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.