To Build Understanding

In the summer of 2019, the faculty and staff of Boston University’s College of Communication embarked on a journey of discovery. Our goal was to define a mission and strategy for our next decade—a plan that would build on proven strengths, and also open new doors.

Working in small and large groups, and with outside advisers and senior University officials, we developed a blueprint closely tied to the University-wide BU2030 plan, and which was approved by both the COM faculty and the University Provost’s office in 2020.

It’s the community that you serve that knows the answers and the best leaders give that community a way to shape their ideas and move forward productively.

Mariette DiChristina, COM Dean


  • We build understanding through communication education, practice, and discovery.
  • We prepare students to lead, to adapt, and to share their voices in a transformational media world.
  • We generate knowledge through research and theory building.
  • We integrate professional and academic experiences across communication disciplines.
  • We nurture a culture rich in diversity, critical thinking, and creative expression.
  • We champion communication grounded in truth, authenticity, effectiveness, and purpose.


Our strategy has five priorities that closely track with those of the University. Each priority is supported by a series of COM-specific initiatives:

  1. Create a vibrant academic experience by updating instruction and embracing innovation: We will update our curricula to embrace diverse perspectives as well as leading-edge media technologies, such as VFX, and platforms. We will enhance our writing offerings, a cornerstone for communicators everywhere. Working with BU partners, we will offer new Master’s programs—both online and residential—as well as additional certificate programs. We will work with BU’s innovation hubs to provide new research opportunities to our students.
  2. Enhance creation of “research that matters” by focusing on communication areas that will help society engage with challenges: We will address mediated societal challenges and enhance public engagement by identifying and explaining communication problems in research. We will conduct collaborative research—within COM, between COM and other BU faculties, and between COM and outside scholars—to advance sound communication practices.
  3. Engage communities globally by developing com thought-leadership activities and new learning opportunities: To help change the world for good using the tools of communication, we will explore the possibility of developing a Center for Impact Communication. Our purpose-driven initiatives will include advancing urban sustainability, elevating the voices of underrepresented groups in media, and fostering media literacy. We will develop platforms for thought leadership, including virtual and live events, innovative polling, and new kinds of publications. We will look for opportunities to grow COM’s global presence, including study-abroad programs, new links to “sister colleges,” and international research initiatives.
  4. Cultivate a COM culture that embraces and benefits from diversity, equity, and inclusion by supporting students, improving recruitment, and ensuring equity in expectations: We will support challenged students—international and domestic—with coaching and mentoring. We will improve our recruitment of a diverse faculty and staff, and provide them with new kinds of training as needed. We will ensure equity in our operational practices.
  5. Develop COM communities for faculty, staff, students, and alumni that benefit from being big in terms of opportunities, yet also feel approachable and small: We will develop programs to engage alumni networks for prospective students, current students, and alumni. We will explore ways to enhance our internal communication and collaborations through an intranet or similar platform. We will enhance staff efficiency and retention by developing training, retreats, and a culture of continuous improvement.