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AD+PR Assistant Professor Dan Hiaeshutter-Rice Explores Intersection of Advertising and Politics

AD+PR Assistant Professor Dan Hiaeshutter-Rice Explores Intersection of Advertising and Politics

By: Hailey Kenward

Dan Hiaeshutter-Rice views AD+PR through a different lens.

He’s not your typical advertising assistant professor. Not only is he covered in tattoos, but his background is in public policy, not advertising.

After having earned his Bachelor of Arts in political science with a concentration in public policy from Michigan State University, Hiaeshutter-Rice attended the University of Michigan for his Master of Public Policy and Doctor of Philosophy in Communication Studies.

Image of hands holding coffee
Hiaeshutter-Rice studies how things like coffee have become politicized.

“Working in this department at MSU, having not come from an AD+PR background has really opened my eyes to the intersection of advertising agencies and political campaigns,” said Hiaeshutter-Rice. “Spending time in Chicago with my fellow faculty two summers ago, allowed me to see the way that advertising and PR agencies run. Through that experience I noticed that campaign work is essentially a large-scale public relations and advertising function.”

Hiaeshutter-Rice has used his unique outlook to complete research into the way historically non-politicized things like coffee orders and the type of beer someone drinks have become politicized and stereotyped to fit political party lines. Many of these stereotypes are byproducts of the advertising industry and marketing functions.

To assist him in his research, he taught himself the web-coding language, Python. Hiaeshutter-Rice says he uses Python to run analyses, do math and scrape websites, which involves pulling large-scale data from websites that fits the guidelines inputted in the program.

“Something that really interests me is information biases: both in the way that is it created and in the way that people consume it,” said Hiaeshutter-Rice. “I am currently working on an analysis using Python to pull information from Spotify about the most popular songs each week in the larger cities and the themes within the lyrics.”

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Hiaeshutter-Rice uses Python in his teaching as well, in both ADV 492 and ADV 892. He also teaches digital analytics, ADV 442.

In addition to research and teaching, Hiaeshutter-Rice uses his political background to advocate for faculty and students as a representative for MSU’s Faculty Senate. Faculty Senate is a deliberative non-policy-making organization advising the board of regents and the president of the university. It also acts as a body of faculty governing the faculty.

“There are committees you serve on; one I personally was on is the tenure board. We advocated for a one-year expansion on the faculty’s tenure boards during the COVID-19 pandemic,“ said Hiaeshutter-Rice. “I am grateful to have the opportunity to provide the board with advice on issues as important as tenure.”

Learn more about Hiaeshutter-Rice and his research online,