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dr. rita kirk

Dr. Rita Kirk

Dr. Rita Kirk

For questions, contact Dr. Rita Kirk at rkirk@smu.edu.

Rita Kirk is a senior research professor, award winning teacher and experienced administrator with a passion for aligning resources with innovation, empowering ideas and building coalitions in order to successfully implement strategic initiatives. A frequent commentator and speaker, she excels as a communication strategist who specializes in the analysis of public arguments and the successful (and ethical) implementation of communication campaigns.

Kirk is the author of several award-winning books and articles, including Political Empiricism: Communications Strategies in State and Regional Elections; Hate Speech, a book analyzing implications for hate discourse in public communication, with co-editor David Slayden; and Solo Acts: The Death of Discourse in a Wired World, and Political Communication in Real Time.

As a professor, she has numerous teaching awards including the “M” Award from the SMU student body, the Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Award and the Meadows Outstanding Teaching Professor. In 2014, the SMU Woman’s Club recognized her as SMU’s Outstanding Faculty Member.

Kirk frequently serves as a media commentator and has served as an analyst for CNN during presidential election debates over the past 10 years. She consults with national and multinational corporations on public policy and leadership.

Kirk serves as the Director of the Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility and is the Faculty-in-Residence at Armstrong Commons.


Ph.D. in Communication, University of Missouri
M.A. in Communication, University of Arkansas
B.S.E. in Speech/Minor in Political Science, University of Arkansas