generic subpage image

USC Aiken Directory


David Morris, PhD


Dr. David L. Morris II is an Assistant Professor in the Communication Department at UofSC Aiken. Dr. Morris’s research is at the intersection of Visual Communication, Science Communication and Technology. More specifically, Dr. Morris’s research explores the relationship between psychographics and climate change imagery using psychophysiological measurements, the use of which was the focus of his dissertation. With many peer-reviewed journal publications and dozens of papers presented at major conferences, he is making a significant impact on his field.

Originally from Ohio, Dr. Morris worked in the information technology field for a decade before pursuing graduate school and a career in academia. This background in information technology, as well as a passion for media, motivates his research through the use of new technological tools used in research and in the classroom. It has also resulted in Dr. Morris’s development of new software tools for data collection.

Dr. Morris has an undergraduate degree in Mass Communication with a concertation in Visual Communication from Wright State University and a master’s degree in Journalism with an emphasis in Visual Media from the University of Memphis. After completing his M.A. and earning such accolades as graduate student of year and presenting award winning research at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication annual conference, Dr. Morris stayed on as a visiting instructor, teaching a four-course load, until he started his Ph.D. program in Media Studies as Graduate Teaching Fellow at the University of Oregon in the fall of 2015. While attending the University of Oregon, Dr. Morris furthered his academic record through the production of more award-winning scholarship and pedagogical innovation. Upon the completion of his doctoral degree in Spring 2018, Dr. Morris took the position as an Assistant Professor at UofSC Aiken, where he has remained both a prolific scholar and a dedicated teacher, continuing to support students in and beyond the classroom at his new home university. Dr. Morris also holds the title of Esports Coordinator and Head Coach at UofSC Aiken. He is responsible for the Esports lab, located on the ground floor of the Pacers Commons, and is the faculty advisor for the Esports club on campus. In addition, he is head coach for the League of Legends and Overwatch collegiate teams at UofSC Aiken. These teams participate in the Peach Belt Conference annually. Dr. Morris is the faculty advisor for the Communication Department's Media Club. The Media Club is focused on giving students the opportunity to exercise their critical thinking skills while consuming and creating media with their peers.


Ph.D., Media Studies, University of Oregon

M.A., Journalism, University of Memphis

B.A., Mass Communication, Wright State University

Courses Taught

Comm A303 - Communication Law and Ethics

Comm A363 - Media Ethics

Comm A376 - Visual Communication I

Comm A399 - Esports Media Production (Independent Study)

Comm A476 - Visual Communication II

Comm A478 - Digital Storytelling

Comm A497 - Directed Capstone (WI)

Comm A499 - Service-Learning Capstone (WI)

Research Interests

Visual Communication, Technology, Media Psychology, Audience Analysis, Esports, Pop Culture

Journalism, Public Relations, Advertising

Science Communication, Climate Change

Selected Research & Professional Activity

Morris, D., II. (Director & Producer). (2021). UofSC Aiken Esports: A League of Legends Dynasty [Motion pic ture]. Aiken, SC: University of South Carolina Aiken.

Tefertiller, A., Maxwell, L., & Morris, D., II. (2020). Social media goes to the movies: Fear of missing out, social capital, and social motivations. Mass Communication and Society, 23(3), 378-399.

Morris, D., II. (2019, March). Purchasing Friends: Parasocial Interactions and Motivations for Twitch Audiences. Paper presented at The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Southeast Colloquium, Columbia, SC.

Haught, M., & Morris, D., II. (2018). Hubs for innovation: Examining the effects of consolidated news design on quality. Newspaper Research Journal, 39(2), 145-154.

Sheehan, K. B., Dahmen, N. S., & Morris, D., II. (2018). Fire, ice or drought? Picturing humanity in climate change imagery. Strategic Climate Change Communications: Effective Approaches to Fighting Climate Denial (pp.49-68). Wilmington, DE: Vernon Press.

Tefertiller, A., Maxwell, L., & Morris, D., II. (2018, August). In the Dark but Not Alone: The Fear of Missing Out, Social Capital, and Social Gratifications of Moviegoing. Paper presented at the annual national confer ence of The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, Washington, DC.

Haught, M.J. & Morris, D., II. (2019, August). Visualizing the Finish Line: Capstone Courses in Visual Communi’ cations Programs. Paper presented at the annual national conference of The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.