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Patricia Parker (left) holds up her award next to another scholar, in front of a banner that reads "NCA."
Patricia Parker received the IDEA Engagement Award at the National Communication Association’s annual convention in November 2023.

Patricia S. Parker, director of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities, the Ruel W. Tyson, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Humanities and professor in the department of communication at UNC-Chapel Hill, recently received the 2023 IDEA Engagement Award from the National Communication Association.

Parker is an award-winning scholar, activist and leader whose work centers on Black feminist leadership and community engagement for social justice and equity. Parker’s impressive publication record on IDEA initiatives includes two books, a coedited book series and dozens of peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. Parker’s contributions reach beyond the field of communication and the academy through multiple ventures of community engaged activism and leadership.

“The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has been at the forefront of supporting researchers like me doing community engaged scholarship,” Parker said. “I am pleased to receive this national recognition of the fruits of that support.”

The prestigious IDEA Engagement Award began in 2021 and offers recognition for efforts and activities to engage communities in work that enhances inclusion, diversity, equity or access. Such engagement may be evaluated by the direct impacts or effects of such engagement, or on sustainability and empowerment work that ensures change over the long term. This work may reflect the application of communication theories, pedagogy or direct action to create positive community change.

“NCA’s annual awards honor communication scholars’ teaching, scholarship and service,” NCA interim executive director Justin Danowski said. “NCA is proud to recognize Dr. Patricia S. Parker’s significant contributions to the communication discipline with this award.”

Parker’s award was presented on Nov. 19 at the NCA 109th Annual Convention in National Harbor, Maryland. The National Communication Association advances communication as the discipline that studies all forms, modes, media and consequences of communication through humanistic, social scientific and aesthetic inquiry.

NCA serves the scholars, teachers and practitioners who are its members by enabling and supporting their professional interests in research and teaching. Dedicated to fostering and promoting free and ethical communication, NCA promotes the widespread appreciation of the importance of communication in public and private life, the application of competent communication to improve the quality of human life and relationships and the use of knowledge about communication to solve human problems. NCA supports inclusiveness and diversity among its faculties, within its membership, in the workplace and in the classroom and supports and promotes policies that fairly encourage this diversity and inclusion.

By Laney Crawley ’26, Institute for the Arts and Humanities 

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