2018 Iowa Women's Hall of Fame Honoree: Dianne G. Bystrom, PhD
“Dianne’s willingness to share her knowledge, give her time, and to help promote an engaged, informed public leads to justice, fairness, and equal opportunity for women. The dedication and actions that Dianne lives and breathes daily improve our local and national political arena and provide guidance to hundreds of women seeking their rightful place in the American political landscape.”
--Written by Dr. Deborah Ann Turner, Omaha, NE in a letter of support
Dr. Dianne Bystrom served as the director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics at Iowa State University since 1996 and will retire in August 2018. She established Iowa State’s interdisciplinary undergraduate Leadership Studies Program; taught courses on leadership, women and politics, and political campaigns; and speaks frequently to university and community organizations throughout the state and nation on women’s leadership and political status.
A frequent commentator about political and women’s issues for state, national and international media, her research interests have focused on (1) the styles and strategies used by female and male political candidates in their television advertising, websites and social media and (2) the coverage of women candidates and political leaders by the media.
Bystrom is a contributor, co-author or co-editor of 25 books – including “An Unprecedented Election: Media, Communication and the Electorate in the 2016 Campaign” (2018); "Gender and Elections: Shaping the Future of American Politics" (2018, 2014, 2009 and 2006); "The Handbook of Political Advertising" (2017); "Media Disparity: A Gender Battleground" (2013); "Women & Executive Office: Pathways and Performance" (2013); "Cracking the Highest Glass Ceiling: A Global Comparison of Women's Campaigns for Executive Office" (2010); "Legislative Women: Getting Elected, Getting Ahead" (2008); "Gender and Candidate Communication" (2004); and "Anticipating Madam President" (2003) – and has written journal articles on women and politics, youth voters and the Iowa caucus.
Her work at Iowa State was recognized with the 2016 Martin Luther King Jr. Advancing One Community Faculty/Staff Award, the 2015 Faculty/Staff Inspiration Award from the Alumni Association, and the 2014 Institutional Service Award from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. She was the first recipient of the Iowa Network for Women in Higher Education's Distinguished Higher Education Leadership Award in April 2016. In August 2017, Bystrom was honored as one of seven Women of Influence by the Des Moines Business Record.
Before joining Iowa State, Bystrom worked for 17 years at the University of Oklahoma in public relations, higher education administration and political communication. She earned a B.A. in journalism in 1975 from Kearney (NE) State College and an M.A. in journalism and mass communication in 1982 and a Ph.D. in communication in 1995 from the University of Oklahoma.
After retirement, Bystrom will reside with her husband, Keith, at their lake house south of Plattsmouth, NE. She plans to continue her research on women and politics and work on some consulting projects. The Bystroms have two children, Chris, an entrepreneur in New York City, and Beth, a veterinarian in Avon Lake, OH.