Dr. R. Jarrod Atchison serves as the John Kevin Medica Director of Debate and as a Professor of Communication. Dr. Atchison researches and teaches in the areas of argumentation, rhetorical theory & criticism, and American public address. He is currently serving as the President of the American Forensic Association. Dr. Atchison has published three books, A War of Words: The Rhetorical Leadership of Jefferson Davis (2017, University of Alabama Press), Milestones: Defining Lists of Wake Forest Debate, 1835-2022 with Dr. Allan Louden (2022, Library Partners Press), We Are Not One People: Secession and Separatism in American Politics Since 1776 with Dr. Michael J. Lee (2022, Oxford University Press).
Polly Black is an Associate Teaching Professor and Director of Marketing Communication Minor, teaching courses in Marketing Communication. Polly has been at Wake Forest University since 2010. She has taught courses in Consumer Behavior, Integrated Marketing Communications, Advertising and PR, Comparative Management and Entrepreneurship for the College and the Business School. Recently, Polly has successfully led the initiative to establish a Marketing Communication minor in the Department of Communication.
Prior to joining the Communication Department, Polly was the John C. Whitaker Jr. Executive Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, a position she relinquished in June 2017 to return to teaching full time and focusing on her research. Polly joined Wake Forest in Fall of 2010 to take over the responsibility for the Entrepreneurship Center. During her tenure, the Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise minor grew from approximately 50 students to 300 students, three endowed chairs were added to the program, three endowed scholarship funds were established, and the program grew to include four fully dedicated faculty members. Polly also founded the Deacon Springboard, an early-stage incubator, and provided coaching and mentoring to students pursuing entrepreneurial ventures. Polly also has a strong marketing and strategy track record in start-up, turn-around and growth companies. She brings over twenty years of diverse business experience as a successful consultant as well as senior corporate marketing experience with Fortune 100 companies.
Polly received her PhD from the University of Birmingham in the UK. She holds an MBA from the University of Virginia Darden School, an MA from Columbia University and a BA from Vassar College. Her current research interests include communication relating to consumer trust.
Mollie Rose Canzona
Mollie Rose Canzona is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication. She holds a joint appointment in the Department of Social Sciences & Health Policy at Wake Forest University School of Medicine (WFSM) and is a member of the Cancer Prevention & Control Program at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Comprehensive Cancer Center (AHWFBCCC).
Dr. Canzona conducts interdisciplinary, narrative-based, mixed-method, and community engaged research to investigate how communication among patients, providers, and family/close relational partners is tied to health promotion, medical decision-making, and stress and coping. Her research program examines sexual and reproductive health, health equity, and caregiving for adolescents and young adults with cancer. Her work has been funded by the National Cancer Institute, Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity of WFSM, and the Neuro-Oncology Program of AHWFBCCC.
She serves as affiliate faculty for the Center for Bioethics, Health & Society and for the Interpreting and Translational Studies Program (MA in Intercultural Services in Healthcare)at Wake Forest University. She is a steering committee member for the Humanities Instituteâ€™s Story, Health, & Healing Initiative and is the Director of the Communication Departmentâ€™s Health, Environmental, and Risk Communication Concentration.
Phillip Lamarr Cunningham, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Media Studies at Wake Forest University. His research primarily focuses on African American representation in popular culture. His scholarly work has appeared in Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, Journal of Popular Music Studies, and Journal of Sport and Social Issues, Popular Culture Studies Journal, and various anthologies on comics, film, television, and sports.
Mary M. Dalton is Professor of Communication at Wake Forest University where she teaches courses focusing on critical media studies and screenwriting. Her scholarly publications include articles, book chapters, and the books The Hollywood Curriculum: Teachers in the Movies (third revised edition), Teacher TV: Seventy Years of Teachers on Television (second edition), and the co-edited volume The Sitcom Reader: America Re-viewed, Still Skewed (revised edition). Her documentaries have been screened at various festivals, museums, galleries, libraries, and on public television.
T. Nathaniel French
Dr. T. Nathaniel “Nate” French received his Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in Communication and English at Wake Forest University and both his Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy in Communication Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Dr. French is an Associate Teaching Professor in the Department of Communication and the Director of the Magnolia Scholars Program at Wake Forest University. In this role, he provides leadership in the support of first-generation students through the office of Wake Forest Scholars.
