Oliver earns mentorship award from International Communication Association

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.  — Mary Beth Oliver, distinguished professor in the Bellisario College of Communications at Penn State, was honored with the B. Aubrey Fisher Mentorship Award from the International Communication Association (ICA).

The B. Aubrey Fisher Mentorship Award, established in 1988, is given to one recipient annually to honor outstanding scholars, teachers and advisers who serve as role models in those capacities and who have had a major impact on the field of communication. 

Most importantly, recipients of the award have influenced the discipline through their former students, who themselves are important figures in the communication discipline.

The nomination packet for Oliver was a testament to her significant and widespread impact. The nomination was co-authored by three former Penn State doctoral students who work at Texas A&M, Louisiana State University, and the University of Cincinnati, respectively. An additional 27 letters of support from former students and advisees, as well as from U.S. and international senior scholars, provided a testament to Oliver’s impact. The letters lauded Oliver’s integrity, her celebration of student success, and her championing the interests of students who may face particular challenges as they pursue advanced degrees, including women, people of color and international students.

This award is the second one Oliver has received from the ICA. In 2014 she was elected as an ICA Fellow, which recognizes outstanding research. Oliver specializes in media psychology, focusing on both the psychological effects of media and on viewers’ attraction to or enjoyment of media content. Her work focuses on media and social cognition, and on media and emotion. Her research interests include media entertainment, media and stereotyping, and positive media psychology. 

Several individuals who have won the Fisher Mentorship Award, including the last two recipients, have been former presidents of the organization that includes more than 4,500 members in 80 countries. Of the 27 people previously honored with the Mentorship Award, only seven were women.

Oliver is co-editor with Jennings Bryant on the third edition of “Media Effects: Advances in Theory and Research,” with Leonard Reinecke on “Media and Well Being: International Perspectives on Positive Media Psychology,” with Art Raney on “Media and Social Life,” and with Robin Nabi on “Media Processing and Effects.” Her work has appeared in such journals as the Journal of Communication, the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, Communication Research, Human Communication Research, and Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, among others. She has served as editor for Media Psychology, and as associate editor for the Journal of Communication and Communication Theory. 

Oliver is a Fulbright Scholar and is a co-primary investigator on a multi-year, multi-million dollar grant from the Templeton Foundation to study inspiring media messages. A frequent keynote speaker, Oliver has presented her work at a variety of venues, including in Canada, China, Germany, Israel, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Korea, among other countries. 

ICA is an academic association for scholars interested in the study, teaching, and application of all aspects of human and mediated communication. ICA began more than 50 years ago as a small association of U.S. researchers and is now a truly international association. Since 2003, ICA has been officially associated with the United Nations as a non-governmental association.

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Mary Beth Oliver Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

Last Updated June 02, 2021