Barbara Jan Wilson

Executive Vice President &, Vice President for Academic Affairs of Communication

  • Address: Office of the Chancellor Swanlund Administration Building 601 E John M/C 304 Champaign, IL 61820
  • Telephone: (217)333-6290


Barbara J. Wilson (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison) is the Interim Chancellor, the Harry E. Preble Dean of LAS, and the Kathryn Lee Baynes Dallenbach Professor of the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  Before joining the University of Illinois in 2000, she was on the faculty at the University of California, Santa Barbara for 12 years. Her areas of expertise include the social and psychological effects of the media, particularly on youth.  She is co-author of Children, Adolescents, and the Media (Sage Publications, 2002; second edition, 2009) and three book volumes of the National Television Violence Study (Sage Publications, 1997-1998).  She also co-edited the Handbook of Children, Media, and Development (Wiley-Blackwell, 2008), and has published dozens of scholarly articles and chapters on media effects and their implications for media policy.  Recent projects focus on preschoolers’ attachment to media characters, the amount and quality of educational television programming for children, and children’s attraction to media violence. 

Professor Wilson currently serves on the editorial boards of four academic journals, including Media Pscyhology and the Journal of Media and Children.  In 2008, she was elected as Fellow of the International Communication Association.  She has served as a research consultant for Nickelodeon, the National Association of Television Program Executives, Discovery Channel Pictures, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Specializations / Research Interest(s)

  • Social and Psychological Effects of the Media
  • Developmental Differences in Children's Responses to the Media
  • Children's Emotional and Cognitive Processing of Media Messages
  • Youth and Media Policy


  • B.A. 1979 University of Wisconsin Madison
  • M.A. 1982 University of Wisconsin Madison
  • Ph.D. 1985 University of Wisconsin Madison



  • Strasburger, Victor C., Barbara J. Wilson, and Amy Jordan. Children, adolescents, and the media . Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 2009.

Publication Photo

Book Contributions

  • Wilson, Barbara J., and Kristin L. Drogos. "Children and adolescents: Distinctive audiences of media content." Handbook of media effects . Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 2009. 469-485.

Journal Articles

  • Martins, Nicole, and Barbara J. Wilson. "Parental communication about kidnapping stories in the news. ." Journal of Children and Media 5 (2011): 132-146.
  • Martins, Nicole. "Social aggression on television and its relationship to children’s aggression in the classroom." Human Communication Research. (2011):
  • "Media and children’s aggression, fear, and altruism." The Future of Children 18.1 (2008): 87-118.