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Linda Pfeiffer

Agricultural Sciences Education and Communication 

  • Assistant Professor Agricultural Sciences Education and Communication
Lilly Room 3-228
915 W State Street
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2054

Faculty Profile
My research interests center around the communication of complex science to the public. Specifically, they include the systemic factors that affect the construction and effective translation of messages to engage the public in scientific issues. Effective messaging occurs at the intersection of message construction and the public beliefs, values, experiences, and the cultural cognitions that the audience brings to the process (rather than a simple deficit in science information). Additionally, messaging is affected by resources, institutional practices, and political processes in the public sphere. Given the recent rise in highly controversial science issues, the study of systematic factors affecting science messaging is an important and emerging area in research on science communication.           

Joint Ph.D    Mass Communication, Environment & Resources at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
M.S.     Community Counseling, Winona State University
B.A.      Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Teaching Interests/Proposed Courses
 Undergraduate Courses

Senior Capstone in Science and Agricultural Communication - [ASEC480]
Controversial Science & Media in the Public Sphere - [ASEC 35500]
fulfills Science Technology and Society and Humanities core requirements Environmental Writing (in development-co-listed with NRES)

Graduate Courses
Science Communication - [ASEC58500]
The Psychology of the Science Audience (in development)

University of Wisconsin - Madison
Journalism 201: Introduction to Journalism
Integrated Environmental Studies Senior Capstone 600
Mass Media and Multicultural America

Recent Invited Conference Presentations:
Threat without efficacy? How sources engage the public during vectors-borne disease emergence. Public Communication of Science & Technology, 2020. Kings College, Aberdeen, United Kingdom. May 26-28, 2020

The International Society for Public Communication of Science and Technology (PCST) Failure to engage? National coverage of climate change risks to food and agriculture in the U.S. New Zealand, April 2018 

Other Interests
Hiking (preferably in mountains), biking, snowshoeing, and kayaking.

Control of Vector-Borne Diseases

Awards & Honors

(2019) ASEC Outstanding Early Career Teaching Award. Purdue College of Agriculture.

(2018) ASEC Outstanding Early Career Teaching Award. Agricultural Sciences Education and Communication.

(2017) ASEC Outstanding Early Career Teaching Award_2017. Agricultural Sciences Education and Communication.

Selected Publications

Raymond, L. S., & Pfeiffer, L. J. (2019). Tradeoffs and Reassurance: Risk framing in the 2016 Zika outbreak in South Florida. Manuscript submitted for publication.

Merzdorf, J., Pfeiffer, L. J., & Forbes, B. (2019). Heated Discussion: Climate Journalism in a Polarized Era. Journal of Applied Communications, 103(3), 1-14. doi:

Bracke, M., & Pfeiffer, L. (in press). Issues 360: A Co-curricular Approach to Information Literacy, Critical Thinking, and Civil Discourse in the Sciences. In Learning beyond the classroom: Engaging Students in Information Literacy through Co-Curricular Activities.

Agricultural Sciences Education and Communication, 915 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907 USA, (765) 494-8423

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