Dr. French lives in Clemmons, North Carolina with his wife, T. Camille French, Esq., and is the proud parent of three aspiring adults. He is also the keeper of a cat, Noel, and a dog, Scarlett.
Dr. Steven M. Giles (PhD, University of Kentucky) is an associate professor in the Department of Communication. Specializing in health communication, his research encompasses school-based substance use prevention, communication’s impact on body image, and family-based obesity prevention. In addition to his research, Dr. Giles teaches courses in areas such as persuasion, health communication, relational communication, leadership, and sports communication.
Dr. Rebecca Gill (Ph.D., University of Utah) is the Larry J. and LeAnne E. Merlo Presidential Chair in Communication and Entrepreneurship at Wake Forest University. Her research examines professional-entrepreneurial identity and practice, including how narratives of social identity (e.g., class, ethnicity, religion, gender) shape entrepreneurial sensemaking and experience. Her work has been published in several top-tier journals, including Communication Monographs, Communication Theory, Human Relations, Management Communication Quarterly, and Organisation. Dr. Gill’s most recent work explores the construction and implications of regional entrepreneur communities. She teaches courses addressing work, entrepreneurship, and critical social theory.
A Wake Forest graduate (’99) and professed “debate evangelist”, Justin was excited to return as the Head Coach of the Debate Team in 2012. In his time, the team has achieved a number of national accolades including ACC and National Championships. With two degrees in education and a focus on oral communication, Justin’s classrooms are full of movement and rhetoric. His work to help bring debate across the curriculum and throughout the Winston Salem/Forsyth County area is designed to bring Wake Forest beyond the walls of campus. When not in Carswell Hall, you can find him playing basketball, dancing, singing and/or spending time with his kids.
Michael Hazen was born and raised in Tacoma, Washington and completed his undergraduate work at Seattle Pacific University. After completion of his B.A. degree, he journeyed to North Carolina to become part of the first master’s class in the communication program at Wake Forest University. Upon graduation from Wake Forest, he entered and subsequently graduated from the Ph.D. program at the University of Kansas. In the fall of 1974, he joined the faculty of the Speech Communication program at Wake Forest University. In his early years at Wake Forest University, he served as the Director of the National Debate Tournament from 1975 to 1984, where the collegiate national debate champion was determined. He became involved in international programs dealing with debate & discussion when he was appointed by the National Communication Association’s Committee on International Discussion and Debate to serve as the coach for the American debate team touring Japan in 1980, to serve as the coach of the American debate’s tour of the Soviet Union in 1982, and as the American escort for the Soviet Debate team touring the United States in 1985. As a result of a subsequent developing interest in communicative practices in different cultures, he was granted a research leave in Japan in the spring of 1988 and was the director of the first Wake Forest student study abroad program in Japan in the Fall of 1991. He also served as the founding Chair of the new Department of Communication from 1992 until 2001. Also, from 1995 to 2001, he served as the Project Coordinator for granted awarded to the department for a â€œLongitudinal Analysis of Computerization at Wake Forest University.â€ In recent years, he has pursued his research and teaching interests comparing communication in Japan, China, Russia and the United States. He served as president of the Eurasian Communication Association of North America and has worked with the Russian Communication Association, the Association for Chinese Communication Studies, and the Japan-US Communication Association. At Wake Forest University, in addition to being department chair, he has served as President of the University Senate, a member of the Provost Search Committee, member of the Graduate Council, and numerous committees.
Director, Sound Designer, and Composer, Dr. Hood creates content for Adobe Stock and FilmMusic, and distributes work via Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube, and many other streaming services. Recent publications include work for Brill Publishing (Amsterdam), Interdisciplinary Publishing (Oxford), and London Film and Media. He regularly presents work in the U.S., the U.K., Amsterdam, and Prague often focused on the use of artificial intelligence in film and media, horror cinema, and interdisciplinary, multimedia creative practice.
Rowena (Rowie) Kirby-Straker
Dr. Kirby-Straker’s teaching, research, and scholarly creative work focus on public speaking, community listening, environmental risk communication, environmental justice, and knowledge repatriation. Using her training as an Academic and Community Engaged (ACE) fellow at Wake and her experience as an environmental communication practitioner in the Caribbean, she partners with others to create opportunities for cross-cultural engagement between students and communities locally and internationally.
