Don Waisanen is an assistant professor of communication in the Baruch College School of Public Affairs, where he teaches courses in political communication, public argument and advocacy, media campaigns and analysis, and advanced speech training. His research focuses on rhetoric and public affairs, especially comedy in public culture, and the connections between deliberation, social movements, and civic identities. He has published on a diverse range of topics exploring the forms of discourse most amenable to democracy—from the critical humor of the Onion News Network to populist reasoning in immigration activism—in journals such as Communication Monographs, Argumentation and Advocacy, Communication Quarterly, the Western Journal of Communication, the American Communication Journal, and the Southern Communication Journal. He is currently working on a book length manuscript analyzing political conversion as a persuasive appeal in U.S. history.
Before entering academia, Don was a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs, and worked in broadcast journalism, as a speechwriter, and on political campaigns. He has been a communication strategy consultant for various domestic and transnational public sector projects, and was a Rubin Fellow exploring cosmopolitanism and globalization through New York City’s arts and culture sector. Don serves on the board of the Resilience Advocacy Project, a nonprofit promoting local and system-level efforts to help youth transition out of poverty. He writes for The Huffington Post and Thick Culture, and has long enjoyed and been informed in his professional work by involvement in the performing arts, particularly improvisational comedy. He received a Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Southern California.