The Other Side of Campus

Episode 15: "It's All About Communication" with Mike Mackert

March 12th, 2021

On this fun episode, Mike Mackert, the illustrious director of UT's Center for Health Communication, regales Dixie and Jen with his (very) non-linear personal journey to his current high-impact platform of evidence-based health communication strategies and and the amazing work of his team that truly spans the vast campus of The University of Texas at Austin. Thanks for joining us on The Other Side of Campus!


Michael Mackert, Ph.D., is the Director of The University of Texas at Austin Center for Health Communication and Professor in the Stan Richards School of Advertising & Public Relations and Department of Population Health. His research focuses primarily on the strategies that can be used in traditional and new digital media to provide effective health communication to low health literate audiences. He leads projects on a variety of public health issues – including tobacco cessation, opioid overdose prevention, and men's role in prenatal health – that generate evidence-based health communication strategies for our partners and contribute to health communication scholarship.

PRODUCER'S NOTE: This episode was recorded on January 15th, 2021 via Zoom.

Assistant Producers/Hosts: Dixie Stanforth, Jen Moon
(Intro theme features additional PTF fellows Patrick Davis, Keith Brown, David Vanden Bout
Edited by Liberal Arts Development Studio audio crew (special thanks to Jacob Weiss and Morgan Honaker)
Main Theme and original background music by Charlie Harper ( (Some additional background music used on this episode by Ketsa, Scott Holmes, and Blue Dot Sessions)
Produced by Michelle S. Daniel
Creator & Executive Producer: Mary C. Neuburger

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Podcast Notes plus Time Codes (prepared by Morgan Honaker):
00:00:00:00 - Introductions
00:01:14:18 - How did Mike end up moving to Austin from Michigan?
Jen, Dixie, and Mike talk about non-linear career paths and how they try to encourage students to explore their options while in school.
00:05:52:02 - How has Mike seen health communication working during the COVID-19 pandemic?
00:07:56:29 - How does Mike deal with the fact that communication can be difficult with COVID because there isn’t a lot of research about the virus and the guidelines for it change week to week?
00:09:25:12 - Does Mike have a favorite example of a strong public health campaign about COVID?
00:10:44:14 - What is the marketing takeaway from the current rush to get out messaging about COVID?
00:12:15:19 - What is Mike working on now in terms of his online courses and evidence-based health communications?
00:15:47:15 - What are some areas that Mike and his team are working on in transitioning from in-person to online courses?
00:16:59:08 - What are some of Mike’s main takeaways from teaching online and how does he think online courses can be more engaging?
00:19:11:23 - How is Mike prioritizing student-centered learning in asynchronous classes?
00:22:22:09 - How has Mike been able to preserve a sense of community among his students in his asynchronous classes?
00:23:57:03 - How has Mike seen the Provost Teaching Fellows change over the years since its founding?
00:26:40:21 - Mike, Dixie, and Jen discuss the benefits of talking to students and teachers across different disciplines.
00:31:29:00 - How would a student get started talking to peers in different disciplines?
00:34:22:21 - Sign off with Mike
00:35:12:13 - Breakdown with Dixie and Jen