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Faculty members and alumni receive ICA recognition

A handful of School of Communication researchers—faculty members as well as recent alumni—received top recognition at the recent annual conference of the International Communication Association. The conference was held this year in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

ICA Fellow

Noshir Contractor, Jane S. and William J. White Professor of Behavioral Sciences in the McCormick School of Engineering and professor of Communication Studies in the School of Communication, was named a Fellow of the International Communication Association (ICA).

Fellow status in ICA is primarily recognition of distinguished scholarly contributions to the broad field of communication.

In making Contractor a Fellow of the ICA, the group noted “his stellar work on communication networks and organizational communication, and for his path-breaking research in computational social science, communication information systems, and multi-level network modeling.” The ceremony proceedings also hailed his national and international leadership in applying network analysis to broad-scale social problems, noting his “intellectual leadership” as it has extended to policy arenas in particular.

Contractor received his PhD in Communication from the University of Southern California.

Fisher Mentorship Award

Ellen Wartella, the Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani Professor of Communication and chair of the Department of Communication Studies, won the B. Aubrey Fisher Mentorship Award. The award honors outstanding scholars, teachers, and advisors who serve as role models in those capacities and who have had a major impact on the field of communication. Most importantly, recipients of this award have influenced the discipline through their former students, who themselves are important figures in the communication discipline.

The nomination for Wartella came from Alexis Lauricella, a former student and mentee of Wartella’s who is now a lecturer and colleague at Northwestern—making the award even more meaningful. “I am truly honored to get the mentorship award,” Wartella said.

Wartella received her PhD in Mass Communication from the University of Minnesota, where she was recently recognized with an Outstanding Achievement Award for “unusual distinction” in her field.

ICA Fellows Book Award

Lynn Spigel, the Frances Willard Professor of Screen Cultures in the Department of Radio/Television/Film, won the ICA Fellows Book Award. Her title Make Room for TV: Television and the Family Ideal in Postwar America (University of Chicago Press, 1992) was recognized as a book “that has stood the test of time.” The award recognizes books that have made a substantial contribution to the scholarship of the communication field as well as the broader rubric of the social sciences.

“It’s a wonderful honor to win this award,” Spigel said. “Make Room for TV began as my dissertation, so I hope this encourages our graduate students to see the value in their PhD work.”

Spigel is also the author of, most recently, TV By Design: Modern Art and the Rise of Network TV (University of Chicago Press, 2009) and was a 2012 Guggenheim Fellowship recipient. She received her PhD from the University of California Los Angeles.

Outstanding Article Award

Two recent alumni of the School of Communication’s PhD program in Media, Technology, and Society also took home a top prize. Harsh Taneja (GC14) and Angela Xiao Wu (GC14) share the ICA’s Outstanding Article Award for “The Information Society: Does the Great Firewall Really Isolate the Chinese? Integrating Access Blockage with Cultural Factors to Explain Web User Behavior.”

Taneja is now assistant professor at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Wu is now assistant professor at the School of Journalism and Communication at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.