Faculty Biography

Dr. Elizabeth Burch

Elizabeth Burch, Fulbright Scholar (Kingston, Jamaica, 2006), Writer and Documentary Filmmaker, is a tenured full professor in COMS. She earned her Ph.D. in Mass Media from Michigan State University, M.A. in Broadcast Electronic Arts from SF State, and B.A. in Music from Cal State East Bay. Before joining COMS, she worked in corporate communications for PG&E and United Airlines, then broadcast journalism for News Travel Network. Burch served as chair of COMS from 2008-13. She was also the department’s Internship Supervisor. She has taught numerous courses in the program including Media Ethics & Law, Health, Science & Environmental Journalism, International Communications, and Video Production. Dr. Burch is certified in Video Production and Editing for iPhone by the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

Her research, which focuses on the media and environmental issues in the developing world, is published in Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Media, Culture and Society, and Journal of Film and Video, among others. Her work has appeared in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat and KQED Public Television. She has travelled the world working as a freelance documentary filmmaker and has filmed programs on Nepal, India and the Middle East. On her recent sabbatical, she collected data for her new study on social media and climate change refugees by conducting interviews during the height of cyclone season in the remote South Pacific island nation of Tuvalu.

Burch grew up in New York City’s Greenwich Village where she developed street smarts and a great passion for nature. She loves to teach, write, hike, swim, study languages, and play music with friends and family. She also loves to joke around with her students.