Get access

Fastening Our Seatbelts: Turning Crisis Into Opportunity


  • This article was originally delivered as the Presidential Address at the ICA Annual Conference, Phoenix, May 2012.

Corresponding author: Larry Gross; e-mail:


The field of communication, like much of higher education, is facing a set of crises brought about by economic, political and technological changes that affect all segments of society. We owe to ourselves, our students and our societies to face these challenges and rethink our mission and our practices in ways that will contribute to solutions. In this article I focus on several dimensions of our present circumstances: the need to embrace a broader vision of the career paths for which we are training our doctoral students; the importance of envisioning communication studies as a necessary and essential component of any rational liberal arts education in the 21st century; the critical role that communication scholarship can and should play in addressing current public policy debates and issues; and the crucial role we need to assume as leaders of a cultural environment movement that will counter the negative externalities of our pervasive corporate media environment.