Donna Davis, School of Journalism and Communication

Donna Davis

Associate Professor
Director, Immersive Media Communication Master’s Program
Director, Strategic Communication Master’s Program
Director, Oregon Reality Lab (OR Lab)
Practice Areas: Web3, Online Communities, Virtual Environments, Digital Identity, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Health Communication, Media and Disabilities, Strategic Communication, Technology and Media

Faculty bio | 503-412-3658 | X / Twitter

Donna Davis is an expert in virtual reality (VR), digital embodiment, tech equity and inclusion, and digital social capital. She’s interested in the impact of virtual reality on both the promise and peril of technosolutionism (solving all problems with technology), recognizing both the isolating and connecting power of immersive environments. Davis’ research on embodied experience and identity among people with disabilities in virtual reality was funded through a grant from the National Science Foundation. She has also extensively studied people with Parkinson’s disease who find and build support in the virtual world. She is currently working on a piece that explores expectations of digital identity in virtual work cultures, and another about artificial intelligence bots in virtual environments. Davis can speak about the intersection of artificial intelligence with virtual reality and strategic communication. She recently spoke to the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association on the ethical use of AI and journalism and on a panel discussion with MuckRack in response to their recent publication, “The State of AI in PR in 2023.” She can also talk about virtual environments and emerging technologies and their impacts on marginalized and vulnerable communities, with a specific emphasis on access, diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Recent Media:
UO’s School of Journalism and Communication launches new master’s program in immersive media communication (University of Oregon, Oct. 31, 2023)
NIL, Social Media and Leveling the Playing Field (Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, Sept. 14, 2021)
Virtual reality could help put the empathy back in pandemic life (Around the O, May 13, 2021)
SOJC virtual reality lab helps people connect in an online world (Around the O, June 11, 2020)
Virtual world provides a real-life haven for the disabled (Los Angeles Times, Oct. 3, 2018)
Spending time in virtual worlds can make real lives better (Around the O, May 11, 2018)
First they got sick, then they moved into a virtual utopia (WIRED, Feb. 13, 2017)

Our Digital Selves: My Avatar is me [full feature film]
Profiles in Excellence: Donna Davis