College of Communication > Faculty & Staff > Faculty A-Z > Barbara Willard

Barbara Willard

Professor Willard's research focuses on environmental communication and the ways in which it shapes beliefs and behaviors that impact our natural world. She investigates how agricultural rhetoric informs and influences US cultural eating practices that have a significant bearing on sustainability. She examines the rhetoric of landscapes as they are both read by and created by humans. She explores how the transformation of blighted urban areas into farms and community gardens become symbolic sites of empowerment and reconnection with community and the land. She also studies best practices for promoting pro-environmental behavior such as natural landscaping and support for restoration practices.

Willard has published articles and book reviews in a variety of journals including Environmental Communication, Women's Studies in Communication, and Rhetoric Society Quarterly. A past recipient of DePaul's Excellence in Teaching Award, she teaches courses in environmental studies, rhetorical studies, and sustainability.  She has an affiliate faculty appointment with the Department of Environmental Science and Studies.

Book Chapters

  • Willard, B. (2020). Colouring outside the Lines: Symbolic legitimacy and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. In Hannan, J. (Ed.) Meatsplaining: The animal agriculture industry and the rhetoric of denial. Sydney, AU: Sydney University Press.
  • Willard, B. (2014) "Reinhabiting the Land: From Vacant Lots to Garden Plots". In Besel, R. Blau, J. (Eds.)Performance on Behalf of the Environment, Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, pp. 93–113.
  • Willard, B. (2011)."A garden in Eden". In Green, C. Heneghan, L. (Eds.). Brute neighbors: Urban nature poems, essays and photographs. DePaul Humanities Center, DePaul Poetry Institute and DePaul Institute for Nature and Culture.


  • Willard, B. (2007). "Rhetorical Landscapes as Epistemic: Revisiting Aldo Leopold's A Sand County Almanac". Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture, 1(2), pp. 218-235.
  • Willard, B. (2005). Feminist interventions in biomedical discourse: An analysis of the rhetoric of integrative medicine. Women's Studies in Communication, 28(1), 115-148.
  • Willard, B. Winsten, K. (November, 2004). "Promoting native landscaping: Barriers and motivations for Chicagoland residents"/ Chicago Wilderness Journal.
  • Willard, B. (2002) "The American story of meat: Discursive influences on cultural eating practices". Journal of Popular Culture, 36(1), 105-118.


  • Willard, B. Harp, S. (2005). Photographic Exhibit - Biography of Landscape: Reading the Landscape of Jackson Park. DePaul Art Museum, 9/05–11/05.

Media Appearances


  • DePaul ENGAGE Award, 2012
  • Excellence in Teaching Award, College of Communication