Values Statement

We value the centrality of human communication. Symbolic interaction is a peculiarly human ability. It is how we communicate and indeed, how we become the social beings that we are. The capacity to communicate symbolically is that which humanizes, and therefore, that which we must continue to study, explicate and articulate. Every human activity involves communication at some level.

"Communication, like knowledge itself, flowers in speech." - Walter J. Ong, S.J.

We value the development of the individual in interaction. One of the most important effects of a college education is personal development--of ethics, values and intellect. We recognize that a graduate of H.S.U., in order to 'give back to society,' must have something to 'give back.' The foundation for that gift is a solid sense of one's place in society as well as the intellectual skills and critical abilities one has gained. Acknowledging the centrality of communication to this humanizing process, we value student development. Not limited to skills and concepts, we expect and encourage our students to live what they learn. Our notion of student-centered instruction includes personalizing theory to student concerns, encouraging application and performance of concepts, and cultivating individual student potentials.

"Communication, self and culture are just different ways of talking about relationships, different points of view on the same phenomenon." - Alan Fogel

We value diversity of perspective and believe that the only acceptable vehicle to address social strife is communication that promotes dialogue.We recognize that the mission of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences is to promote "a good and just society," and we take this rather specifically. We value not only the effect of a good liberal arts education on citizenship, but we value the effect of modeling the democratic process as it is constituted by human communication. That is, we recognize that diversity of thought, opinion and perspective is a natural and inevitable result of human communication. Further, we are dedicated to not only teaching students the skills to acknowledge and participate in that diversity, but to modeling those skills in the process of self-governance within the department and in the spirit of co-creation we bring to the classroom. Finally, we recognize that only individuals who are capable of realizing their own potentials, which capacity is largely mediated by communication, may move outward to contribute to the good and just society.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead

We value artistic, humanistic, and scientific perspectives on communication processes.We are somewhat unique among disciplines in the diversity of our approaches to our phenomena. Further, we are somewhat unique among departments of communication in the diversity of perspectives we foster in a small faculty. The history of our discipline is such that various approaches appeared over time, but none could ever be dismissed. It is undoubtedly the complexity of our phenomena that demands complexity of approach. In any case, we are in a position to understand and to accept a range of perspectives, although we start from the common position that communication is the primary phenomenon.Although we welcome opportunities to work across disciplines which must acknowledge communication as one of their concerns, our focus is clearly on the process of human communication itself, and our goal is to understand it in all of its complexity. Our faculty members are, variously, versed in social psychology, literature, women's studies, mediation, cultural studies, linguistics, theatre, and law, to name a few. Our unique contribution is that we understand communication process as it is constituted in a wide variety of contexts, from individual to interpersonal to public settings.

"The constriction of communication research was built on a spurious view of history. . . The center of research (shifted) from the established disciplines into departments for whom it really was the central subject matter of their concern. (It has become) a field . . . with a complex and varied past and manifold pathways to understanding its central phenomena." - Jesse G. Delia
"There would be no contradiction in thinking as a hermeneutician, a semioticist, a social theorist, or even a deconstructionist, and thinking as a communication scientist. There would, of course, be extraordinary tension. But only through such extraordinary tension do the extraordinary possibilities for communication science persist." - Thomas B. Farrell