Mission and Values > Programs > Vincentian Mission Institute > Current VMI Cohort > Barbara Willard

Barbara Willard

Barbara Willard is an associate professor and program chair of Communication Studies in the College of Communication at DePaul University where she also teaches courses in Environmental Studies.  Her research examines the rhetoric of landscapes as they are both interpreted by and created by humans. She also explores best practices in the development of public campaigns that encourage pro-environmental behavior such as natural landscaping, sustainable food consumption, and energy reduction.  She is a vegetarian, an avid animal lover, enjoys gardening, and has a strong attachment  to the Appalachian Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean.

Why DePaul?

I am drawn to DePaul for two primary reasons: 1) Because of it's innovative approach to education, especially in how it embraces the Liberal Arts; and 2) Because of its commitment to social justice.  Many institutions of higher education state that they promote social justice but when the "rubber hits the road" there is little evidence of this commitment in their educational programming.   That is not true of DePaul.  The DePaul community, its faculty, administration, staff, and students reflect a desire to improve equality not just among the human community, but also to extend beyond and into the ecological community as well.  I am proud to be a faculty member at DePaul and be able to contribute to the Vincentian Mission of Social Justice.

Why VMI?

I am interested in how the Vincentian Mission and the goals of sustainability are similar.  I have been a member of the DePaul Sustainability Network since its infancy (when it was a task force) and have always been amazed at how sustainability with its emphasis on the health of the environment, the strength of the human community, and economic equality is in alignment with the Vincentian Mission.  I believe that studying with the Vincentian Mission Institute will allow me to explore these connections further.