Dr. Eric R. Morris


Communication Media JournalismandFilm

Role: Faculty
Campus: Springfield

Postal mail

Missouri State University
Communication Media JournalismandFilm
901 S. National Ave.
Springfield, MO 65897


Dr. Eric Morris is associate professor of communication. His PhD. dissertation focused on clash strategies in contemporary presidential debates. A number of his publications have also focused on questions related to political or academic debates, including format, audience, constraints, strategies and outcomes. He also directs the Missouri State University debate program.

Missouri State University competes in inter-collegiate debates in two formats: NDT/CEDA and NFA-LD. Each uses a year-long topic on a public affairs issue. Any MSU students, including walk-on students with NO prior debate experience, are invited to enroll in COM 321 to learn about academic debate. COM 321 are not required to compete in inter-collegiate competition while learning about debate, but will have the option of doing so. For more details, including this season’s debate topics, please contact Dr. Eric Morris.

Beyond debates, his academic interests focus on political communication and public argumentation. His other publications have included work on the framing of liberal and conservative perspectives, rhetoric about terrorism and strategies used to define the meaning of politically relevant events.



  • PhD, Communication Studies, 2004, University of Kansas
  • MA, Speech Communication, 1993, Kansas State University
  • BS, Communication & Political Science, 1990, Missouri State University


  • COM 320 Principles of Advanced Debate
  • COM 321 Inter-Collegiate Debating
  • COM 328 Persuasion
  • COM 496 Readings in Communication and Persuasion
  • COM 532 Teaching Debate
  • COM 534 Teaching Individual Events
  • COM 554 Presidential Rhetoric
  • COM 597 Studies in Communication Theory and Practice (Presidential Debates)
  • COM 696 Independent Study 
  • COM 702 Theory and Research in Communication
  • COM 706 Rhetorical Theory
  • COM 716 Rhetorical Analysis in Communication Research
  • COM 796 Independent Study

Professional experience

Professional affiliations

  • Executive Secretary, American Forensic Association, 2018-present
  • District 3 Chair, National Debate Tournament, 2008-2012
  • National Debate Tournament, 1995-present
  • Topic Committee, Cross Examination Debate Association, 2010-2015
  • President, Cross Examination Debate Association, 2013-2014
  • Cross Examination Debate Association, 1986-present
  • Novice Curricular Contributor, American Debate Association, 2017-present
  • American Debate Association, 2012-present
  • Reviewer, Political Communication Division, Central State Communication Association, 2006 and 2011
  • Finance Committee, American Forensic Association, 2006-2009

Selected publications

  • Wahl, S. T., & Morris, E. (2021). Persuasion in your life (3rd Ed.). New York: Routledge. (Submitted, December 2020)
  • Morris, E. (2021). The counterside problem: Blackmun’s tie-breaking in Roe v. Wade. In D Hample (Ed.), Local theories of argument (pp. xx-xx469-475) New York: Routledge.
  • Morris, E. (2021). Reagan’s second inaugural: Balancing the genre. In A. Kall (Ed.), I Do Solemnly Swear: Presidential Inaugural Addresses of the Last Forty Years (pp. 37-48). Lexington, KY: CreateSpace.
  • Morris, E. (2020). MSDI Video Series 2020: Criminal Justice Reform (119 Video series; Personally recorded about 40). https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLgIAYnhIgYmlueu-TDBty4oXuRhcijLQq
  • Morris, E. (2019). President Bill Clinton, January 19, 1999. In A. Kall (Ed.), The State of the Union is . . .: Memorable Addresses of the Last Fifty Years (pp. 163-179). Lexington, KY: CreateSpace.
  • Morris, E. (2016). William Howard Taft and the conservation of the Republican Party in 1912. In J. Ashley (Ed.), The Bully Pulpit, Presidential Speeches, and the Shaping of Public Policy (pp. 15-26). New York: Lexington Books.
  • Morris, E. (2016). The 5th debate: December 15, 2015. In A. Kall (Ed.), Debating The Donald (pp. 143-172). Lexington, KY: CreateSpace

Research and professional interests

  • Presidential, political and academic debates
  • Political communication and public argumentation

Awards and honors

  • George Zieglemueller Lifetime Service Award, National Debate Tournament, 2021
  • Coach of the Year, National Debate Tournament, 2008

Additional resources

Area of expertise

Communication Student affairs Government, law and politics United States

Media appearances

Election 2020: Virtual Debate Watch
University of Minnesota
Dr. Eric Morris co-hosting presidential debate watches with a consortium including the University of Minnesota.

Missouri governor mirrors Trump in quest to survive scandal
Associated Press
Dr. Eric Morris explains what a witch hunt means in modern politics and why the allegations against Greitens are more damaging than allegations against President Trump.

MSU Students, Faculty Gather to Watch Last Presidential Debate
KSMU Radio
Dr. Eric Morris offers his views on the third and final presidential debate.

MSU Students Participate In Presidential Debate Research
Dr. Eric Morris talks about the presidential debate on Sept. 29.

Students and citizens debate guns on campus as part of MSU Talks program
Springfield News-Leader
Dr. Eric Morris moderates debate.


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