Denise Oles-Acevedo


Office Hours:Tuesday Thursday 12-2; and by appointment


Courses I am Teaching

SpCm 212: Public Speaking
SpCm 323: Gender and Communication
SpCm 312: Business and Professional Speaking
SpCm 327: Persuasion
SpCm 412: Rhetorical Criticism
SpCm 497: Capstone Class


Ph.D. and M.A. Wayne State University • Communication Studies
B.A. Ball State University • Journalism and Photography

Research Areas

rhetorical criticism; image repair; crisis rhetoric/scandal discourse; gendered/feminist rhetorics; contemporary female political communication; popular culture; critical/cultural studies

About My Teaching

My teaching style focuses on creating an interactive classroom as a way to connect with and motivate students to learn. The interactive classroom includes large and small group discussions as well as activities that help students master various skill sets. I stress the importance of critical thinking and the ability to develop strong, thoughtful arguments while helping students acquire professional communication skills.

How I came to Teach what I Teach

My interest in rhetoric began as I searched for tools with which to more critically engage the organizational communication concepts I studied during my master’s program. It was during this program that I began to analyze the dynamics of apologia and image repair. Most apologia research primarily focuses on male CEO’s, male politicians, and male celebrities. To help fill the gender gap in apologia research, my dissertation conducted an analysis of key controversies concerning prominent female celebrity figures in popular culture, specifically Martha Stewart, Oprah Winfrey and Hillary Clinton.

Recent Publications

“Smackdown! Michelle v. Oprah: Disturbing Pleasures of the Black Catfight” (in press) with Joan Faber McAlister

“Fixing the Hillary Problem: Examining the Trajectory of Hillary Clinton’s Image Repair from Political Bumbler to Political Powerhouse.” American Communication Journal. Vol. 14, No. 1, pp. 33-46.

“Deny, Delay, Apologize: The Oprah Winfrey Image-Defense Playbook. Journal of the Northwest Communication Association Special Issue on Communication and Crisis.” Vol. 39 No. 1, pp. 37-63.

“The Inarticulate Gender-Bending Performance of Vice-Presidential Nominee Sarah Palin.” The Functions of Argument and Social Context: Selected Papers from the 16th Biennial Conference on Argumentation, pp. 363-358.

Current Research

I am currently working on a series of articles that look at the importance of fashion in politics. One essay is about Madeleine Albright’s brooches, which she used as a way to communicate diplomatic messages. A second essay focuses on the double-standards faced by Nancy Pelosi inspiring inquiries into a female politician’s ability to balance duty to country and duty to family, as well as critiques of her fashion preferences, including her hairstyle and clothing choices.

Outside of the University

I love to work in my garden in the summer and no matter what time of year, I enjoy working in the kitchen with my husband trying new and exciting recipes