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We continue to monitor and prepare for additional cases in Iowa and will adjust the university schedule or classes as needed. Please check our COVID-19 webpage for updates and other information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Portrait of David Deifell

David Deifell, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Communication
(563) 588-6335
Catherine Byrne Hall 317
MS 1743 (to send on-campus mail)

Educational Background

Bachelor of Arts with Honors (1994), Political Science with Honors and Speech Communication, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Masters of Arts (1998), Communication Studies, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA

Doctorate of Philosophy (2003), Communication Studies, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA

Teaching Philosophy

Praxis best characterizes my philosophy of teaching. Two sides of the same coin, the theoretical and the practical guide me as a teacher to open students to new ways of thinking and acting. Keeping rigor and grace in a productive tension, I not only challenge students to develop critical thinking and participate in the human pursuit of understanding, but I also remain sensitive to students as individuals struggling to navigate life’s choices in changing circumstances.


Professional Background

My educational and scholarly background bridges traditional academic studies in rhetoric and media with practical concerns and critical consequences of communication. After completing undergraduate work at UNC, my professional life began in the nonprofit sector working in Atlanta to promote human rights with Amnesty International and civil rights with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday Commission. Coming to Iowa for graduate school, I maintained a commitment to social justice in curricular choices, scholarly pursuits and extracurricular activities. I then became faculty studying and teaching in the Pacific Northwest and the mountains of North Carolina, and I remained committed to the common good while teaching communication as practical and theoretical, technical and artistic, performative and intellectual. In 2015, I was called to Clarke to lead the Communication Department and to join a community committed to freedom, charity, education, and justice.

Research Interests

  • theory and criticism of media and rhetoric
  • cultural politics, social movements, and the public sphere
  • public address and political communication
  • cultural studies of media and technology
  • public discourses from student activism and about higher education

Courses Taught

  • COMM 110: Communication and Contemporary Society
  • COMM 205: Communication Theory
  • COMM 225: Research Methods in Communication
  • COMM 365: Communication and Emerging Technologies
  • COMM 499: Communication Capstone

Certifications and Memberships

  • Graduate Certificate (2002), The Interdisciplinary Project on Rhetoric of Inquiry, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
  • Certification, Protecting Human Research Participant Training, National Institute for Health, January 2016.
  • National Communication Association, Membership 1998 to present
  • Current Committees at Clarke (2016-2017)
    •       Student Media Advisory Board, Chair
    •       Academic Advising Committee
    •       President’s Marketing Advisory Committee
    •       Transitions Advisor
  • Dubuque Dolphins Swim Team, Dubuque Community Y, volunteer, 2016.
  • Iowa City Kickers, Coach, 2014-2015.
  • Publications
    • Newman, Robert P. with David Deifell. Invincible Ignorance in American Foreign Policy: The Triumph of Ideology over Evidence. New York: Peter Lang, 2013.
    • Deifell, David, Editor. King Holiday Student Organizing Manual. Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday Commission.  Atlanta, GA: Government Printing Office, 1996.
    • Review of Making the Case: Advocacy and Judgment in Public Argument, ed. Kathryn M. Olson , Michael William Pfau , Benjamin Ponder , and Kirt H. Wilson. Rhetoric & Public Affairs. 17.3 (Fall 2014): 541-544.
    •  “Context, Historiography, and Fragmentation of the Past.” The Functions of Argument and Social Context. Ed. Dennis S. Gouran. Washington, DC: National Communication Association. 2010. pp. 67-74.
    • “The Keynote Address and Its Occasions.” Communication Teacher 21.1 (2007): 1-5.
    • “Terministic Compulsions: Rhetorical Power of the Market in Education.” South Atlantic Philosophy of Education Yearbook. 49 (2005): 16- 28.