Welcome from the Chair

Statement from the Department of Communication

The Department of Communication at the University of California, Santa Barbara stands in solidarity with all those who speak, write, and express opposition to injustice and oppression, including those currently speaking out against police brutality and institutionalized racism. None of us has been untouched by the insidious nature of historical, institutional racism, especially toward members of the Black community. We are tragically reminded of this by the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and Tony McDade. Centuries of murder and dehumanization of African Americans are being collectively mourned around the country and across the globe. We mourn with you. It is difficult to go on with everyday tasks when there is violence and suffering all around us, especially at a time when we are physically separated by a pandemic.

The members of our Department share a core belief that we can learn to communicate better with one another, and that improved communication can help promote positive change. Now, more than ever, is a time both to listen to one another and work toward improving our communication with one another. Now is a time for actions that clearly and boldly communicate empathy and understanding.

We are committed to looking inward at our own policies, practices, and communication, as well as outward at the ways we can help others benefit from improved communication. Within our department, we know this is a time for change and serious scrutiny of every aspect of how we do our work as educators, scholars, mentors, and colleagues. Put bluntly, we must rethink how we pursue our educational mission. We know we have real work to do, but we are resolved to doing that work to create a more inclusive, equitable, and compassionate community.

We believe that communication scholarship and education have vital roles to play in combating institutional racism in all its forms. Toward that end, scholars in our Department study diverse topics central to wide-ranging forms of communication. This includes the media environment, organizational practices, and interpersonal and intergroup relationships. Both in and out of the classroom, then, we can play critical roles educating on topics such as constructive conflict communication, cooperation and organizing, and the countering of disinformation, fake news, and other forms of mediated deception designed to divide us.

Yet, we know that education and expertise are not endpoints, and as such, we must remain steadfastly committed to continual learning and critical self-reflection in order to build a more just society. In collaboration with our sister Departments in the Division of Social Science, we want to help our society understand, and eradicate, the many harms resulting from racist and misogynist institutions and discourses. Many of our current classes and much of our research aims to advance more effective advocacy, promote equity and social change, and address structural and institutional violence embodied in everyday organizational and interpersonal dynamics. We believe, then, that we have a foundation upon which we can build toward a better community and society. We know, however, that we, as a department, can do more. We must.

On behalf of the faculty and staff of the Department of Communication,

Norah E. Dunbar, Department Chair


Welcome to the Department of Communication at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  Within these web pages you will find information about our excellent undergraduate and graduate programs, the many national and international distinctions of our exceptional faculty, and the vital role that our alumni play in supporting our educational mission.  We are an active faculty involved in many departmental, professional, and community activities that play a central role in the mission of the University of California.

Communication is a versatile discipline that is vital to a wide array of careers including management, marketing, public relations, advertising, event planning, law, finance, government relations, social services, and media industry.  Our students find employment across a wide range of local, state, national, and global profit and nonprofit organizations.

We invite you to explore our web pages and learn more about our department, our faculty and staff, and our many activities and events.  For students, we hope you will learn more about our major, attend departmental lectures, and become involved in the Communication Association and Lambda Pi Eta.  For communication alumni, we encourage you to return to campus and share your career experiences with students in classrooms and Career Day events. 

Since its inception, our department has garnered considerable national and international recognition, and the faculty and students continue to win many awards.  This recognition stems from exemplary teaching, superior research on socially important topics, and intellectual leadership in the discipline.  We invite you to read about these accomplishments on this web site and to join us in any of our activities.

If you would like to become involved in our departmental and campus activities, please contact me at ndunbar@comm.ucsb.edu

Sincerely,

Norah Dunbar

Chair, Department of Communication