Alvin Zhou headshot

Alvin Zhou, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

UMN Hubbard

Computational ∪ Strategic

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I am an Assistant Professor at the Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Two keywords, computational social science and strategic communication (organizations, advertising, and public relations), characterize my research. Most of my work examines their intersection or falls under either of the two subfields.


On the empirical front, my current research projects examine issues related to information, communication, and organizations using computational methods and causal inference. To that end, I enjoy working with students and collaborators who boast solid project management and programming skills, test big ideas that can inform social theories or have applied implications, and appreciate intuitive and clever research designs. On the theoretical front, my work extends the sociological perspective on strategic communication and considers stakeholder engagement and public relationships as pathways through which organizations change their network ecologies.


My understanding of the term "strategic communication" is rather broad. AdPR is certainly a big part of it, but I also consider many topics that usually fall under organizational communication (e.g., internal communication, crowdsourcing, small groups), health communication (e.g., message appeals, persuasion, PSA), marketing communication (e.g., customer reviews, crisis management, brand identity), and political communication (e.g., news audience, news organizations, government communication, information manipulation) as parts of "strategic communication."


Here are my Email, CV, Faculty Page, Twitter, Google Scholar, and bookable Google Calendar. If you are a prospective student, please click here. To know more about me and my cat, click here.


My work is forthcoming or has appeared in general communication journals (e.g., New Media & Society, Journal of Communication, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, and Mass Communication and Society), field-top journals (e.g., Journal of Public Relations Research, Journal of Advertising, Political Communication, and Management Communication Quarterly), and computer science conference proceedings (e.g., CSCW). I received my Ph.D. in Communication from UPenn Annenberg. Prior to that, I obtained an M.A. in Statistics and Data Science from the Wharton School and an M.A. in Strategic Public Relations from USC Annenberg. I graduated from Tsinghua University with dual bachelor's degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Journalism.