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Meet Brenda J. Allen

Professor Emerita Brenda J. Allen (Ph.D., Howard University) is the former Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Colorado Denver and the Anschutz Medical Campus.


During almost 30 years in the University of Colorado system, Dr. Allen developed a track record for scholarship, teaching, service, mentorship, and training related to organizational communication, social identity, and leadership, with an emphasis on higher education. Among her numerous publications is a groundbreaking book entitled Difference Matters: Communicating Social Identity (2011, Waveland Press).



She’s working on the 3rd edition. She offers highly-rated workshops, consultations, facilitations, and keynote speeches on topics such as inclusive leadership, anti-racism, strategic planning, and diversity recruitment/retention practices.  

Among many accolades for her efforts, Dr. Allen has received: the first Annual Award for Outstanding Achievement for Commitment to Diversity at CU Denver; the MRBES Women in Leadership and Management Award; the first Annual Ally of the Year Award from the GLBT Alliance at CU Boulder; an Excellence in Leadership Award from the CU System; and, a Leadership in Public Higher Education Award. Her colleagues at CU Denver have established a leadership award and scholarship in her name.


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Publications by Brenda J. Allen

2017 Allen, B.J. Women as inclusive leaders. In: C. Cunningham, H. Crandall, & A. Dare (Eds.) Gender, Communication, and the Leadership Gap (pp. 13-23). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

2016 Allen, B.J. Optimizing technology’s promise. EDUCAUSE Review, 56, 28-42.

2016 Allen, B.J. & Garg, K. Diversity matters in academic radiology: Acknowledging and addressing unconscious bias.Journal of the American College of Radiology, 13, 1426-1432.

2016 Allen, B.J. Difference matters. Spectra, The Magazine of the National Communication Association, 52,1, 8-13.

2011 Allen, B.J. (When and how) do I tell?:  Disclosing social identity in personal relationships. In: D. Braithwaite and J. Wood (Eds.). Casing interpersonal communication: Case studies in personal and social relationships (pp. 173-179). Kendall/Hunt.

2010 Allen, B. J. Critical communication pedagogy as a framework for teaching difference. In: D. Mumby (Ed.) Organizing difference: Pedagogy, research, and practice (pp. 103-125). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

2010 Allen, B.J. Social constructions of a black woman's hair: Critical reflections of a graying sistah. In: R. Spellers and K. Moffitt (Eds.). Blackberries and redbones: critical articulations of Black hair/body politics (pp. 66-77). Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.

2009 Allen, B. J. "With you we got a twofer": Challenging the affirmative action hire stereotype. In: E.L. Kirby and M. C. McBride (Eds.). Gender actualized: Cases in communicatively constructing realities (pp. 139-140). Dubuque, IO: Kendall/Hunt.

2007 Allen, B.J. Theorizing communication and race. Communication Monographs 74, pp. 259-274.

2006 Allen, B.J. Communicating race at WeighCo. In J.T. Wood and S. Duck (Eds.) Composing relationships: Communication in everyday life (pp. 146-154).

2005 Allen, B.J. Social constructionism. In: S. May and D. Mumby (Eds.). Engaging organizational communication theory and research: Multiple perspectives (pp. 35-53). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

2004 Allen, B. J. Sapphire and Sappho: Allies in authenticity In A. Gonzales, M., Houston, & V. Chen: Our voices: Essays in culture, ethnicity, and communication (4th Edition) (pp. 198-202). Los Angeles: Roxbury Publishing Co.

2002 Allen, B.J. Goals for emancipatory communication research on Black women. In M. Houston & O. Davis (Eds.) Centering ourselves: African American feminist and womanist studies of discourse (pp. 21-34). Creskill, NJ : Hampton Press.

1998 Allen, B.J. Black womanhood and feminist standpoints. Management Communication Quarterly 11: 575-586.

1999 Allen, B.J., Orbe, M., & Olivas, M.O. The complexity of our tears: Dis/enchantment and (in)difference in the academy. Communication Theory 9: 402-430.

2009 Ashcraft, K.L., & Allen, B.J. Politics even closer to home: Repositioning CME from the standpoint of communication studies. Management Learning, 40(1), 11-30.

2003 Ashcraft, K. L., & Allen, B. J. The racial foundation of organizational communication. Communication Theory 13: 5-33.


Inclusive Leadership:

Promoting the Power of Workplace Diversity

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