Xuerong Lu

Xuerong Lu

By Jaycee Kalama, CLA Student Writer - June 6, 2023

After a visit to the Oregon State University campus and a memorable first impression amongst faculty, Xuerong Lu became an assistant professor in the School of Communication in the fall of 2022. According to Lu, she was drawn to the camaraderie within OSU’s community.

“As expected, the collaborative and supportive environment in the School of Communication is amazing,” Lu said. “All the senior faculty here have really helped me adapt into a new environment. It’s also great to be able to talk with my many colleagues about my research.”

Lu’s research is centered around public relations, crisis communication in a global context, strategic health and risk communication. Her current studies focus on social-mediated crisis communication. Lu is working to understand how people communicate and process information in a competing and conflicting informational environment, such as social media during crisis and risk situations. 

“As social media and emerging technology continue to evolve, the public has become a part of crisis,” Lu explains. “In the past, when we would look at communication during crisis and risk situations, most studies focused on what governments and organizations can do to manage the crisis because the public used to act more as a passive audience. But today, the public is an active player because they can post, share and communicate just about anything on social media. The public is no longer a passive audience, but a part of crises. I hope to continue my studies in social-mediated crisis communication to better understand this evolution.”

According to Lu, most of her research is contextualized in public health crisis. Currently, she is a researcher for a project that is contracted with the FDA and explores how to correct misinformation during infectious disease outbreaks. Lu is also working on some research on how organizations should handle misinformation attacks.

Looking forward, Lu will be teaching:

  • Summer 2023
    • NMC240E: Survey of Social Media
      • “This is an online course exploring history, business and current social research in social media, especially the cultural logic of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Pinterest and beyond,” Lu said.
  • Fall 2023:
    • COMM/NMC342: Introduction to Public Relations
      • “This course is designed to provide students with an overview of the theory, principles, techniques and practices of public relations. It is designed for those with little or no previous experience or coursework in public relations,” Lu said.
  • Spring 2023:
    • NMC340: Social Media Strategy
      • “This is a course designed to understand the interaction between users and social media and discuss the public engagement with social media,” Lu said.
    • COMM412: Special Topic
      • “This year, we will discuss crisis and risk communication in this special topic course,” Lu said.

In the meantime, Lu is planning her annual vacation. She enjoys traveling and hiking, and in years past, she has visited Alaska in the winter of 2021, Yellowstone National Park in the summer of 2022, and hopes to visit White Sands National Park with her boyfriend this summer.