Deb Morrison is the Carolyn Silva Chambers Distinguished Professor of Advertising and director of the School of Journalism and Communication’s advertising program, where she teaches conceptual and strategic thinking, creativity and content, portfolio classes, and Oregon’s Creative Strategist course. She believes strong university programs should uphold the promise of developing intellect and talent for the idea industry and build strong, responsible brands through compelling creative work. She consults regularly on creative talent development strategies for agencies and the profession. Her books include The Creative Process Illustrated: How Advertising’s Big Ideas are Born (2010) with Glenn Griffin and Idea Industry: How to Crack the Advertising Career Code with Brett Robbs (2009). Brave Work on the Age of Climate Change: A Creative's Guide to Advertising and Brand Messages in Complicated Times will be published in 2021.
Morrison leverages the conceptual and critical skills of the idea industry to work on addressing social and cultural issues. She and three SOJC journalism faculty members are the founders of Science & Memory, an experiential learning platform for stories of change around the complex issues of environment and climate change. The project has been awarded the University of Oregon Innovation and Impact Research Award in 2015, as well as a shortlisted film at New York's One Film Festival and multiple national Hearst and One Show creative awards. Morrison was named a 2015 Fellow of the Agora Journalism Center to focus on building climate change awareness and community activism in the advertising industry.
Morrison is the 2018 American Advertising Academy Sandage Award for Distinguished Teaching, the 2015 winner of the AEJMC Distinguished Teaching Award and a two-time winner of the SOJC Marshall Award for Innovative Teaching (2008 and 2009). She was named a Grandmaster of The Art Directors Club in New York in 2009 and served on the board of The One Club for Creativity—the first educator to serve on that professional board—for two terms between 2004 and 2009. She’s spoken at SXSW, HOW Design Conference, Google, 72U, TedX UOregon, and various professional venues focused on creativity and talent. She has served on international juries for the Art Directors Club as well as regional advertising awards shows for the Addys. Previously, she was director of Texas Creative at The University of Texas at Austin Department of Advertising and a member of that faculty.
Morrison is active in allyship and action work to support diversity in the advertising industry and at the University. More, she believes in the power of building community to foster true inclusion and space for students to thrive. In leading students and faculty in the SOJC Advertising program, she emphasizes the power of what can be accomplished to change the world.
in the past few years, Morrison has leveraged her understanding of creativity to address the climate emergency and climate justice. She has spoken at venues in Sweden, Ghana, New York, the United Nations, and at SXSW about the responsibility of the advertising industry to use its formidable power to address climate issues. Her book, Brave Work in the Age of Climate Change, will be published in 2021. She has completed the Climate Reality Leadership Training founded and directed by former Vice-President Al Gore. She believes the creative industry possesses the critical, conceptual, and creative skills needed to bring awareness and action to this issue, thereby resolving that creativity can save the world.
- PhD, University of Texas at Austin
- MA, University of Texas at Austin
- BJ, Sam Houston State University
- The Creative Strategist
- Portfolio Development
- Green Brand Strategy
- NYC Experience
- Science & Memory
Morrison’s research interests include the creative process in creative professionals, creative organizations, teamsmanship, and creative training grounds in the advertising industry. Her most recent work focuses on the intersection of creative professionalism and the climate emergency.
Areas of Expertise
- Advertising creativity
- Brand development
- Creativity and creative process
- Advertising as catalyst for change
- Climate communication strategies