Dr. Katherine Foss

Professor, Journalism and Strategic Media, College of Media and Entertainment

Dr. Katherine Foss
615-494-7747
Room 205, John Bragg Media and Entertainment Building (BRAGG)
MTSU Box 64, Murfreesboro, TN 37132
Office Hours

By appointment for the Fall 2020 semester

Degree Information

  • PHD, University of Minnesota (2008)
  • MA, University of Minnesota (2004)
  • BA, Gustavus Adolphus College (2001)

Areas of Expertise

  • History of epidemics
  • Breastfeeding discourse in media 
  • Constructions of health responsibility and representations of deafness and hearing loss
  • Cultural studies approaches to media and qualitative methods
  • Entertainment-education
  • Children and media
  • Gender and media
  • Health communication

Biography

Dr. Katherine Foss is a professor of Media Studies in the School of Journalism & Strategic Media at MTSU. She teaches undergraduate and graduate-level courses, in health communication, television history, and other areas (see list below). Foss is also a faculty member of the Honors, Graduate Studies and Women & Gender Studies programs. She currently serves on the Board of Directors as the head of the Council of Divisions for the Association of Education in Journalism & Mass Commun...

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Dr. Katherine Foss is a professor of Media Studies in the School of Journalism & Strategic Media at MTSU. She teaches undergraduate and graduate-level courses, in health communication, television history, and other areas (see list below). Foss is also a faculty member of the Honors, Graduate Studies and Women & Gender Studies programs. She currently serves on the Board of Directors as the head of the Council of Divisions for the Association of Education in Journalism & Mass Communication. She is also on the editorial boards of Health Communication and the Image of the Journalist in Popular Culture.

Foss earned her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 2008.

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Publications

Books

Foss, K. (2020). Constructing the Outbreak: Epidemics in Media and Collective Memory. University of Massachusetts Press.

Foss, K. (2017). Breastfeeding and Media: Exploring Conflicting Discourses That Threaten Public Health. Palgrave Macmillan. Foss, K. (2014). Television and Health Responsibility in an Age of Individualism. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Edited Books

Foss, K. [Editor]. (2020).

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Books

Foss, K. (2020). Constructing the Outbreak: Epidemics in Media and Collective Memory. University of Massachusetts Press.

Foss, K. (2017). Breastfeeding and Media: Exploring Conflicting Discourses That Threaten Public Health. Palgrave Macmillan. Foss, K. (2014). Television and Health Responsibility in an Age of Individualism. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Edited Books

Foss, K. [Editor]. (2020). The Graduate Student Guidebook: From Orientation to Tenure Track. Rowman & Littlefield.

Foss, K. [Editor]. (2019). Beyond Princess Culture: Gender and Children’s Marketing. Peter Lang Publishing.

Foss, K. [Editor]. (2018). Demystifying the Big House: Exploring Prison Experience and Media Representations. Southern Illinois Press University.  

Refereed Journal Articles

Foss, K. (2019). Death of the Slow-Cooker or #CROCKPOTISINNOCENT?: This Is Us, Parasocial Grief, and the Crock-Pot Crisis. Journal of Communication Inquiry.  

Foss, K. & Blake, K. (2018). “It’s Natural and Healthy, But I Don’t Want To See It”: Using Entertainment-Education to Improve Attitudes Toward Breastfeeding in Public. Health Communication. https://doi.org/10.1080/10410236.2018.1440506  

Foss, K. (2018). No Longer Seeking “Truth, Justice, and the American Way: Journalists and the Press in Comic Books and Contemporary Film Adaptations. Image of the Journalist in Popular Culture Journal, 7, 1-28. http://ijpc.uscannenberg.org/journal/index.php/ijpcjournal/issue/current  

Schneeweis, A. & Foss, K. A. (2017). “Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves:” Examining Representations of Roma Culture in 70 Years of American Television. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 94(4), 1146–1171.  

Foss, K. (2014). Constructing Hearing Loss or “Deaf Gain?” Voice, Agency, and Identity in Television's Representations of d/Deafness. Critical Studies in Media Communication, 31(5), 426-447.  

