John C. Besley Ph.D.Principal Investigator Associate Professor & Ellis N. Brandt Chair in Public Relations, Michigan State University
John C. Besley studies citizens’ perceptions of decision-makers and decision-makers’ perceptions of the public. For decision-makers, he is focused on understanding how views about citizens shapes the quality public engagement efforts. For citizens, he is particularly interested in how these affect decision-makers affect perceptions of new technologies with potential health or environmental impacts.
More generally, John explores the relationships between media use, public engagement and health and environmental risk perceptions. His research has touched on public perceptions of nanotechnology, biotechnology, and energy technologies (particularly nuclear and hydrogen and fuel cell technologies). His work has appeared in high-ranking journals including Science Communication, Public Understanding of Science and Risk Analysis, as well as a range of edited volumes. He has received funding from the National Science Foundation and the United States Department of Agriculture.
He serves as the lead author for the National Science Board’s biennial chapter on Public Attitudes and Understanding in Science and Engineering Indicators . He previously served as the head for the science/risk communication divisions of both the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and the Society for Risk Analysis.
As an instructor, John focuses on community relations and civic engagement, crisis and risk communication, science and risk communication, and media relations. Prior to his Ph.D., John worked in the Policy and Communications division of Environment Canada on international environmental issues.