Department Chair, Professor
Area of Study: Organizational Communication
Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin
Patricia Parker (Ph.D. University of Texas at Austin) is Chair of the Department of Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she is also a professor of critical organizational communication studies and Director of the Graduate Certificate in Participatory Research. Professor Parker’s research, teaching, and engaged scholarship focus on social justice leadership and decolonizing organizational communication processes. She is co-editor (with Larry Frey) of the University of California Press book series, “Communication and Social Justice Activism.” Her book, Ella Baker’s Catalytic Leadership Praxis: A Primer on Community Engagement for Social Justice Leadership was released as a part of that series in November 2020. That volume, along with her book, Race, Gender, and Leadership, other published scholarship, administrative work and social entrepreneurial activities, inform a sustained focus to intervene in problems at the intersections of power, identity, agency, and organizing.
Professor Parker has applied and disseminated a theoretically informed participative praxis for social justice leadership in a variety of contexts. As the inaugural Director of Faculty Diversity Initiatives for the UNC-CH College of Arts and Sciences (2012-2015), she developed the College’s diversity liaison program, catalyzing a network of critically engaged faculty leaders working for equity and inclusive excellence in their respective departments. She is founder and executive director of The Ella Baker Women’s Center for Leadership and Community Activism, a community-based not-for-profit organization building community power for social change and supporting girls’ and women’s leadership development, a venture supported by a 2006 Kauffman Faculty Fellowship for social entrepreneurship. Most recently, she helped to establish the Triangle Women in STEM Network, a women-led organization catalyzing diverse voices to advance women in STEM careers. Her next projects will follow from her work as co-chair (with Jim Leloudis) of the University Commission on History, Race, and a Way Forward.
Dr. Parker is the recipient of the UNC Office of the Provost Engaged Scholarship Award for teaching (2013), the University Diversity Award (2014), and the National Communication Association’s Engaged Scholars Service Award (Organizational Communication) (2010). She is senior personnel on the 2018 National Science Foundation (NSF) ADVANCE Grant awarded to UNC-Chapel Hill’s Center for Faculty Excellence.