J. Brian Houston Lauded for Research Activity

J. Brian Houston
Kristi Galloway
News Source: 
College of Arts & Science

J. Brian Houston, assistant professor of communication, received a 2014 Provost’s Outstanding Junior Faculty Research and Creative Activity Award, which is presented to junior faculty members who demonstrate superior research and creative activity.

Professor Mitchell McKinney, chair of the Department of Communication, highlighted Houston’s strengths in his nomination letter. “In just a few short years Brian has produced a record of scholarly achievement that is quite amazing in both its rate of productivity and also its level of conceptual sophistication and theoretical development.”

Houston has successfully received more than $8 million in federal research grants as principal or co-principal investigator, $110,000 in private foundation support, and $118,000 of internal research funding. His current Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration grant for $2.4 million is the largest research grant ever awarded to a faculty member in the Department of Communication.

Houston co-directs the Terrorism and Disaster Center, a Category II center in the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. The center’s goal is to enhance mental and behavioral health preparedness, recovery, and resilience in children, families, and communities affected by disaster. Houston’s research focusses on communication at all phases of disasters and on the mental health effects and political consequences of community crises. Recent and current research projects have examined the impact of media coverage of terrorism on children and adults, the role of new media during disasters, and the capacity for using information communication technologies to increase community resilience.

In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Houston was a Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI) Fellow in 2012–13. His research focused on how Twitter responses to the presidential debates could be used to gain insight into the debate viewing process. In fall 2013 Houston was appointed courtesy faculty in the School of Journalism because of his contributions to RJI and his commitment to master’s and doctoral students. “It’s hard to imagine a faculty member who has accomplished so much in just three and a half years at Mizzou,” says Esther Torson, RJI research director. “His future as a major contributor to research in communication and mass communication is golden.”

Houston’s interdisciplinary scholarship shows no signs of slowing down. He is slated to publish his community resilience model as part of a special issue of American Behavioral Scientist that is focused on community resilience later this year.  McKinney says, “Houston’s ongoing productivity and research pipeline, aided by continuing extramural funding, provides clear promise of his development and contributions as one of our field’s most outstanding scholars.”

Houston earned his doctoral degree from the University of Oklahoma in 2007. He was an assistant professor of research at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center before he joined the faculty at MU in 2010.

As recipient of this year’s award, Houston will receive an honorarium and will be recognized at the annual faculty awards dinner in the fall.

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