Foss, K. (2014). (De)stigmatizing the Silent Epidemic: Representations of Hearing Loss in Entertainment Television. Health Communication. 29(9), 888-900.  

Foss, K. (2013). “That’s not a beer bong, It’s a Breast Pump!” Representations of Breastfeeding in Prime-Time Fictional Television. Health Communication. 28(4), 329-340.  

Forde, K. R. & Foss, K. (2012). “The Facts—the Color!—the Facts”: The Idea of a Report in American Print Culture, 1885-1910. Book History, 15.  

Foss, K. (2011). “When we make mistakes, people die!” Constructions of responsibility for medical errors in televised medical dramas, 1994-2007. Communication Quarterly, 59(4), 484-506.  

Foss, K. (2010). Perpetuating Scientific Motherhood: Infant-feeding Discourse in Parents’ Magazine, 1930-2007. Women & Health, 50(3), 297-311.  

Foss, K. (2010). Choice or Chance? Gender, Victimization, and Responsibility in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Journal of Research on Women and Gender, 1(1).  

Foss, K. (2009). Gil Grissom and his Hidden Condition: Constructions of Hearing Loss and Deafness in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Disability Studies Quarterly, 29(2). Available at: http://www.dsq-sds.org/article/view/921/1096  

Foss, K. (2008). “You’re gonna make it after all”: Changing Cultural Norms as Described in the Lyrics of Sitcom Theme Songs, 1970-2001. Rocky Mountain Communication Review, 5, 43-56.  

Foss, K. & Southwell, B. (2006). Infant Feeding and the Media: The Relationship Between Parents’ Magazine Content and Breastfeeding, 1972-2000. International Breastfeeding Journal , 1(10), 30 Apr. Available at: http://www.internationalbreastfeedingjournal.com/content/1/1/10  

Chapters in Edited Volumes

Foss, K. (2018). “That’s Not a Beer Bong, It’s a Breast Pump!” Representations of Breastfeeding in Prime-Time Fictional Television. In A. Short (Ed.). Cultural Representations of Breastfeeding. Bradford, Ontario: Demeter Press.  

Foss, K. (2016). Using Media to Enact Change: Traditional Health Campaigns and Entertainment Education. In. J. Yamasaki, P. Geist-Martin, & B. F. Sharf (Eds.). Storied Health and Illness: Communicating Personal, Cultural, and Political Complexities (2nd ed.). Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press.

Foss, K. (2014). From Welby to McDreamy: What TV Teaches Us About Doctors, Patients, and the Health Care System. In D. Macey, K. M. Ryan, & N. J. Springer (Eds.). How Television Shapes Our Worldview: Media Representations of Social Trends and Change. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.  

Foss, K. (2012). Breastfeeding in the Baby Block: Using Reality Television to Effectively Promote Breastfeeding, Chapter 20. In P.H. Smith, B.L. Hausman & M. Labbok (Eds.). Beyond Health, Beyond Choice: Breastfeeding Constraints and Realities. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.  

Foss, K. (2012). “Who are you?” Shared Responsibility and the Victims of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. In J. Conners & D. Bissler (Eds.). The Harms of Crime Media: Essays on the Perpetuation of Racism, Sexism and Class Stereotypes. Jefferson, NC: McFarland Press.  

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Presentations

Foss, K. “It’s one billionth our size and it’s beating us”: Crisis Narratives in the Epidemic Movies Contagion and Outbreak. Presented to the Entertainment Studies Interest Group at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) annual conference, Virtual Delivery, August 2020.  

Foss, K.  “Remember to Breathe (But Don't Make a Sound!)”: Constructions of Childbirth in Post-Apocalyptic ...

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Foss, K. “It’s one billionth our size and it’s beating us”: Crisis Narratives in the Epidemic Movies Contagion and Outbreak. Presented to the Entertainment Studies Interest Group at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) annual conference, Virtual Delivery, August 2020.  

