C&IS Faculty Receive Research Institute Fellowships

Nov 21, 2022

Dr. Rebecca Britt
Dr. Matthew VanDyke

C&IS faculty conduct groundbreaking research across the full spectrum of communication, media and information. For two C&IS associate professors, their commitment to research has awarded them each a research institute fellowship at The University of Alabama.

Dr. Rebecca Britt and Dr. Matthew VanDyke are consistently bringing new knowledge and insight to the communication field, but the impact of their work spans far beyond communication. The two faculty members were competitively selected from faculty across the University for their respective fellowships and now conduct interdisciplinary research, develop grant proposals and represent their respective research institutes regionally and nationally.

Britt, associate professor in journalism and creative media, began a fellowship with the Alabama Life Research Institute (ALRI) last year. Now, she collaborates with faculty across campus to study problems that directly affect the health and well-being of individuals and communities in Alabama, the nation and the world

Britt’s expertise in health communication and computational social science is crucial to ALRI’s mission. She uses large scale web data to inform health communication research and address issues associated with health equity in rural and underserved communities.

“A core part of my mission as a scholar is to understand and address problems related to rural health and disparities, and the ALRI provides outstanding resources and facilities that allow me to do so,” Britt said. “I’m particularly excited about bringing my skills and experience in data science to the ALRI. I look forward to working with director Dr. Sharlene Newman and the excellent faculty who have outstanding expertise.”

VanDyke, associate professor and interim department chair in advertising and public relations, was selected for a fellowship with the Alabama Water Institute (AWI) beginning this semester. The program recognizes UA faculty for outstanding research, extension and education programs that significantly advance UA’s interdisciplinary water-related communities of science.

As an expert in science and risk communication, VanDyke uses his research with the AWI to understand the public’s attitude toward water security and water quality technologies. His research showcases the importance of communication in science-related scholarship.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to demonstrate the value of communication and public relations research to others who do water science research,” VanDyke said. “Whether using research to understand the public’s attitudes toward water quality technologies or how we can better design forecast products to help decision makers find relevant information, communication research is important in making sure science and information can be acted upon by the people who need it.”

UA’s College of Communication and Information Sciences faculty and students conduct cutting-edge research that creates knowledge and provides solutions to global issues across the full communication and information spectrum. To learn more about the College’s research initiatives, visit cis.ua.edu/research.