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Dr. Erin D. McClellan

Associate Professor

Erin McClellan


  • Message Analysis & Criticism
  • Studies in Rhetoric & Public Advocacy
  • COMM 593 Thesis
  • Rhetorical Theories
  • Communication Seminar
  • History of Persuasion
  • Individual course websites can be found at

Teaching Specialties

Public communication, oral communication competency, rhetorical theory and criticism, research methods, critical/cultural studies, communication and community, social construction of meaning.

Research Interests/Activities

Urban communication, sustainability rhetoric’s, relational discourse, public place and space, official and vernacular rhetoric field methods, critical/cultural studies.


Erin joined the faculty as an Assistant Professor in 2011 after spending time at Denison University as a Visiting Assistant Professor. Erin received both her M.A. (2004) and Ph.D. (2007) from University of Colorado at Boulder and graduated as a Management Fellow with a B.A. in Communication from DePauw University (2000) before working for Anderson Consulting/Accenture as an Organization and Human Performance Consultant from 2000-2002. After becoming passionately interested in the often invisible influence of rhetoric in everyday life while pursuing her M.A., Erin’s teaching and research emerged organically during her graduate study. She teaches courses in the Communication B.A. and M.A. programs and explores a variety of  intersections among publics theory, place and space, material rhetorics, practices of public participation and cross-institutional collaboration, and urban communication processes, practices, and scholarship. Most recently she has been exploring issues of urban sustainability in relation to public participatory processes.

Current projects focus on expanding on past explorations of four nationally touted “(un)successful” public squares: Portland, Oregon’s Pioneer Courthouse Square; Prescott, Arizona’s Courthouse Plaza; Savannah, Georgia’s Johnson Square; and Boston, Massachusetts’s City Hall Plaza and exploring theoretical development around the advancement of rhetorical field methods and what they expose. She’s been fortunate enough to have been awarded a $1,000 Urban Communication Foundation 2007 Research Incentive Prize and a $1,000 2011 International Communication Association James W. Carey Urban Communication Award. Recent publications include a co-authored chapter (2014) in the International Journal of Critical Pedagogy on “deep interdisciplinarity,” and several book chapters in edited volumes, including in eds. Renee Guariello Heath, Courtney Vail Fletcher, Ricardo Munoz Understanding Occupy from Wall Street to Portland: Applied Studies in Communication Theory (2013), recipient of the National Communication Association’s 2014 International and Intercultural Communication Division Outstanding Edited Book of the Year. She has received a Communication Research and Theory Division Top 4 Paper Award at Western States Communication Association 2015 Conference for her paper entitled “Earth First!: A Relational Rhetorical Approach to Studying Global Social Movements” (co-authored with Boise State M.A. student Norell Conroy) and continues to remain active in various scholarly organizations including Rhetoric Society of America, International Communication Association, International Environmental Communication Association, Western States Communication Association, and the Urban Communication Foundation. She serves as the Co-Coordinator of the NCA Urban Communication pre-conference (2015-2018) in addition to regularly reviewing manuscripts for disciplinary conferences and (inter)disciplinary academic journals.

Outside of campus, Erin wallows in the joys of having two small children, seeking new Idaho outdoor adventures to rival her love of the Colorado mountains, experiencing new wonders through travel (when possible), and every now and then finding time to cook something that makes her palate truly happy (it’s usually much better when the rest of her family is involved).

Contact Information

Office: COMB 104
Office Hours: By appointment