Foss, K.  “Remember to Breathe (But Don't Make a Sound!)”: Constructions of Childbirth in Post-Apocalyptic Narratives. Presented to the Commission on the Status of Women at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) annual conference, Virtual Delivery, August 2020.  

Foss, K. The Handmaid’s Tale: Identity, Representation & Power. Panel presenter for a joint session between the Religion and Media Interest Group and the Cultural and Critical Studies Division at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) annual conference, Toronto, Canada, August 2019.  

Foss, K. AEJMC 101: Making AEJMC Work for You in D.C. and Beyond. Invited panelist for the Graduate Education Task Force Panel Session. Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) annual conference, Washington, D.C. August 2018.  

Foss, K. Constructing (“Typhoid”) Mary Mallon: How Public Health and Journalism Criminalized the Healthy Carrier. Presented to the History Division at the AEJMC annual conference, Washington, D.C. August 2018.  

Foss, K. Breastfeeding and Media: Exploring 200 Years of Conflicting Discourses. Paper presented at the Breastfeeding and Feminism International Conference (BFIC), Chapel Hill, NC. March 2018.  

Foss, K. Global Inequities in Health: The Ethics of Forgotten Communities. Panel organizer and presenter for a joint session between the Communicating Science, Health, Environment & Risk (COMSHER) Division and the International Communication Division presented at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) annual conference, Chicago, IL. August 2017.  

Foss, K. Beyond Princess Culture: The Gendered Marketing of Children’s Products. Panel organizer and presenter for a joint session between the Cultural & Critical Studies Division and the Commission on the Status of Women presented at the AEJMC annual conference, Chicago, IL. August 2017.  

Foss, K. Miracle Elixir or Pricey Contaminant? Competing Discourses That Impede Human Milk Distribution. Paper presented at the BFIC, Chapel Hill, NC. March 2017.  

Foss, K. Teaching LGBTQ+ in the Bible Belt. Panel organizer and presenter for a joint session between the Cultural & Critical Studies Division and the LGBT Interest Group at the AEJMC annual conference, Minneapolis, MN. August 2016. 

Foss, K. Dominating the (Female) Incarcerated Body: Gender and Medical Control in Television Prison Dramas. Paper presented to the Feminist Studies Division of the International Communication Association (ICA) annual conference, Fukuoka, Japan. June 2016.  

Foss, K. Orange is the New Black: Redefining Gender, Sexuality and Difference Through Prison Representations. Panel organizer and presenter for a joint session between the Cultural & Critical Studies Division and the LGBT Interest Group at the AEJMC annual conference, San Francisco, CA. August 2015.  

Schneeweis, A. & Foss, K. “Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves”: Examining Representations of Roma Culture in 70 Years of American Television. Paper presented to the Entertainment Interest Group at the AEJMC annual conference, San Francisco, CA. August 2015.  

Foss, K. Sabotaging Breast is Best: Breastfeeding in Media, From Wet Nursing to Contemporary Times. Paper presented at the BFIC, Chapel Hill, NC. March 2015.  

Foss, K. & Blake, K. “It’s natural and healthy, but I don’t want to see it:” The Impact of Entertainment Television on Breastfeeding Attitudes. Paper presented to the ComSHER Division at the AEJMC annual conference, Montreal, Canada. August 2014.  

Foss, K. Preventing Hearing Loss Without Losing Deaf Gain: Encouraging Cultural Disability Perspectives in Health Promotion. Paper presented at the Society for Disability Studies annual conference, Minneapolis, MN. June 2014.  

Foss, K. “I won’t turn it down—I’ll blame Apple later:” Responsibility, Prevention, & Stigma in Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Coverage. Paper presented at the Kentucky Conference on Health Communication, Lexington, KY. April 2014.  

Foss, K. Breastfeeding as Spectacle:  How Extreme Breastfeeding Discourages ‘Regular’ Women. Paper presented at the BFIC, Chapel Hill, NC. March 2014.  

