A book dealing with how professors teach activism in communication courses recently won an Outstanding Book Award from the Applied Communication Division of the National Communication Association, and six of its contributing authors have ties to UNCG.

It’s not surprising. The university’s Communication Studies Department has a reputation for encouraging community activism among its students in addition to teaching them to speak, write and think well.

“Teaching Communication Activism: Communication Education for Social Justice” covers a wide variety of projects, assignments and activities that can be used in the classroom to promote social justice.

The book is edited by Dr. Lawrence R. Frey of University of Colorado Boulder and Dr. David L. Palmer of the University of Northern Colorado and published by Hampton Press. The chapters were submitted by scholars, and then selected through a highly competitive process.

“Dr. Palmer and I were amazed that so many UNCG faculty and alumni were represented, but it just shows the high-quality, ethical communication education directed to solving social justice issues that students receive at UNCG,” Frey said.

“The role of higher education is to prepare students to be active, contributing citizens in their community drawing on their disciplinary training,” said Dr. Spoma Jovanovic, UNCG communication studies professor and one of the book’s authors. “There remains tremendous inequality in the world – we need to address that. Communication activism provides the resources, tools, research and knowledge for students to intervene in positive, productive ways.”

Communication activism could be anything from speaking out in public meetings to partnering with organizations in the community to bring attention to issues of inequality.

“In my courses, I select service-learning and community-based research projects that target involving historically marginalized segments of the community to raise their voices,” Jovanovic said.

UNCG’s Speaking Center also gets its time in the limelight.

Kimberly Cuny, faculty advisor for the center, wrote a chapter about how local community activists and parents lean on the Speaking Center for support.

“Armed with theory, experience and trained volunteers, UNCG’s Speaking Center works to teach those whose voices are marginalized to speak out and speak up,” Cuny said.

UNCG alumni Dr. Lori L. Britt, Dr. Billie Murray, Hemalatha P. Naidu and Dr. Claire E. Deal are also contributing authors of “Teaching Communication Activism: Communication Education for Social Justice.”


Story by Jeanie Groh, University Relations