Professors Rodgers and Zhou named ICA Fellows

Shelly Rodgers, Shuhua Zhou

By Austin Fitzgerald

COLUMBIA, Mo. (May 30, 2023) — Professors Shelly Rodgers and Shuhua Zhou, a pair of award-winning researchers and teachers at the Missouri School of Journalism, have been named Fellows of the International Communication Association (ICA). The prestigious honor recognizes distinguished scholarly contributions to communication as well as other “socially or professionally significant” service to the public.

The professors were inducted in a ceremony on Saturday in Toronto, Canada, joining the ranks of the most highly respected communication researchers in the world.

“Shelly and Shuhua are two of the most productive scholars in their respective fields, and their work prioritizes the practical impacts for the industry and the public that we strive for at the School of Journalism,” said David Kurpius, dean of the School. “Being recognized for this work at the highest level will only further bolster their ability to perform research that leads journalism and strategic communication toward the best possible future.”

ICA Fellow status is one of the top distinctions in the field of communication, with only 4.5% of living ICA members worldwide becoming fellows.

For Rodgers and Zhou, both of whom are no strangers to acclaim (among many other honors, each has received the SEC Faculty Achievement Award — Rodgers in 2019 and Zhou in 2022), becoming an ICA Fellow represents a new and rarefied level of appreciation for their work among peers in the industry. Indeed, candidates must receive a majority of votes from current fellows for their nomination to be put before the ICA’s board of directors for final approval.

Meet the fellows

Shelly Rodgers
Shelly Rodgers

Shelly Rodgers earned her doctorate from the School of Journalism in 2000, and she has served as a faculty member at the School for nearly 20 years. As the Maxine Wilson Gregory Chair in Journalism Research, her work centers around health messaging and advertising, and her Gregory Scholars program allows graduate and undergraduate students to gain research experience while producing the kinds of positive, community-oriented impacts that have defined Rodgers’ career.

“It is a great honor to have been chosen as an ICA fellow and an even greater honor to join such a distinguished group of current and past honorees,” Rodgers said. “I express my profound gratitude to the ICA and to everyone who made this honor possible.”

This class of fellows is afforded the option to present at next year’s ICA Conference in Australia, an opportunity Rodgers said is indicative of the heightened prominence the distinction gives to her work.

“Honors like this are never just about the individual, but about the academic contributions and impact of the many individuals who took part in this amazing journey,” she said.

One peer who voted in her favor was Esther Thorson, who became an ICA Fellow while at Michigan State University after 23 years at Mizzou (she remains a professor emeritus at the School of Journalism). Thorson highlighted the dual benefits of Rodgers’ research both to academia and to the public.

“This is a common theme in Dr. Rodgers’ work — not only is she committed to making the current project successful, but she seeks to find ways to…create infrastructure so that changes are longer lasting and potentially beneficial to surrounding towns and communities,” Thorson said.

To learn more about Rodgers’ career and far-reaching impacts at the School and beyond, read this profile.

Shuhua Zhou
Shuhua Zhou

Shuhua Zhou, the Leonard H. Goldenson Endowed Chair in Radio and Television, came to the School of Journalism in 2018 and has quickly distinguished himself through his research into how news audiences perceive and process messages through television and other mediums.

Like Rodgers’, this is far from Zhou’s first award. His record of acclaim crosses international boundaries, as he was named one of the “100 Best TV Hosts” by the Guangdong Artists’ Association in China in 2007, and he has consistently earned praise both for the volume and quality of his work.

“Dr. Zhou’s program of research represents the cutting edge of the discipline,” said Mary Beth Oliver, Bellisario Professor of Media Studies at The Pennsylvania State University, in Zhou’s nomination. “Dr. Zhou is prolific, he is a careful methodologist, he is an insightful theorist, and he’s aware of the social implications of his research. I can think of only a handful of very successful scholars in the field who evidence such a winning combination.”

For Zhou, becoming an ICA Fellow is not the summit of his career but simply the beginning of a new stage, one that he hopes will take him to further heights.

“I look at this as an opportunity for growth,” Zhou said. “This opens the door for more networking and sharing ideas with people who are equally passionate about exchanging ideas and advancing the field.”

Zhou added that he feels particularly honored by the fellowship’s emphasis on a cumulative body of work rather than any one accomplishment or discovery.

“In mathematics, you might solve a really difficult math puzzle,” he said. “In communication, it’s very different. It’s more about the quality of the research you do, the kind of research and its impact, rather than one particular theory or one publication. I feel really honored and privileged, because to me this says my peers and leaders in the field are cognizant of the work that I’m doing.” Read more about Zhou and his striking approach to research in this profile

Updated: May 30, 2023