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Sara Steffes HansenSara Steffes Hansen, Ph.D., Associate Dean, Social Science

Office: Sage 3489 / Swart 128
Phone: (920) 424- 0389 (COLS Dean’s Office)



Sara Steffes Hansen is associate dean of the social sciences division in the College of Letters and Science and professor in strategic communication for the Department of Journalism. She earned her Ph.D. in mass communication at UW Madison. She holds a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) from the University of Colorado-Denver and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from UW Eau Claire.

Hansen’s research has explored brand and strategic communication in interactive media related to videogames, consumer behavior, political image-making and activism. Her research has appeared in national publications, including the Journal of Marketing Communications, Journal of Interactive Advertising, Journal of Marketing Management, Howard Journal of Communications, Public Relations Review and Public Relations Journal. She has presented at national conferences, including the International Communication Association, American Academy of Advertising, Public Relations Society of America International Conference and Association of Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

Hansen brings 15 years of professional experience to her research and teaching. Her career includes positions as a director, manager and consultant in strategic communication, largely with high-tech and Fortune 500 companies. For several years, she worked in the Denver area as a marketing consultant for J.D. Edwards (now Oracle Corp.), Director of Marketing and Corporate Communications at CIBER, Inc., and Media Relations Manager for Kinder Morgan, Inc. Locally, she worked as a consultant and Director of Marketing for an IT services company, Oracular. She started her career as a reporter and state news editor for the Marshfield New-Herald in Marshfield, Wis. and as an account executive for a Denver-based financial public relations firm.

Hansen encourages inclusivity and diversity with a welcoming approach in learning experiences, incorporating academic theory and industry best practices. She values teaching and mentoring students in advertising, public relations and multimedia journalism toward dynamic careers. She has advised advertising campaigns students in successful regional placements through the American Advertising Federation. She has led public relations students as well, receiving the national Public Relations Student Society of America Teahan Faculty Adviser Award in 2016. Hansen also received the Edward M. Penson Faculty Award in 2020 from UW Oshkosh in recognition of significant contributions to the College of Letters and Science and the university.

Hansen primarily teaches courses in advertising and public relations. Her course list includes Advertising Media; Application of New & Emerging Media; and Strategic Campaigns in Advertising. She also has taught Introduction to Media; Principles of Public Relations; Principles of Advertising; Research in Strategic Communication; Planning and Management Case Studies in Public Relations; Ad Copy, Layout and Production; and Media Organization and Management.