Welcome from the Department Chair

Greetings from Dr. Lisa Keränen

Dr. Lisa KeranenWelcome to the Department of Communication at the University of Colorado Denver! 

We are a dynamic community of learners, scholars, and teachers who are committed to cultivating “the ability to use communication to create a more equitable and humane world.” 

This mission reflects the fact that communication is an essential tool for making the world a better place, that communicating ethically across differences is imperative for the future of our interconnected world.

In times of crisis and change, communication matters more than ever. The information we share and way we talk about a pandemic can influence how we understand and react. Timely, accurate health communication can impact disease spread with life and death consequences. Conveying social support can make all the difference to friends, loved ones, and even strangers in need. And effective response and recovery demands coordination and collaboration that are only achieved through clear, consistent, ethical, community-focused communication. The Latin root of communication, communicare, means to share, a goal that is very much at the heart of our COMMunity.

Studying and practicing communication offers a versatile, powerful, and timely set of knowledge and skills. Employers consistently cite effective oral and written communication skills as among the top criteria they seek in new hires. A degree in communication, with its broad based training in oral, written, and digital communication, can lead to a variety of career paths spanning social and traditional media, health care, sports communication, marketing and public relations, copy writing, lobbying and political consulting, and much more.

We place a premium on experiential learning so that students can actively seek out and create transformative learning experiences across their classrooms, internships, research and writing projects, and travel studies. Our Puksta Fellows programs allows students to merge social justice community work with scholarship, while our capstone exit courses encourage students to integrate their coursework into a meaningful project. Students can also earn undergraduate certificates in strategic communication and conflict and mediation. Our innovative International College Beijing, which was one of the very first communication partner programs between China and the US, ensures that our students have opportunities to pursue global education in one of the world’s most important countries.

Our students hail from all over the world, merging their unique histories with their personal and career goals. Our alums form a vibrant group of leaders across many industries, including communication, higher education, healthcare, government, nonprofits, and beyond. Our faculty and staff are united by a passion for teaching and for empowering students to achieve their potential. And our researchers are not only award-winning leaders in their respective areas of communication, they are also committed to providing meaningful learning opportunities for our students.

In short, these are exciting times in the field of communication and in the Department of Communication at the University of Colorado Denver!

We intend for our Department to be a welcoming space for all learners, and we invite you to reach out and learn more. 


Lisa B. Keränen, PhD
Chair of the Department of Communication 
and CU President’s Teaching Scholar