Don Waisanen is an assistant professor in the Baruch College School of Public Affairs, where he teaches courses and workshops in public communication—including executive speech training, campaign and advocacy strategies, media analysis, and seminars on leadership, improvisation, and humor. All his research projects seek to understand how communication works to promote or hinder the force of citizens’ voices. In particular, his recent publications have focused on the functions of political language, the increasing role of comedy in public culture, and the factors that can best sustain a deliberative democracy.
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 conducted communication strategy for various domestic and transnational projects, and serves on the board of the Resilience Advocacy Project, a nonprofit helping youth transition out of poverty. He writes for The Huffington Post, 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.