The Waterhouse Family Institute for the Study of Communication and Society (WFI) Examines “The Challenge of Communicating Truth”

WFI Symposium (Oct. 21-22) brings together scholars, activists and communication practitioners with a common interest in dialogue around issues of communication and social justice

VILLANOVA, Pa. – The Waterhouse Family Institute for the Study of Communication and Society (WFI) at Villanova University was founded on the principle that the study and practice of communication requires attention to values, ethics and social justice. Properly understood, communication is central to the creation of positive social change.

On Oct. 21-22, WFI will host a symposium focused on the timely topic, “The Challenge of Communicating Truth." According to Bryan Crable, Ph.D., founding director of the Waterhouse Family Institute for the Study of Communication and Society, the inspiration for this important dialogue came from the work of Barnett Pearce of the CMM Institute for Personal and Social Evolution – with particular emphasis on the role of communication in making better social worlds and upon the practical nature of theory.

“One of the easiest things to say is simply 'tell the truth!' But what does that actually mean?,” Dr. Crable said. “By this we mean questions such as: How do you tell the truth? Whose truth do you tell? Who gets to tell the truth? Who doesn’t? To whom do you tell the truth? What happens between those telling opposing truths? We’re hoping to interrogate such issues through a focused conversation among those doing innovative, communication-focused work in activism and scholarship."

Event Participants

  • Kenneth Gergen—Swarthmore College, Taos Institute
  • Mary Gergen—Taos Institute
  • Steve Pyser—Temple University, National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation
  • Louis Massiah—Executive Director, Scribe Video (documentarian and activist)
  • Ilene Wassermann—CMM Institute, Taos Institute, ICW Consulting
  • Omi Jones—University of Texas, Austin, performance activism, critical race studies, feminism
  • Spoma Jovanovic—UNC Greensboro, civic participation, member of Greensboro Truth and Community Reconciliation Project
  • Kent Ono—University of Illinois, rhetoric and race, activism for the Asian American community
  • Barbara Rick—filmmaker (“In Good Conscience”) &  ABC Nightly News journalist
  • John Costa—community journalist, editor of The Bulletin of Bend Oregon, and editor-in-chief of Western Communications
  • Dorothy Johnson-Speight—Mothers in Charge, advocacy against gun violence
  • Ron Scott—Boggs Center, Detroit community activist

Click here for more information on the event.

WFI promotes the study of mission-driven communication, emphasizing ethical leadership, social justice and community and the ability of those key influencers to create a more just world. Towards that goal, the Institute is focused on three central activities:

  • Connecting communication scholars and professionals: To facilitate the creation of a global network of scholars, activists and practitioners of communication, all of whom share a common interest in these issues of communication and social justice.
  • Supporting student-centered programs and activities: To support programs and activities that give Villanova students the chance to explore important communication issues in corporate, community and international settings, and beyond. Activities range from a unique Vatican Internship Program, to a Center for Social Justice Film that exposes students to important societal issues and allows them, through the creation of social justice documentaries, to serve as advocates for those issues.
  • Funding innovative scholarly research: In addition to cutting-edge research done by Villanova faculty and students, WFI also funds research conducted by outside scholars interested in examining communication, its impact on the world and ability to create social change. Communication scholars from across the world can apply for the funding of research grants that exemplify the mission of the Institute.

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others.  There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's five colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing and the Villanova University School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them.