SUU Introduces State-of-the-Art Social Brand and Visual Communication Research Labs

Published: April 01, 2024 | Author: Clare-Estelle Perkins | Read Time: 2 minutes

Woman in green room testing VR headsetSouthern Utah University is pleased to announce the launch of the Social Brand and Visual Communication Research Labs. Equipped with cutting-edge technology and research resources, these labs offer hands-on experience in social media planning, website development, VR environment design, eye-tracking research, usability testing and strategic communication. Open to current students, alumni, and local businesses, the lab provides valuable services to the community.

The labs’ inception stemmed from a grant application written by communication professors Matt Barton and Lijie Zhou, in collaboration with Jean Boreen, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Securing funding from the Utah System of Higher Education, the grant application was driven by Zhou's expertise in eye-tracking technology, positioning SUU as a leader in this field nationally.

"We recognized the potential of this technology and aimed to offer our students a unique opportunity for practical experience," said Barton. "Additionally, we sought to address the needs of local businesses grappling with effective website development and social media strategies."

The Social Brand lab's primary objective is to bridge the gap between academic knowledge and its practical application by providing students with paid positions to collaborate with local businesses on their social media strategies, website redesigns and content creation. This hands-on approach benefits students while offering valuable services to the community.

"Through practical experience, we aim to bolster our students' resumes and equip them with the necessary skills for success in the communication field," explained Barton. "We want to highlight the versatility of a communication major and emphasize the role of research in market activities."

Equipped with state-of-the-art facilities including eye-tracking technology and virtual reality research tools, the Visual Communication Research lab enables users to conduct research on consumer behavior and explore innovative engagement methods. Currently accessible to students, communication classes provide the primary pathway for involvement, with opportunities for participation in research studies led by Dr. Zhou.

"We are immensely grateful for the administration's support," Barton expressed. "Their trust in us and the provision of dedicated space underscore their commitment to our students' growth and success."

The Social Brand & Visual Communication Research Labs offer students dynamic learning opportunities, equipping them for prosperous careers in communication. Located in the America First Events Center, The Social Brand Lab is in 207B & the Visual Comm Research Lab is in 219. The labs are open and operational.

Tags: College of Humanities and Social Sciences Communication CurStu Campus Resources Community

Contact Information:

Nikki Koontz