Saturday, February 24 , 2018, 4:45 pm | Fair 59º


Communication Scholars to Discuss Social Change

J. Jacob Jenkins and Megan Kenny Feister, assistant professors of communication at California State University Channel Islands, will host a campus panel discussion — Organizing for Social Change — featuring four communication experts from across the country.

The event, which is open to students and the public, will be held 3-5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 5, in the Grand Salon at CSUCI.
“Communication is the thread that weaves through every issue we face today and the thread that has potential to bring every problem to a solution,” said Jenkins. “Yet sadly, we seem to have become even more polarized in recent years.

"There seems to be less middle ground, less compassion, and less compromise than ever before.”
“There are a lot of social movements right now that need to be addressed that affect our students,” said Feister. “With all of that in mind, we thought bringing these scholars to the campus would help give students the language to talk about these things.”
During the colloquium, students and other members of the audience will have a chance to ask the panel about any relevant social issue they choose, from DACA to the Me Too movement or any other area on the campus or national radar right now.
“We strategically picked people with different areas of expertise,” Feister said.

There will be five conversational prompts from Jenkins and Feister designed to launch a panel discussion, but topics will be largely up to the audience.
Jenkins and Feister said the prompts will include links the experts see between communication in groups (organizational communication) and today’s political climate, plus questions about the Me Too, DACA and Women’s March social movements.
“This is truly a historic moment,” Jenkins said. “To have these four internationally recognized communication scholars on stage together at CSUCI is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for both our students and for our local community.”
The panelists include:

Brenda J. Allen, vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion and professor of communication, from the University of Colorado, Denver.

Allen's specialty is differences in organizational contexts. That is, how communication varies in social or business settings among people from diverse cultural backgrounds: age, gender, sexuality, and race/ethnicity.

An organization can be a corporation, family, or even a country; anywhere groups of people communicate for a common goal, she said.

Linda L. Putnam, research professor emeritus from UCSB. Putnam pecializes in negotiation and conflict management, as well as the differences in communication between the sexes.

Patrice M. Buzzanell, chair and professor of communication at the University of South Florida and former professor at the Brian Lamb School of Communication at Purdue University. Her specialty is communication with a feminist viewpoint.

Buzzanell also researches everyday interactions and social structures and how these dynamics affect the workplace, especially in the science, technology, engineering math (STEM) work environments.

Eric M. Eisenberg, the dean of the University of South Florida College of Arts & Sciences and professor of communication. His work focuses on positive change in organizations.

— Kim Gregory for CSU Channel Islands.

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