Dr. Christopher J. McCollough

386 Merrill Hall

Dr. McCollough currently serves as the Department Head of Communication and was the lead on the department’s successful push for full reaccreditation during their 2023 site revisit. Under his leadership, the unit completed facilities and curriculum updates to meet industry standards, made a rigorous curriculum more flexible and accessible for students, and has re-engaged with alumni and industry to support program development and to bring industry into the classroom. In the site report, the assessors described the programmatic changes as a difference of, “Night and Day,” and noted the comments of one alumna and advisory board member describing the state of the program as, “the best it has ever been.”

McCollough joined the faculty at Jacksonville State University as an accomplished educator and scholar, having earned 6 Top Paper awards, earned 2 outstanding Faculty Service Awards for his work in community outreach and shared governance, and a visible member of the faculty community.

His research blends the applied practice of public relations, the teaching and learning of public relations, and various forms of impact on communities through the application of high-impact learning practices. Within the study of public relations and political communication, Dr. McCollough focuses on the historical and working relationships between state government public information officers and journalists. He’s consistently presented award-winning work at the Southern States Communication Association, the national level at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, as well as at National Communication Association.

Dr. McCollough’s scholarship has also grown to include the study of the impact on student learning and successful employment upon graduation in public relations through the application of industry elements in a service-learning setting, the study of community impact of a service-learning curriculum. His work in these areas has garnered national honors from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Public Relations Division’s Wilcox Award for the Top Teaching Paper in PR in 2017 and 2018, and both are published in the Journal of Public Relations Education. Additionally, his analysis of the work of a community outreach center as an engine for developing service-learning partnerships garnered Top Faculty Paper honors in the Small Programs Interest Group at AEJMC in 2021 and has been published in Teaching Journalism and Mass Communication.

Recent collaborative scholarship with peers looking at the future of education in the strategic communication subfields, including the integration of social media, digital media, and artificial intelligence. This program has yielded presentations at the annual meetings of the National Communication Association, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, as well as the International Public Relations Research Conference, in addition to publications in Journalism and Mass Communication Educator (2020) and the Journal of Public Relations Education (2021).

christopher mccollough

Courses Taught

  • Mass Communication
  • Public Relations
  • Mass Comm Ethics and Global Journalism
  • Media Law
  • Media Literacy
  • Social Media and Society


  • Ph.D., Mass Communication and Public Affairs, Louisiana State University
  • M.A., Communication (Political Communication), Virginia Tech University
  • B.A., Communication (Journalism), Virginia Tech University

Other Responsibilities

In addition to Dr. McCollough's teaching and research load, he maintains an active service role in the community, at the university, and within his discipline. He worked actively as a pro bono PR consultant, aiding local charities, civic organizations, and small businesses in the Columbus area prior to joining the faculty at JSU.

Within his subdiscipline of public relations, Dr. McCollough in each executive position in the Public Relations Division of the Southern States Communication Association and has served as the chair of the Newsom and History paper competitions of the Public Relations division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, as the chair for the Teaching Committee, and his currently serving as the chair of the Research Committee for the Public Relations Division.

Dr. McCollough is also a member of the Editorial Boards for the Journal of Public Interest Communications, as well as the Journal of Public Relations Education, where he has served as the Associate Editor for Reviews, and now serves as the Senior Associate Editor for the journal.