The Forge’s season of growth continues as Duke welcomes its first Duke-RTI Scholar, Brian Southwell, PhD, who is now beginning a yearlong residency supported by the Duke-RTI Scholar Program. The program, which provides funding for distinguished RTI researchers to actively collaborate with Duke faculty, is primarily focused on catalyzing opportunities for externally funded joint research projects that benefit from multidisciplinary expertise and insight.
An authority on the phenomenon of misinformation and the dynamics around its propagation and dissemination online, Dr. Southwell also has an extensive background in human behavior, social networks, and information sharing. He currently directs the Science in the Public Sphere program at RTI International and serves as an adjunct professor with the Duke Social Science Research Institute. He also holds faculty appointments at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Through his appointment with Duke Forge, Dr. Southwell will serve as the Forge’s resident social scientist, devoting roughly half of his time to collaborating closely with various Duke entities, faculty, and staff. He will also build on existing collaborations between Duke and RTI International and help find areas of commonality to synchronize working relationships among experts on both sides and facilitate new and improved partnerships.
Prior to joining RTI International, Dr. Southwell served almost a decade at the University of Minnesota, most recently as a tenured associate professor and director of graduate studies in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. His research and theoretical contributions have appeared in more than 100 journal articles and chapters, and his various books, including Misinformation and Mass Audiences, have all been based in social science research. He also hosts a weekly public radio show, The Measure of Everyday Life, for North Carolina Central University’s WNCU 90.7 FM.