Take Edna F. Einsiedel by the numbers, and one can see the impact she’s had on academia.
She has published nearly 70 journal articles, contributed to more than 30 books and taught thousands of students. Her curiosity and love of learning have led her to more than 40 countries, where she’s researched topics like communication, pornography, technology and the environment.
But Einsiedel has never allowed her work in academia to exist in a vacuum. First as a student and later as a journalist, researcher and professor, she has prioritized bridging gaps between university and town, government and citizen, and teacher and student.
By the time Einsiedel earned her doctorate from IU in 1975, she had already established her philosophy about academic writing – that it, like journalism, should be a communicative act.
“A lot of it had to do with being in journalism school, and that kind of training and background emphasized to me the importance of being clear and being accessible to readers,” Einsiedel said. “That training stuck with me.”
Einsiedel, who has a B.S. in zoology from the University of the Philippines and a master’s in political science from California State University, Chico, is the author of an inventive 1974 doctoral dissertation on attitudinal bias in journalistic interviewing, which was praised by IU professors for its accessible, easy-to-read style.
Upon graduating from IU, Einsiedel began to teach journalism as an assistant professor at Kent State University. At the same time, she took an evening job at the Kent Record-Courier in an effort to gain more practical journalism experience and make her skills useful in the community.
“I was in a journalism program, and a lot of the emphasis was on practical training,” Einsiedel recalled. “I felt my personal training wasn’t fully rounded. That was another way of getting some hands-on experience.”
In 1978, Einsiedel took an associate professorship at the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. There, she studied the impacts of agenda-setting in the media. She also studied pornography, a research interest that developed out of similar studies as a graduate student at IU. Her work in this field led to her appointment to the U.S. Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography, commonly known as the Meese Commission, during her last two years at Syracuse.
It was controversial work, she recalled, and gave her a taste of the issues raised by contentious science.
During this period, Einsiedel still fulfilled her faculty duties at Syracuse. In 1985, she was promoted to full professor. Around that time, she moved to the University of Calgary, where she has taught for 30 years, earning the distinguished rank of university professor.
There, she has studied the communication of science, technology and environmental and climate change, and focused on how publics can be more effectively engaged and participate in science and technology issues.
Today, Einsiedel credits her students with helping her maintain her curiosity and fervor for learning and research.
“My students have inspired me,” she said. “They push me to ask a wider variety of questions. I learn a lot from my students and I hope they learn just as much from me.”