Robert Danisch has a PhD in Communication from the University of Pittsburgh (2004) and a BA from the University of Virginia in History and Philosophy.  He is currently Chair of the Department of Communication Arts at the University of Waterloo. His research interests concern rhetorical theory and public communication within democratic societies, and he has written extensively about the relationship between American Pragmatism and rhetoric.  He is the author of Pragmatism, Democracy, and the Necessity of Rhetoric (University of South Carolina Press, 2007) and Building a Social Democracy: The Promise of Rhetorical Pragmatism (Lexington Books, 2015).  He is also the author of a popular book on improving communication skills: What Effect Have I Had? 100 Communication Practices to be a Better Partner, Teammate, Writer, Speaker, and Leader (KDP, 2018).  Professor Danisch hosts a podcast called “Now We’re Talking” that focuses on communication skills, and he is currently finishing a SSHRC-funded project titled Sociologies of Rhetoric which outlines the conditions for rhetorical citizenship within large-scale democratic societies.  His work has appeared in Rhetoric Society Quarterly, Rhetoric Review, Rhetoric & Public Affairs, Social Epistemology, Public Understanding of Science, and Southern Communication Journal.  Rob teaches courses in Communication Ethics, Speech Writing, Persuasion, Small Group Communication, and Public Communication.  He joined the Faculty of Arts at the University of Waterloo in 2011.


  • Ph.D. 2004

    Ph.D. - Communication

    University of Pittsburgh

  • B.A. 1998

    B.A. - Communication

    University of Virginia


  • Communication in Democracy
  • Rhetoric
  • Pragmatism
  • Risk Assessment


  • Current2014

    Associate Professor

    University of Waterloo

  • 20142011

    Assistant Professor

    University of Waterloo

  • 20112004

    Assistant Professor

    Concordia University

  • 20042003

    Andrew Mellon Pre-Doctoral Research Fellow

    University of Pittsburgh

  • 20031998

    Teaching Fellow

    University of Pittsburgh

Awards & Grants

  • 2014-2019
    SSHRC Insight Grant - Sociologies of Rhetoric
    Project Titled “Sociologies of Rhetoric`` was awarded a $140,710 grant
  • 2013
    UW/SSHRC Award - Insight Grant
    Project Titled “Sociologies of Rhetoric`` was awarded an $8,000 grant
  • 2009-2012
    SSHRC Research Grant
    Project titled ``Completing the Linguistic Turn: Neopragmatism and Rhetorical Theory`` was granted $59,000
  • 2007-2008
    New Researcher Start-up Grant - Concordia University
    Project titled “Rhetorical Techné as Innovative Thinking: Historical, Theoretical, and Practical Approaches to Technological Deliberation in Democratic Societies`` was awarded a $15,000 grant
  • 2003-2004
    Andrew Mellon Predoctoral Research Fellowship
    Awarded $18,000 by the University of Pittsburgh. These fellowships are awarded to students of exceptional promise and ability.
  • 2002
    Outstanding Graduate Student Teacher
    Recognized as an exceptional student teacher by the National Communication Association
  • 1994-1998
    Echols Scholar
    University of Virginia