Director of Debate and Speech
Associate Professor (On research leave, 2019-20)
Dr. Ben Voth researches and teaches with a goal of equipping individuals to have a voice in the world. He has published three books on how individual communication abilities can positively change the world: James Farmer Jr.: The Great Debater (Lexington Books, 2017); Social Fragmentation and the Decline of American Democracy: The End of the Social Contract (Springer, 2017, with Robert E. Denton Jr.); and The Rhetoric of Genocide: Death as a Text (Lexington Books, 2014 and 2016). The Rhetoric of Genocide won the American Forensic Association’s 2015 top national book award, the Daniel Rohrer Memorial Outstanding Research Award, for research in the field of speech and debate. Voth’s writing has been featured in The Dallas Morning News, Fortune magazine, American Thinker and discussed on various NPR affiliates. His expertise is cited in national publications such as The Washington Post and U.S. News and World Report, and has been discussed on The Rush Limbaugh Show. His communication collaborations with national and international institutions include: The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., the George W. Bush Presidential Center, the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation and the government of Rwanda. His students often work to overcome human rights problems in a variety of international settings including Burma, North Korea, Rwanda, India and Europe.
Voth’s unique approach to communication emphasizes the role of free speech, dissent, and argument in preventing and reversing problems of human injustice. Specializing in a rhetorical studies approach allows him to teach courses in public speaking, argumentation and debate, persuasion theory, political communication, communication and ethnoviolence, communication and genocide.
As director of speech and debate, Voth has coached more than a dozen national champions of collegiate speech and debate events including International Public Debate Association’s varsity competitions, novice policy debate, persuasive speaking, communication analysis, and impromptu speaking.
Ph.D. in Communication Studies, University of Kansas, 1994
M.A. in Speech Communication, Baylor University, 1990
B.A. in Communication and Journalism, Baylor University, 1989
Technology and communication, the rhetoric of genocide, humor and politics
Public Deliberation and Rational Discourse [Debate]; Communication in Global Contexts; Communication Theory
Author of The Rhetoric of Genocide: Death as a Text, a communication-based guide to the tenacious global problem of genocide. Numerous book chapters in academic books on political communication and research articles in top journals in argumentation and rhetoric such as Argumentation and Advocacy, Contemporary Argumentation and Debate, and the Southern Communication Journal.
Coached more than a dozen national champions in collegiate speech events. Qualified more than a dozen teams to the National Debate Tournament. Coached teams to the elimination rounds of the National Debate tournament four times including a 3rd place finish overall. Hired as a consultant by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2006 and again in 2007.