Summer Doctoral Seminar

2020 Summer Doctoral Seminar
Detroit, Michigan | June 6-9
Guest Scholar Dr. Timothy L. Sellnow


As emerging economies develop, the world's climate changes, and political tensions resolve and recommence, the frequency and intensity of crises is growing steadily. Monitoring risks with the hope of averting crises is increasingly difficult as national borders become progressively more permeable and the communication landscape evolves to reveal unanticipated threats and opportunities. Additionally, mega-crises such as pandemics and widespread threats to food security are more likely now than previously imagined. This seminar focuses on the viability of existing theory to account for these rapid changes in global stability. Seminar participants will explore diverse health, risk, and crisis communication theories and discuss how these theories can or cannot evolve to account for the evolution of risks and hazards. Opportunities for developing new theories are also considered. Students who participate in the seminar will generate research proposals that could be the focus of their doctoral dissertations or the inception of promising lines of research as they begin their careers.

Timothy Sellnow

Timothy L. Sellnow (PhD, Wayne State University) is a professor of strategic communication in the Nicholson School of Communication at the University of Central Florida. His research focuses on biosecurity, pre-crisis planning, and strategic communication for risk management and mitigation in government, organizational, and health settings. He has conducted funded research for the Department of Homeland Security, the United States Department of Agriculture, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Environmental Protection Agency, the United States Geological Survey, and the World Health Organization. He has also served in an advisory role for the National Academy of Sciences and the Food and Drug Administration. He has published numerous refereed journal articles on risk and crisis communication and has co-authored six books on risk and crisis communication. His most recent book (with Matthew Seeger) is Communication in Times of Trouble: Best Practices for Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication (2019; Wiley-Blackwell). He is a recipient of the National Communication Association's Gerald M. Phillips award for Distinguished Applied Communication Research and the Nicholson School of Communication's Excellence in Teaching Award. He is a past editor of the Journal of Applied Communication Research, published by the National Communication Association.

Information for Applicants

The Summer Doctoral Seminar brings doctoral students competitively selected from universities across the United States to Wayne State University to participate in an intensive seminar led by a guest scholar. Doctoral students interested in examining questions related to this year's seminar topic with the guest scholar are encouraged to apply.

Major expenses for accepted participants will be paid. Covered expenses include travel (will be reimbursed), lodging and meals, and course materials. An opening reception and other social events will give participants opportunity to get to know each other and continue to exchange ideas outside the seminar.

Application materials: The application requires the following, all of which must be combined into a single file for submission:
. 500-word statement of background and interest;
. Current curriculum vitae; and
. Letter of support from doctoral advisor.

Application submission and additional information: Pradeep Sopory at

Application deadline: Monday, March 2, 2020, 5:00 pm.

2020 Summer Doctoral Seminar Flyer

Overview of past Summer Doctoral Seminars is available here.