Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr., 78MA, 83PhD, is more than a leading scholar on race and communications in America; hes also a political scientist whose sense of community responsibility has driven his academic career.
Since earning a Ph.D. in political science from Iowa in 1983, Gilliams academic career has taken him from teaching positions at the University of Wisconsin to his current position at the University of California, Los Angeles.
A full professor of political science since 1996, Gilliam also serves as UCLAs associate vice chancellor for community partnerships. In addition, he is founding director of UCLAs Center for Communications and Community, which connects research on communications to neighborhood transformation.
Gilliams lifetime of work has evolved from examining questions about black political participation and empowerment, to investigating how blacks are portrayed in the news media, and to exploring how strategic communications influence public support for a broad range of social issues. The results of his innovative and effective research have consistently appeared in leading social science journals, while a comprehensive account of his recent experimental work will soon be available in a book from Princeton University Press.
Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of Gilliams record is his success in bridging the gap between academics and the broader community. The first person in the University of California system to hold the title of associate vice chancellor, community partnerships, Gilliam directs the Center for Community Partnerships, which identifies and supports university and community leaders to use ideas and research in finding practical solutions for challenges facing the broader Los Angeles community. In less than five years, the center has supported more than 100 projects and provided some $2.5 million for campus-community collaborations.
Gilliams distinctive approach has produced such positive results for Los Angeles that he is now involved in applying the centers strategies to other metropolitan areas across the nation.
Recognized as a leader in this field, Gilliam has a long record of funding both from leading private foundations and from the National Science Foundation. He has consulted on a wide range of projects for groups like the Aspen Institute, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the MacArthur Foundation. He has been quoted in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and the Boston Globe, and he makes frequent public appearances on the NBC Nightly News, ABC Nightly News, CNN, C-Span, and other television stations.
Despite his many professional obligations, this Iowa graduate has remained connected to the UI Department of Political Science and to the University of Iowa. His loyalty to the Iowa Hawkeyes runs deep (his father was a member of the 1957 Iowa Rose Bowl football team), and he has been a superb ambassador for the university and the state through the years.
As an educator, Gilliam has applied his ideas at a practical level to produce profound results in solving complex social issues within American culture. UI political science professor Doug Madsen says, Franklin Gilliams achievements are of great consequence. This work has deep meaning for him personally, but it also has deep meaning for Los Angeles and, really, for us all.