George Villanueva, PhD

Assistant Professor of Advocacy and Social Change

School of Communication, Loyola University Chicago


George Villanueva is Assistant Professor of Advocacy and Social Change in the School of Communication, Loyola University Chicago.  Critically grounded in communication, cultural anthropology, and sociological frameworks, he studies the changing global context of community, civic engagement, sustainable urban development, democracy, the city, public culture, visual communication, race & ethnicity, and hip hop culture. He is particularly interested in theories, methods, and practices that develop engaged scholarship for positive social change between universities and urban communities.  He received a Ph.D. in Communication with a Graduate Certificate in Visual Anthropology from the University of Southern California.

Before coming to Loyola, he was a Postdoctoral Scholar at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and affiliated with the Metamorphosis Project.  While in Los Angeles, he served as the project manager for the Northeast Los Angeles Riverfront Collaborative.  The project aimed at creating sustainable economic development in the NELA river study area and was funded by a HUD-DOT-EPA Partnership for Sustainable Communities grant.  George also has served as an Area Planning Commissioner for the City of Los Angeles, worked as a Community Organizer and Field Deputy for former Los Angeles City Council member, and now Mayor Eric Garcetti, a Senior Field Representative and Research Coordinator for former CA State Assembly member Jackie Goldberg, and has worked in community program evaluation and planning for several non-profit organizations.  He was a contributing writer and filmmaker for the public media outlet KCET Departures, where his column Engaging Spaces investigated how people and organizations engage urban space to make Los Angeles a more livable, socially just, and fun city. 

George was born and raised in Los Angeles, growing up in the intersecting spaces of East Hollywood, Koreatown, and the Temple/ Beverly corridor (now Historic Filipinotown).