A Big Spartan Welcome to CAS' New Communication Chair -- Jim Dearing

Posted on: August 20, 2013

d5It was such a treat to see Jim Dearing arrive just a few weeks ago on campus with a moving truck full of boxes. With all the scholarly and professional accomplishments he brings with him, I am sure many of those boxes are full of his published research articles or awards that he has earned.

On behalf of the college and MSU, please join me in extending Dr. James Dearing a warm, enthusiastic Spartan welcome as the new chair of the Communication department.

Those who have chaired this department before him have established a remarkable legacy, well respected around the world. MSU helped pioneer the study of communication as a social science. Established in 1958, the Communication department was the first academic institution dedicated to teaching and researching from this perspective. His predecessor, Chuck Atkin, was a second-generation department chair and deeply loved and respected by his colleagues everywhere.

Jim fully embraces this legacy having been a part of the Communication department faculty earlier in his career, and as a pioneer in his own right. His work in the study of "diffusion of innovations," examining how to accelerate the spread of evidence-based practices, programs, policies and technologies, and how to measure diffusion, is fascinating and so relevant in today's fast-paced world. With such a huge push to advance our country's health care system, making it not only the most advanced, but also more affordable and accessible, Jim's research has caught the attention of today's leaders in the health care arena.

In fact, his most recent position before joining CAS, was as Senior Scientist for Kaiser Permanente, the largest nonprofit health care provider in the United States. He is also Principal Investigator of the Cancer Communication Research Center, a U.S. National Cancer Institute center of excellence. Recently he worked on studies about health care delivery improvement, cancer care coordination and communication, lifestyle physical activity, pediatric care, and alcohol and substance abuse innovations.

He has also served on the faculty of Ohio University, Berkeley and the University of Michigan. Internationally, he studied at Waseda University in Japan and has conducted research and evaluations in multiple countries.

Jim also has a solid track record leading research projects funded by foundations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. McArthur Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, and the U. S. National Science Foundation, as well as the National Cancer Institute.

If you are familiar with the college's strong focus on health and risk communication, as well as research that truly enriches lives around the world, then you can easily see what an excellent fit Jim Dearing is for the Communication Chair position. His focus on innovation and particularly in health care, his stellar research reputation and familiarity with key funding institutions, and his overall commitment to excellence, in addition to being passionate about the communication field and a very approachable person, is an excellent alignment with the Communication department, the college and the university.

This next year, Jim and the Communication department faculty members will participate in an external unit review with a goal of focusing intensively on assessing the current landscape and mapping out strategic directions for the department over the next decade. I encourage you to reach out to him, share your enthusiasm for having him on board and support him in this new venture!

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