UHV faculty member to present award-winning research during virtual lecture

Mark Ward Sr., a University of Houston-Victoria associate professor of communication, will be the featured presenter during the annual Digital Religion Research Award Lecture on Nov. 4 after winning the 2020 Digital Religion Research Award earlier this year.

Mark Ward

The free, virtual lecture, presented by the Network for New Media, Religion and Digital Culture Studies, is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. through the webinar platform Demio. Ward will give a webinar about his award-winning article titled “Digital Religion and Media Economics: Concentration and Convergence in the Electronic Church.” The event is open to the public.

“We are excited that the public will be able to learn more about Dr. Ward’s research into religious culture and community during this lecture,” said Beverly Tomek, interim dean of the UHV School of Arts & Sciences. “He continues to provide new insight into digital religion, and we are proud to know his work on the topic will be shared around the world.”

Beverly Tomek

Ward has received several national awards for his research, including awards from the Religious Communication Association and the National Communication Association. He also has published several books, including the two-volume series “The Electronic Church in the Digital Age: Cultural Impacts of Evangelical Mass Media” and “The Lord’s Radio: Gospel Music Broadcasting and Making of Evangelical Culture, 1920-1960.”

People have joined online religious communities for years, but his research is looking at a more recent trend, Ward said.

“My research is the first to explore the ‘massification’ of digital religion as large media conglomerates digitally stream religious programming on demand to millions of mobile app, tablet, and computer users,” he said. “What happens when online spirituality is ‘mass produced’ and controlled by a few large corporations?”

There also will be a question-and-answer session with Ward and an award presentation.

“It is a real honor and privilege to have the opportunity to present my research to the public,” Ward said. “There are a lot of top scholars who are doing good work in digital religion studies, and for my peers to say my research is making a new contribution to the scholarly conversation on digital religion is an honor.”

To register for the event, go to

The first 10 people to register and attend will receive a copy of Ward’s book, “The Lord’s Radio: Gospel Music Broadcasting and the Making of Evangelical Culture, 1920-1960.”

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Amber Aldaco