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College of Information and Communications

Faculty and Staff

Brett W. Robertson, Ph.D.

Title: Assistant Professor
Department: School of Journalism and Mass Communications
College of Information and Communications
Phone: 803-777-6783
Office: School of Journalism and Mass Communications
800 Sumter Street, Room 123
Columbia, SC  29208
LinkedIn: My LinkedIn profile
Resources: Google Scholar
Personal Website
Brett Robertson


B.A., Communication Studies, Chapman University
M.A., Communication Studies, California State University, Fullerton
Ph.D., Organizational Communication and Technology, The University of Texas at Austin


Brett Robertson studies communication technology use in organizational, risk, and mass communication contexts. His research projects explore how individuals use social media and mobile devices in the workplace and disaster-related contexts. Much of his recent focus has been on disaster preparedness and prevention communication — and the barriers that vulnerable and marginalized populations face during natural disasters. His work explores how emerging technologies can mediate these barriers.


After working in public affairs and healthcare, Robertson believes finding the relevancy of a topic to students’ lives is one key to engagement. To foster engagement, he uses experiential learning pedagogical methods to promote an active and involved classroom. Experiential learning provides students with opportunities to join theory and practice, to learn in new applied contexts and settings, and to interact with others unlike themselves.


Top Paper Award, 2024, International Communication Association (ICA) Environmental Communication Division

Outstanding Tenure-Track Instructor, 2023, National Communication Association (NCA) Organizational Communication Division

Winner of the 2021 National Communication Association (ICA) Communication and Aging Division Outstanding Dissertation Award

Winner of the 2021 International Communication Association (ICA) W. Charles Redding Outstanding Dissertation Award in Organizational Communication

Recent Publications

Smith, W. R., Robertson, B. W., Stephens, K. K., & Murthy, D. (2021). A different type of disaster response digital volunteer: Looking behind the scenes to reveal coordinating actions of disaster knowledge workers. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, 29(2), 116-130.

Robertson, B. W., Johnson, M., Murthy, D., Smith, W. R., & Stephens, K. K. (2019). Using a combination of human insights and ‘deep learning’ for real-time disaster communication. Progress in Disaster Science, 2, 1-11.

Lindstadt, C. J., Glowacki, E. M., Robertson, B. W., Wilcox, G. B., & Bernhardt, J. M. (2020). Reactions to a campus emergency: A text-mining analysis. Qualitative Research Reports in Communication. Advanced online publication. 

Stephens, K. K., & Robertson, B. W., & Murthy, D. (2020). Throw me a lifeline: Articulating mobile social network dispersion and the social construction of risk in rescue communication. Mobile Media & Communication, 8(2), 149-169.

Johnson, M., Murthy, D., Robertson, B. W., Smith, W. R., & Stephens, K. K. (2020). DisasterNet: Evaluating the performance of transfer learning to classify hurricane-related images posted on Twitter. In T. Bui (Ed.), Proceedings of the 53rd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS) Conference. 

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.