Dr. Vinita Agarwal (website) is an Assistant Professor of Communication at the Department of Communication Arts in Salisbury University, Maryland, USA. She earned her Ph.D. in Communication (Media, Technology, and Society) from Purdue University in 2009. (CV here)
Select this link for an overview of Dr. Agarwal's research publications, current and past research projects, grants, and conference presentations.
Dr. Agarwal's research focuses on strategic communication in the area of message design for preventative public health campaigns and positive organizational relationships.
Her guiding ethos is to bridge her goal of understanding the factors influencing decision-making processes underlying women's health behaviors to improve health-related outcomes for marginalized and minority groups. Toward this goal, she seeks to combine the strengths of both quantitatively-driven social-cognitive rational health behavior models as well as interpretive, grounded qualitative research in order to integrate theory and context to understand how specific groups (e.g., minority women) perceive and process health risks and articulate meanings of health and healthful behaviors in their lives.
She has examined strategic message design in preventive health behaviors such as breast cancer screening (in middle-class urban Indian women and among African-American at-risk women in the U.S., funding support for the latter by the USM Women's Forum Faculty research Award, 2010), maternal health (in temporary urban migrant women, funding support SU Faculty Research Mini-Grant, 2011), H1N1 vaccine intentions (partial funding support by the Department of Communication, UofL, 2009), and tanning bed use in undergraduates (funding support by the SU Faculty Research Mini-Grant, 2014).
Some memorable moments from the maternal health study (funding support by the SU Faculty Research Mini-Grant, 2011):
Dr. Agarwal has just completed data gathering for an experimental study examining tanning behaviors in female undergraduate students (funding support by the SU Faculty Research Mini-Grant, 2013) and a project examining maternal health in urban migrant women in India (funding support by SU Faculty Research Mini-Grant, 2014).
Currently, she is engaged in participant recruitment for a study investigating the doctor-patient relationship and treatment adherence in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis patients with a focus on use of technology and trust (in partnership with Riverside Neurology Associates P.A.) with funding support by the SU Faculty Research Mini-Grant (2014). Second, data gathering is currently underway for a second study undertaking a qualitative examination of complementary, alternative, and integrative forms of medicine in consumer decision-making (data gathering in progress with practitioners in the mid-Atlantic region, USA).
Here are some data-gathering moments from the tanning study with my two able and enthusiastic research assistants, Devon Clark and Savannah Isner, registering participants for the survey:
Her strategic communication research in organizational projects focused on exploring the validity of cross-disciplinary organizational trust measures. She has also examined service-learning in the higher education curricula.
Currently, she is working in collaboration with Dr. Patrice Buzzanell (Professor, Purdue University) and Dr. Buzzanell's extensive work on resilience, in an interpretive examination of disaster-relief worker narratives through an identity/identification framework and the creation of what we term in our paper as "resilience labor."
Select this link for an overview of Dr. Agarwal's teaching initiatives--courses taught, curriculum development, workshops, course service-learning ethos, and mentees.
Professor Agarwal's teaching focuses on strategic communication with a specific interest in technology and the digital realm. Her course offerings are designed to include a service-learning community-based component and are geared toward guiding her students to an immersive understanding of the concepts through experiential learning.
Her course offerings include: social media in public relations, international public relations campaigns, communication technology, and the upcoming digital crisis communications management (Fall 2014). In the PR core curriculum she teaches writing for the professions, communication research methods, and Introduction to Journalism and Public Relations. Her course Wordpress websites are the student's platforms to the the community-based, experiential engagement aspect of her pedagogical initiatives--and complement the in-class discussion of theory, principles, and reflection exercises of her students. Student websites and portfolios can also be found from some of the above course sites.
Dr. Agarwal's teaching approach is centered on integrating technology with an informed understanding of m-learning, individual learning styles, and blended learning approaches so as to achieve an engaged and transformative learning of our field's knowledge base in her students . Some of her workshop participation certificates on technology and mobile learning in education include completed courses in: mobile learning apps in education, multimodal learning, quality in online teaching, and assessment techniques in social media (all from SU's Sloan-C Online Learning Consortium)
Her social media senior course and student Twitter feeds can be found here. Her Social Media in PR course Twitter feed follows the hashtag #VASocialMediaPR and can be found by clicking here.
Finally, one of the occasionally humorous and inevitable twists to the technology in learning experience from an instructor perspective, one of my students took this picture without my notice and shared it on his Twitter:
A overview of Dr. Agarwal's service to the discipline, university, department, and students can be found here.
More here on her work as member of the SUSRC committee in organizing the annual Salisbury Undergraduate Student Research Conference.
Dr. Agarwal loves opportunities to hike, run trails, and cook with her three guys (one of whom is a very naughty and playful chocolate lab). An occasionally updated photo-blog of Dr. Agarwal's projects, family, travels, cooking, and musings can be found on her Instagram here.
Visit the CMAT Faculty Webpage