Skip to main content

Teaching Associate Professor, Executive Director for Program for Public Discourse

Area of Study: Rhetorical Studies


Office: Bynum Hall 300A
Office Hours: Monday 1-2:30 p.m. or by appointment
1 Curriculum Vitae


Ph.D., University of Georgia

M.A., San José State University

B.A., College of Charleston

As a communication scholar, I study the ways in which humans create meaning together. As a rhetorical theorist and critic, I study how publics negotiate those shared meanings to deliberate about contested issues in the face of uncertainty. I am especially interested in the form of argumentative reasoning. What does it mean to persuade or be persuaded? How does public argument shape our shared reality? Building on such fundamental questions, my work at UNC assumes many forms.

As Executive Director of the Program for Public Discourse, my colleagues and I strive to foster a culture of robust public discourse in the classroom, across campus, and throughout the community. I regularly lead faculty and student workshops on topics related to public deliberation and deliberative pedagogy, as well as advise the Agora Fellows, a cohort of students dedicated to the study and practice of public discourse in contemporary life.

As a teacher, I prepare students to participate in public life and communicate at the highest levels of human inquiry. In the classroom, we engage a combination of practical, theoretical, critical, and ethical questions of rhetorical inquiry. Students examine the ethical obligations of communication and the rhetorical dimensions of public culture, all while exploring what it means to be a responsible citizen.

My scholarship focuses on themes related to rhetoric, public argument, and civic education. My work has appeared in journals including Rhetoric Society Quarterly and Argumentation and Advocacy. I am currently writing a book chapter on the role of rhetoric in the history of civic education.

If you would like to learn more about my work or the field of rhetoric in general, I invite you to connect with me.

You can learn more about the Program for Public Discourse at

Recent honors

Invited participant in “Trust and Truth: Confronting Anti-Intellectualism Through Civil Discourse,” held at the second annual Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) Ithaca National Student Dialogue, hosted by the Joseph R. Biden, Jr. School of Public Policy & Administration.

Invited participant at the Executive Leadership on Discourse Across Difference Symposium. Invited participant. Texas Tech University. February 9, 2023.

Invited participant in the Duke University Civil Discourse Project, “Teaching Civil Discourse in the College Classroom: A Summer Seminar for Faculty.”

Recipient of Heterodox Academy grant to organize and host the inaugural Symposium of Collegiate Programs for Public Discourse.

Invited guest on the Aaron Keck Show and the Public Morality with Byron Williams.

Invited guest lectures at UNC schools of law, government, business, and public health.

Notable publications

“Three Affect Paradigms: The Historical Landscape of Emotional Inquiry.” Affect, Emotion and Rhetorical Persuasion in Mass Communication. Editors, Lei Zhang and Carlton Clark. New York: Routledge, 2019. (Lead chapter).

“Demonstrating Without Demands: Re-Articulating the Black Populist Subject Within the Post-Racial Mystique.” Argumentation and Advocacy 54, no. 3 (March 2018): 179-198.

“Placing Second: Empathic Unsettlement as a Vehicle of Consubstantiality at the Silent Gesture Statue of Tommie Smith and John Carlos.” Memory Studies 10, no. 4 (December 2017): 440-458.

“Revisiting Edwin Black: Exhortation as a Prelude to Emotional-Material Rhetoric.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 46, no. 5 (December 2016): 465-485.

Courses taught

  • · Comm 772, Contemporary Rhetorical Theory
  • · Comm 704, Communication and the Discursive
  • · Comm 573, The American Experience in Rhetoric
  • · Comm 572, Public Policy Argument
  • · Comm 412, Critical Theory
  • · Comm 170, Rhetoric and Public Issues
  • · Comm 113, Public Speaking