Professor Elizabeth Avery Foster became Director of the School of Advertising and Public Relations on August 1.
She takes over from Professor Sally McMillan, who returned to the faculty after serving as interim director since June 2019.
“Beth Foster is an internationally known scholar, an outstanding teacher and an excellent servant leader,” said Wirth. “Her experience in working with a wide range of constituencies and of developing effective working relationships at all levels will allow her to be very effective in her new role.”
Foster joined the ADPR faculty as an assistant professor in 2006 and was promoted to professor in 2018.
Her research focuses on public health and crisis communication strategies. She is a senior researcher on a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to develop interventions for the opioid epidemic in rural Appalachia, and she has studied crisis communication planning in regards to the Zika virus.
She has published more than 40 articles in peer-reviewed academic journals and presented 50 pieces of original research at national and international academic conferences. She received CCI’s Faculty Research Award in 2010 and 2017.
From 2009-13, Foster served as Co-Director of CCI’s Risk, Health, and Crisis Communication Organized Research Unit.
“I’m deeply grateful and excited for the opportunity to direct such a talented group of colleagues,” Foster said. “After 14 years here, I have developed a deep understanding of and love for this outstanding school and university. The school is experiencing incredible momentum with exciting changes to better serve our students, and I am looking forward to hitting the ground running this fall to continue our growth.
“The school’s faculty are a talented group of educators and researchers, and we share a strong dedication to our students. We are identifying and pursuing ways to broaden our curriculum, make courses more accessible in both online and in-person formats, and implement new initiatives such as a minor in advertising and public relations.”
Prior to joining the ADPR faculty, Foster completed a post-doctoral assistantship on a $3.5 million CDC grant, served as campaign manager for a mayoral candidate, and was the Environmental Education Coordinator at the Athens-Clarke County Recycling Division for several years.
She holds a doctorate in mass communication with a concentration in public relations from the University of Georgia (2006), a master’s in communication from Wake Forest University (2003), and an undergraduate degree in public relations from UGA (2001).