» Message From the Dean

Welcome to the School of Communication! During my school days at University of Oklahoma in the 1980’s, I was influenced early on by some of the great thinkers, and in particular I still remember the impact that Aristotle’s work had on me, and how his foundational ideas have shaped my thinking and conduct as a scholar-teacher and administrator over the years.

In his Rhetoric, Aristotle posed as basic elements of human communication three pillars: Logos, Pathos, and Ethos. Logos places the emphasis on logic as the primary basis for any soundly reasoned speech, Pathos stands for the emotion that needs to be an important component of any successful persuasive communication effort, and finally Ethos indicates the necessity of sustaining credible arguments in a morally acceptable fashion. In recognition of the importance of these early Aristotelian ideas, the three initials of these words have been used at four-year colleges and universities since 1985 by the National Communication Association Honor Society Lambda Pi Eta.

Since my early years as an undergraduate student, and later as a graduate student, I have been fascinated by how these simple concepts can help us understand the intricacies of communication and messaging, and their impact on human behavior. Though many years have passed, I still feel the same excitement and passion I used to have as a young student.

As your teachers and mentors, our actions are guided by our scholarship in this area. We make it our goal to guide your development and to allow you to achieve your personal best as budding communication scholars. We present to you the core readings and literature in our ancient and yet exciting and innovative modern discipline, in the hope that you will be equally intrigued by how the field has developed. We trust that your involvement in this conversation across space and time will grow your taste and thirst for learning, which is truly what an education is all about.

As you begin your academic and personal life journey here in the School of Communication at Chapman University, remember that you are giving yourself the gift of education (perhaps with some help from your parents and scholarships) and as you reflect on your life 30, 40, 50 years from now, you will always remember these special days.

Cherish your time here in the School of Communication at Chapman University. If you take advantage of all we have to offer and continually reflect on your intellectual and character development, then you will have given yourself the greatest gift of all.

More From Dean Sparks

Headshot of Dean Lisa Sparks

Dean Lisa Sparks, Ph.D.