Shelia R. Cotten

Shelia R. Cotten
  • MSU Foundation Professor
  • Media and Information


Shelia R. Cotten, Professor in the Department of Media and Information in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, is the director of the Sparrow/MSU Center for Innovation and Research, and former director of Trifecta. Her research focuses on technology use across the life course, and the social, educational, and health impacts of that use. She conducts large-scale community based intervention studies designed to use technology to enhance quality of life.

Cotten earned her bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Wake Forest University, followed by graduate work, including a PhD in Sociology, at North Carolina State University, and a post-doctoral fellowship at Boston University School of Public Health in Boston, MA, and the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital in Bedford, MA. Prior to joining MSU, Cotten was a Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Alabama, Birmingham.

Her work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. Cotten is a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America. She is the past Chair of the Communication and Information Technologies Section of the American Sociological Association (CITASA) and the 2013 recipient of the Public Sociology Award from the CITASA section of the American Sociological Association. She is also co-editor of the Emerald Series in Media and Communications.