Turner Named Chair of Department of Communication at Michigan State University

Monique Mitchell Turner, Ph.D., has been named Chair of the Department of Communication at Michigan State University’s College of Communication Arts and Sciences.

Turner has served on the faculty at George Washington University, where she is also the Associate Dean for the Milken Institute School of Public Health. She has held faculty positions in Departments of Communication at the University of Oklahoma, University of Texas, and the University of Maryland.

“I’m thrilled to be coming home to MSU,” Turner said. “As chair, I will have the opportunity to work with some of the most innovative communication scholars and students in the country. I’m looking forward to being a part of continuing the department’s long history of academic leadership and rigorous communication research.”

Turner received her Ph.D. in Communication from Michigan State University, and she has developed expertise in risk communication, with a particular focus on persuasive message design and evaluation, risk perception and cognitive processing of health risks, including informed decision-making and critical thinking.

She authored the Anger Activism model, a behavioral theory that explains the conditions that allow emotions such as anger to be constructive versus deleterious. She is well-known for her work in risk perception and risk communication.

"Monique returns with an impressive research and administrative record,” said Dr. Vernon Miller. “We are excited about her vision for undergraduate and graduate students as well as her goals for faculty research!"

Turner regularly conducts communication training programs for organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Army Corps of Engineers and the Food and Drug Administration. The training topics range from risk communication to behavior change, persuasive message design and critical thinking.

As the former director of the Center for Risk Communication Research at the University of Maryland, Turner’s research has been funded by organizations such as Health and Human Services, the Food and Drug Administration, the Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, the Centers for Disease Control, and the Department of Homeland Security, among others.

Turner also served as the Associate Editor of Communication Research Reports, she is the past chairperson of both the Communication and Social Cognitive Division of the National Communication Association and the Health Communication Division of the International Communication Association. She is the former Senior Editor of Health Communication.

“Monique demonstrated a thorough understanding of the tradition of excellence in the Department of Communication, which has produced some of the best researchers in the discipline, and offered a great vision for the future," said College of Communication Arts and Sciences Dean Prabu David. "As a professor, leader and accomplished health communication researcher, she is a great addition to our community.”

Turner will join Michigan State University in June, serving in the place of Dr. James Dearing, who served as the Chair of the Department of Communication from 2013 to 2019.

Dearing has been named the Brandt Endowed Professor in the Department of Communication, and he plans to return to the faculty, to continue his work on funded research and as an expert in a national advisory role. Under Dearing's leadership, the department saw growth in the number of faculty, strong job placement at both the undergraduate and graduate degree levels, new and strengthened endowments, and a renewed culture of support and productivity within the department. 

“We are delighted to have Monique coming to lead the department of Communication as she is an excellent scholar who is energetic, empathic, and enthusiastic,” said University Distinguished Professor Dr. Sandi Smith. “She is knowledgeable about new, exciting directions in communication research, and we believe that she will lead in such a way that we can continue to achieve our excellent reputation in the field.”

Turner begins her term as Chair of MSU's Department of Communication on June 1, 2019.

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