academic units on campus, and to build connections with the professional community.

Position 2: Associate or Assistant Professor
Qualifications and responsibilities: A Ph.D. in journalism, communication or related fields is required.  The successful candidate must have a demonstrated record of research productivity with a primary focus in science communication. The successful candidate will be expected to engage in an innovative, extramurally funded research program and to teach and mentor students of diverse backgrounds. The ideal candidate will have an enthusiastic desire to help develop a center for science communication, be able to collaborate on interdisciplinary research and teaching with other academic units on campus, and to build connections with the professional community.

About Missouri School of Journalism
Founded in 1908, the Missouri School of Journalism is the world’s oldest and leading journalism program and has been widely recognized for excellence and innovation in undergraduate and graduate education and scholarship.  In its 2014 annual ranking of top journalism schools, NewsPro-Radio Television Digital News Association again ranked the Missouri School of Journalism “far and away” the No. 1 journalism school in the country. The National Research Council ranks the School’s doctoral program among the top journalism/communication programs in the nation. In addition, the School’s Reynolds Journalism Institute provides state-of-the-art resources for researchers and professionals to test new ideas, uses social science research to assess their effectiveness, and delivers solutions that citizens and journalists can put to use in their communities.
Currently, the School offers academic education and practical training to more than 2,000 undergraduates and 300 graduate students. The School has a close and productive relationship with other academic units on campus, the media industry and the local community. It operates award-winning, community-based, multiplatform news outlets and produces comprehensive research-based advertising and public relations campaigns for real clients.  The School also houses headquarters of prominent professional organizations, including American Society of
News Editors, Investigative Reporters and Editors, Association of Health Care Journalists, and the Picture of the Year International, among others.

About Columbia, Missouri
The University of Missouri (MU or Mizzou), located in Columbia, has an enrollment of 35,000 students and is Missouri’s largest public research university. Mizzou is also the flagship campus of the four-campus University of Missouri System and one of only five universities nationwide with law, medicine, veterinary medicine and a nuclear research reactor on one campus. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities since 1908, Mizzou is considered one of the nation’s top-tier institutions.
With a population of 100,000, Columbia is located midway between Missouri’s largest cities, St. Louis and Kansas City. Money magazine, Fortune magazine, U.S. News & World Report, Men’s Journal, and MSN.com have named Columbia one of the best places in the United States to live because of its high quality of life. Columbia is home to nationally renowned public schools, including two top-ranked high schools. The city provides many opportunities for art, culture and music enthusiasts and has been recognized as a bike-friendly community with many parks and trails.

To Apply
Apply online here (http://hrs.missouri.edu/find-a-job/academic/index.php) by uploading (a) a letter of application that describes your research, teaching, and outreach/professional experiences; (b) a curriculum vitae, (c) evidence of teaching excellence, d) the names and contact information for three references. Please reference job number 19657. Review of applications will begin September 30, 2016 and continue until the positions are filled.
An Equal Opportunity/Access/Affirmative Action/Pro Disabled and Veteran Employer
The University of Missouri is fully committed to achieving the goal of a diverse and inclusive academic community of faculty, staff and students. We seek individuals who are committed to this goal and our core campus values of respect, responsibility, discovery and excellence.

To request ADA accommodations, please contact the Office of Accessibility & ADA Education at 573-884-7278 or CheekA@missouri.edu.

Assistant Professor, Health Communication at University of Maryland, College Park

The Department of Communication at the University of Maryland, College Park invites applications for a full-time, tenure-track assistant professor position in Communication Science with a specialization in health communication. The starting date for this position is August 15, 2017.

The successful candidate will have or show clear promise of a strong research program in health communication employing quantitative research methods. Experience with extramural research funding is highly desirable along with an interest in pursuing extramural funding (e.g., grants and contracts). The successful candidate will have an ability to teach undergraduate and graduate courses in health communication, communication theory, and quantitative research methods. Candidates must hold a Ph.D. in Communication or a related field at the time of appointment. They must also have the ability to advise graduate students. Teaching experience at the university level is highly desirable. Candidates who study underserved populations and/or global health issues are especially encouraged to apply.

The Department of Communication houses a Center for Health and Risk Communication (http://www.healthriskcenter.umd.edu); a Center for Political Communication and Civic Leadership (http://www.comm.center.umd.edu); and an Oral Communication Center (https://www.comm.umd.edu/undergraduate/OCC). The Department of Communication offers B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees in Communication and an M.P.S. degree in Interpreting or Translation. The department features research areas in Communication Science, Public Relations, and Rhetoric and Political Culture. The university is located in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, one of the world’s most ethnically diverse and internationally significant cities. The area is the home to a number of preeminent federal funding agencies including the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

For best consideration, candidates should submit complete applications by October 1, 2016. The application should include a letter of application that describes the applicant’s research interests and other qualifications, a curriculum vitae, names and email addresses of three reference providers, evidence of teaching effectiveness, and sample(s) of recent research. Application materials should be submitted to https://ejobs.umd.edu.
Applicants with questions should email Dr. Xiaoli Nan, chair of the search committee, at nan@umd.edu.

Information about the Department of Communication is available on the departmental Web site (http://www.comm.umd.edu).

Teaching Panels Tackle Coding, the Ethics of Teaching Tech

By Rachel Young

Please join ComSHER and co-sponsors for two timely and stimulating teaching panels Thursday and Friday in Minneapolis.

Thursday from 11:45 am to 1:15 pm, come discuss best practices for teaching coding, a skill increasing in demand for journalism grads. Co-sponsored with Communication and Technology, “Cracking the Code: Tips for Teaching Coding to Journalism Students” will address how we can best prepare journalism students to be conversant in code. Topics include, which coding skills are most in demand among employers? And what classroom contexts, projects, and learning objectives are most appropriate when teaching coding? We have a top-notch panel lined up: Aaron Chimbel, Texas Christian; Dana Coester, West Virginia; Kevin Ripka, Iowa; and Cindy Royal, Texas State.

Friday morning from 8:15 to 9:45 am we will engage with the ethnical issues that arise when incorporating technology in the classroom. Co-sponsored with Media Ethnics, our panel on “Inclusivity and Teaching Technology” will discuss the gender gap in technology circles, socioeconomic and K-12 disparities in technology access and exposure, assumptions often made about students’ technology skills, and the use of technology in grading and assessment. Expert panelists are Kathleen Cartzen Bulver, Wisconsin-Madison; Aileen E. Gallagher, Syracuse; Andrew Mendelson, CUNY; and Cindy Royal, Texas State.