Schneeweis, A. & Foss, K. “We Are Rom. We Are Gypsies:” Constructions of Gypsies in American Reality Television. Paper presented to the Minorities and Communication Division at the AEJMC annual conference, Washington, D.C. August 2013.  

Foss, K. Victims, Villains, and Law Enforcement: Representations of Gender in Crime Media. A panel presented to the Cultural Critical Studies Division and Entertainment Studies Interest Group at the AEJMC annual conference, Washington, D.C. August 2013.  

Foss, K. & Gordon, R. “We just have this one breastfeeding brochure (sponsored by Enfamil):” Exploring Breastfeeding Resources and Agenda-Setting in Pediatricians’ Offices, WIC, LLL and the Community Hospital. Middle Tennessee State University Scholar's Week, Murfreesboro, Tennessee. March 2011.  

Foss, K. & Gordon, R. “We just have this one breastfeeding brochure' (sponsored by Enfamil):” Exploring Breastfeeding Resources And Agenda-Setting in Pediatricians’ Offices, WIC, LLL and the Community Hospital. Paper presented to the Breastfeeding and Feminism Symposium: “It takes a Village”: The role of the greater community in inspiring and empowering women to breastfeed. Chapel Hill, NC. March 2013.  

Foss, K. From Heroic Hawkeye to the Morgue Playboy: Shifting Representations of Health Professionals and Patients in 1970s and 1980s Television. Paper presented to the Entertainment Studies Interest Group at the AEJMC annual conference, Chicago, IL, August 2012.  

Foss, K. Disseminating “Deafenstein:” Constructions of Hearing Loss and Deafness in Entertainment Television. Paper presented at the Kentucky Conference on Health Communication, Lexington, Kentucky. April 2012.  

Foss, K. Scream Queens in Prime Time: Gender, Genre and the Captured Victims in Criminal Minds. Paper presented to the Feminist Scholarship Division at the ICA annual conference, Boston, MA, May 2011.  

Foss, K. “The New Boob Tube?” Education, Entertainment, and Viewers’ Perceptions of Online Breastfeeding Videos. Middle Tennessee State University Scholar's Week, Murfreesboro, Tennessee. March 2011.  

Foss, K.“The New Boob Tube?:” Education, Entertainment, and Viewers’ Perceptions of Online Breastfeeding Videos. Paper presented at the Breastfeeding and Feminism Symposium: “Reframing Birth and Breastfeeding: Moving Forward,” Chapel Hill, North Carolina, March 2011.  

Foss, K. Liberal House on the Prairie: Exploring Pioneer Medicine Through the Lens of 1970s Television. Paper presented to the Cultural and Critical Studies Division at the AEJMC annual conference, Denver, CO, August 2010.  

Foss, K. “That’s not a beer bong, it’s a breast pump!” Representations of Breastfeeding in Prime-Time Fictional Television. Paper presented at the Kentucky Conference on Health Communication, Lexington, Kentucky. April 2010.  

Foss, K. “That’s not a beer bong, it’s a breast pump!”: Representations of Breast-Feeding in Prime-Time Fictional Television. Paper presented as part of the Women’s Studies Research Series, 15 April 2010.  

Foss, K. “Breastfeeding and the Baby Block:” Using Reality Television to Effectively Promote Breastfeeding. Paper presented at the Breastfeeding and Feminism Symposium: Breastfeeding and Feminism: Informing Public Health Approaches, Greensboro, North Carolina. March 2010.  

Foss, K. Medicine in the Little House: Exploring the Narratives of Laura Ingalls Wilder Through the Lens of 1970s Television. Middle Tennessee State University Scholar's Week, Murfreesboro, Tennessee. March 2010.  

Foss, K. “That’s not a beer bong, it’s a breast pump!” Representations of Breastfeeding in Prime-Time Fictional Television. Middle Tennessee State University, College of Media & Entertainment Scholar’s Week, March 2010.  

