Michael Dahlstrom named director of Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication

Michael Dahlstrom

Iowa State University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences announced today the appointment of Michael F. Dahlstrom as the 17th director of the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication at Iowa State University.

Dahlstrom, an LAS Dean’s Professor, will begin his 3-year term as director effective July 1, 2020.

“Michael Dahlstrom has served in an interim role since August 2019, and I am very pleased that he has agreed to accept the permanent appointment,” said Beate Schmittmann, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “He has already proven himself a thoughtful and capable leader who will lead the Greenlee School to new heights.”

A member of the Greenlee faculty for 12 years, Dahlstrom served as the school’s associate director from 2016 to 2019. In this role, he was responsible for overseeing curriculum and assessment, supervising academic advising, managing teaching budgets, and working with student concerns.

As both an alumnus and tenured faculty member, Dahlstrom is poised to lead the Greenlee School as it builds upon its award-winning reputation in advertising, journalism and mass communication and public relations education. He will be responsible for ensuring the school continues to attract and retain top students and faculty and contributes to the teaching, research, service and professional outreach missions of a land-grant university.

“The Greenlee School is more than an institution of higher learning—it is a growing family of media professionals that extends through Iowa State and out into media industries. Our students, faculty and alumni work and train together within the Greenlee Family to produce quality work, answer important questions and advance the profession,” Dahlstrom said.

Journalism education began at Iowa State College in 1905, making the Greenlee School one of the earliest established programs in the country. It has been continuously accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC) since this body was established in 1948. In addition to offering majors and minors in advertising, journalism and mass communication and public relations, the school has a master’s program that’s known for its flexible tracks in communication theory and research and professional and strategic communication.

“The world needs effective and ethical communicators. This has been the Greenlee School’s product for over a century and we will continue to train our aspiring media professionals to change the future media landscape for the better,” Dahlstrom said.

Dahlstrom is a prolific and renowned scholar in science communication. His research explores how storytelling impacts the communication of science across diverse contexts, including risk, health, agriculture and the environment.

His work has been published in leading journals, such as the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, PLOS Biology, Communication Research and Science Communication. He is also co-editor of Ethics and Practice in Science Communication, an edited volume focusing on the ethical challenges underlying science communication.

Dahlstrom is a Kavli Fellow and a past head of the Communicating Science, Health, Environment and Risk Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. His work has earned funding from organizations and institutes, including the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the United States Department of Agriculture-National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the National Science Foundation.

Dahlstrom has helped build a community of science communication researchers at Iowa State. He co-founded the Science Communication @ Iowa State research group with a colleague from the Department of English. The group organizes the biennial Science Communication Summer Symposium Series, which brings hundreds of scholars from national and international institutions to Iowa State.

In addition to his outstanding research, Dahlstrom has taught science communication and agricultural journalism courses, as well as foundational courses in writing and reporting, publicity methods, mass media and communication theory. He’s also advised both undergraduate and graduate students.

“The search committee viewed Michael Dahlstrom as an excellent choice to lead the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication. Respondents who interacted with him during the interview process repeatedly commented on his excellent organizational skills, calm demeanor and his superior listening abilities as characteristics that will help him continue his leadership for the Greenlee School,” said Volker Hegelheimer, professor and chair in the Department of English and chair of the search committee.

Dahlstrom holds bachelor’s degrees in biophysics and journalism and mass communication and a master’s degree in biophysics from Iowa State University. He earned his Ph.D. in mass communications with a joint degree in environmental resources from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.