UChicago announces recipients of Academic Communicators Network awards for 2023

ACN Excellence Awards honor faculty for communicating about their research and scholarship

The annual Academic Communicators Network Excellence Awards recognize the outstanding contribution of academics who use various communications methods to elevate the visibility of their work. Four UChicago faculty members have received awards this year: Assoc. Prof. Allison H. Bartlett for media relations, Prof. Adam Cifu for digital communications, Prof. John Mark Hansen for op-ed writing and Prof. Konstantin Sonin for best overall communicator.

They were selected by the awards committee (composed of the ACN Faculty Advisory Committee, the Office of the Provost and University Communications) from numerous entries submitted by faculty, staff and academic leadership.

The ACN supports University of Chicago faculty and other academics in sharing information about their field-defining research and impactful discoveries with a variety of external audiences.

Established in 2018 as a partnership between the Office of the Provost and University Communications, ACN offers a variety of programming throughout the year on topics including presentation delivery, media training, opinion writing and more. The program also hosts a media engagement platform as a resource for journalists interested in connecting with faculty experts. 

“People around the world seek out academic experts as trusted sources of credible information on many important topics,” said Paul M. Rand, vice president for communications. “The ACN Excellence Awards recognize UChicago scholars who are committed to sharing information about their research and scholarship with the public through a variety of communications platforms.”

Media relations award

University Communications fields more than 900 media requests through ACN each year. The media relations award recognizes academics who demonstrate leadership while working with online, broadcast and print news media to promote their research and scholarship.

Assoc. Prof. Allison H. Bartlett, an associate professor of pediatrics, has been a leading expert for UChicago Medicine during the COVID-19 pandemic. She garnered more than 250 earned media mentions during the 2021–2022 academic year in national outlets, including the Washington Post and ABC News, along with numerous Chicago-based media outlets directly reaching the communities served by the hospital. She collaborated with the Chicago Department of Public Health and other organizations on news conferences highlighting the importance of child vaccinations and has also been interviewed about RSV, the common cold and allergy season.

Op-ed writing award

The op-ed writing award honors academics who write insightful op-eds and have received recognition in noteworthy publications, sharing their research and scholarship with external audiences.

A leading scholar of American politics, Prof. John Mark Hansen is the Charles L. Hutchinson Distinguished Service Professor in Political Science and the College. He has written extensively on public opinion, public budgeting and politicians’ inferences from the outcomes of elections, including numerous op-eds in the Chicago Tribune.

Digital communications award

The digital communications award recognizes academics who used innovative ways to highlight their research and scholarship on digital channels.

A professor of medicine, Prof. Adam Cifu created S2D: The Symptom to Diagnosis podcast, which presents case-based discussions of signs, symptoms and diagnostic tests in an effort to teach clinical reasoning and evidence-based practice. The 40-episode series, co-hosted with Cifu’s UChicago colleague Prof. Scott Stern, brings their textbook "Symptom to Diagnosis: An Evidence-based Guide" to life with interesting cases, diagnostic frameworks, clinical pearls and banter. The 40-episode podcast series routinely entered the top 100 downloads for medical podcasts.

Best overall communicator award

The best overall communicator award honors an academic who excels in two or more of the other ACN award categories: media relations, op-ed writing and digital communications. 

A renowned economist and the John Dewey Distinguished Service Professor at the Harris School of Public Policy, Prof. Konstantin Sonin has been an influential voice in national and Russian media and across social media on Russian’s invasion of Ukraine. He has been featured in many top-tier national and international media outlets, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Time, NPR, Reuters and BBC News. Additionally, his Twitter account has provided ongoing commentary on the conflict and its consequences.

Join the ACN

All faculty, lecturers, postdoctoral researchers and other academic appointees are invited to join and participate in ACN. To learn more, visit the ACN website.