Professor David Zarefsky, Ph.D.

Professor David Zarefsky
  • Northwestern University
  • Northwestern University
It’s my belief that the most ethical way to go about influencing other people is through argumentation, which respects their individuality, and respects their freedom, and seeks their free assent.

Dr. David Zarefsky is the Owen L. Coon Professor of Communication Studies at Northwestern University, where he has taught for over 30 years. He earned his B.S., master's degree, and Ph.D. from Northwestern University. From 1988 through 2000, he served as the Dean of the School of Speech.

A nationally recognized authority on rhetoric and forensics, he is a past president of the National Communication Association (NCA) and recipient of the Distinguished Scholar Award in 1994 and the Distinguished Service Award in 2001. On no fewer than 13 occasions, his outstanding lecturing skills have been recognized by the inclusion of his name on Northwestern’s Associated Student Government Honor Roll for Teaching.

Dr. Zarefsky has authored five books, edited three more, and published over 50 scholarly articles and reviews. He received the 1986 National Communication Association’s Winans-Wichelns Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Rhetoric and Public Address for his book President Johnson’s War on Poverty: Rhetoric and History and the same award again in 1991 for Lincoln, Douglas, and Slavery: In the Crucible of Public Debate.


"Dr. Zarefsky's lectures are propelled with vigor and academic passion which assures one of teaching excellence and scholastic know-how."

31 Courses and Sets

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31 Courses and Sets