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Our Mission

The mission of the Department of Communication of the University of Utah is to enhance the practice and understanding of communication in its intellectual, professional, cultural, and environmental contexts.

We view communication as central to the integration and dissemination of information, the recognition and appreciation of diversity, and the development and application of technical and social knowledge. In communication scholarship, our department draws upon the full spectrum of methodologies and perspectives.

Through teaching, research, and service, the Department serves the needs of its students and contributes significantly to the University's commitment to educational development through the discovery, refinement, and exploration of knowledge.

The Department of Communication seeks to expand knowledge about communication arts and sciences. We believe that communication is the key to issues of power and representation, and thus are committed in all of our endeavors to cultivating understanding, awareness, and appreciation for diverse histories, cultures, and experiences. The promotion and practice of freedom of expression and intellectual inquiry is an integral part of our mission.

We recognize that a diverse faculty and student population benefits and enriches the educational experiences of the Department, the campus, and greater community; thus, central to our mission is the goal of building greater social and cultural diversity among our students, staff, and faculty as well as our curriculum, public scholarship, and communities. To this end, we are committed to removing barriers that have been traditionally encountered by individuals from underrepresented groups and strive to recruit faculty and students who will further enrich our campus diversity.

We are committed to building and nurturing a diverse community of students, teachers and scholars who think critically, are competent and trustworthy practitioners of communication and are skilled in the modes of address, the means of presentation and the capacity for understanding that characterize responsible engagement with our communities and environment. Our goal is to provide educational and professional service that promotes the ideals of responsibility, compassion, and justice by fostering the technical, creative and ethical understanding of human communication and interaction.

The Department of Communication provides instruction in the areas of Mass Communication and Speech Communication, offering courses within these areas that include but are not limited to: health communication, media literacy, communication technologies, marketing communication, public relations, electronic journalism, communication ethics, news editorial, communication education, rhetoric, argumentation, and interpersonal, intercultural, organizational, legal, and environmental communication.

Our courses seek to strengthen students' basic speaking and writing skills, enhance students' competence as media consumers and critics, and acquaint students with the dynamic processes involved in all forms of discursive and symbolic interaction. In all of these endeavors, we seek to foster students’ critical awareness of, appreciation for, and engagement with multiple and diverse perspectives.

Our central pedagogical goal is to provide students with an integrated understanding of the communication arts and sciences in order to provide them with an understanding of the problems and preoccupations of human communication as well as cultivate their ethical and compassionate engagement with multiple perspectives and experiences.

We are committed to the full spectrum of research in communication as a discipline central to both humanistic inquiry and liberal education. The research interests of our faculty are methodologically and theoretically diverse, incorporating both quantitative and qualitative approaches to inquiry.

The Department is connected to a central core of ideas relating to our understanding of the nature of communication, and to our knowledge of its processes, products and practices, and the moral values and ethical commitments which they reveal. We seek to integrate the common elements among our many intellectual interests, as well as explicate the specific historical and epistemological foundations of the various areas circumscribed by the discipline of communication as a whole.

Crucial to the Department’s agenda is a commitment to communication that facilitates social justice. This commitment entails, for example, a guiding interest in relations of power across varied contexts; possibilities for empowerment, agency, and voice; effective and ethical practice; social and political action narratives and movements; democratic communication policy; issues of race, class, gender, and sexuality; and other forms of community engagement.

By participating on College and University committees and through community engagement, the Department promotes excellence in communication by serving our diverse communities as an example of the standards and qualities that we value. Our interest in putting our commitment to social justice into practice drives much of this work.

In addition, the Department's faculty, staff and students contribute time and expertise to the University and local community through joint appointments and affiliations with other programs and departments, through service learning courses, and through cooperative ventures with local businesses and not-for-profit organizations. The Department seeks to serve the profession through service to professional organizations and publications.

Last Updated: 11/16/21