Susan McFarlane-Alvarez

Susan McFarlane-Alvarez


  • Advertising + Public Relations


Susan McFarlane-Alvarez, Ph.D. (Georgia State University, 2006) is a Professor in the Department of Advertising and Public Relations in Michigan State University. Her research focuses at the intersection of identity, images, and corporate expression. McFarlane-Alvarez considers ideological links that underpin personnel experiences, agency contexts and the material realities of creative production, and how these inform expressions of identity in ads. With academic experience spanning three decades, McFarlane-Alvarez is also focused on engaged pedagogical strategies that build pathways of access between academia and professional ad and PR practice, and has taught and researched at the University of the West Indies, Georgia State University, and Clayton State University.

Alongside her academic career, McFarlane-Alvarez spent 27 years actively involved in the persuasion industries as a creative director with Hernandez/Foote, Cone & Belding (FCB), then a consultant to a diverse array of clients. Her work spans industries including finance, healthcare, manufacturing, training, and tourism, and spans markets from North to South America. Through research and classroom practice, Suzy focuses on affordable learning and on broadening access to advertising education and professional practice.


• Professor of Advertising and Public Relations

• Director, Communication Solutions for a Diverse Society.

• Faculty Advisor, 42PointSEVEN Student Integrated Communication Agency

• Advertising Internship Coordinator


Research and Teaching

Advertising and identity

Moving image representations

Postcoloniality and national identity

Racial reckoning and social activism in corporate expression

Pedagogy, diversity and inclusion


PhD, Communication, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia

MA, Communication - Film and Video, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia

BA, Mass Communication and Broadcasting, State University of New York, College at Oswego

Recent Work

McFarlane-Alvarez, S. (2023). On Color and Character: Race and Ethnicity in Advertising and Public Relations. In Different Together: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging in Advertising and Public Relations. Kendall Hunt. Retrieved January 31, 2024, from

Kononova, A., McFarlane-Alvarez, S., & Mastin, T. (Eds.). (2023). Different Together: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging in Advertising and Public Relations. Kendall Hunt.

McFarlane-Alvarez, S., & Norman, M. V. (2023). Racial reckoning, Prosopopeia, and consumer-brand disidentification: Rebranding and the reimaging of Georgia’s Stone Mountain Park. Advertising and Society Quarterly, 24(1).

Norman, M. V., & McFarlane-Alvarez, S. (2023). Beyond colorblindness in advertising education: Multiculturalism and advertising pedagogy since the 2020 racial reckoning. Journal of Advertising Education, 109804822311748.

McFarlane-Alvarez, S. (2020). Caribbean Creativity in the North American Classroom: Deploying Difference and Ingenuity for Community-Engaged Pedagogy. Caribbean Educational Research Journal, 5(1), 68–84.

McFarlane-Alvarez, S., & McDonald, S. (2020). Building Bridges with big brothers big sisters: Service-learning links between professional and civic engagement education at a predominantly Black Institution. Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship, 12(3).

McFarlane-Alvarez, S. (2019). “Go back where you come from!”: Aesthetic Identity, “This land” and “old town road.” Flow Online Journal of Television and Media Studies, 26(1).


Contact Information

404 Wilson Rd.
Communication Arts and Sciences Building
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824