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Claudio Benzecry

Claudio Benzecryis an associate professor in the Department of Communication Studies specializing in the sociology of culture. He is author of The Opera Fanatic: Ethnography of an Obsession (University of Chicago Press, 2011) which earned several American Sociological Association awards and was declared one of ten major books in sociological theory by Contemporary Sociology. Benzecry’s book From Head to Toe: Everyday Globalization in a Creative Industry (University of Chicago Press) is currently under contract.

Thomas J. Billard

Thomas J. Billard, PhD is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Studies. They are a political communication scholar whose research spans mainstream communication studies, the sociology of social movements, and transgender studies. Their research has appeared in a number of prominent academic publications, including Communication Research ReportsFrontiers in Psychology, the International Journal of CommunicationJournalism & Mass Communication QuarterlyMarketing TheoryMass Communication and SocietyMedia, Culture & Society, and Politics, Groups, and Identities, as well as in venues such as the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics and the SAGE Encyclopedia of Trans Studies. Dr. Billard previously served as Consortium on Media Policy Studies Fellow and, later, as Archival Fellow at the National Center for Transgender Equality. In these roles, they established the Trans Equality Archive, the single largest collection of transgender political history in the United States. They received their PhD from the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California and their honors BA from the School of Media and Public Affairs at the George Washington University. Website:

Jeremy Birnholtz

Jeremy Birnholtz’s research focuses on human-computer interaction issues, such as attention, information sharing, and collaboration through the use of technology. He has lectured and published widely on subjects that include young people’s attention to instant messaging, interruptions in attention in seniors with chronic pain, and deception in text messaging.

Pablo Boczkowski

Pablo J. Boczkowski’s research examines the transformation of print culture in the digital age. He has written three books, most recently The News Gap (co-authored with Eugenia Mitchelstein, MIT Press, 2013), and over twenty journal articles and fifty conference presentations. For more information, see Pablo Boczkowski’s personal site.

Larissa Buchholz

Larissa Buchholz is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Studies and holds a courtesy appointment in the Department of Sociology, Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences. She is a sociologist of culture whose research intersects with global and transnational sociology, inequality, and economic sociology, but also is informed by interests in theory and research methods. Her work deploys both qualitative and quantitative methods and links micro and macro levels.

Aymar Jean Christian

Aymar Jean “AJ” Christian is an assistant professor of communication studies at Northwestern University and a Fellow at the Peabody Media Center. His first book, Open TV: Innovation Beyond Hollywood and the Rise of Web Television on New York University Press, argues the web brought innovation to television by opening development to independent producers. His work has been published in numerous academic journals, including The International Journal of CommunicationCinema JournalContinuum, and Transformative Works and Cultures. He has juried television and video for the Peabody Awards, Gotham Awards, and Tribeca Film Festival, among others. He leads OTV | Open Television, a research project and platform for intersectional television. OTV programs have received recognition from HBO, the Television Academy (Emmy Awards), New York Television Festival, City of Chicago, Streamy Awards, and Independent Filmmaker Project (Gotham Awards). Its programming partners have included the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Art Institute of Chicago, Block Museum of Art, and City of Chicago, along with numerous galleries, community organizations, and universities. Dr. Christian’s blog, Televisual, is an archive of over 500 posts chronicling the rise of the web TV market, and he has written regular reports on TV and new media for IndiewireThe Wall Street JournalSlate, and Tubefilter. He received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania.

Noshir Contractor

Professor Noshir Contractor is investigating factors that lead to the formation, maintenance, and dissolution of dynamically linked social and knowledge networks in communities. Specifically, his research team is developing and testing theories and methods of network science to map, understand and enable more effective networks in a wide variety of contexts including communities of practice in business, science and engineering communities, disaster response teams, public health networks, digital media and learning networks, and in virtual worlds, such as Second Life.

Leslie DeChurch

Leslie DeChurch’s research investigates teamwork and leadership in organizations. She is Professor of Communication Studies, and holds a courtesy appointment in the Department of Psychology, Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences. She is President and Chairperson of the Board of INGRoup, the Interdisciplinary Network for Group Research. Professor DeChurch leads the ATLAS lab: Advancing Teams, Leaders, and Systems. ATLAS explores the dynamics through which teams form, and how these dynamics affect their performance as teams, and their ability to work as larger organizational systems (multiteam systems). ATLAS conducts laboratory and online experiments, meta-analytic integrations, and field studies of teams and leaders to understand their core organizing processes. Such processes include: leadership networks, team cognition, team conflict and motivation, and team information sharing. DeChurch’s research seeks to build high-functioning teams that work in scientific innovation, space exploration, healthcare, and the military. The ATLAS research portfolio is currently supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF)National Institutes for Health (NIH)National Aeronautical and Space Agency (NASA), and Army Research Office (ARO). Her work has appeared in outlets including the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)Journal of Applied Psychology (JAP)Journal of Management (JoM)Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes (OBHDP), and Leadership Quarterly (LQ). She is co-editor of Multiteam Systems: An Organization Form for Dynamic and Complex Environments and recently served on the National Research Council Committee on The Context of Military Environments. She has contributed to several National Research Council Committees on teamwork issues ranging from measurement to innovation. She was awarded an NSF CAREER to explore Leadership for Virtual Organizational Effectiveness. DeChurch holds a PhD in Organizational Psychology and is a fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA), Association for Psychological Science (APS), and the Society of Industrial & Organizational Psychology (SIOP).

