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 Melissa D. Dodd, Ph.D., APR, is Associate Professor of Advertising-Public Relations at the University of Central Florida’s Nicholson School of Communication and Media.


Dodd has presented her award-winning public relations research at academic and professional meetings around the world. Dodd’s research is focused on issues management, CEO/corporate activism, corporate social advocacy, corporate social responsibility, social media, intangible assets/social capital, and the measurement of public relations outcomes for corporate- and societal- level impacts.


 Her corporate issues engagement research is published in leading academic journals -- Communication Research Reports, Journal of Communication Management, Public Relations Review, Public Relations Journal, and PRism -- and featured in major media -- Forbes, USA Today, NPR, and The Wall Street Journal.

Dodd coined the term "corporate social advocacy" in 2012 to address corporate engagement in controversial social-political issues that have the potential to isolate stakeholder groups and attract activist attention. Since that time, she has studied corporate issues engagement to include: 

  • Climate change

  • Health care reform

  • Gun violence prevention

  • Diversity, inclusion, and equity

  • Race relations

  • LGBTQ+ equality

  • Gender equality

  • Reproductive rights

    ...and, more.


Dodd was twice named Arthur W. Page Center Legacy Scholar for Integrity in Communication and was recently awarded a fellowship from the Institute for Public Relations Behavioral Insights Research Center. Her research has earned multiple grant awards from organizations including Villanova's Waterhouse Family Institute for the Study of Communication and Society.


She has served in multiple leadership roles, including Chair for the Public Relations Society of America’s Educators Academy section; Member of the Commission on Public Relations Education; Advisory Board Member for the Institute for Public Relations Bridge Conference, as well as the International Public Relations Research Conference (IPRRC). Dodd coordinated the move of IPRRC from Miami, where it had been held for 19 years, to Orlando for the celebration of the conference's 20th anniversary. 


Dodd earned her Master's of Arts in Public Relations from Ball State University. She earned her Ph.D. in Communication with an emphasis on public relations from the University of Miami in 2012.

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