Robert E. Denton

Robert E. Denton

W. Thomas Rice Chair and Department Head


130E Shanks Hall
181 Turner St. NW
Blacksburg, VA 24061




Department Membership



  • Political Communication
  • Political Campaigns
  • Media & Politics
  • Persuasion
  • Presidential Discourse
  • Political Ethics

Professional Activities

  • Founding Director, Rice Center for Leader Development
  • Department Head, Virginia Tech Department of Communication
  • W. Thomas Rice Chair, Commonwealth Eminent Scholar
  • Political Analyst, WBDJ-7 Television


  • B.A. Wake Forest University
  • M.A. Wake Forest University
  • Ph.D. Purdue University

Research Interests

    Awards and Honors

    2019, Communicator of the Year by the Virginia Association of Communication Arts and Sciences, Keynote Address and award presentation at the annual convention of the Virginia Association of Communication Arts and Sciences, March 29, 2019.

    2016, Recipient of the 2016 Carl Couch Center Director’s Service Award, The Carl Couch Center for Social and Internet Research, University of Iowa, presented at the Annual Convention of the National Communication Association, Political Communication Division, November 12, 2016. 

    2016, President’s Award for Exemplary Service, Virginia State University, August 11, 2016.

    2016, “Tribute to Robert E. Denton, Jr.,” Political Communication Division, Eastern Communication Association, Annual Convention, Baltimore, Maryland, April 1, 2016.

    Selected Publications


    Social Fragmentation and the Decline of Democracy in America:  The End of the Social Contract, Robert E. Denton, Jr. and Ben Voth. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016 (hardback and paper editions).

    Political Campaign Communication: Principles and Practices, 9th Edition, by Juddith Trent, Robert Friedenberg, and Robert E. Denton, Jr., Lanham, MD:  Rowman & Littlefield, 2020.

    Edited Books

    Studies of Communication in the 2016 Presidential Campaign.  Denton, Jr., Robert E., editor. Lanham, MD:  Lexington Books, 2018.

    Denton, Jr., Robert E., editor. The 2016 Presidential Campaign:  Political Communication and Practice. New York:  Palgrave Macmillan, 2017 (hardback and paper editions).

    Political Campaign Communication: Theory, Method, and Practice, Robert E. Denton, Jr., Editor. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2017.


    “Religion and the 2004 Presidential Campaign,” by Robert E. Denton, Jr., American Behavioral Scientist(Special Campaign Issue), Vol. 49, No. 1 (September 2005), 11-31.

    “Language, Symbols, and Media,” by Robert E. Denton, Jr., Society, Vol. 42, No.1 (Nov/Dec), 2004, 10-18.

    “Rhetorical Challenges to the Presidency,” by Robert E. Denton, Jr., Rhetoric & Public Affairs, Vol. 3, No. 3, Fall 2000, 445-459.

    “Presidential Communication as Mediated Conversation: Interpersonal Talk as Presidential Discourse,” by Robert E. Denton, Jr. and Rachel L. Holloway, Research in Political Sociology, Vol. VII., 1995, 89-113.

    Additional Information

    Professor Denton specialized in political communication with a focus on media and politics, political campaigns, and presidential discourse.  He is the author, co-author, or editor of 30 books and has written numerous scholarly articles, book chapters, and presented over eighty convention and professional papers. In addition to his scholarly pursuits, Denton remains involved with local media.  He has worked in a variety of capacities including as a senior consultant, a political analyst, and as a host.  A current political analyst for WBDJ-7 and the Wheeler Broadcasting Group, he has also hosted many of his own programs including "Insight" and "At Issue with Bob Denton" for WBRA-15.