Ernest A. Sharpe Centennial Professor in Communication
Dr. Cunningham holds J.D. and M.B.A. degrees from universities in Brazil, and an M.B.A. and Ph.D. in Marketing from Michigan State University. She joined the Department of Advertising in 1974, after serving one year as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Marketing and two years at St. Edward's University as an Assistant Professor of Marketing and Acting Dean. Her publications include eight books, along with articles that have appeared in Journal of Marketing, Journal of Retailing, Journal of Advertising, Journal of Advertising Research, Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Business Research, Public Opinion Quarterly, Journalism Quarterly, and Journal of Consumer Research, among others. Dr. Cunningham was Chair of the Department of Advertising from 1978 to 1985. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees or Board of Directors for numerous organizations, and was recently appointed to the Sunset Commission for the State of Texas.
During the early years in my career, I have consulted for several small and medium sized businesses, I am now spending most of my consulting time working as an expert witness in regional and federal cases involving advertising. I have worked with several major firms, and will continue to do so in the near future.
In addition, some of my consulting activities will focus on new business ventures and the use of new media for businesses. This allows me to introduce students to several project which may give them future job opportunities. I will focus on business startups, and international businesses, as I have expertise on these two areas.
Areas of Expertise
My major expertise is in the area of legal and ethical aspects of advertising and promotional communications. In addition, I am particularly interested in the management of the communications effort, which includes media effectiveness and message appeals. I expect to continue to follow and research the aspects of international communications, dealing particularly with standardized versus non-standardized messages. I am a qualified source in the study of the effects of integrated communications on audiences in less developed countries, especially the Latin American countries. Political advertising is another area in which I have conducted research. I am particularly interested in the effect of political advertising on youths and minorities
Research and Other Interests
Past research has focused on multicultural aspects of advertising, the legal problems of advertising and political advertising. Future and ongoing reserach is concerned with the aspects of advertising effectiveness, the importance of integrated communications versus advertising through traditional media, and the effectiveness of warnings in advertising.
While research is still an important activity, its contents are related to the ongoing writing of textbooks and to my consulting activities. It is important to explore the future world of advertising, even though the environment for data collection is still imperfect and sketchly defined. My future efforts will concentrate on that task.
The importance of activities outside one's professional expertise is that they open new horizons for study and research. I am presently a member of several national and regional non-profit boards. This allows me to explore ways in which my professional expertise can aid in the decision-making process of management for such organizations.
I have also been fortunate in having been appointed to commissions and committees related to state and regional activities of government and non-profits. This has enlarged my research horizons and educated me to the importance of media regulation to its effectiveness.
In addition, I am interested in continuing to serve my college and my university in its attempts to become a global force in communications. The "convenios' in process and those already established between our college and other major universities, will be the vehicle to open our students and faculty horizons for future research and teaching. New technology in distance learning will allow us to exchange knowledge and resources around the world in this ever more complex communications environment. I feel privileged to have an opportunity to contribute to this process.