Dr. Jerri Lynn Hogg is an adjunct faculty member teaching Media Psychology courses at MSPP. Since Dr. Hogg has recently joined the MSPP family, I was asked to a do a faculty spotlight blog post on her.
Dr. Hogg actually started her undergraduate career as an engineering student of all things! While she did find engineering interesting, she soon switched majors to journalism. Journalism had that human element that engineering was lacking for her. After graduating, Dr. Hogg started her career working in public relations, corporate training and development, and soon got into design and usability for different products and websites.
Dr. Hogg followed her interests in people, technology, and communication obtained a master’s degree in communication and information management. After achieving her Masters, Dr. Hogg still wanted her work to involve more human behavior and she considered pursuing a doctorate. While she researched different doctoral programs, she kept finding that her options were psychology OR communications, never the combination which was at the intersection of these two fields. Finally, she found media psychology, which was brand new at the time. She attended the only school that offered PhD in media psychology. Media psychology has allowed her to explore her passion for human behavior, communications, and technology.
Today, the main driving question for Dr. Hogg is what is lost and what is gained as we move into the environment of digital communication. An example Dr. Hogg discussed with me was the richness of letters. We cannot hold on to emails in the same way we are able to cherish letters from our grandparents. However, Dr. Hogg chooses not to focus on the losses, though she does acknowledge them. She considers herself a positive psychologist and thus focuses on bolstering the strengths of modern communication instead of focusing on drawbacks. We are able to connect globally, instantaneously and that is truly a marvel.
Today, Dr. Hogg is currently teaching and researching as well as developing online curriculums and speaking internationally at workshops. I was really impressed with Dr. Hogg’s engaging manner of speaking in our phone interview and I’d love to be able to hear her speak for a group! Dr. Hogg, let me know if you have any appearances in Boston! J
As an online student, I wanted to pick Dr. Hogg’s brain a bit as an expert in the field. She rightly told me that one of the best things about online education is that it allows people to achieve levels of education that they might not have been able to before. As I spoke about in a previous post, that is certainly the case for me! Dr. Hogg also spoke of the importance of designing inviting online environments that are also engaging.
I also asked Dr. Hogg about the global implications of all of this advancing technology. True to her positive roots, she first discussed how great it is to be able to maintain close, strong relationships with people who are physically distant. She also talked about how important it is to acknowledge that our reality is not everyone’s reality. We have to keep in mind that globally, there are not only barriers to technology in some places, but difference in communication styles. Even if we can technically connect globally, we have to be considerate of with whom we are communicating and their cultural customs. While it is fantastic that we are able to move past old barriers and communicate seamlessly with people thousands of miles away, we must still remember that there can be other barriers to effective communication.
Dr. Hogg also spoke about what she considers to be some of the most exciting current developments in media psychology. One that stood out to her is information and the digital divide. There is so much information available that it can be overwhelming for some people. The challenge now is to find how we can synthesize all of this information without being overwhelmed and still finding the meaning we seek.
With this constant access to information, how should we incorporate it into our daily lives? Dr. Hogg stressed the importance of balance. It is important and valuable to unplug sometimes and take a walk in the woods, look at the stars, and connect non-digitally. Dr. Hogg is looking into examining in future research how we can find that balance.
It seems to me that Dr. Hogg is making good progress toward that own balance in her own life. When I asked her how she would choose to spend a week free of all obligations, she told me she would pick hiking in the Swiss Alps. I can’t think of a better way to unplug!
If you have a chance, I would definitely recommend taking a class with Dr. Hogg. While I am not a current student of hers, Dr. Hogg is extremely warm, personable, and knowledgeable, all very important attributes in a professor! Welcome to MSPP, Dr. Hogg!