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David Zarefsky is Owen L. Coon Professor Emeritus of Argumentation and Debate, and Professor Emeritus of Communication Studies, at Northwestern University, where he served as Dean of the School of Speech from 1988 through June 2000. He joined the Northwestern faculty in 1968 and rose through the ranks, achieving promotion to Professor in 1982. He also has held a series of administrative appointments, including Director of Forensics (1970-75), Chair of the Department of Communication Studies (1975-83), Associate Dean of the School of Speech (1983-88), and Dean. He retired from the full-time faculty and achieved Emeritus status in 2009.
Zarefsky’s research and teaching are in the areas of rhetorical history and criticism, argumentation and debate, and forensics. He is the author, co-author, or editor of nine books and the author of over 100 articles in professional journals. Two of his books have won the Winans-Wichelns Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Rhetoric and Public Address, an award of the National Communication Association (NCA): President Johnson’s War on Poverty: Rhetoric and History (University of Alabama Press, 1986) and Lincoln, Douglas, and Slavery: In the Crucible of Public Debate (University of Chicago Press, 1990). He is one of only four individuals to have won this award twice. In 1994 he was named to the ranks of NCA Distinguished Scholars and in 2015 he was named the Douglas Ehninger Distinguished Rhetorical Scholar. He also has twice won the “Best Article Award” from the Southern States Communication Association.
At Northwestern, Zarefsky taught courses in the study of American public discourse, with a special focus on the pre-Civil War years and on the 1960s. He also taught courses in argumentation theory, persuasion, and public speaking. On thirteen different occasions he was named to the student government’s honor roll for distinguished teaching. He received the NCA Lifetime Teaching Excellence Award in 2012. He has held visiting appointments at Penn State University, Harvard University, and the University of Iowa. Zarefsky also has two videocourses, “Abraham Lincoln: In His Own Words” and “Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning,” marketed by The Teaching Company.
In 1993 Zarefsky was President of the National Communication Association and in 2001 he received its Samuel L. Becker Distinguished Service Award. He held the presidency of the Central States Communication Association in 1986-87. In 2010 and 2011 he was President of the Rhetoric Society of America (RSA), a position he also occupied in 2006 and 2007. He received the George Yoos Distinguished Service Award from RSA in 2010. He has held numerous other positions in these organizations and in the American Forensic Association, whose journal he edited from 1977-80. From 1984-89 he was the Director of the National Debate Tournament, and from 2007-15 he was the Steering Committee chair of the NCA/AFA Biennial Summer Conference on Argumentation. He also has served on the editorial boards of 10 different journals.
Zarefsky has been involved in numerous other activities under the heading of University and professional service. In 1982-83 he chaired Northwestern’s General Faculty Committee, the principal arm of faculty governance, and he has served on several other committees and task forces at Northwestern. He has participated on academic program review committees for over 25 colleges and universities and as a peer reviewer for the National Endowment for the Humanities. From 1997 to 2001 he was on the National Advisory Council and the Steering Committee for the Center for Presidential Studies in the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University.
Part I: Foundations of Public Speaking
1. Welcome to Public Speaking
2. Your First Speech
3. Presenting the Speech
4. Listening Critically
Part II: Invention and Development of the Speech
5. Analyzing Your Audience
6. Choosing a Topic and Developing a Strategy
7. Researching the Speech
Part III: Arrangement and Style in the Speech
9. Organizing the Speech: The Body
10. Organizing the Speech: Introductions, Conclusions, and Transitions
11. Outlining the Speech
12. Achieving Style Through Language
Part IV: Uses of Public Speaking
15. Speaking with Visual Aids
16. Occasions for Public Speaking
Appendix: Speeches for Analysis and Discussion