Barbara Jan Wilson

Executive Vice President & Vice President for Academic Affairs, U of I System

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Personal profile

Personal profile

Barbara J. Wilson (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison) is the Executive Vice President and Vice President for Academic Affairs for the University of Illinois System.  She is also a professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she served as Department Head from 2002 to 2009.  She also served as Executive Vice Provost and then as the Harry E. Preble Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, before being appointed Interim Chancellor from 2015-16.  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; third edition, 2014) 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. 

In 2008, Dr. Wilson 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. 

Research Interests

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

Office Address

377 Henry Administration Building
506 South Wright Street
Urbana, IL 61801

Office Phone


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