Communication essay earns associate professor national award



The National Communication Association (NCA) has selected Stephen Hartnett, Ph.D., of the University of Colorado Denver for the Golden Anniversary Monograph Award for his essay, “Communication, Social Justice, and Joyful Commitment.” Hartnett is an associate professor and Chair of the Department of Communication at CU Denver.

Hartnett said the essay is an intellectual history of the field of communication, showing its history and ending by promoting engaged scholarship in communities.

By charting important changes in the field with impassioned, creative and sometimes humorous words, Hartnett shows how communication has been used in the past, what changes it’s undergoing, and stresses the potential it has to enhance democracy and stop injustice. He explains how universities can make large, positive impacts in communities and outlines how American academe can improve its present influence.

“It says what everybody thinks but hasn’t said before,” Hartnett said of his essay. “I wrote about what people were already thinking to do.”

Hartnett said he has seen much of what he advocates in his essay during his four years at CU Denver.

“We as a university need to recognize that we need to help the community,” Hartnett said. “We’re training young people to be the leaders of the next generation, but they won’t be if they don’t have their feet firmly planted in the community.”

Hartnett was presented with the award at the annual NCA convention Nov. 17-20 in New Orleans. The NCA is the largest communication association in the United States. The annual Golden Anniversary Monograph award was created in 1964 to mark the NCA’s 50-year anniversary and is awarded to the most outstanding scholarly monographs published during the previous calendar year.

Throughout his 20-year career, Hartnett has worked to bring about democracy and justice by teaching communication. “It makes me feel very, very lucky,” he said about his post at CU Denver. “I get to read great books, teach great students and write about it. What a great deal.”