Thomas Barker, PhD

Professor, Faculty of Arts - English & Film Studies Dept


Professor, Faculty of Arts - English & Film Studies Dept
Humanities Centre
11121 Saskatchewan Drive NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2H5



Thomas Barker, PhD is Professor of Communication in the Graduate Program in Communication and Technology in the Faculty of Arts. He served as Director of Technical Communication at Texas Tech University, and also served as Chair of the President's Strategic Planning Advisory Council, and Faculty Advisor to the TTU Chapter of the Society for Technical Communication (STC). Professionally he served on the STC President's Education Task Force, the Body of Knowledge Task Force. His current work is in leadership communication and risk communication. He helped develop the Advanced Citation in Leadership and the Wellness Leadership Series in the Faculty of Extension, and teaches graduate courses in leadership communication. He is a Contributing Faculty in the University of Alberta, Peter Lougheed Leadership College.


Thomas Barker is Professor of Communication in the Graduate Program in Communication and Technology in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Alberta. His research work focuses on communication issues in public health, risk communication, and community engagement. He was a Visiting Scholar at the University of Alberta in 2007-2008 studying models of community engagement for risk communication for pandemics. He is a research partner in a project to map and evaluate models of participatory action research in public health, currently under review by CIHR. He has published work in software documentation, risk communication for information dissemination, and community involvement in academic programs. He teaches risk communication and communication theory. 


My vision as an engaged scholar is summed up by the following quotation that appears at the top of my web page:

"Unless we analyze, we cannot understand the public interest; unless we turn analysis into activity, we cannot serve it." 

~Alan Gross, "The Roles of Rhetoric in the Public Understanding of Science"

I see my scholarly work as a process of learning and knowledge making that uses analytical tools (research methodologies, critical discussions) to derive understandings (theories, frameworks, and best practices). This process is ongoing and evolving through repeated enactment, review, and re-enactment. As I have said in my publications, it is important to "close the loop" in process development and always strive for a higher, more mature levels of understanding and service. These understandings contribute to public knowledge and the public good.  


COMM 502 - Human Communication

Survey of classic theories and emerging perspectives in communication studies. Emphasizes the development of skills for analyzing and understanding communication in context. Restricted to MACT students, normally in the first year. Offered during the Spring Institute. Students may not receive credit for both EXT 502 and COMM 502.

COMM 554 - Risk Communication

The theory, research, and practice of risk communication are explored through the introduction of models of risk communication and risk assessment in various contexts which may include environmental issues, public health and safety, occupational hazards, and consumer products. Students may not receive credit for both COMM 597 (Case Studies in Risk Communication) and COMM 554.

Browse more courses taught by Thomas Barker

Featured Publications

Thomas Barker

Safety and Health @ Work. 2020 September; in press

New Directions for the Academic SIG

Thomas Barker, Carol Luttrell

Intercom. 2020 September; (September):30-32

Thomas Barker

Journal of Transformative Learning. 2020 June; 7 (1):8-22