Ellis N. Brandt Endowed Lecture

S. Shyam Sundar

This year's Ellis N. Brandt Lecture was given by S. Shyam Sundar, distinguished professor of communications at Penn State University.

The lecture, "Speak, Write, Interact: Psychology of Strategic Communications in Online Media" was scheduled for Monday, March 23, at 3:30 p.m. in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences building, room 145.

Recognizing that public relations in online media goes beyond speaking and writing, this talk will discuss the psychological value of interactivity for effective strategic communications. It will focus on two dominant types of interactivity that are associated with significant PR outcomes in experimental studies conducted by the speaker's lab group at Penn State. How organizations deploy different interactive media tools can shape how users respond to their communications. While tools of modality-interactivity enhance affective enjoyment of messages, message-interactivity tools lead to dialogic communications. These responses can be consequential for publics' impressions of those organizations.

The annual Ellis N. Brandt Endowed Lecture focuses on public relations and the public interest. In the mid-1990s, a generous endowment was established by the Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation in honor of Ellis N. "Ned" Brandt. Now retired, Brandt was a public relations professional for Dow Chemical Company. This was the first endowed professorship in the Advertising + Public Relations department and in the College of Communications Arts and Sciences.

Charles Salmon, former head of the public relations sequence at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, was appointed the first Brandt Professor. A few years later, the Gerstacker Foundation provided additional funding to convert the endowed professorship into an endowed chair and established an annual Ellis N. Brandt Lecture in Public Relations at MSU.

The current Ellis N. Brandt Chair is Associate Professor John Besley, who joined the Advertising + Public Relations faculty in 2012.

The 2014 Ellis N. Brandt Lecture is being co-hosted by MSU's Brandt Chair in Public Relations, MSU's chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), and Central Michigan Public Relations Society of America (CMPRSA).

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