Nicholas Diakopoulos

Nicholas Diakopoulos is an Assistant Professor in the Northwestern University School of Communication Department of Communication Studies. He is also a Tow Fellow at Columbia University School of Journalism, and Associate Professor II at the University of Bergen Department of Information Science and Media Studies. His research is in computational and data journalism with emphases on algorithmic accountability and social computing in the news. He is co-author of the 6th Edition of Designing the User Interface, co-editor of a forthcoming book on Data-Driven Storytelling, and is under contract with Harvard University Press to write a monograph on automation in the news media. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech where he co-founded the program in Computational Journalism.

Elizabeth Gerber

Elizabeth Gerber, an associate professor of mechanical engineering in the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, holds a joint appointment with the School of Communication, serving as an assistant professor of technology and social behavior in the communication studies department. Gerber’s research interests include design, innovation management, and organizational behavior. She teaches undergraduate and graduate classes on product and service design, which emphasize the design thinking methodology—a human-centered, problem-solving approach focused on gaining inspiration from human needs, working in diverse groups to generate ideas, and prototyping ideas for rapid feedback. Gerber also advises students in the award-winning design initiative she founded called Design for America, where students take on extracurricular design work to make social and local impact.

Darren Gergle

Darren Gergle’s teaching and research interests are broadly defined by the fields of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW). In particular, he is interested in furthering our theoretical understanding of the impact technological mediation has on communication, and applying this to the design, development, and evaluation of novel collaboration technologies.

Wendy Griswold

Wendy Griswold, Professor of Sociology and affiliated with Comparative Literary Studies, English, and Communications, holds a Ph.D. from Harvard (1980) and has previously taught there and at the University of Chicago. Her research and teaching interests include: cultural sociology; sociological approaches to literature, art and religion; regionalism, urban representations, and the culture of place; the Federal Writers’ Project; and comparative studies of reading practices. Recent books include Bearing Witness: Readers, Writers, and the Novel in Nigeria (Princeton UP, 2000), Cultures and Societies in a Changing World 3rd ed. (Pine Forge 2008), and Regionalism and the Reading Class (University of Chicago Press, 2008). Professor Griswold directs the Culture and Society Workshop at the Alice Berline Kaplan Institute for the Humanities.

Brent Hecht

Brent Hecht is an assistant professor in the School of Communication with a courtesy appointment in the Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. Formerly an assistant professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Minnesota, Hecht explores the intersection of human–computer interaction, geography, and big data. Hecht has been a keynote and featured speaker at a number of events worldwide and has won awards for his research at top-tier publication venues in human-computer interaction and geography. He collaborated with Google Research, Xerox PARC, and Microsoft Research, and his work has been featured by The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, NPR, ABC News, Time Magazine, Süddeutsche ZeitungBild, El PaísLe Monde, and various other international TV, radio, and Internet outlets.

Ágnes Horvát

Ágnes Horvát is an assistant professor at Northwestern University’s School of Communication and holds a courtesy appointment at the Kellogg School of Management. Her current research spans the areas of collective intelligence, crowdfunding, and the creative industries. Horvát’s work focuses on developing theory and methods for the study of complex networks at the intersection of computer science, physics, and social phenomena. Her interdisciplinary approach seeks to understand the behavior of connected crowds by building on techniques from network science, machine learning, statistics, and exploratory visualization. Before joining the School of Communication she was a post-doctoral researcher at the Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems (NICO). She earned a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Physics from Heidelberg University, Germany in 2013 and also holds a B.Sc. in Physics and Computer Science from the Babeș-Bolyai University, Romania and a B.A. in Photography, Film, and Media from the Sapientia University, Romania.

Matthew Kay

Matthew Kay works in human–computer interaction and information visualization, specifically communicating uncertainty, usable statistics, and personal informatics. He tackles problems using a multi-faceted approach, including qualitative and quantitative analysis of behavior, building and evaluating interactive systems, and designing and testing visualization techniques. He co-directs the Midwest Uncertainty Collective (MU collective). He holds appointments in Communication Studies and Computer Science. Previously, he was faculty at the University of Michigan School of Information.

