Several ComArtSci Faculty Win All-University Award Honors

For more information please see the original announcement article on MSUToday.

Michigan State University recently announced the winners of the 2020-2021 All-University Awards. These awards are meant to recognize the achievements of faculty and staff who have received distinguished awards for their contributions to the university and their fields of research. Of these winners, four of these faculty are from the College of Communications Arts and Sciences (ComArtSci).

Two faculty members and researchers were awarded the distinguished William J. Beal Outstanding Faculty Award. Advertising and Public Relations Professor John Besley, Ph.D., and Communication Professor Maria Knight Lapinski, Ph.D., who also serves as the Director of MSU’s Health and Risk Communication Center. Winners of the William J. Beal Outstanding Faculty Award are honored for a comprehensive and sustained record of scholarly excellence in research and/or creative activities, instruction and outreach.

Besley studies public opinion about science and scientists' opinions about the public in the context of trying to help science communicators be more strategic. His work explores the relationships between media use, public engagement activities, and health and environmental risk perceptions. As an instructor, Besley focuses on civic engagement and community relations, risk and crisis communication, science communication, and media relations. He also regularly brings students to Detroit, Chicago, and New York to visit strategic communication employers.

Lapinski’s scholarship is characterized by intense curiosity, passion for research, conviction about the transformative power of science, and belief in teaching and outreach. She has worked with interdisciplinary teams of researchers and students to better communities across the globe. Lapinski's research connects communication science with worldwide human, animal and ecological health issues. Teaching and student mentorship is a hallmark of Lapinski’s career. More than half of her publications and papers include student authors. 

The third recipient from ComArtSci was Journalism Assistant Professor Rachel Mourão. Mourão was honored with the Teacher-Scholar Award which is awarded to faculty who, early in their careers, have earned the respect of students and colleagues for their devotion to and skill in teaching, and whose instruction is linked to and informed by their research and creative activities. 

Employing both quantitative and qualitative methods, Mourão focuses on how journalists cover political events in a changing media ecosystem. Her projects have focused on elections and protests, both in the United States and in Brazil. Following a student-centered approach, Mourão has established herself as a significant teacher and mentor of undergraduates and graduate students and a critical guide and instructor to journalists in South America. 

The final award recipient from ComArtSci was Advertising and Public Relations doctoral student and teaching assistant, Nikki McClaran. McClaran was awarded with an Excellence-in-Teaching Citation. Excellence-in-Teaching Citations are awarded to graduate teaching assistants who have distinguished themselves by the care they have given and the skill they have shown in meeting their classroom responsibilities. McClaran enriches her classroom instruction with examples from popular culture and popular media to engage and interest her students, and she finds creative ways to demonstrate complex concepts that illustrate the ideas she presents in new ways.

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