Foss, K. Perpetuating the “Scientific Motherhood”: The Medicalization of Infant Feeding in Parents’ Magazine, 1930—2007. Paper presented to the Health Communication Division at the ICA annual conference, Chicago, IL, May 2009.   Foss, K. Choice or Chance? Gender, Victimization, and Responsibility in Crime Scene Investigation. Paper presented as part of the Women’s Studies Research Series, 20 November 2008.  

Forde, K.R. & Foss, K. The Idea of the News Report in American Print Culture, 1885-1910. Paper presented to the History Division at the AEJMC annual conference, Chicago, IL, August 2008.  

Foss, K. A Sign of Difference: Constructions of Hearing Loss and Deafness in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Paper presented to the Media and Disability Interest Group at the AEJMC annual conference, Washington, D.C., August 2007.  

Foss, K. Something Careless This Way Comes: Medical Error and Its Consequences (Or Lack Thereof) in ER and Grey’s Anatomy. Paper presented to the Critical and Cultural Studies Division at the AEJMC annual conference, Washington, D.C., August 2007.  

Foss, K. Implications of Imperfection: Blame and the Non-Traditional Medical Professional on ER. Paper presented to the Cultural and Critical Studies Division at the AEJMC Midwinter conference, Reno, NV, February 2007.  

Foss, K. Choice or Chance? Gender, Victimization and Culpability in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Paper presented in the “Top Student Papers” session of the Commission on the Status of Women at the AEJMC annual conference, San Francisco, CA, August 2006.  

Foss, K. Tracing the Blame Game: Constructions of Victimization in The New York Times, 1920-2003. Paper presented to the Cultural and Critical Studies Division at the AEJMC annual conference, San Francisco, CA, August 2006.   Foss, K. “TV: The Modern Hangin’ Tree:” Deviance and Victimization in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Paper presented to the Popular Communication Division at the ICA annual conference, Dresden, Germany, June 2006.  

Foss, K. “You’re gonna make it after all”: A Discourse Analysis of Television Theme Songs, 1970-2000. Paper presented to the Television area of the national convention of the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association (PCA/ACA), Atlanta, GA, April 2006.  

Foss, K. Happenstance or Carelessness?  Victimization, Gender, and Culpability in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Paper presented to the Visual Communication Division at the AEJMC Midwinter conference, Bowling Green, IN, February 2006.  

Foss, K. “It’s a bird!  It’s a plane! It's a journalist?” A Framing Analysis of the Representation of Journalists and the Press in Comic Book Films. Paper presented at the annual miniconference of the University of Minnesota Graduate Student Organization, Minneapolis, MN, March 2004.

Foss, K. & Duerst, C. Product Placement: How Types Affect Recall and Recognition. Paper presented at the Midwest Graduate Communication Conference, Bloomington, IN, April 2003.

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Awards

Top Reviewer for service to the Cultural & Critical Studies Division, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), 2014, 2015.  

2013 Covert Award for best mass communication history article. History Division of AEJMC. “The Facts—the Color!—the Facts”: The Idea of a Report in American Print Culture, 1885-1910. Book History, 15. (co-authored with

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Top Reviewer for service to the Cultural & Critical Studies Division, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), 2014, 2015.  

2013 Covert Award for best mass communication history article. History Division of AEJMC. “The Facts—the Color!—the Facts”: The Idea of a Report in American Print Culture, 1885-1910. Book History, 15. (co-authored with Dr. Kathy Forde).  

2013 Middle Tennessee State University School of Journalism Ed Kimbrell Excellence in Teaching Award.  

2012 James W. Carey Media Research Award, Carl Couch Center for Social and Internet Research, University of Northern Iowa. “The Facts—the Color!—the Facts”: The Idea of a Report in American Print Culture, 1885-1910. Book History, 15. (co-authored with Dr. Kathy Forde).

Conference paper: Choice or Chance? Gender, Victimization and Culpability in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Selected for the “Top Student Paper” session of the Commission on the Status of Women at the AEJMC annual conference, San Francisco, CA, August 2006.

