Susan McFarlane-Alvarez, Ph.D. (Georgia State University, 2006) is a Professor of Advertising at Michigan State University's Department of Advertising and Public Relations. Her research focuses at the intersection of identity (race and ethnicity), images, and corporate expression, with works focused on postcoloniality and nationality, and histories of branding during periods of racial reckoning and social activism. McFarlane-Alvarez also explores pedagogical strategies that foster diversity, equity, and inclusion, both in academia, and in professional advertising and PR practice. With academic experience that spans three decades, Suzy has taught and researched at the University of the West Indies, Georgia State University, and Clayton State University. Her undergraduate degree is from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Oswego.
Alongside her career in academia, McFarlane-Alvarez spent 27 years actively involved in the persuasion industries as a copywriter, then as creative director with Hernandez/Foote, Cone & Belding (FCB), then consultant in advertising and public relations to a diverse array of clients. Her work spans industries from finance to manufacturing, training to tourism, and governmental to non-governmental sectors, and has provided opportunities to produce strategic campaigns for clients and markets from New York to Haiti, and from Florida and Georgia to Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago. Bringing this international perspective and industry experience to her research and to the classroom, McFarlane-Alvarez teaches students of advertising and public relations through engaged, service-learning that builds collaborative experiences between community partners and rising professionals. Through research and classroom practice, Suzy focuses on affordable learning, and on broadening access to the advertising industry to a broader diversity of students and practitioners.