Published: July 30, 2018 By

Peter SimonsonWelcome to the Department of Communication—a vibrant and diverse community of students, teacher-scholars and staff.

Prospective or current undergraduates: Why study communication? Because it is a way to lead, to work creatively with others and to engage productively with the pressing issues we all face. Our department is passionately committed to understanding communication as a dynamic force in our personal lives, our work lives and our lives as citizens in a global world.

You will encounter communication in its many forms: from difficult family conversations to a start-up’s weekly strategy meetings; from protest marches coordinated through social media to representations of gender in popular images; from a non-profit’s ongoing cultivation of donors to a consultant’s presentation to a company board; and from efforts to develop better understanding across cultures to campaigns to protect our environment. The Department of Communication offers classes that address all of these topics and many more.

You will do and learn a wide variety of things in your courses. You’ll develop your speaking voice and collaborate in groups. You’ll critically explore how communication works in relationships and everyday life, in real-world organizations and in different cultures. Through hands-on projects and internships, you’ll gain communication knowledge and practical experience that employers from a broad range of fields are looking for. Outside the classroom, you’ll have a chance to participate in speaking, storytelling and discussion of social issues through our BoulderTalks program. Your education will help you to become a better friend and partner, a more self-aware person, and an agent for social and organizational change.

We educate you to become a communication specialist with talents marked by the acronym CRAFT:

  • Creative in imagining and practicing communication;
  • Reflexive in understanding how your everyday interactions contribute to building the world you want to live in;
  • Analytical in understanding how messages have consequences in relationships, work and communities;
  • Flexible in being prepared for both your first job and for jobs that may not yet exist; and
  • Transformative in being able to critique and alter communication processes in your life.

Prospective donors, graduate students, and friends of Communication: our department offers a rare combination of strengths. Our faculty members are internationally renowned scholars and research leaders in their fields. They write books and articles that communication students elsewhere are reading. Our graduate program is among the best in the country in its three areas of emphasis: Organizational Communication, Rhetoric & Culture and Community & Social Interaction. It attracts young scholar-educators working at the cutting edge of knowledge, pedagogy and publicly engaged practice in communication. Our Center for Communication and Democratic Engagement brings civically focused communication research and practice to promote inclusive local governance, environmental sustainability and social justice. And we pursue all of those missions while remaining deeply committed to providing our undergraduates with a world-class education that can help them find professional success, grow as people and become agents of change in their lives after CU.

Again, welcome to our department. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with questions, concerns or ideas you may have.


Pete Simonson
Professor and Chair