Associate Dean and Director of Initiatives for Community Engaged Research and Pedagogy
Division of Social Sciences
Picture of Walid Afifi

Walid Afifi studies the experience of uncertainty and its impact on information seeking, decision-making, and well-being. That work resulted in the publication of the Theory of Motivated Information Management, and is currently being extended to the context of communities experiencing chronic uncertainty through the development of the Chronic Uncertainty Framework.


Walid A. Afifi (PhD, University of Arizona) is Professor in the Dept of Communication and Associate Dean, and Director of Community Engaged Initiatives, in the Division of Social Sciences. He was elected as a Fellow of the International Communication Association in 2021 and is currently serving as President of the National Communication Association. He is one of the leading scholars in the study of uncertainty and its impacts. His program of research revolves around uncertainty and information-management decisions and has led to the development and refinement of the Theory of Motivated Information Management. That work has increasingly focused on immigrant communities and/or communities experiencing trauma, and is coalescing around the articulation of the Chronic Uncertainty Framework, which begins with a focus on the sociostructural determinants of behavior. He teaches classes related to community engagement, interpersonal communication, nonverbal communication, relational communication, and uncertainty. He is committed to research, teaching, and service that involves and empowers all communities, and has been recognized for that commitment by UCSB’s Faculty Senate Teaching Award, the Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity's Esteemed Ally Award, and through the Margaret T. Gettman Award for Service to Students.


Ph.D. (1996), University of Arizona, Communication

M.A. (1992), University of Arizona, Communication

B.A. (1990), University of Iowa, Communication Studies

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