Marina Krcmar (PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison) is a professor at Wake Forest University. Her research focuses on the how children and adolescents use and are affected by media. Recent work has focused on social media and on the relationship between media and moral reasoning, especially in children. She has published 2 books, as well as many chapters and journal articles on these topics
I was born in Vermont and have lived all over the US. Prior to the academy I worked in PR and media relations in state and local government in North Carolina. I taught at Purdue University and UNC Greensboro before coming to Wake Forest. I am married and we have two adult children (both Wake Forest graduates). I am a recognized expert on PR and urban legends (by the federal courts) and the McDonald’s hot coffee case (by Retro Reports, a New York Times-affiliated media content producer).
Dr. Rogan is Professor of Communication and recently served as Interim Dean and Senior Associate Dean of The College at Wake Forest University. Professor Rogan’s research program is two-fold. Traditionally, his work has been in forensic discourse analysis of crisis negotiations and author identification. In particular, his research focuses on the affective and framing features of conflict communication, for which he has received scholarly awards. His 1997 book, (co-edited with M.R. Hammer & C. Van Zandt), Dynamic Processes of Crisis Negotiation: Theory, Research, and Practice, was awarded the Outstanding Book Award in 1998 by the International Association of Conflict Management. Professor Rogan is also co-editor of the recently published books: Rogan, R.G., & Lanceley, F. (Eds.), Contemporary Theory, Research, and Practice of Crisis and Hostage Negotiation; and Donohue, W.A., Rogan, R. G., & Kaufman, S., (Eds.), Framing Matters: Perspectives on Negotiation Research and Practice in Communication. This last book was recently nominated for the 2012 “Outstanding Book Award” from the International Association of Conflict Management. Dr. Rogan is recognized as an international expert and leading researcher in crisis negotiation. Dr. Rogan has consulted with various law enforcement agencies on crisis negotiation and threatening communication, as well as being an invited speaker at several international crisis negotiation meeting, including the First European Conference on Hostage Negotiations and more recently at the International Conference on Police Interventions in Crisis Situations at the Ecole Nationale de Police du Quebec, Nicolet, Quebec, Canada, where he was a keynote speaker on the dynamics of intercultural communication in crisis and hostage negotiation. Of particular noteworthiness, his communication analysis of written documents was central to the investigation that resulted in the arrest of the Unabomber. Additionally, Dr. Rogan’s research focuses on the communication-based analysis of terrorism, with particular attention on the discourse of jihadism, its foundational jurisprudence, and the ideology for jihad against democracy. He has published research exploring the narrative of identity construction manifested in the al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula Inspire publication and recruitment narratives in both Inspire and the ISIS publication Dabiq. He has been an invited speaker for several years at the World Summit for Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya, Israel.
Thomas Southerland is a practicing filmmaker who has taught at Wake Forest since 2018. His first narrative feature, PROUD CITIZEN won the Jury Prize at the New Orleans Film Festival in 2014 and eight other Jury and Audience awards at film festivals around the country. His second narrative feature, FORT MARIA, won the Jury Prize and Best Cinematography award at the Ashland Independent Film Festival and the Best Director award from the BendFilm Festival in 2018. His three short documentaries, LAMP (A GHOST STORY), LONELY KINGDOM, and APRIL EIGHTY-NINE have screened at numerous festivals. LONELY KINGDOM won the Best Documentary Short Jury Prize at the Charlotte Film Festival. He recently completed two short films, the documentary I’M THE GIRL (THE STORY OF A PHOTOGRAPH), and the narrative short BOOMSHADOW.
Alessandra Von Burg
Alessandra Von Burg is Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at Wake Forest University. She is the Program Director for Casa Artom, Wake Forest Universityâ€™s residence in Venice. She is affiliated faculty for American Ethnic Studies, Jewish Studies, and steering committee member for the Race, Inequality, and Policy Initiative (RIPI) at Wake Forest University. She is the current President of the American Society for the History of Rhetoric (ASHR). From 2010 until 2018, she was co-principal investigator and co-director for the Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows (BFTF) Summer Institute, a Department of State-funded summer program for international and American students. She is the co-founder of the Every Campus a Refuge (ECAR) chapter at Wake Forest University, residential programs for refugees and asylum seekers. Her research focuses on rhetorical theory, citizenship, mobility, noncitizens and nonplaces. Her most recent publications include two student-authored books, Rhetoric in Everyday Life and Feeling Rhetoric.
