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

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 – 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 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:

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  (­‐total-­‐compensation-­‐calculator).  For  more information about our department and university, please visit our website (


To apply, please visit the Portland State University Human Resources website: 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 ( 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 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 ( 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

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 (; a Center for Political Communication and Civic Leadership (; and an Oral Communication Center ( 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
Applicants with questions should email Dr. Xiaoli Nan, chair of the search committee, at

Information about the Department of Communication is available on the departmental Web site (

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.

ComSHER Leads Submissions for 2016

By Avery Holton

This year AEJMC received 1,564 submissions, more than eight percent of which went to ComSHER. We received more submissions than any other division (129), accepting 65 papers. One-hundred-fourteen peer reviewers helped to ensure three reviews for every submission. Z Scores ranging from 1 (worst) to 5 (best) were used to rank order papers. Scores ranged from 2.07 to 4.83 with a median score of 3.47.

Nineteen papers will be presented in four exciting refereed research sessions, including our Top Faculty Paper Session on Saturday, August 6 from 5:15 – 6:45 p.m. Hosted by Michael Dahlstrom (Iowa State), the panel will feature:

Top Faculty Paper
Science in the Social Media Age: Profiles of Science Blog Readers; Paige Jarreau and Lance Porter, Louisiana State

Second-Place Faculty Paper
Using Weight-of-Experts Messaging to Communicate Accurately about Contested SciencePatrice Kohl and Sharon Dunwoody, Wisconsin-Madison

Third-Place Faculty Paper
Sharing Health-Related Information on Facebook: An Integrated ModelMing-Ching Liang, Metropolitan State

Top Student Paper; Lori Eason Prize
Testing the Effects of Dialogic Communication on Attitudes and Behavioral Intentions Related to Polarized and Non-polarized Scientific Issues; Nicole Lee, Texas Tech

Our other refereed research sessions include Friday’s “Science and Evolving Methods of Information Conveyance” moderated by Sara Yeo (Utah), Saturday’s “Communicating Health: Messages, Social Support, and the Construction of Knowledge” moderated by Avery Holton (Utah), and Sunday’s “New (Theoretical) Considerations of Environment and Risk” moderated by Jessica Gall Myrick (Indiana).

ComSHER scholar-to-scholar sessions will take place on Friday from 5:00 – 6:30 p.m. and Saturday from 3:30 – 5:00 p.m.


Faculty Opening at Texas Tech University

Associate Professor opening in the College of Media and Communication at Texas Tech University: We are searching for a senior colleague with an interest in Communication research related to HSTEM to join us in our outstanding research facility, the Center for Communication Research. This is an exciting time of growth in the college. Please contact Paul Bolls, with any questions.

Minneapolis Highlights

By Michael Dahlstrom

Minneapolis may be known for its parks and lakes, but it will soon add one of the best ComSHER programs to its tourist brochures. This year was one of our most competitive research competitions and we are excited to showcase some excellent research sessions with our top paper session being held on Saturday, August 6 from 5:15 to 6:45 p.m. Our teaching and PF&R chairs have also put together some innovative panels that I encourage you to check out. If you need a break from sessions but long for more science communication, our off site field trip will take us on a tour of the James Ford Bell Museum of Natural History.

But now on to business. The ComSHER business meeting will be Saturday, August 6 from 7 to 8:30 p.m., which is immediately after our top paper session. This is the time we will recognize our many award winners, including the Top Faculty Paper, Eason Prize for best student paper, Article of the Year, and Top Poster Award. Approval of the minutes from last year’s meeting will also be an order of business, so please review the minutes of last year’s business meeting beforehand (

Not only does participating in the business meeting give you a voice in the future of our division, but it is a great way for newer members to meet scholars with similar interests and to get better aquatinted with our division. And to help lubricate this networking, we are holding the ComSHER social just after the business meeting. Join us in at 8:45 p.m. at the Skywater Lounge in the Hilton.

For those interested in leadership, the process according to our bylaws is as follows. For elected leadership (Head, Vice Head, Vice Head-Elect, and Research Chair), nominations must be submitted to me ( via email 48 hours before the business meeting. In order to qualify for any of the elected leadership positions, a member must have served as an officer at any level for a minimum of one year and reviewed papers for at least two years. The bylaws also make clear that a stable succession of leadership from Research Chair to Vice Head-Elect to Vice Head to Head is highly desirable. This succession order should only vary if someone is unable or unwilling to continue in the leadership progression.

For appointed positions in leadership (Professional Freedom and Responsibility Chair, Teaching Chair, Secretary, Newsletter Chair, Social Media Chair, Website Chair, Membership Chair, Grad Student Liaison), up to two people can be appointed to each of these positions to facilitate transitions to new chairs and involve more people in division activities. Graduate students may only serve in the capacity of Grad Student Liaison, Secretary, Newsletter Chair, Website Chair, and Social Media Chair. Although all division members are eligible and can indicate interest for these positions, preference will be given to members with a history of involvement with and service to the division, most importantly work in other appointed division positions, reviewing conference papers, panel organization/participation and attendance/involvement at division panels, events, and meetings.

And with that, I will end my final newsletter post as chair. I have been involved with the ComSHER leadership team for six years and it has been a great experience. Not only do all standard metrics confirm our division as one of the strongest in AEJMC (submissions, membership, fiscal operations, etc.) but also I remain impressed that we also continue to feel free to try new ideas and have fun doing it. Thanks to all and I look forward to seeing you in August.