NYU Steinhardt Remembers Chris Nystrom, Media Ecology Program Founder

Christine L. Nystrom, associate professor and a founder of Steinhardt’s program in media ecology died of cancer on December 22, 2010 at her home in Iowa City. She was 69.

In a 30-year career at NYU, Nystrom, earned a reputation as a perfectionist, a teacher who demanded the best from her students, pushing them toward greater academic achievement and winning their gratitude and respect in the process.

Nystrom was the first graduate of the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication‘s doctoral program, publishing a dissertation that argued for the inclusion of media ecology as a theoretical framework. In the Education Digest (April 2007), Nystrom described the field of media ecology as one that offerered “a move away from rigid, compartmentalized, uncoordinated specialization in scientific inquiry … and a movement toward increasing integration of both the physical and the social sciences.” Nystrom earned a BA from, Washington Square College, NYU (1962), an MA from Teachers College, Columbia University (1966), and a Ph. D. from the School of Education, NYU (1973).

“I credit Chris with helping me to improve my writing in very significant ways, and with teaching me how to be a scholar,” writes former student Lance Strate, who serves as a professor of communications and media studies at Fordham University. “She was in many ways an unsung hero of media ecology, dedicated to serving the needs of the field in many different ways. She was a true intellectual, a pure intellectual, but also a woman who had an off-beat sense of humor and imagination.”

A memorial service and celebration of Chris Nystrom’s life will be held January 17, at 11 a.m., at The Chapel at St. George’s Church at 7 Rutherford Place (E. 3rd Ave. between 16th & 17th Streets), lower Manhattan, New York.