Bruce Lambert

Dr. Lambert received his B.A. (1987, Phi Beta Kappamagna cum laude, with high distinction), his M.A. (1988), and his Ph.D. (1992) in Speech Communication from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He joined northwestern University in 2013, after 22 years at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Dr. Lambert is currently professor in the Department of Communication Studies and Director of the Center for Communication and Health at Northwestern. Dr. Lambert’s research focuses on health communication, drug name confusion, patient and medication safety, health literacy, health information technology, prescribing behavior, pharmacoepidemiology, pharmaceutical promotion, health outcomes associated with provider-patient communication, and on information retrieval. He is currently the principal investigator on a five year center grant, funded by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, to study techniques for optimizing medication safety. Dr. Lambert’s publications have appeared in JAMA, The Archives of Internal Medicine, Journal of General Internal MedicineMedical CareThe American Journal of Epidemiology, Drug Safety, The Journal of Medical SystemsHealth CommunicationSocial Science & Medicine, The American Journal of Health-System PharmacyThe Drug Information Journal and many others. He serves on the editorial board of the journal Health Communication. For his work on predicting and preventing drug name confusion errors, Dr. Lambert received the Best Published Paper award from the American Pharmaceutical Association in 1997, a Cheers Award from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, and a Center Director’s Special Citation award from the U. S. Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Lambert is a founding member of the UIC Institute for Patient Safety Excellence. He is President of BLL Consulting, Inc. and Pharm I.R., Inc., firms that specialize in problems that involve health, communication, and technology. He has served as a Special Government Employee for the U. S. FDA and a member of the U. S. Pharmacopeia’s Consumer Interest and Health Education Advisory Panel. Dr. Lambert was a founding member of the Steering Committee of the Chicago Patient Safety Forum, is a Fellow of the Institute of Medicine of Chicago, is chair of the Research Committee of the National Patient Safety Foundation and serves on the Adverse Event Advisory Committee for the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Erik Nisbet

Erik C. Nisbet is the Owen L. Coon Endowed Professor of Policy Analysis & Communication and director of the Center for Communication & Public Policy in the School of Communication at Northwestern University. His research lies at the intersection of communication, public opinion, and public policy in the areas of science, technology, and environmental policy, governance and elections, and international security. An expert on cross-national survey methodology and field experiments, Erik has led research projects in the United States, Russia, Ukraine, Serbia, Turkey, Iran, France, Great Britain, Germany, Poland, and several Arab countries. His research has been supported by multiple grants from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of State. Erik’s scholarship centers on three broad theoretical questions: 1) how strongly held partisan, national, religious, or ethnic identities bias the processing of media or persuasive messages and the consequences for policy attitudes and behavior, 2) causes and consequences of online information-seeking and expression in authoritarian and non-democratic contexts, and 3) how macro contextual factors interact with individual differences or behaviors to explain heterogeneity in communication processes and outcomes.

Barbara O’Keefe

Barbara J. O’Keefe is Professor of Communication Studies and former Dean (2000-2020) of the School of Communication at Northwestern University. She earned her A.B., A. M., and Ph.D. in Speech Communication at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She held faculty positions at Wayne State University, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and the University of Michigan before joining the faculty at Northwestern.

Dr. O’Keefe’s work is highly interdisciplinary. Prior to coming to Northwestern, she served as Director of the University of Michigan Media Union, a center for interdisciplinary study and application of emerging digital media. She has edited two books and authored over 60 technical publications, including contributed chapters in books, articles, or reviews in archive journals, and chapters in refereed conference proceedings. Much of this work is focused on developing and applying systems for content analysis of communication in studies of life-span communication development. She has also had a long-term interest in the application of interactive computing to support cooperative work and learning. She was a co-PI on Project CITY, a project funded by the NSF for 3 years to study human-centered design of collaboration technology to support sustainable management of civil infrastructure in a public works department. She has been involved in several additional studies of the use of interactive computing to support scientific and engineering teams. She has also studied and developed computer-based tools to support instruction and learning in communication and engineering education. Her work at the University of Michigan Media Union involved (1) development of an enterprise-wide learning technology infrastructure to allow faculty to use the web more effectively in their teaching; (2) management of the advanced technology facilities of the Media Union, including high-performance computing and networking, visualization and virtual reality technologies, and digital media production and post-production facilities; and (3) nurturing cross-disciplinary teams involved in applications of leading-edge technologies across the disciplines. She is currently part of a multi-institutional team, funded by the National Science Foundation, that is working to organize the available knowledge about interactive media for children and collaborating with industry partners to improve children’s access to high-quality media.

