A former science writer, Dunwoody earned the BA in journalism at Indiana University in 1969, the MA in mass communication from Temple University in 1975, and the Ph.D. in mass communication from Indiana University in 1978. Before joining the UW-Madison faculty in 1981, she was on the faculty of the Ohio State University School of Journalism.
Sharon Dunwoody is Evjue-Bascom Professor Emerita in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has taught science journalism and science communication in the school for more than 30 years. As a scholar, she focuses on the construction of media science messages and on how those messages are employed by individuals in service to learning and acting. She is the author/coauthor of numerous publications and book chapters, as well as several books.
In recognition of this work, Dunwoody has served as a Fulbright Distinguished Lecturer in Brazil, as a visiting journalism fellow at Deakin University in Australia, and as Donnier Guest Professor at Stockholm University. In 2011, she received the Paul J. Deutschmann Award from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication in recognition of her research career. And in 2013, she was the recipient of the Hilldale Award at the University of Wisconson-Madison, which recognizes research, teaching and service.Dunwoody is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Midwest Association for Public Opinion Research, and the Society for Risk Analysis. She has served twice as head of the section on General Interest in Science and Technology of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and is former president of both the Midwest Association for Public Opinion Research and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.