Michael Bugeja named Iowa State University Distinguished Professor

Michael Bugeja headshot
Distinguished Professor Michael Bugeja

Michael Bugeja, professor in the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication, has been awarded the title of Iowa State University Distinguished Professor.

Bugeja is the first professor in journalism and mass communication at Iowa State to earn this distinction. Additionally, he joins fewer than 10 other Iowa State Distinguished Professors in the humanities since the title was first awarded in 1956.

A Distinguished Professorship is the highest academic honor the university bestows, recognizing faculty members whose accomplishments in research or creative activities have had a significant impact on their disciplines. In addition, a Distinguished Professor must have demonstrated outstanding performance in at least one other area of faculty responsibility.

Bugeja was nominated by his colleagues in the Greenlee School and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for his institutional service and his international reputation in scholarship in the areas of media ethics and technology and social change. He was selected by a committee appointed by the Senior Vice President and Provost.

Bugeja came to Iowa State University in 2003 as director of the Greenlee School, a role he held for 14 years. While serving as an administrator, he remained a highly productive scholar and an instructor in media ethics.

“While most digital natives today might not realize it, Dr. Michael Bugeja’s scholarly work has shaped our relationships and expectations of digital media throughout the transition into this new communication era by investigating the ethical implications of new media technologies,” said Greenlee School Professors Michael Dahlstrom and Daniela Dimitrova in their statement of nomination.

His publication record includes 14 non-fiction books, 15 book chapters, 10 creative writing books and 126 articles, many published in top-tier peer-reviewed journals, including Journalism Quarterly, New Media and Society, Journalism Educator, Journalism and Mass Communication Educator; Journal of Mass Media Ethics, and American Journalism.

Most notably, Bugeja has published three solo-authored books with renowned academic publisher, Oxford University Press. Two of those—Interpersonal Divide (2005) and Living Ethics (2008)—secured the top national honor, the Clifford G. Christians Award for Research in Media Ethics. No one else has been awarded this twice.

“Professor Bugeja’s publications define what ‘exemplary’ and ‘significant’ mean for both communications as a discipline and for its rationale in higher education,” said Clifford G. Christians, the research award’s namesake and a professor emeritus at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Bugeja’s current book, Interpersonal Divide in the Age of the Machine, was published by Oxford in 2017. It explores the role of technology in today’s society and discusses the role of artificial intelligence and machine learning in human relations and decision making. A new edition of Living Ethics—under the title Living Media Ethics—has been published by Routledge (2018).

“There are only a few of us who have been working in the ‘digital trenches’ since the beginning of the popular Internet. Michael has been a force that has helped shape how we perceive the digital world since the beginning,” said Jeffrey Cole, director of the Center for the Digital Future at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

Bugeja’s research and scholarship also includes topics in higher education, including diversity, First Amendment issues and leadership.

“Because of the wide dissemination of his research and scholarship on higher education issues through the Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed, many administrators in higher education throughout the United States and beyond are informed and influenced by his research and scholarship,” said Benjamin J. Allen, 2017 Iowa State University interim president and 1988 Iowa State Distinguished Professor in Business.

Bugeja was awarded the national Scripps Howard Foundation Journalism Administrator of the Year Award in 2015. He also received the university’s award for Outstanding Achievement in Administration in 2013 and the college’s award for Outstanding Achievement in Departmental Leadership in 2008. Under his leadership, the Greenlee School won the prestigious Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication’s Equity and Diversity Award in 2014.

Bugeja will be honored with the other 2019 university award winners at the annual awards ceremony on Sept. 23 in the Memorial Union Great Hall.