She has served as a reviewer for Journal of Communication, Human Communication Research, Communication Research, Communication Monographs, Quarterly Journal of Speech, Language and Social Psychology, Research on Language and Social Interaction, International Journal of Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Communication Theory, and other leading journals.

Daniel O’Keefe

Daniel O’Keefe is the Owen L. Coon Professor in the Department of Communication Studies. His research focuses on organizing and synthesizing the substantial body of work derived from persuasion studies—the effects of messages on persuasion and the distinctive problems associated with the development of dependable generalizations about persuasive message effects. His work seeks to derive and integrate findings from the large number of extant persuasion effects studies, especially through quantitative methods for research synthesis (meta-analysis).

For more information, see Daniel O’Keefe’s personal site.

Janice Radway

Janice Radway is the author of Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy and Popular Literature, and A Feeling for Books: The Book- of-the-Month Club, Literary Taste, and Middle Class Desire. She has just completed volume 4 of a five-volume, collaborative history of the book in the United States (with Carl Kaestle). Her current research interests are in the history of literacy and reading in the United States, particularly as they bear on the lives of women. Radway is a past president of the American Studies Association.


Courtney Scherr

Courtney Scherr is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Studies and a faculty member in the Center for Communication and Health. Her research agenda focuses on the theory guided design and evaluation of messages containing scientific information about risk to patients. The goal of her work is to increase patient understanding, engage patients in informed decision making, and increase adherence to medical recommendations. Her current projects examine the communication of hereditary cancer risk and patient outcomes from genetic testing.

James Schwoch

James Schwoch explores global media, media history, international studies, and security issues. His research and teaching encompass methods and approaches for understanding media, technology and society that move beyond traditional categories of global analysis, such as comparing media systems of nation-states. Schwoch centrally develops ways to understand media, technology, and society through analyzing extraterritorial, planetary, and extraplanetary frameworks, such as the electromagnetic spectrum, satellite orbits, or space debris. He has published six books and a wide range of articles, and his research has been funded by many organizations, including NSF, NEH, the Fulbright Commission, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the Ford Foundation. Schwoch has also advised foundations, research organizations, and government agencies around the world. From 2008-2012, he worked at the Northwestern campus in Doha, Qatar as a faculty member and a Senior Associate Dean.

Aaron Shaw

Aaron Shaw studies collective action, collaboration, and mobilization online. His current research projects address the the organizational factors that determine whether efforts to create public goods in peer production communities (like Wikipedia) are effective or not. He holds degrees from Stanford University and UC Berkeley and is a Faculty Associate of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. During 2017-2018, Aaron is on leave from Northwestern. He is currently a Lenore Annenberg and Wallis Annenberg Fellow in Communication at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) at Stanford University.

Michelle Shumate

Michelle Shumate investigates the dynamics of interorganizational networks designed to impact large social issues, developing and testing theories to visualize, understand, and enable effective interorganizational networks in a variety of contexts including nongovernmental organization (NGO)-corporate partnerships, development and disease NGOs, expert-NGO partnerships in sustainable development, and interorganizational networks for healthy communities. She has published in a range of journals including Human Communication ResearchJournal of Computer Mediated CommunicationManagement Communication Quarterly, and Journal of Communication. She was awarded a National Science Foundation CAREER award and a Beckman Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study at the University of Illinois, where she was the director of the Interorganizational Networks research group.

Nathan Walter

Nathan Walter is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Studies and a faculty member in the Center for Communication and Health. Walter’s research concerns the evaluation of strategic health messages, media psychology, communication ecologies, and correction of misinformation. His studies have been published in a number of leading outlets, including the Journal of Communication, Communication Research, Human Communication Research, and Communication Monographs. His most recent work, which is supported by the FDA, focuses on novel methods to debunk tobacco-related misinformation. Nathan’s overarching research agenda revolves around the development of multilevel and ecological models that provide a nuanced approach to the study of communication-related phenomena.

Ellen Wartella

Ellen Wartella researches the effects of media on children and adolescents, and the impact of food marketing in the childhood obesity crisis.

James Webster

James G. Webster is a Professor of Communication Studies at Northwestern University. His primary research interest is understanding patterns of media use. He won the Denis McQuail award for his work advancing audience theory and in 2014 published The Marketplace of Attention: How Audiences Take Shape in a Digital Age. Other areas of interest are audience measurement and media industries. He is the lead author of Ratings Analysis: Audience Measurement and Analytics, which is the standard text on electronic media measurement.

From 1990 to 2005, Webster was the Associate Dean of Northwestern’s School of Communication where he helped create the doctoral program in Media, Technology and Society. He is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, the Journal of Communication and the International Journal of Communication. For more information, see James Webster’s personal site