Valenti Announces Multiple Faculty Promotions Effective Fall 2020

Ni, Harlow and Fix recognized for years of research, teaching and service

Photograph of Dr. Summer Harlow giving her talk on the protest paradigm at M.D. Anderson Library.
From left to right: Dr. Lan Ni, Dr. Summer Harlow and Julie Fix, APR, Fellow, PRSA

Effective Sept 1., three professors at the Valenti School of Communication have been promoted in time for the new semester, marking a proud moment for the Valenti community. Dr. Lan Ni, Dr. Summer Harlow and Julie Fix, APR, Fellow, PRSA have tirelessly committed their careers to educating the next generation of storytellers both in the classroom and beyond. Through their work, they have empowered their students, their colleagues and members of the greater community. 

Promotions are among the highest standards and honors given to professors in a Tier 1 institution like University of Houston,” said Dr. Jennifer Vardeman, interim director of the Valenti School of Communication. 

These three professors are valued members of Valenti who have worked extremely hard for years to uphold the academic standards of excellence UH and its students require and deserve.”

Dr. Lan Ni, whose promotion to full professor makes her among the most senior level of faculty at the University of Houston, has an international reputation as an expert in the field of public relations. She has been awarded multiple internal and external research grants, as well as published numerous peer-reviewed articles in major communication and public relations journals. 

Ni also boasts a record of strong service and high student evaluations. In 2017, she led a team of students to create the award-winning Me to We campaign for the Peer to Peer: Challenging Extremism social media competition to reshape the narrative around Muslim immigration in America. 

Over the next year, she is working on an interdisciplinary team of researchers to build a mobile, crowdsourced COVID-19 symptom map. The project recently secured a $200,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.

Similarly, Dr. Summer Harlow is no stranger to research accolades. Her promotion from assistant professor  to associate professor with tenure comes on the heels of an early career marked by high-quality, socially impactful journalism research. 

Harlow is a former Inter-American Foundation Grassroots Development Fellow, and her dissertation won the Nafziger-White-Salwen Dissertation Award for best dissertation in the field from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. She is the author of Liberation Technology in El Salvador: Re-appropriating Social Media among Alternative Media Projects

Harlow’s scholarly work has received numerous recognitions and has been published in top peer-reviewed journals. Her recent research published in Journal of Journalism Studies examined media coverage of protests worldwide and shed light on how journalists’ framing of protests altered the public’s perception of their legitimacy. 

Julie Fix also has had a strong record of achievements and influence throughout her career. Her promotion from instructional assistant professor to associate instructional professor comes after demonstrating excellent teaching and unparalleled service to the Valenti School and the University of Houston for over 16 years. 

Fix also serves as the director of undergraduate studies at the Valenti School of Communication. In addition, she is the president and principal of Fix & Associates, Inc. Public Relations, providing consulting, planning and training in a variety of areas. 

Fix is the faculty advisor to the University of Houston chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSA). She regularly contributes to industry communication outlets, such as PRSA’s monthly newsletter, Strategies and Tactics, which has a circulation of over 44,000. 

These promotions further demonstrate the commitment that Valenti faculty have towards producing cutting-edge research, contributing to the body of knowledge in their field, and equipping students for successful careers.