Lee Humphreys

Lee Humphreys

Associate Professor

305 Kennedy Hall
(607) 255-2599

Dr. Lee Humphreys studies the social uses and perceived effects of communication technology. Her research has explored mobile phone use in public spaces, emerging norms on mobile social networks, and the privacy and surveillance implications of location-based services. Her recent scholarship tries to historicize social media into a broader context of communication practices. Often using qualitative field methods, she focuses on how people integrate communication technology in their everyday lives in order to facilitate identity management and social interaction. She received her BS in Communication from Cornell University and received her MA and PhD from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.

Research Focus

My principle area of research explores the social uses and perceived effects of communication technology. I study how people use new communication technology. I am interested in the ways in which people integrate and make meaning of new media in their everyday lives. My research fits into the broader sociology of media tradition within the field of communication, where scholars seek to understand how media are integrated into and change the structures, institutions, and norms that organize society. While this has often been applied to political communication or journalism, I apply these questions to new communication technology. More specifically, my research explores the role of mobile communication technology. To understand the impact and role of this technology in the world, there are three main themes to my research program: 1) integration of mobile media into everyday life, 2) historicizing mobile media, and 3) mobile media and privacy.

Outreach and Extension Focus

As a member of the Dept. of Communication's Outreach committee, I work closely with the Alumni Advisory Board in order to seek real-world and industry feedback on such things as student support, programmatic direction, connections for research, placement of graduates, and department visibility. I also present at various Cornell Coopertative Extension events and programs about the role of social media in outreach efforts.

Teaching Focus

I currently teach undergraduate courses on media communication (Comm 2200), new media society (Comm 3200), and mobile communication in public life (Comm 4650), and I teach graduate courses on qualitative research methods (Comm 6830) and the sociology of media (Comm 7800). As a teacher, I try to help students find personal meaning and value in the course material. Whenever I engage with students, I strive to create a respectful atmosphere where students can feel comfortable to express their ideas. Only in an open environment which values diversity of thought can people truly learn and develop. I also believe that a great way to teach with students is to involve them in research. I try to incorporate independent research projects in my courses, and I also work extensively with undergraduate and graduate research assistants on all of my research projects. This provides them an important hands-on learning experience and has been incredibly rewarding for me as a teacher.