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Robert E. Denton

Robert E. Denton, Director of the School of Communication and W. Thomas Rice Chair

Robert E. Denton, Director of the School of Communication and W. Thomas Rice Chair
Robert E. Denton, Director of the School of Communication and W. Thomas Rice Chair

School of Communication
130E Shanks Hall
181 Turner St. NW
Blacksburg, VA 24061
540-231-7166 |

Robert E. Denton, director of the School of Communication and the W. Thomas Rice Chair at Pamplin College of Business, specializes in political communication with a focus on media and politics, political campaigns, and presidential discourse.

He is the author, coauthor, or editor of 33 books and has written numerous scholarly articles and book chapters. He has also presented more than 80 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 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.

  • Political Communication
  • Political Campaigns
  • Media and Politics
  • Persuasion
  • Presidential Discourse
  • Political Ethics
  • PhD, Purdue University
  • MA, Wake Forest University
  • BA, Wake Forest University
  • Director, Virginia Tech School of Communication
  • Founding Director, Rice Center for Leader Development
  • W. Thomas Rice Chair, Commonwealth Eminent Scholar
  • Political Analyst, WBDJ-7 Television
  • 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.
  • 2019, Appointed to the Academy of Faculty Leadership, Virginia Tech, February 1, 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.


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.

Journal Articles

“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.

Book Chapters

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