Communications faculty member named distinguished professor

January 13, 2010

Mary Beth Oliver has been named distinguished professor of communications by Penn State's Office of the President.

Oliver, a faculty member of the Department of Film-Video and Media Studies, specializes in media psychology, focusing on both the psychological effects of media and on viewers' attraction to or enjoyment of media content.

“Mary Beth has built an exceptional record as an integrated scholar. She enjoys an international reputation for her research; she makes significant contributions to our graduate and undergraduate instructional missions; and she performs diligent service to her department, the College, the University and the discipline,” said Doug Anderson, dean of the College of Communications.

Oliver’s research focuses on emotional and cognitive responses to media, media portrayals of racial groups and the effects of such portrayals on viewers' racial attitudes, and on entertainment theory.

In 2008, Oliver co-edited, with Jennings Bryant, the third edition of "Media Effects: Advances in Theory and Research," published by Routledge. In 2009, Oliver co-edited, with Robin Nabi, “The Handbook of Media Processes and Effects," published by Sage. These books serve as comprehensive reference volumes for the study of media effects, providing theoretical overviews of research in this area, as well as road maps for future scholars.

Her work has appeared in journals such as the Journal of Communication, the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, Communication Research, Human Communication Research, and Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, among others. She was the recipient of a Fulbright award in 2006 to study media stereotyping of Maori populations in New Zealand.

She served as co-editor of the journal Media Psychology and has served as associate editor of the Journal of Communication and Communication Theory. She currently serves on the editorial boards of numerous journals, including Journal of Communication, Mass Communication and Society, and Human Communication Research, among others.

Oliver teaches media effects, communication research methods and data analysis. She also serves as co-director of the college’s Media Effects Research Lab, which has become a launching pad for much of the graduate-student research produced in the College.

University distinguished professors must:

  • Be acknowledged leaders in their fields of research or creative activity, as evidenced by publications in leading journals and/or books and creative accomplishments; prestigious awards and citations; and a record of invited lectures or performances;
  • have demonstrated significant leadership in raising the standards of the University with respect to teaching, research or creative activity and service; and
  • have demonstrated excellent teaching skills and contributed significantly to the education of students who subsequently have achieved recognition of excellence in their fields.
  • Mary Beth Oliver

    IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated January 09, 2015