Participating Faculty

Nick Buttrick headshot

Nick Buttrick

Nick Buttrick is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at UW-Madison. A socioecological and cultural psychologist, his work investigates the interpersonal, historical, institutional, and place-based aspects of culture, especially focusing on aspects of inequality, residential mobility, and American gun culture. Taking a pragmatic approach, he is interested both in how to understand the interrelationships between levels of conceptual analysis and how to make use of those relationships to foster meaningful change.

Chris Cascio, Co-Director of the Mass Communication Research Center

Chris Cascio

Chris Cascio is an Assistant Professor at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin. His research uses tools from communication studies and social neuroscience to understand when and how persuasion works. Specifically, his research focuses on neurocognitive mechanisms associated with social influence and persuasive messages delivered through mass media and interpersonal communication in order to better understand subsequent behavior. His research aims to understand the neural mechanisms, including core moderators, that drive behavior change in response to social influence and persuasive messages.

Katherine Cramer headshot

Katherine Cramer

Katherine Cramer is a professor in the Department of Political Science, and an affiliate of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, the LaFollette School of Public Affairs, and various campus institutes and centers. Her work focuses on the way people in the United States make sense of politics and their place in it. Her book, The Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker, broke ground on examining rural resentment toward cities and its implications for contemporary politics. She currently co-chairs a commission of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences called Reimagining the Economy, and is a founder of Fora, a human-tech platform for constructive communication operated by Cortico.

Charles Franklin

Charles Franklin is Professor of Law and Public Policy at Marquette University Law School where he directs the Marquette Law School Poll. Since its inception in 2012 the poll has conducted over 50 statewide surveys of Wisconsin from the contentious 2012 recall elections through the 2012 Obama and 2016 Trump presidential victories and to the 2018 loss that ended Scott Walker’s governorship. The cumulative data provide detailed monitoring of opinion and preference in Wisconsin. Franklin’s research focuses on the dynamics of party identification, how Supreme Court decisions affect public opinion and how campaign messages shape perceptions of candidates.

Lewis Friedland

Lewis Friedland is Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor Emeritus in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and Dept. of Sociology. He is a co-founder of the Center for Communication and Civic Renewal (with D. Shah and M. Wagner) and lead author of Battleground: Asymmetric Communication Ecologies and the Erosion of Civil Society in Wisconsin (Cambridge U.P. 2023). Most recently, Friedland has written “The Public Sphere and Contemporary Lifeworld: Reconstruction in the Context of Systemic Crises,” Communication Theory (2023), with Risto Kunelius, and, Chris Wells and L. Friedland, “Recognition Crisis: Coming to Terms with Identity, Attention and Political Communication in the Twenty-First Century,” Political Communication (2023). Friedland is also Strategic Advisor to the new statewide Civic Media Radio Network in Wisconsin. He is also a jazz piano player of little renown (but has a weekly gig).

Christine Garlough Headshot

Christine Garlough

Christine Garlough is Professor in the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she directs the Center for Research on Gender and Women and serves on the leadership team of the UW Ethics of Care Initiative ( Her research constellates around issues of feminist theory, political rhetoric, social justice, and grassroots activism. Her recent work has centered on creating and curating digital archives to preserve and share feminist protest materials, including poster art, protest signs, and public performances, and studying digital protest activism. She has published her work in journals such as the Quarterly Journal of Speech, Women Studies in Communication, and Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, and in her book, Desi Divas: Activism and Acknowledgment in Diasporic Performances.

Douglas McLeod

Douglas McLeod is the Evjue Centennial Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication. His research develops three lines of inquiry: 1) social conflicts and the mass media; 2) media framing effects, and 3) public opinion. He focuses on the role of the media in both domestic and international conflicts, news coverage of social protest and its effects on audiences. McLeod has published more than 100 journal articles, book chapters, and law reviews. He recently published News Framing and National Security: Covering Big Brother examines how news framing of domestic surveillance influences audience assessments of issues related to national security and civil liberties.

Jon Pevehouse

Jon Pevehouse is the Mary Herman Rubinstein Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at UW-Madison. His research interests are in the field of international relations and include international political economy, American foreign policy, and international organizations. Most of his work involves the interaction between actors in domestic societies and international institutions or processes. Topics on which he has recently published include foreign lobbying in American foreign policy, regional trade agreements, social media and politics, international human rights institutions, exchange rate politics, and time series analysis in the social sciences.

Tim Rogers headshot

Timothy Rogers

Timothy T. Rogers is a Professor in the Department of Psychology and the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, and he directs the Professional Masters Program in Data Science and Human Behavior. He is co-author of the book Semantic Cognition, which pioneered the use of neural network models for understanding human conceptual knowledge in development, mature cognition, and disease. Rogers’s work develops computational approaches to human learning and memory, with a recent focus on using such models to understand how and why false beliefs emerge and persist in social groups.

Hernando Rojas

Hernando Rojas is the Helen Firstbrook Franklin Professor of Journalism in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and the Director of the Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His scholarship focuses on political communication, in particular examining: (a) the deployment of new communication technologies for social mobilization in a variety of contexts; (b) the influence of audience perceptions of media (and audience perceptions of media effects) on both public opinion and the structure of the public sphere; and (c) the conditions under which media support democratic governance.

Dhavan Shah

Dhavan V. Shah is Maier-Bascom Professor at the University of Wisconsin, where he is Director of the Mass Communication Research Center (MCRC) and Scientific Director in the Center for Health Enhancement System Studies (CHESS). His work concerns framing and cueing effects on social judgments, digital media influence on civic and political engagement, and the impact of ICTs on chronic disease management. Across these domains of work, he has increasingly applied computational techniques to tackle social science questions. He is housed in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, with appointments in Industrial and Systems Engineering, Marketing, and Political Science.

Catalina Toma

Catalina Toma is an Associate Professor of Communication Science in the Department of Communication Arts, and an affiliate of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Her research examines how people understand and relate to one another when interacting via communication technologies. She focuses on relational processes such as self-presentation, deception, impression formation, and psychological well-being.

Professor Mike Wagner headshot

Michael Wagner

Michael Wagner is Associate Professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. He holds affiliations with the Department of Political Science and the La Follette School of Public Affairs. Wagner’s research explores how elements of the information environment interact with individual-level factors to affect people’s political preferences, partisanship, and behaviors. His research has been published in outlets such as Journal of Communication, Annual Review of Political Science and Journalism & Communication Monographs and has been funded by organizations including the National Science Foundation, the Dirksen Congressional Center, and the Carnegie-Knight Foundation.

Chris Wells

Chris Wells is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Journalism at Boston University, where he studies how citizens become informed and engaged through digital media, the civic identity and communication preferences of youth and young adults, problems of misinformation and biased information processing, and how social media datasets can inform our understanding of politics and activism. He also works on the problem of understanding the many flows of information and content to which digital citizens are now exposed, and how those flows influence perceptions and actions.

Sijia Yang, Associate Director of the Mass Communication Research Center

Sijia Yang

Sijia Yang is an Assistant Professor at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research centers computational message science (CMS), where he seeks to integrate cutting-edge computational approaches with message effects research, particularly in the context of health communication and persuasion. He applies this approach to understand 1) how multimodal persuasive messages operate and achieve effectiveness on digital media; 2) the strengths of moral appeals and their conditional ability to affect individuals’ perceptions and behavioral response concerning medical and scientific innovations, and 3) whether persuasive messages embedded in digital technologies can promote recovery from substance use disorders.