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College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences

Faculty and Staff Profile

Virginia Harrison

Assistant Professor

Office: 409 Strode Tower



Educational Background

Ph.D. Mass Communications
Pennsylvania State University 2020

M.A. Media Studies
Pennsylvania State University 2014

B.A. History
Pennsylvania State University 2008

B.A. Journalism
Pennsylvania State University 2008

Courses Taught

Communication in Sports Organizations
Survey of Sports Communication
Public Relations for Nonprofits
Public Relations Writing
Public Relations Campaigns
Mass Media and Society


Dr. Harrison is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication. She spent seven years in public relations and fundraising practice before earning her Ph.D. at Penn State. Her research explores and seeks to understand the concept of stewardship in donor/supporter communications and relationship building. Dr. Harrison's work has been published in top public relations and sports journals, such as Public Relations Review, Journal of Communication Management, and Communication & Sport. She has presented numerous papers at International Communication Association and Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication conferences, where she has won a number of awards. Dr. Harrison teaches sports and public relations courses in the department.

Research Interests

Dr. Harrison's research centers around the concept of stewardship, primarily in the context of nonprofit organization-donor relationships. She hopes to better define, measure, and understand how stewardship plays a role in deepening donor engagement and explore its value in other contexts. Her secondary area of interest is better understanding sports organization-fan relationships.

Research Publications

Harrison, V. S., Vafeiadis, M., Diddi, P., & Conlin, J. (in press). The impact of CSR on nonprofit outcomes: How the choice of corporate partner influences reputation and supportive intentions. Corporate Communications: An International Journal. Advanced publication DOI: 10.1108/CCIJ-02-2021-0020.

Harrison, V. (in press). Does your corporation “care”? Exploring an ethical standard for communicating CSR relationships online. Public Relations Inquiry. Advanced publication DOI: 10.1177/2046147X211032913.

Vafeaidis, M., Harrison, V., Diddi, P., Dardis, F. & Buckley, C. (accepted). Examining the impact of CSR partnerships on nonprofits (NPOs): The mediating effect of NPO social-objectives achievement and consumer-brand identification (CBI). International Journal of Strategic Communication.

Boehmer, J. & Harrison, V. (in press). No consequences for social irresponsibility? Adidas’ “rent scandal” during the covid-19 pandemic in Germany. European Sport Management Quarterly. Advanced publication DOI: 10.1080/16184742.2021.1926526.

Harrison, V. & Erlichman, S. (accepted). NFL player protests, corporate social responsibility, and diversion in sports crisis. Journal of Sports Media.

Harrison, V., Buckley, C., & Xiao, A. (2021). The roles of donation experience and advocacy: Extending the organization-donor relationship model. Journal of Communication Management, 25(1), 85-103. DOI: 10.1108/JCOM-06-2020-0057.

Erlichman, S. & Harrison, V. (in press). Coping with tragedy via reflected glory: How the Houston Astros’ World Series win contributed to locals overcoming Hurricane Harvey. Communication & Sport. Advanced publication DOI: 10.1177/2167479519894672.

Harrison, V. S. & Boehmer, J. (2020). Sport for development and peace: Framing the global conversation. Communication & Sport, 8(3), 291–316. DOI: 10.1177/2167479519831317.

Harrison, V. S. (2019). Legitimizing private legal systems through CSR communication: A Walmart case study. Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 24(3), pp. 439-455. DOI: 10.1108/CCIJ-12-2018-0124.

Harrison, V. (2019). “It’s a delicate dance”: Understanding CSR relationships from the nonprofit perspective. Journal of Communication Management, 23(2), 142-158, DOI: 10.1108/JCOM-10-2018-0100.

Harrison, V. S. (2018). Understanding the donor experience: Applying stewardship theory to higher education donors. Public Relations Review, 44, 533-548. DOI: 10.1016/j.pubrev.2018.07.001.

Harrison, V. S., Xiao, A., Ott, H. K., & Bortree, D. S. (2017). Calling all volunteers: The role of stewardship and involvement in volunteer-organization relationships. Public Relations Review, 43, 872-881. doi: 10.1016/j.pubrev.2017.06.006.

Harrison, V. S. (2013). “The community is speaking loud and clear”: Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Planned Parenthood, and the crisis of public opinion. Case Studies in Strategic Communication, 2, 61-92,

Honors and Awards

First place, AEJMC Teaching Paper Competition, Public Relations Division, 2021
Recipient, Djung Yune Tchoi Award for Outstanding Teaching by a Graduate Student, 2020
First place, Carol Burnett/University of Hawaii/AEJMC Award for Outstanding Graduate Student Research in Media Ethics, 2018
Second place, AEJMC Student Paper Competition, Sports Communication Interest Group, 2018
Top Student Paper Session, AEJMC Public Relations Division, 2018
Peer Nomination, AEJMC Research Prize for Professional Relevance, 2018
First place, AEJMC Student Paper Competition, Public Relations Division, 2017


CV Link

College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences
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