Bruce Pinkleton is the dean of the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University. He joined the faculty of what was then the Murrow School of Communication as an assistant professor in 1993, and earned tenure and early promotion to full professor at WSU.

During his time at WSU, Dr. Pinkleton has served as head of the Strategic Communication degree program, helping grow the unit into the largest in Murrow College. He also has served as graduate director and associate dean of the Murrow College, and he chaired the task force that ultimately recommended college status and built the case for elevation of the Murrow School.

Dr. Pinkleton’s research interests focus on health promotion, media literacy and public affairs decision making in the digital era. His research has been funded by the National Institutes for Health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, ABMRF/The Foundation for Alcohol Research, the Washington State Department of Health and other organizations. His work has been published in tier-one journals in communication, health communication and public health.

As dean, Dr. Pinkleton has established key areas of strategic emphasis for the Murrow College. These areas of emphasis—fostering student success, building collaborative partnerships, advancing excellence in research and strengthening the internal foundation of the Murrow College—have positioned the College to maximize its contributions to WSU’s Drive to 25.

In terms of student success, Dr. Pinkleton has enhanced the career-services programs available to students resulting in professional mentoring, career coaching and seminars teaching job-seeking skills to students. He also has initiated the development of the Murrow Center for Student Success. Under his leadership, Murrow College has enrolled a high proportion of first-generation students, expanded international learning opportunities, and established and/or grown successful graduate and undergraduate programs in Everett, Vancouver and on WSU’s Global Campus. In addition, Dr. Pinkleton has fostered a variety of collaborative initiatives to help provide opportunities for Murrow College students to work with students from other colleges on applied projects.

Dr. Pinkleton also has facilitated further development of the College’s cutting-edge research and learning facilities, such as the Murrow Innovation Community (a digital media lab) and a virtual-reality laboratory. Dr. Pinkleton’s strategies to foster productive research collaborations have resulted in multiple NIH-funded grants and an endowment to support collaborative, health-communication research with health-science faculty members at WSU Spokane. These initiatives build on the College’s established research reputation. The Communication Institute for Online Scholarship ranks the Murrow College as a top 10 research program in 21 of 99 research areas, while the NSF Higher Education Research and Development report ranks the Murrow College in the top 2% of communication programs for higher education research and development expenditures.
Dr. Pinkleton earned an undergraduate degree in journalism from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and graduate degrees in public relations and communication/mass media from Michigan State University.


Ph.D., Michigan State University (Communication, mass media)
M.A., Michigan State University (Public Relations)
B.S., California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (Journalism)


Health promotion, abuse prevention
Political communication
Media literacy
Media/digital technology and decision making
Communication campaign evaluation
Research methods


Principles of Public Relations
Public Relations Management and Campaign Design
Quantitative Research Methods
Seminars/related topics in Communication (graduate and undergraduate)
Advanced Research Methods
Marketing Public Relations
Political Communication
Public Relations Theory and Cases


Teaching: Educator of the Year, Public Relations Society of America, Greater Spokane Chapter and Spokane Regional Marcom Association (jointly awarded)
Research: A total of eight top paper/top-four paper awards from the International Communication Association or the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication


Austin, E. W., & Pinkleton, B. E. (in press). Strategic public relations management: Planning and managing effective communication campaigns (3rd edition). New York: Routledge.

Selected Recent Refereed Publications
Hoffman, E. W., Pinkleton, B. E., Austin, E. W., & Reyes-Velazquez, W. (2014). Exploring college students’ use of general and alcohol-related social media and their associations to alcohol-related behaviors. Journal of American College Health, 62, 328-335.

Pinkleton, B. E., Austin, E. W., Chen, Y., & Cohen, M. (2013). Assessing effects of a media literacy-based intervention on U.S. adolescents’ responses to and interpretations of sexual media messages. Journal of Children and Media, 7, 463-479.

Austin, E. W., Pinkleton, B. E., Austin, B. W., & Van de Vord, R. (2012). The relationships of information efficacy and media literacy skills to knowledge and self-efficacy for health-related decision making. Journal of American College Health, 60, 548-554.

Pinkleton, B. E., Austin, E. W., Chen, Y., & Cohen, M. (2012). The role of media literacy in shaping adolescents’ understanding of and responses to sexual portrayals in mass media. Journal of Health Communication, 17, 460-476.

Pinkleton, B. E., Austin, E. W., Zhou, Y., Willoughby, J. F., & Reiser, M. (2012). Perceptions of news media, external efficacy, and public affairs apathy in political decision making and disaffection. Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, 89, 23-39.

Zhou, Y., & Pinkleton, B. E. (2012). Modeling the effects of political information source use and online expression on young adults’ political efficacy. Mass Communication and Society, 15, 813-830.

Cuillier, D., & Pinkleton, B. E. (2011). Suspicion and secrecy: Political attitudes and their relationship to support for freedom of information. Communication Law and Policy, 16, 227-254.

Pinkleton, B. E., Austin, E. W., Van de Vord, R. (2010). The role of realism, similarity and expectancies in adolescents’ interpretation of abuse-prevention messages. Health Communication, 25, 258-265.