Ruth Shillair Ph.D.

Ruth Shillair

Assistant Professor, Director of Media + Information Master's Program,

  • Media & Information
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Dr. Shillair is an educator, researcher, writer, and entrepreneur. Her research covers a range of work looking to maximize the benefits of technology while minimizing harm. This includes communication strategies to improve cybersecurity practices, ways to increase digital literacy, and policies to reduce the digital divide. In order to work towards this goal, she work collaboratively with scholars across disciplines. This has led to joint research projects with the Quello Center and the Oxford University’s Global Cybersecurity Capacity Centre. Her undergraduate studies included computer information systems management, management, and web site design. 

She currently teaches classes that focus on the impacts of technology on society as a whole and business as a focus. She often works with the entrepreneurship and innovation students as she teaches MI 472 and MI 452, two of the required classes for the minor. She also teaches one of the required courses for the information science major: MI 304 Information & Society. She enjoys working closely with her students, and mentors many graduate students. She has given seminars and spoken internationally. She works with colleagues in China, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom in collaborative interdisciplinary research.  As Director of the Master's program in Media & Information, Dr. Shillair mentors students and helps them tap into some of the amazing resources that the Media & Information Department offers. Her teams work at the cutting edge of societal and technological changes. If you have questions about the master's program in the Media & Information department, please contact her. There also are more details in our department's website. 


Director of Master's Studies for the Department of Media & Information Studies

Research Fellow, Quello Center

Research Consultant to Oxford University’s Global Cyber Security Capacity Centre

Research and Teaching

My research and teaching explore the impacts of technology on how we communicate, do business, and learn. I’ve worked on several projects funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), National Institute of Health (NIH), Great Britain Foreign Office (GBFO), and other international organizations. My current classes include both undergraduate classes (e.g., MI 452 Media Entrepreneurship, MI 304 Information & Society, MI 472 Digital Business). 

Thematic Research Areas

Media Innovation, Design and Entrepreneurship
Policy and Governance

Research Centers and Labs

Quello Center

Selected publications

Banerjee, S., Swearingen, T., Shillair, R., Bauer, J., Holt, T., and Ross, A. (2022). Analysis of Cyberattack Patterns across Longitudinal Data. Social Science Computer Research Special Issue: Cybercrime. 40, 4.

Holt, T. J.,  Lee, J. R.,  Freilich, J. D., Chermak, S. M., Bauer, J. M., Shillair, R. & Ross, A.  (2020) An Exploratory Analysis of the Characteristics of Ideologically Motivated Cyberattacks, Terrorism and Political Violence, DOI: 10.1080/09546553.2020.1777987

Dutton, W., Creese, S., Shillair, R., & Bada, M. (2019). Cybersecurity Capacity: Does It Matter? Journal of Information Policy, 9, 280-306. doi:10.5325/jinfopoli.9.2019.0280.

Shillair, R., Cotten, S. R., Tsai, H. S., Alhabash, S., Larose, R., & Rifon, N. J. (2015). Online Safety Begins with You and Me : Convincing Internet Users to Protect Themselves. Computers in Human Behavior, 48, 199–207.

Shillair, R. and Wash R. Are You Listening: Social Roles and the Perceived Value of Statements in Online Learning Communities. Proceedings of the ACM 4th Annual Learning @ Scale Conference, March 14-14, 2015, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Tsai, H. S., Shillair, R., Cotten, S. R., Winstead, V., & Yost, E. (2015). Getting Grandma Online: Are Tablets the Answer for Increasing Digital Inclusion for Older Adults in the U.S.? Educational Gerontology, (June), 150527100153004.

Tsai, H.S., Shillair, R. and Cotten, S. R. Social support and ‘playing around’: An examination of how older adults acquire digital literacy with tablet computers. Journal of Applied Gerontology, October 21, 2015 0733464815609440

Shillair, R. (2016). Talking about Online Safety: A Qualitative Study Exploring the Cybersecurity Learning Process of Online Labor Market Workers.  SIGDOC Conference’16, September 21–23, 2016, Arlington, VA, USA

Selected book chapters

Creese, S., Shillair, R., Roberts, T., Bada, M. and Dutton, W. Building the Cyber Security Capacity of Nations. (Chapter 9) Society and the Internet: How Networks of Information and Communication are Changing Our Lives. Revised 2nd Edition. Ed. Mark Graham & William H. Dutton. Oxford University Press. (Forthcoming 2019).

LaRose, R., Alhabash, S., Jiang, M.T., Shillair, R., Tsai, H., Cotten, S. R. & Rifon, N. Communicating Online Safety: Protecting Our Good Life on the Net. In Wang, Hua (Ed.), Communication and the Good Life. (2015). New York: International Communication Association 

Contact Information
404 Wilson Road, Room 404
Communication Arts & Sciences Building
Michigan State University