2014 Spring News

Mattson Named Head of Brian Lamb School of Communication

Dr. Marifran Mattson, currently serving as interim school head, has accepted the school head position beginning July 1. The position offer was made by College of Liberal Arts Dean Irwin Weiser, who said Mattson is committed to serving the school's faculty, staff and students.

"I look forward to working with her on behalf of the faculty, students, staff, and alumni of the Brian Lamb School of Communication," Weiser said in an email.

Mattson came to Purdue in 1995 as an assistant professor and earned a full professorship in 2013. Her integrated research and teaching program emphasizes university-community engagement by exploring the intersection of designing, implementing, and evaluating health communication campaigns, health advocacy initiatives, and service-learning pedagogy. She is particularly interested in exploring the relationship between communication processes and problems related to human health and safety.  Mattson’s methodological choices are predicated upon her research questions and typically involve mixed methodologies including observations, interviews, focus groups, and surveys. The Motorcycle Safety at Purdue campaign (www.ItInvolvesYou.com) integrates her professional interests.  This campaign was founded with a team of graduate students after Mattson was involved in a life-altering motorcycle crash.


Lamb School Advisory Board on Campus for Meeting, Banquet April 3-4

The biannual meeting of the Lamb School's Advisory Board is set for Friday, April 4, in Mann Hall Room 203. The board will receive updates about current projects and school news and provide feedback and input on issues facing the school. Board members will also attend the school's annual Honors Banquet at 6 p.m. April 3 in the Spurgeon Club at Mackey Arena. The dinner is organized by the Purdue Chapter of the Lambda Pi eta National Communication Honors Society and recognizes students and faculty for their research and teaching accomplishments. Additionally, school namesake Brian Lamb will be on campus to attend these events and participate in a Master Class with Douglas Brinkley. The class will explore the American presidency from 1:30-2:30 p.m. April 3 in Kurz Atrium, Armstrong Hall. This event is free and open to the public.

School Saddened by Loss of Ph.D. Student

Lamb School student Steve Swope died March 7 after a fall in his home. Swope was a fourth-year Ph.D. student in the Lamb School. He joined the program with a Masters and MBA degree and was awarded an Andrews fellowship. After his second year he secured a position as a tenure-track assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Plattville. Swope was working on his dissertation and planning to graduate this year. Swope was a dedicated teacher, scholar and researcher and he will be missed. He is survived by his wife, Nancy Turner, professor of history and chair of the Department for Social Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Plattville. No memorial service is planned. In lieu of flowers,  friends and colleagues may make a donation in his name to the Dubuque (Iowa) Humane Society.

Custers Joins BLSC Faculty as Visiting Professor

This semester the BLSC welcomes Visiting Professor Dr. Kathleen Custers of the Leuven School for Mass Communication Research at the University of Lueven. During the semester Custers will teach a course titled “Health Communication and the Mass Media” and will coordinate research projects with BLSC professors, including Glenn Sparks and Steve Wilson. Custers’ research explores topics in mass communication, media effects, and communication and media. She is interested in fear effects and media and has published articles dealing with the cultivation of fear of sexual violence in women, the relationship between news exposure to a serial killer case and altruistic fear, the relationship between fear of crime with television viewing and direct experience with crime, and the association between television viewing and fear of crime. Custers has also published articles about the relationship between media consumption and behaviors such as skipping meals and changing sleep patterns.

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