Rebecca Townsend
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Rebecca Townsend


Communication is one of the major ways humans shape society. I love teaching students about communication because there is always the hope they will shape it better than the way they found it. Students can gain new abilities, and cultivate their own personal, professional, or civic capacities. They can make positive changes for themselves and our world.


  • CMB 110: Intro to Communication
  • SDB 110: Effective Speech
  • CMM 212: Persuasion
  • CMM 335: Ethnic and Intercultural Communication

Degrees and Certifications

  • Ph.D. Communication, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • M.A. Speech Communication/Rhetorical studies, Indiana University, Bloomington
  • B.A. Communication, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Research Interests

  • Rhetoric and culture of communication (locally and nationally in the U.S. and Poland)
  • Deliberation in public engagement, government and public policy (especially transportation)
  • Language and social interaction

Selected Publications 

  • Townsend, R. M. “Deval Patrick on the Power of Rhetoric” The Howard Journal of Communications. (in press, 2018).
  • Mamun, S., Caraballo, F., Ivan, J.N., Ravishanker, N., Townsend, R. M., & Zhang, Y. "Identifying Association Between Pedestrian Safety Interventions and Street Crossing Behavior Considering Demographics and Traffic Context." Journal of Transportation Safety and Security. (in press, 2018).
  • Townsend, R. M. "Trump's Warsaw Address, or How the West Was Widened" Journal of Contemporary Rhetoric, Vol. 8, No.1/2, 2018, pp. 84-106.
  • Townsend, R. M. “‘Kick Everything Very Hard and See What Happens:’ Some Polish Perspectives on Brexit, Immigration, the Others, and Ourselves.” W. Jia, Ed.,Intercultural Communication: Adapting to Emerging Global Realities: A Reader(2nd Edition), pp. 409-22. San Diego, CA: Cognella, 2018.
  • Townsend, R. M. Transporting Communication: Community College Students Facilitate Deliberation in Their Own Communities” in Deliberative Pedagogy and Democratic Engagement. Eds. Timothy J. Shaffer, Nicholas V. Longo, Idit Manosevitch, and Maxine S. Thomas.  Michigan State UP, 2017.
  • Lawrence, W., Townsend, R.M., Ivan, J., Ravishanker, N., Mamun, S., Caraballo, F., Zhang, Y. “The Rhetorical Process of Justification in Pedestrian Safety Deliberations” report produced for the Kettering Foundation, Dayton, OH, 2016.
  • Townsend, R. M. “Mapping Routes to Our Roots: Student Civic Engagement in Transportation Planning.” Service-Learning at the American Community College: Theoretical and Empirical Perspectives. Eds. Amy Traver & Zivah Perel Katz. Palgrave Macmillan. 2014.
  • Townsend, R. M. “Engaging ‘Others’ in Civic Engagement through Ethnography of Communication.” Journal of Applied Communication Research, 41 (2013): 202-208.
  • Townsend, R. M. “Town Meeting as a Communication Event: Democracy’s Act Sequence.”  Research on Language and Social Interaction.  42 (2009): 68-89.
  • Townsend, R. M. “Local Communication Studies.”  Lead Review Essay.  Quarterly Journal of Speech 92 (2006): 202-222.
  • Townsend, R. M. “Widening the Circumference of Scene: Local Politics, Local Metaphysics.” KBJournal. Spring 2006.