Michelle Shumate is an Associate Professor in Communication Studies, Associate Faculty at the Institute for Policy Research, Director of Graduate Studies for the Media Technology and Society PhD program, and the director of Network for Nonprofit and Social Impact (NNSI) at Northwestern University. NNSI is dedicated to answering the question: How can nonprofit networks be rewired for maximum social impact? In addition, Professor Shumate is affiliated with the Center for Nonprofit Management in the Kellogg School of Business and the Center for Civic Engagement. Professor Shumate holds a Ph.D. from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California and a Bachelor’s Degree from Pepperdine University. She was on the faculty at North Dakota State University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign prior to joining Northwestern in 2012.

Professor Shumate’s specialization is investigating the dynamics of interorganizational networks designed to impact large social issues. In her current work, she is examining the impact of network profiles on nonprofit capacity, the types of businesses most likely to align with particular types of social issues, and strategies for rewiring interorganizational networks that include nonprofits.

Professor Shumate has published or presented over 75 research papers dealing with communication and organizing. Her research has been published in Human Communication Research, the Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, Management Communication Quarterly, and the Journal of Communication and has been featured by the Conference Board. She was awarded a National Science Foundation CAREER award for her work on interorganizational networks and nonprofit capacity. In addition, she is currently a PI on an National Science Foundation grant investigating the impact of nonprofit-corporate partnership pairings, a co-investigator on a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant investigating how to scale up successful social innovations, and a co-investigator on a National Institutes for Health award that examines predictors of Hispanic students in Chicago public schools choosing STEM careers. Professor Shumate has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Applied Communication Research, the Journal of Communication, Management Communication Quarterly, and the Journal of International and Intercultural Communication.


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