College Directory

Ann Searight Christiano

Director, Center for Public Interest Communications
Clinical Professor - Department of Public Relations

Office: 3200 Weimer Phone: 609-647-3877 (cell) Email: Connect:


Ann Searight Christiano is the founder and Director of the Center for Public Interest Communications and a clinical professor in the Department of Public Relations at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications.

Public Interest Communications uses science-driven strategic communications and storytelling to advance positive social change. Searight developed the first-ever curriculum in public interest communications, connecting practitioners and scholars who are already working in the field, and nurturing and sharing research that can advance this newly emerging academic discipline. She completed a 10-year term as the inaugural Frank Karel Chair in Public Interest Communications in May 2020.

Before coming to the University of Florida in 2010, Searight was a senior communications officer for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, directing efforts for programs that address social actors like housing, education and mental health that drive health and wellbeing.

As a faculty member, she was named University of Florida Teacher of the Year in 2019 and Junior Faculty International Educator of the Year in 2019.

Her writing has appeared in publications such as Barron’s, the Stanford Social Innovation Review and The Conversation. Her work through the Center includes partnerships with the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees, the U.S. Department of State, and several agencies who work in this domain. She has worked with several federal and state agencies, the Gates Foundation, the International Labor Organization, and nonprofits and foundations throughout the world.

She regularly trains scientists and other leaders to more effectively convey the importance of their work.

Areas of Expertise

Health Communication, Public Interest Communications, Science Communication, Social Advocacy and Social Change, Strategic Communication


Masters, Public Affairs and Policy, Rutgers University, 2003
BA, Public Relations, University of Maryland, 1994



Christiano, A., & Neimand, A. (2017). Stop Raising Awareness Already. Stanford Social Innovation Review, 15(2), 34–41.


Syllabi from the current and three previous semesters: