Northwestern University School of Communication professor Ellen A. Wartella has become the namesake of a research award by the College of Communication at the University of Texas, Austin, where she was formerly the dean. Wartella is the Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani Professor of Communication in the Department of Communication Studies.
Formerly the College Faculty Research Award, the Ellen A. Wartella Distinguished Research Award was announced October 31, when Wartella was visiting UT Austin to give a keynote speech on food marketing and childhood obesity. Wartella was the dean there from 1993 to 2004.
The research award is presented to a faculty member that has made innovations in their respective field each year. Along with the recognition, awardees receive $1,500 and a nomination to the University Co-operative Society Research Excellence Award for Best Research Paper. The first recipient of the Ellen A. Wartella Distinguished Research Award is Anthony Dudo, an assistant professor in UT Austin’s Department of Advertising and Public Relations.
Prior to teaching at Northwestern, Wartella served as executive vice chancellor and provost at the University of California-Riverside. She is an award-winning researcher with a focus on the effects of media on children and the influence of food marketing on childhood obesity. She currently serves on the board of Harvard University’s Center on Media and Children’s Health, the board of the World Summit on Media for Children Foundation, the national educational advisory board of the Council of Better Business Bureaus’ Children’s Advertising Review Unit; and the advisory board of Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity. Wartella is also a trustee of the Sesame Workshop and is a member of the PBS KIDS Next Generation Media Advisory Board. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; a fellow of the International Communication Association; and a Distinguished Scholar of the National Communication Association.
She received her Ph.D. in mass communication from the University of Minnesota, and completed post-doctoral research in developmental psychology at the University of Kansas.