About the College

Centers, Institutes and Labs

Centers

Brechner Center for Freedom of Information

Interim Director: Janet Coats

The Brechner Center for Freedom of Information exists to advance understanding, appreciation and support for freedom of information in the state of Florida, the nation and the world.

Through education and promotion of freedom of information laws and policies, the Center seeks to foster open government and a participatory democracy.

In addition, The Brechner Center serves the public with information about the First Amendment, freedom of information, and access to government information issues.

Since 1977, The Brechner Center has been a freedom of information resource in Florida and beyond.

Center for Public Interest Communications

Director:  Ann Christiano, Clinical Professor, Department of Public Relations

The Center for Public Interest Communications, the first of its kind in the nation, is designed to study, test and apply the science of strategic communication for social change. The Center assists organizations, wanting to create change, discover how behavioral, cognitive and social science can show them how people think, make decisions and behave. Through use of science, systems thinking and human-centered design, the Center helps organizations create and implement powerful communication strategies.

In support of science-based communication, the Center provides training to government agencies, universities, foundations, public interest communications agencies and nonprofits. The Center develops workshops to share research with social change leaders and scientists to help them develop better communication strategies, and it houses frank: an annual conference dedicated to public interest communications.

It also publishes the Journal for Public Interest Communications, the only academic journal for this area of study.

STEM Translational Communication Center

Director: Dr. Janice Krieger, professor in the Department of Advertising

The STEM Translational Communication Center helps to make findings from basic science useful for practical application to enhance human wellbeing in science areas. Properly translated and communicated to various audiences, complex science can inform decisions about any number of areas, including the environment, technology, engineering, health, and policy.

The Center aims to make the public and communication and science/health investigators partners in research. Communication is vital to the STEM disciplines for translation and dissemination of consequential science and health knowledge to individuals and stakeholder groups. Communications research about these areas is necessary to generate understanding of how people come to know science and health and its associated benefits and risks and how people make informed decisions about science and technology areas that affect their health, security, and the environment.

Partnerships formed among STEM and communication researchers will bridge academia, industry and the communities to disseminate consequential science and health knowledge to stakeholder groups. The messages, techniques and strategies resulting from these collaborations can foster improved science and health literacy, which in turn can yield enhanced engagement, support, prestige and visibility in areas UF and its stakeholders want to advance.

Labs

Family · Health · Lifespan Communication Lab 

Lead: Dr. Carla L. Fisher, associate professor in the Department of Advertising, Full Member – UF Health Cancer Center, Faculty Affiliate – Center for Arts in Medicine.

The central mission of the lab is to produce research that helps families engage in healthy communication practice at home and in the clinical setting when coping with health transitions and disease risk.

Using a lifespan, developmental lens, the lab focuses on the fundamental role of family communication to health and wellness in both familial and clinical settings. It believes that at the root of health is how we are communicating.

Projects and Institutes

The Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project

Director: Dr. Clay Calvert, Brechner Eminent Scholar in Mass Communication

Associate Director: Dr. Jasmine McNealy, Associate Professor, Department of Media Production, Management, and Technology

The Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to current and contemporary issues affecting the First Amendment freedoms of speech, press, thought, assembly and petition.

The Project addresses these issues in multiple ways, including by:

  • Filing of legal briefs in court cases
  • Authoring scholarly articles in the nation’s top law journals
  • Publishing op-ed commentaries in mainstream newspapers
  • Presenting speeches and papers at conferences and symposia across the country
  • Providing commentary to news organization and media outlets
  • Testifying before legislative bodies regarding bills affecting First Amendment rights

The First Amendment Project’s benefactor was Marion B. Brechner, who passed away in January 2011. Her son, Berl Brechner, maintains an active role with the College and the Project.

The Institute for Public Relations™

President and CEO: Tina McCorkindale

The Institute for Public Relations™ is an independent nonprofit organization founded in 1956 and dedicated to the science beneath the art of public relations™. It  exists to expand and document research-based knowledge in public relations, and to make this knowledge available and useful to practitioners, educators, researchers, and the clients they serve.

Everything the Institute publishes is available free on its www.instituteforpr.org.