Dr. Sharon Coen www.paulburrowsphoto.com
© Pic Paul Burrows Manchester

Dr. Sharon Coen, senior lecturer in Media Psychology at the University of Salford in the United Kingdom, will attend Winter Session in Santa Barbara, Calif., next week to exchange ideas with the faculty and students in Fielding’ Graduate University’s Media Psychology program.

“For me, it’s Mecca. It’s an absolute paradise for free thinking,” Dr. Coen says of Fielding. “You are the first institution that created a whole degree in media psychology. We in the UK have only just started so we can learn from you. The US is the first nation that has a dedicated APA section in media psychology, so it is an ambition of mine to have something similar in the UK—a sister project.”

Dr. Coen first connected with Fielding through faculty member Dr. Regina Tuma. Perhaps not surprisingly, they found each other on Twitter and quickly began emailing and Skyping. Soon, Regina was visiting Salford with Fielding students.

“We’re two peas in a pod,” Dr. Coen says of Dr. Tuma.

Dr. Coen defines media psychology as the study of the interaction between people and media—from production to consumption.

“As psychologists, we have to understand the role media plays in making us who we are,” she says. “Where do we get ideas and preconceptions about other groups? What makes the life of these ideas so long? How do women understand their role in society?

“My heart is on civic engagement in the broadest sense, the way in which we construct ourselves and understand ourselves as active members of our society.”

At Session, Dr. Coen will be leading a workshop with Dr. Tuma on Social Media Research & Data: An International Perspective from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17.

Dr. Regina Tuma

“We’ll share with students how to do research on social media and how to get the data when issues on privacy keep changing,” says Dr. Tuma. “Sharon and I are going to be bringing a data set and letting students take a crack at it. It will be very hands on.”

Dr. Coen will also take part in a conversation hour: Media Psychology from an International Perspective, from 4 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 19.