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Jennifer Harker

Assistant Professor, Strategic Communication

Ph.D. (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)

Jennifer L. Harker, Ph.D. teaches public relations-related skills and conceptual courses in the Reed College of Media, including strategic advertising/public relations writing and advertising/public relations research methods. Dr. Harker also serves as co-advisor of the Martin Hall Agency, a student-run advertising and public relations agency housed in the Reed College of Media’s state-of-the-art Media Innovation Center. Dr. Harker’s courses and agency oversight matches community clients with Reed College of Media students for hands-on student learning to provide a real-world experience.

Dr. Harker has 15 years of experience working in a variety of media-related roles. She served as editor-in-chief of her college newspaper, interned and served as a stringer for her local daily newspaper, and worked as a journalist and communication specialist for a city government in Arizona. Her transition into public relations began during her time working in trade journalism in Phoenix, Arizona, where she served as senior editor for a national magazine and hosted an annual trade show and conference in Las Vegas. Dr. Harker returned to Texas and served as senior director of marketing and communication for one of the largest child social service organizations in the tri-state area.

Dr. Harker earned an associate degree in journalism at Amarillo College, a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Arizona State University, a master’s degree in communication from West Texas A&M University, and she earned her doctoral degree in mass communication from the School of Media and Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dr. Harker’s research is rooted in sport communication, public relations, journalism and rhetoric. She examines these topics via the lens of social network analysis. In sum, Dr. Harker examines the social dramas that play out in sport and the ways in which stakeholders perceive, discuss and react to such occurrences. Her work has been published in Communication & Sport, Journal of Sports & Social Issues, and in books such as “Reputational Challenges in Sport: Theory and Application” and the “International Encyclopedia of Strategic Communication.”

Dr. Harker is also a frequent presenter and award winner at national and international conferences, including Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), International Association of Communication and Sport (IACS), International Communication Association (ICA), and National Communication Association (NCA). Her  dissertation, titled “Crisis perceptions, fan behaviors and egocentric discussion networks: An investigation into the impervious nature of NFL crises” was funded by three national and university sources and received a First Place, Top Student Research Paper Award from the AEJMC Sport Communication Interest Group.