Ron Von Burg
Ron Von Burg is an Associate Professor of Communication and the Associate Dean of Academic Initiatives for the Graduate School. He is the director of the Lifelong Learning Program, MA in Liberal Arts Studies, and MA in Sustainability.
Dr. Watts’ research focuses on the production and circulation of Black voice and the imposition of voicelessness. His interest in voice is calibrated to the dynamics and racism and race in particular, but intersects sex, gender, geography, and class. Dr. Watts is a rhetorical and cultural studies scholar.
I was born in Philadelphia and has lived in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Indiana, Illinois and North Carolina. Early interests in music, writing, religion and world building have evolved into career interests in rhetorical invention, especially religion, spirituality, music, and virtual worlds as forms of persuasion through world building. My research interests include Religion in American Public Discourse, Classical Theory, Narrative Theory and Interactionism, especially the theories of Kenneth Burke and Mikhail Bakhtin.
Rebecca Johnson is a Visiting Professor of Communication at Wake Forest University. She received her Ph.D. in 2022 from the University of Kansas and studies long-distance romantic relationships, online dating, flirting styles, and technology use in interpersonal relationships. Additional research interests include general social media use, sexual orientation and gender identities, and online communities. Her latest publication focuses on social support (or the lack thereof) of long-distance romance and how it impacts people in those relationships. Dr. Johnsonâ€™s work can be found in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, New Media & Psychology, the Journal of Applied Communication Research, and Media Psychology.
David Robertson is Visiting Assistant Professor in the Communication Department. He taught in the School of Business in 2010-2015 before joining the Communication Department full-time in 2022 upon retiring from Hanesbrands, Inc. David’s marketing career includes brand management and general management experience from Procter & Gamble, Celestial Seasonings, and Hanesbrands. He led brand strategy and marketing for several world-class brands, including Hanes, Champion, Playtex, Bali and Maidenform. David began his marketing career at Procter & Gamble, where he developed and executed growth strategies for the Downy and Bounce fabric conditioner brands. Following P&G, David led new product strategy at Celestial Seasonings, the leader in the specialty tea market. At Hanesbrands, he led brand marketing for Hanes, the largest apparel brand in the US, and developed the first global marketing team for Champion.
David holds an MBA and BS from Wake Forest University.
Wake Forest University- MA
Winston-Salem State University-BA
Carswell Hall Carrell, 3rd floor. 29/30
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Frank is a proud U.S. Air Force veteran with over 28 years of Healthcare Management experience working with Fortune 500 companies – SIEMENS Medical and Universal Health Services.
Currently, he is the CEO of P2H, LLC (Videography Services and Social Media Management); Co-owner of Chilly Philly (Philadelphia Water Ice), and CEO of Empowered2Empower, LLC (a veteran resource company). Frank also provides voiceover services for WSNC 90.5 FM – Jazz. He also serves as the Senior Pastor for a local Winston-Salem Church.
Candice is a native of Winston-Salem. She began working at Wake Forest in 2015. She is a recent graduate of the Wake Forest University Masters of Counseling- Human Services Program. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her friends, family, and 17-year-old cat, Theta.
Jarrett was born and raised in North Carolina. He has taught cinema studies at UNC-Greensboro, High Point College, Piedmont Community College, the North Carolina School of the Arts School of Filmmaking, and Wake Forest University.
Jo Lowe is the Instructional Technologist for the Department of Communication and for the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures. She has supported educational technologies for WFU academic departments for over 15 years. Jo has received several certifications, training certificates, accreditations, and degrees in technology from Microsoft, Adobe and a master’s degree in Educational Media and Design. Jo enjoys Sci Fi and Marvel movies, and gaming. She also loves her cat and dog!
Anne Rudert is a 1998 graduate of Wake Forest. A native of Northern Virginia, she moved to Winston-Salem over 25 years ago for college and never looked back. Anne has worked in fundraising and volunteer management at area non-profits, including Habitat for Humanity, National MS Society, Samaritan Ministries and The Shalom Project. Before joining the Department of Communication, she worked at West Forsyth High School as the registrar.
In her free time, Anne enjoys spending time with her husband, Bill, and two daughters, Sadie and Vivian. Their family includes cat Lucy and golden retriever Boone. They are currently introducing the girls to all things Marvel! She always finds time to volunteer at her church and at her girls’ schools. Anne bleeds black and gold – for her Demon Deacons and Pittsburgh Steelers…and she is not afraid to admit that she buys tickets every time the New Kids on the Block are in town.