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PhD in Communication

 

Core Faculty

Kathryn Montgomery

Professor Kathryn Montgomery, Ph.D.
Doctoral Program Director
Montgomery is a well-known media scholar and leading public policy advocate. Her recent book, Generation Digital: Politics, Commerce, and Childhood in the Age of the Internet (MIT Press, 2007), explores the myriad ways that young people are engaged with digital media and the influence these technologies have in their daily lives.  The book also addresses a range of key public policy debates about children and media, documenting several major disputes during the 1990s and offering analysis of critical issues such as Internet pornography, television violence, and commercialization.  She is also the author of Target: Prime Time (Oxford University Press, 1989). Her current work focuses on the role of digital media in the health behaviors of children and adolescents.

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Matthew Nisbet, professor of communication

Associate Professor Matthew Nisbet, Ph.D.
Nisbet is a social scientist who studies strategic communication in policy-making and public affairs with a focus on debates over science, the environment, and public health. He is the author of more than 35 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters which have been cited more than 500 times in the peer-reviewed literature. Nisbet's research has appeared at high-impact disciplinary journals such as Public Opinion Quarterly, Public Understanding of Science, and Communication Research as well as interdisciplinary outlets such as Science, Environment, Nature Biotechnology, and BMC Public Health. His current research on climate change communication is funded by the Nathan Cummings Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation where he serves as a health policy investigator.

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American University School of Communication professor and Center for Social Media Director Patricia Aufderheide

University Professor Patricia Aufderheide, Ph.D.
Aufderheide specializes in the social impact of mass media and communication policies.  She is director of AU’s Center for Social Media, which analyzes and showcases media for social justice, civil society, and democracy. She authored Documentary Film: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2007); The Daily Planet: A Critic on the Capitalist Culture Beat (University of Minnesota Press, 2000); and Communications Policy in the Public Interest (the Guilford Press, 1999).

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W. Joseph Campbell, professor of communication

Professor W. Joseph Campbell, Ph.D.
Campbell is a journalism historian with a PhD from the University of North Carolina, who joined the AU faculty in 1997, after more than 20 years in professional journalism.  Assignments in his award-winning career took him across North America to Africa, Asia, and Europe.  Campbell is the author of five books, including The Year That Defined American Journalism: 1897, The Clash of Paradigms (2006), which tells the story of a decisive year in American journalism and Getting It Wrong, which was published in June 2010 by University of California Press.

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Photo: Declan Fahy

Assistant Professor Declan Fahy, Ph.D.
Fahy has reported extensively on science, health, and environmental issues, as well as many other topics, for the Irish Times, Irish Daily Mirror and Longford Leader newspapers.  His current scholarly research examines media representations of celebrity scientists such Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking.  Other research projects have analyzed media coverage of health policy, opinion and commentary journalism, business reporting, and the reporting of transnational political institutions, such as the European Union.  His peer-reviewed research appears in a number of outlets including Science Communication, Public Understanding of Science, Health Promotion Practice, Journalism Studies, and Irish Communications Review.

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Professor Lauren Feldman.

Assistant Professor Lauren Feldman, Ph.D.
Feldman is a social scientist who focuses on how people’s experiences with media shape their political knowledge, attitudes, and behavior, specifically on how people are influenced by and make sense of less traditional forms of political communication, such as late-night comedy and opinionated cable news.  Feldman’s research on political communication has appeared in a number of edited volumes and peer-reviewed journals, including Communication Research and Political Communication.  She has presented more than a dozen refereed papers at national and international conferences and was twice awarded top paper awards by the International Communication Association’s Political Communication Division.

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SOC Sol Hart

Assistant Professor Sol Hart, Ph.D.
Hart is a social scientist investigating the psychological processes underlying effective risk communication including research on climate change, AIDS prevention, poverty, and clinical health communication.  Hart's doctoral research was supported by the National Science Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  He has published in a number of peer reviewed journals, including Science Communication, Society and Natural Resources, Human Dimensions of Wildlife, Environmental Communication, and Communication Yearbook.

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Rodger Streitmatter

Professor Rodger Streitmatter, Ph.D.
Streitmatter is a cultural historian who is a leader in exploring how the media have helped to shape the way Americans think and act. The most recent of his seven books is From “Perverts” to “Fab Five” ~ The Media’s Changing Depiction of Gay Men and Lesbians. Individual chapters focus on such topics as the film Brokeback Mountain and the TV show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.  Streitmatter’s other books include Sex Sells! and Mightier than the Sword: How the News Media Have Shaped American History.

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John Watson

Associate Professor John Watson, Ph.D., J.D.
Watson focuses on journalism ethics and law.  Grounded by more than two decades of experience as a professional journalist, he holds a J.D. degree from the Rutgers School of Law and a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he was awarded a Freedom Forum fellowship.  He is the author of a number of scholarly book chapters and articles on media law and ethics and is the author Journalism Ethics by Court Decree: The Supreme Court on the Proper Practice of Journalism, which analyzes how the U.S. Supreme Court treated issues of journalism ethics in cases decided from 1947 until 2007.

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Associate Professor Rhonda Zaharna, Ed.D
Zaharna specializes in intercultural and international strategic communication, with an emphasis on culture and communication in the Arab and Islamic regions.  She has advised on communication projects for multinational corporations, non-governmental organizations, diplomatic missions, and international organizations, including the United Nations, World Bank, and USAID.  She has testified before the US Congress and addressed diplomatic audiences and military personnel in the United States and Europe on cross-cultural communication and public diplomacy. She is author of Battles to Bridges: US Strategic Communication and Public Diplomacy after 9/11 (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2010).

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American University School of Communication Professor Laura DeNardis

School of Communication Professor Laura Denardis

Associate Professor Laura DeNardis, Ph.D
Laura DeNardis is a globally recognized Internet governance scholar whose research addresses Internet policy and technical design issues related to communication rights and freedom of expression online.  DeNardis comes from Yale Law School, where she held a joint research and teaching appointment and served as Executive Director of the Yale Information Society Project.  She has written three books, including Protocol Politics: The Globalization of Internet Governance (MIT Press 2009).  DeNardis earned a PhD in Science and Technology Studies from Virginia Tech, an MEng from Cornell University, an AB in Engineering Science from Dartmouth College, and was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from Yale Law School.

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Deen Freelon

Assistant Professor Deen Freelon
Deen Freelon joins SOC as Assistant Professor in Public Communication. His expertise is in mapping and analyzing online content, behavior, and outcomes especially related to political conversation. Freelon is the author of three journal articles including one in New Media & Society; is a second author on a forthcoming article at the Journal of Communication; and is founder and contributor to Blackacademics.org. He also served as a technology trainer, web designer, and multimedia consultant at Duke University. He has an MA in Communication from the University of Washington and a BA in Psychology (with honors) from Stanford University. Deen Freelon has completed his doctoral work at the University of Washington and began teaching at American in Spring 2012.

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