A new school year means a host of new students flocking to campus, eager to begin their journeys and make their Missouri State-ments. This semester the students aren’t the only ones embarking on new journeys: Dr. Brian Ott begins his as Department Head of Communication at Missouri State.
Ott first discovered his love for communication in high school, as a member of his school’s competitive speech and debate team. He then continued to participate in speech and debate in college.
“In college I competed for George Mason University, where I participated in a combination of platform speaking events (after dinner speaking, informative and persuasion speaking, and rhetorical criticism) and oral interpretation (prose, poetry, and dual interpretation of drama). This experience led to my serving as a teaching assistant for an oral interpretation class at George Mason, which fueled my passion to become a teacher,” he says.
Ott went on to earn his masters and doctorate degrees from Pennsylvania State University.
Ott’s areas of research include the complex intersection of rhetoric (public discourse) and communication technology. “In particular, I am interested in how the continuous development and evolution of communication technologies transforms rhetoric and, by extension, our sense of ourselves and our world,” Ott explains. He has also studied the influence of television and film on public discourse, although recently his work has centered on “the rise of social media and the role that communication platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and others play in our politics.”
Among Ott’s many accomplishments include recognition with a number of national awards for his scholarship on rhetoric and technology. His authority in his field has also allowed him to regularly grant interviews to national and international news outlets regarding the current state of political rhetoric in the United States.