I’m an Associate Professor in the Department of Media Studies and Production at the Klein College of Media and Communication at Temple University. My research focuses on communication for social change (how media and communication can promote positive social change for marginalized or underserved communities) and communication about social change (how information about social change work is communicated to policy-makers and the public). Governments, non-profits and private donors spend billions annually on social change projects, yet there is widespread acknowledgement that many of these projects have not produced the social welfare improvements that one might hope for, even (in some cases) after decades of intervention. What can be done to improve interventions and spur social change? Why do some projects fail while others succeed?
My research addresses a variety of questions in these fields, including:
- How does incorporating project beneficiaries into project design, implementation, and evaluation influence project outcomes?
- How can more participatory models be practically and efficiently implemented under current funding systems?
- How do current efforts to communicate to the general public about social change (e.g., through the news, social media, or celebrities and influencers) impact development work and development outcomes?
- How can academics, social change practitioners, journalists, and influencers do a better job of informing the public about potential solutions to social problems?
- How can project evaluations contribute to communication about social change aimed at the public?
- Do project evaluations themselves, as a key form of communication about development, promote or deter funders’ and policymakers’ support for participatory practices?
- What role should project evaluations serve? If they function more as public relations tools than as learning tools, how can we make them more useful so that we can build theory and improve interventions?
- How can communication about social change (both project evaluations and communication through the mainstream media) better incorporate the voices of the stakeholders that development efforts strive to serve?
I earned my Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Pennsylvania, an M.A. in Cinema Studies from New York University, and a B.A. in Economics from Stanford University.