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Research / Scholarly Activity

The research of Dr. Foss broadly examines facets of health communication, including the history of media and epidemics, breastfeeding discourse, and constructions of childbirth. Previous studies have addressed children’s media literacy, gender and victimization, hearing loss, and other topics related to entertainment media.  

She is the author of Constructing the Outbreak: Epidemics in Media and Collective Memory (University of Massachusetts Press, 2020), Breas...

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The research of Dr. Foss broadly examines facets of health communication, including the history of media and epidemics, breastfeeding discourse, and constructions of childbirth. Previous studies have addressed children’s media literacy, gender and victimization, hearing loss, and other topics related to entertainment media.  

She is the author of Constructing the Outbreak: Epidemics in Media and Collective Memory (University of Massachusetts Press, 2020), Breastfeeding and Media: Exploring Conflicting Discourses That Threaten Public Health (2017, Palgrave Macmillan), and Television and Health Responsibility in an Age of Individualism (2014, Lexington Books). Foss also served as the editor for The Graduate Student Guidebook: From Orientation to Tenure Track (2020, Rowman & Littlefield), Beyond Princess Culture: Gender and Children’s Marketing (2019, Peter Lang Publishing) and Demystifying the Big House: Exploring Prison Experience and Media Representations (2018, Southern Illinois Press University). She has also produced more than two dozen academic publications, with peer-reviewed articles in Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, Health Communication, Critical Studies in Media Communication, and other journals. 

The Graduate Student Guidebook: From Orientation to Tenure Track (Master Class: Resources for Teaching Mass Communication) (English Edition) by [Katherine A. Foss]

The latest books of Dr. Foss (2020).

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Creative Activity

Dr. Foss has written a variety of blogs and popular articles on teaching, media literacy, and the history of epidemics. Her website features oral histories chronicling experiences with now-vaccine-preventable diseases.

Recent Popular Articles

Pandemic Humor is Timeless,” Slate.com, 28 July 2020.

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Dr. Foss has written a variety of blogs and popular articles on teaching, media literacy, and the history of epidemics. Her website features oral histories chronicling experiences with now-vaccine-preventable diseases.

Recent Popular Articles

Pandemic Humor is Timeless,” Slate.com, 28 July 2020.

##TyphoidMary – now a hashtag – was a maligned immigrant who got a bum rap,”  The Conversation, 24 April 2020.

Why I bought a boat: Juggling gender roles in the pandemic,” Southern Voices, 7 April 2020.

How Epidemics of the Past Changed the Way Americans Lived,” Smithsonian Magazine, 1 April 2020.

 

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In the Media

Select Media Coverage

Featured interviews 

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Select Media Coverage

Featured interviews 

 

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Courses

  • JOUR/EMC/RIM 1020: American Media and Social Institutions (regular & Honors sections)
  • JOUR 3050: Principles of Health Communication (Proposed and developed course)
  • JOUR 3850: Crime & Gender in Media (Proposed and developed course)
  • JOUR/EMC 4210: Mass Communication and Society
  • JOUR 4240/MC 5240: Television Culture & History (Proposed and developed course)
  • JOUR 4350/MC 5350: Children and Media (Proposed and developed cour...
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  • JOUR/EMC/RIM 1020: American Media and Social Institutions (regular & Honors sections)
  • JOUR 3050: Principles of Health Communication (Proposed and developed course)
  • JOUR 3850: Crime & Gender in Media (Proposed and developed course)
  • JOUR/EMC 4210: Mass Communication and Society
  • JOUR 4240/MC 5240: Television Culture & History (Proposed and developed course)
  • JOUR 4350/MC 5350: Children and Media (Proposed and developed course)
  • JOUR 4670: Cultural Approaches to Media (Helped to ropose and develop course)
  • JOUR 4800: Seminar in Media Issues: Media and Disability (Proposed and developed course)
  • JOUR 4910: Research in Media Issues (Proposed and developed course)
  • WGST 3500: Women in the Media
  • MC 6120: Qualitative Methods
  • MC 6260: Healthcare Communication
  • MC 6600: Seminar in Applied Research
  • MC 6610: Directed Reading and Research

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