Chairperson of the Department of Journalism
Dr. Johnny Sparks’ research utilizes social scientific theoretical perspectives at the intersection of communication and psychology to explain how the structural features and content of advertising messages influence individuals’ motivational, emotional, and cognitive processing of information.
His research articles have been published in Psychology & Marketing, Communication Research, Human Communication Research, Communication Methods and Measures, and the International Journal of Advertising. Dr. Sparks has coauthored a refereed book chapter and seven refereed abstracts. He has presented more than 20 conference papers, including two top-papers in the International Communication Association’s Information Systems division. His current research focuses on philosophical and pedagogical issues in mass communication.
Prior to joining BSU’s Department of Journalism as chair, Dr. Sparks worked as an associate professor of advertising at Central Michigan University (CMU; 2012-16), an assistant professor of advertising at Texas Tech University (TTU; 2009-12), and as an assistant professor of telecommunication and film at the University of Alabama (UA; 2006-2009), where the College of Communication and Information Science’s Board of Visitors recognized his teaching with a Teaching Excellence Award (2009). In recognition of his graduate teaching, Dr. Sparks was nominated and selected as a finalist by the UA graduate school in The Last Lecture Series (2009). In 2015, Dr. Sparks advised CMU’s American Advertising Federation (AAF) Club to a Third Place in Track finish at the District 6: NSAC (National Student Advertising Competition).
Dr. Sparks has served on more than 50 graduate committees and directed several Master’s theses, as well as an American Advertising Academy award-winning doctoral dissertation (Sungwon Chung, Ph.D., TTU, 2012) to completion.
Dr. Sparks completed a pre-doctoral fellowship (2005-2006) at Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute. He earned his Ph.D. (2006) in mass communication with a minor in cognitive science from Indiana University, where he also worked in the Institute for Communication Research under his doctoral advisor Annie Lang, IU Distinguished Professor.