Dr. David Levasseur

on Political Communication

American Democracy has a funny way of doing things, and figuring out those funny ways is a passionate pursuit of Dr. David Levasseur. Dr. Levasseur, an Associate Professor of Communication Studies at West Chester University, specializes in the study of Political Communication. His research involves asking questions such as "Why did one candidate triumph over another in a highly contested election? Why do our political leaders choose one policy path instead of another? Why does the public react so strongly to a particular news story?"

In an effort to answer such questions, Dr. Levasseur has published a broad assortment of articles on topics that range from how public opinion shapes political arguments to how politicians can effectively employ humor in political debates. Currently, Dr. Levasseur is completing a book for Oxford University Press titled Political Communication: The Ongoing Conversation that Drives American Democracy. This book attempts to show how all of the diverse forms of political communication (political ads, political speeches, political news reports, political blogs, etc.) come together to influence election outcomes and public policy decisions.

Many of the ideas explored in this book are also examined in Dr. Levasseur's Political Communication (COM 340) course. In fact, students in this course have been reading and critiquing preliminary chapters of his book. Exercises included in this course ask students to make newsroom decisions about how to cover political stories. Students are also given the task of designing ads for a political campaign. In this class, Dr. Levasseur strives to make learning about political communication both experiential and fun. This general teaching approach has earned him a host of teaching awards over the course of his academic career.

Dr. Levasseur's love for communication began many years ago when he became involved in forensics (competitive public speaking). As a senior at the University of Maryland, he was rated as one of the top speakers in the nation. He went on to complete a Master's degree in Speech Communication at the University of Maryland and a Ph.D. in Communication Studies at the University of Kansas. During his time in Kansas, Dr. Levasseur also spent time working as a political speechwriter.

When Dr. Levasseur is not in the classroom teaching or writing about communication, he devotes time to cooking, hiking, traveling, playing piano, creative writing, and finding new and innovative ways to make his new baby girl smile.