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Gilda Parrella, PhD

Professor Emerita

  • 312.915.6556
  • Lewis Towers 908
  • Education

    She received her PhD in Communication from the University of Washington, Seattle, where she was an NDEA Fellow. She has a Master's degree from the University of Denver and a Bachelor's degree from the University of Rhode Island.

    Dr. Parrella formally retired in June of 2015 but she continues to teach on occasion in the School of Communication specializing in Communication and Conflict Management, Mediation, Negotiation. She has taught a variety of courses in Communication including Media Ethics, Communication Processes and Practices, Nonverbal Communication, and Interpersonal and Intercultural Communication. With the Fall, 2011 publication of "Consensus-building Journalism: An Immodest Proposal" and "What Mediation Looks Like for Journalists," in Harvard's Nieman Reports. Dr. Parrella initiated a national project combining mediation and journalism. The goal of this project is to provide an alternative to conflict-driven narratives by establishing more common ground on controversial issues through online public discourse.

    Specialty Area

    Communication and Conflict Management and Mediation

    Program Areas

    In June of 2015, Dr. Parrella established and funded the “Change the World” Award, a yearly gift for students at Loyola primarily in SOC’s Advocacy and Social Change major and also for students in Peace Studies in recognition of their volunteer work in Social Justice. The preamble to the Award reads: To create peace and justice from a place of empathy and hope requires more than courage, it requires a belief and a passion that we can make a difference to help change the world. It is within this belief and passion that this gift is given.” The first award was given in April, 2016.

    Dr. Parrella is currently developing a Jobs Initiative for youth at risk at Osher Life Learning Institute.

    Courses Taught

    Communication and Conflict Management, Mediation, Negotiation, Media Ethics, Communication Processes and Practices, Interpersonal Communication, Intercultural Communication, Nonverbal Communication, Public Speaking and Critical Thinking, Interpretation of Literature, Readers’ Theatre.

    Professional & Community Affiliations

    Dr. Parrella has held state and national offices in a variety of professional and civic organizations including the Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution (now the Association of Conflict Resolution) the Peace Communication Commission and the Applied Communication Division of the National Communication Association, the National Peace Institute Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union. She has chaired many conference panels, presented numerous papers and has been a featured speaker on issues of conflict and peacemaking at home and abroad.

    As member of the Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution, Dr. Parrella successfully petitioned the Governor of Illinois to declare Dec. 1 "Dispute Resolution Day" beginning with the year 2000. She is also a member of Servas, an international organization that works to promote peace through personal contacts and citizen diplomacy throughout the world.


    Dr. Parrella was awarded a Carnegie Mellon Foundation Grant to study conflict management and established courses in this area for the University which she has been teaching for over 35 years. She was a founding member of the Peace Studies program in the College of Arts and Sciences, helped establish the Office of Ombudsman and was a Fellow with the Center for Ethics. She continues to consult, train and mediate for clients nationally and internationally. She was an NDEA Fellow at the University of Washington, Seattle.