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Posts Tagged ‘elections’

UNL expert alert: As presidential debates begin, these speech and rhetoric experts can help with analysis

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

Aaron Duncan, Ph.D. Director of Speech & Debate, Assistant Professor of Practice

Speech & Debate, Rhetoric & Public Culture

Expertise Key Words:

Public speaking

Speech and debate

Political Communication and elections

Popular culture and television


Contact information:

Work Phone: 402-472-6920

Mobile Phone: 402-450-7830


Aaron Duncan (Ph.D., University of Nebraska-Lincoln) is the director of the UNL Speech and Debate program, which placed seventh in the nation in 2013 out of more than 100 college and universities at the American Forensics Association National Individual Events Tournament (AFA-NEIT).  He has coached multiple national champions and dozens of state champions while at UNL.

Duncan’s research specializes in political communication and cultural studies. His research focus is political communication, gambling, media interpretations of political events, and popular culture.  He has published articles related to the growth of gambling in America, the changing nature of the American dream, the role of popular television shows in shaping public discourse, and the importance of video games in popular culture.

Damien Smith Pfister, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Rhetoric & Public Culture


Digital media

Civic discourse

Public address and argumentation

Political campaigns

Networked cultures

Contact information:


Work Phone: 402-472-0646

Mobile Phone: 412-979-2645


Damien Pfister (Ph.D. University of Pittsburgh, 2009) is an assistant professor in Communication Studies specializing in rhetoric and public culture. He studies the impact of digital media on public deliberation and culture. His current research projects include the evolution of the blogosphere and new technological innovations like Google Glass.

Pfister has had his research published in Argumentation & AdvocacySocial Epistemology, and Communication Studies. His current research projects include the evolution of the blogosphere and the Obama Administration’s use of digital media.




Public discourse



Carly S. Woods, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Rhetoric & Public Culture

Expertise Keywords:

Gender and sexuality

Communication and identity

Political communication

Argumentation and debate

History of communication

Contact information:


Work phone: 402-472-0650

Home phone: 412-867-7249


Carly Woods (Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh) is an assistant professor of Communication Studies, specializing in rhetoric and public culture, with a joint appointment in Women’s & Gender Studies. She studies representations of gender, race, class and sexuality and how historically marginalized speakers and groups negotiate those differences in political culture. Her current research projects explore the history of women in debate and public controversies at the intersections of gender, biomedicine, and identity.

Her work has been published in the Quarterly Journal of Speech, Women’s Studies in Communication, Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, and Contemporary Argumentation and Debate.

Ronald Lee, Ph.D., Professor

Rhetoric & Public Culture

Contact information:

Work Phone: 402-472-2255

Home Phone: 402-484-8332

Mobile Phone: 402-540-0260


Ronald Lee (Ph.D., University of Iowa) is a professor of Communication Studies specializing in rhetoric and public culture. He has been on the faculty at UNL since 1991. He publishes work dealing with contemporary American political discourse.  His research projects have dealt with the rhetorical construction of presidential legacies, the discourses of poverty, the mythical use of American place in national politics, the evolving standards of journalistic coverage of religion, and the use of race in post-civil-rights era political discourse.

UNL experts can help media make sense of the 2014 midterms

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

What do the 2014 midterm elections bode for the future? These University of Nebraska-Lincoln experts are available to help reporters analyze the rhetoric, campaign tactics and issues of the 2014 congressional and statehouse races, both in Nebraska and nationally.

John Hibbing, Foundation Regents University Professor of Political Science: Nebraska’s U.S. Senate, House races, statewide campaigns and campaign trail developments.  Hibbing is a nationally known expert in political psychology, biology and politics, political behavior, public opinion and legislative politics. His research has shown how people’s biology can influence their political orientation, an important perspective in a campaign season when Ebola fears came to the forefront. Reach Hibbing at 402-472-3220 or

-  Kevin B. Smith, professor of political science, department chair: Nebraska’s U.S. Senate, House races, other major races, political messaging. Smith focuses on public policy, public administration, American politics, and biology and politics. He can discuss the dynamics of this year’s U.S. Senate race and other major races. He can analyze broad aspects of these campaigns, including the effectiveness or lack thereof of political advertising. He also can discuss differences between liberals, conservatives and moderates in the context of the 2014 election, and how developments on the campaign trail may be interpreted by these different groups of voters.  Smith, who is available Wednesday morning only, can be reached at 402-472-0779 or

-  Elizabeth Theiss-Morse, Willa Cather Professor of Political Science: Public opinion, political behavior, political psychology. Theiss-Morse researches Americans’ attitudes about numerous aspects of the American political system and about their fellow Americans.  Her research analyzes politicians’ use of heated rhetoric and how it affects the effectiveness of democracy. Reach Theiss-Morse at 402-472-3221 or

- Dona-Gene Barton, associate professor of political science: Public opinion, effects of campaign information on voters over time. Mitchell’s expertise is in American political behavior, public opinion and political psychology. She researches and teaches in the areas of how opinions are formed via information, campaigns and time, and the lifespan of information effects. She can discuss the effectiveness over time of campaign messaging on voters or how long unfavorable information may affect politicians and elected officials. Reach Barton at 402-472-5994 or

-  Damien Smith Pfister, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies: Political rhetoric, culture, digital media in politics. Pfister researches the impact of digital media on public deliberation and culture, including how blogging and social networking has challenged traditional patterns of communication during political campaigns and controversies. His new book, “Networked Media, Networked Rhetorics: Attention and Deliberation in the Early Blogosphere,” examines how political battles are fought in the digital world. Reach Pfister at 402-472-0646 or

- Sergio Wals, Assistant Professor of Political Science and Ethnic Studies: Political attitudes and behaviors, immigration and politics, the Latino vote.  Wals’ research agenda is centered on American political behavior, with a focus on topics related to race and ethnicity both in the United States and Latin America. He has paid particular attention to the study of political attitudes and behaviors of Latino immigrants to the U.S. He can comment on how the immigration issue affected the election, as well as on the Latino vote. Wals is best contacted via email, at His office number is 402-472-5704.

_ Aaron Duncan, Director, Speech & Debate, Lecturer, Communication Studies: Election outcomes and communication strategies in statewide races.  Duncan’s research focuses on popular culture and political communication. Reach Duncan via his cell phone, 402-450-7830, or