Biography Dr. Debra Jenson is an assistant professor of communication and public relations in the Department of Journalism and Communication at Utah State University. She researches the strategic communication of social justice movements and the impact of that communication on public policy. This has included work on the modern American environmental movement and efforts of religious feminists to equalize access to sacred spaces and callings. More recently, she has focused on representation of marginalized groups in communities and popular culture. She currently collaborates with Special Olympics Utah, guiding students through service learning projects and with Salt Lake ComicCon helping bring more diverse topics and voices to this important cultural moment.
Education Ph.D. in Communication University of Utah; Salt Lake City, UT; November 2014
Master of Science in Mass Communication Utah State University; Logan, UT; May 2005
Bachelor of Science in Political Science Weber State University; Ogden, UT; May 2003
Assistant Professor of Communication and Public Relations, Department of Journalism and Communication USU; Logan, UT (August 2013—present)
Utah State University JCOM 1500: Introduction to Mass Communication. A survey course to introduce students to American mass media and its impact on culture and society. JCOM 2020: Communication Research Methods. A course intended to give students knowledge and tools in quantitative research basics. JCOM 3310: Public Relations Writing. A course meant to teach the function and style of basic public relations writing formats. JCOM 3320: Strategic Research Methods. Teaches students to use and apply qualitative research methods in the field of public relations. JCOM 4210: Sports Writing. Gives students interested in sports and entertainment public relations a realistic idea of the career. JCOM 5300: Case Studies in Communication Research. An opportunity to analyze the work of public relations professionals and conduct an authentic case study. JCOM 5420: Politics and Mass Media. Taught during elections, this course is designed to give students a better understanding of political communication and how it impacts the electoral and policy processes.
University of Utah Introduction to Communication Quantitative Research Methods Rhetoric and Writing Strategic Communication and Public Relations
Publications Jenson, D. (2018). "Space at the Con: Conversations About Representation in Popular Culture at Comic Conventions." Popular Culture Review. Under review.
Jenson, D. (Spring 2018). "Echoes of Opposition: The Media Campaign to Stop Echo Park Dam and Save Dinosaur National Monument." Journalism History 44(1), 32-39.
Jenson, D. (2015). From the Kotel to the Square: The Rhetoric of Religious Feminist in G. Shepherd, L.F. Anderson, and G. Shepherd (Eds.), Voices for Equality: Ordain Women and Resurgent Mormon Feminism. Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford Books.
Jenson, D. (2009). The campaign against Echo Park Dam and collective action frame theory: A historical analysis. Southwestern Mass Communication Journal, 52(2), 69-81.
Conferences Peer Reviewed Academic Conferences Jenson, D. (2017, October 11-14). “Echoes of Opposition: The Language of Citizen Action to Save Dinosaur National Monument.” American Journalism Historian Association National Conference. Little Rock, AR.
Academic Conferences Jenson, D. (2018, March 28-31). “When Fandom Divides: An Analysis of a Fan Community in Conflict.” Popular Culture Association National Conference. Indianapolis, IN.
Jenson, D. (2017, February 22-24). “Space at the Con: Marginalized Groups in Discussion About Popular Culture.” Far West Popular Culture Association Regional Conference. Las Vegas, NV.
Jenson, D. (2016, July, 27-30). “Sticks and Stones: Narrative patterns of LDS General Authorities when speaking of sexual abuse.” Sunstone Symposium. Salt Lake City, UT.
Jenson, D. (2012, September 20-23). “Dinosaur National Monument and the Proposed Echo Park Dam.” Utah State History Conference. Salt Lake City, Utah.
Jenson, D. (2010, April 14-17). “Over troubled waters: Collective Action Frame Theory and environmental policy.” Western Social Sciences Association Conference. Dallas, Texas.
Jenson, D. (2009, Spring). “Social construction theory and the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2009: A narrative analysis.” Utah Communication Association Conference. St. George, Utah.
Public Conferences Parliament of the World’s Religions, moderator October, 2015 Women on the Move: Engaging in Social Justice Action
Sunstone Symposium, presenter July, 2014 Social Movements and Religious Activism Popular Culture Events FanX Salt Lake City September, 2018 “Why We Love Luna Lovegood” “Meet Barry Bostwick” “Is This Your Hero or Villain? Breakdown Black Panther and Its Role in Popular Culture” “Hamilton: The Room Where it Happens”
Salt Lake City Comic Con September, 2017 “Harry Potter is My Bible: Fandom as Faith” “Regeneration and Reaction: The 13th Doctor” “Stranger Things and the Fascinating Nostalgia of the 80s” “Donna Noble: Why Doctor-Donna is the Greatest Companion” “Salt Lake Comic Con Debate: Harry Potter – Is Snape Evil?” “Daring Women of Salt Lake Comic Con” “Disney Princesses: Heroines or Harmful?” “GLOW: The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling in Fact and Fiction” “Things You’ve Got to Stop Saying” “American Gods: Who Do You Worship?” “Get Out!: Modern Horror Classic and 2017’s Most Important Film”
FanX Salt Lake City March, 2017 “A Critical Reading of TheVVitch: Exploring Feminist Themes “Your Favorite is Problematic: An Honest Look at the Media We Love” “Great Salt Lake Comic Con Debate: The Sokovia Awards”
Salt Lake Comic Con September, 2016 “What Geeks Can Teach Us: Using Popular Culture in the Classroom” “The Politics of Harry Potter” “Beyond the Gender Binary”
FanX Salt Lake City March, 2016 "Non-compliant: Feminism and Popular Culture" "Disability and Representation in Popular Culture"
Salt Lake City Comic Con September, 2015 "The Bechdel Test: Women in Popular Culture" "Buying in or Selling Out: Feminist Representations in Popular Culture" "40 Years of SNL: The Impact of Popular Culture on Political Discourse" "He for She: The Role of Men in Feminist Discourse"
Professional Collaboration Special Olympics 2018 USA Games Organizing Committee 2018 Managed team of three students as members of the GOC Communication Team.
Salt Lake ComicCon 2016—present Community Council Programming Committee
Special Olympics Utah 2014—present Media relations, public relations writing, social media campaign
Special Olympics 2014 USA Games Organizing Committee 2014 Media relations and social media content curator for softball competition
Ordain Women 2013—present Strategic communication, media relations, writing, spokesperson
Invited Speeches & Lectures TEDxUSU 2016 "The Comic Book Universe Belongs to Everyone"
USU Empowering Teaching Excellence Conference 2016 "Hamilton: Using Popular Culture to Teach Communication and Persuasion"
Westminster College 2016 "How to be a Bitch: (Re)framing the Realities of Women in Leadership"
USU Center for Women and Gender Spring Luncheon 2016 “Faith and Feminism: The Place of Religious Feminism in Social Justice”
Grants College of Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty Mentorship Award 2018 $4,000
College of Humanities and Social Sciences Travel Award 2015 $1,000
Awards Service Award, Department of Journalism and Communication 2015
Professional AEJMC Reviewer 2016 Public Relations Section
Rocky Mountain Communication Review 2009—2010 Book Review Editor Quantitative Methods Reviewer
College Tanner Talk Committee 2017-present
Undergraduate Awards Committee 2014—2017
Department Advisor, Public Relations Student Society of America, Utah State University chapter, 2013 —present
Department Head Search Committee 2015—2016
Professional Certification & Development HubSpot Social Media Certified 2018
Hootsuite Certified Professional 2016
Utah State University Portfolio Workshop 2015
Memberships Public Relations Society of America 2015-present
American Pop Culture Association 2016-present
American Journalism Historians Association 2016-present