University of Vermont

Community Development and Applied Economics at the University of Vermont

Community Development and Applied Economics

Sarah Heiss

sarah heiss

Sarah Heiss, PhD Assistant Professor

  • PhD 2011 Ohio University, School of Communication Studies
  • MA 2008 Ohio University, School of Communication Studies
  • BA 2006 Hiram College, Department of Communication
Areas of Expertise:

public communication, health communication, strategic
communication, food media, food politics

View/Download CV (PDF)
Contact Information
Office: 208F Morrill Hall
Phone: 802.656.0036



Research Philosophy

My research program stems from the belief that the areas of health and communication are interconnected and can be better understood using an interdisciplinary approach.

Specifically, I am a health communication scholar interested in the context of food. I am dedicated to exploring how communication practices shape and are shaped by how we define, make sense of, and manage the relationships among health and food. I am comfortable using rhetorical, quantitative, and qualitative methodologies to investigate these topics.

My current projects examine public understandings of health risks within the contexts of raw milk, artesian cheese, and sweeteners. I am also using organizational theories to explore the role of the food industry in the field of dietetics and the communication practices that characterize farm to institute supply chains.

Recent Publications

Academic Journal Articles
  • Heiss, S. N. (2011). 'Healthy' discussions about risk: The Corn Refiners Association's strategic negotiation of authority in the debate over high fructose corn syrup. Public Understanding of Science. doi: 10.1177/0963662511402281
  • Heiss, S. N. (2011). Locating the bodies of women and disability in definitions of beauty: An analysis of Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty. Journal of Disabilities Studies, 31(1),
  • Ledbetter, A., Heiss, S. N., Sibal, K., Lev, E., Battle-Fisher, M., & Shubert, N. (2010). Invasions of privacy: An analysis of college students’ reported invasions of privacy in face to face and mediated contexts. Communication Studies, 61(2), 184-204. doi: 10.1080/10510971003603960
  • Quick, B. L. & Heiss, S. N. (2009). An empirical investigation of value-, impression-, and outcome relevant involvement on attitudes and purchase intentions of foods high in fiber. Communication Studies, 60(3), 253-267. doi: 10.1080/10510970902956008
  • Teaching Philosophy

    As the instructor, my role is to facilitate points of connections in the classroom by (1) engaging diverse interests, (2) cultivating student efficacy, and (3) honoring the process of becoming. I ask my students to consider communication theories within practical applications that could also be categorized as public health, journalism, consumer studies, marketing, or professional development. I also challenge my students to develop their food, health, and communication competencies by critically producing, analyzing, and consuming various media.

    Courses Taught

    CDAE 024: Foundations of Public Communication
    CDAE 195: Food and the Media
    CDAE 224: Public Communication Capstone
    CDAE 295/395: Diffusion and Public Communication

    Traditional Courses

    CDAE 024: Foundations of Public Communication
    CDAE 195/295: Food, Health, and the Media
    CDAE 195/295: Persuasion for Public Communication
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