Communication Professor Wins Award for Early Career Excellence in Political Communication

Ryan Neville-Shepard
University Relations

Ryan Neville-Shepard

Ryan Neville-Shepard, assistant professor in the Department of Communication in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, was recently named the recipient of the Judith S. Trent Award for Early Career Excellence in Political Communication from the Central States Communication Association.

The Trent Award honors an early-career scholar who has an outstanding record of research in the field of political communication within the first 15 years of receiving their Ph.D. The award is named for Judith S. Trent, a leading scholar and trailblazer in the field of communication.

Neville-Shepard's research has been impressive. Benjamin R. Warner, associate professor of communication at the University of Missouri, helped nominate Neville-Shepard for the award. Noting that Neville-Shepard has published over 30 articles and book chapters since 2009, Warner writes, "His scholarly output is staggering. Moreover, his scholarly independence makes Dr. Neville-Shepard's record stand apart from the rest of his peers."

As a scholar of contemporary political rhetoric, Neville-Shepard's work focuses on the role of political "outsiders" in the United States, particularly third-party candidates, populist provocateurs, and conspiracy theorists. His work has been published in journals such as Feminist Media Studies, Critical Studies in Media Communication, Argumentation and Advocacy, Women's Studies in Communication, Communication Quarterly, Southern Communication Journal, Communication Studies, American Behavioral Scientist and Western Journal of Communication.

"Dr. Neville-Shepard's work directly addresses many of the most pressing issues in political communication today," said Joel Reed, chair of the Political Communication Interest Group of the Central States Communication Association. "The Trent Award Committee was deeply impressed by both the quality and quantity of Dr. Neville-Shepard's publications and by the profound contributions his research provides to current and future students of political rhetoric."

Warner added that Neville-Shepard's role as a teacher also made him an excellent candidate for the award. He explained, "Dr. Neville-Shepard has carried on Dr. Trent's legacy of political communication education. Not only has he frequently taught the course and innovated new approaches to the curriculum, he has frequently brought undergraduate and M.A. students to our regional and national conferences." Warner summarized, "We all follow in Dr. Trent's footsteps, Ryan better than most."

About the Central States Communication Association: The Central States Communication Association (CSCA) is an academic organization of communication professionals including college and university professors, students, and K-12 educators. The organization was founded in 1931 to promote the communication discipline in educational, scholarly, and professional endeavors. CSCA has grown to become the largest regional communication organization in the United States and the fourth largest academic communication association in the world. For more information, visit


Margaret Butcher, assistant teaching professor
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