Meet the interdisciplinary team of faculty dedicated to helping you

find your voices.

Faculty affiliated with the PSI

  • Interim Co-Dean of Undergraduate Education
  • Professor of Writing Studies
  • Professor of Spanish and Theater

For Leo Cabranes-Grant, public speaking is indispensable to language teaching. While learning grammar and vocabulary, students are provoked into self expression through the lens of a new culture. They have to explain their ideas to each other in an organized and persuasive way. The act of talking in front of a group becomes part of their proficiency. It is only by enacting their foreign language as a cohesive statement or argument (accompanied by gesture and motion) that the students develop a sense of comfort and mastery. Public speaking is the potential ground for an interactive pedagogy that can lead to translational efficacy and verbal creativity.

  • Lecturer
  • Writing Program
  • Undergraduate Research Programs Coordinator

Samantha Davis earned a BS in Aquatic Biology and a BA in French from UC Santa Barbara in 2008, followed by a PhD in Ecology also from UC Santa Barbara in 2016. Dr. Davis’ interests include improving science communication and education to promote a scientifically literate society, and applying insights gained from research to solve complex global conservation and management problems. Dr. Davis joined the Center for Science and Engineering Partnerships (CSEP) as the Undergraduate Research Programs Coordinator in 2016, where she works to recruit diverse students to science, engineering, and math internships that provide hands-on opportunities to apply skills and knowledge gained in the classroom to novel research projects. As part of her work with CSEP, she coordinates training programs to support the educational and professional development of STEM students at UCSB, which include a focus on public speaking. As scientists and engineers transition into their professions after college, the ability to express scientific ideas clearly is critical, and Dr. Davis supports the development of these crucial skills through her work with undergraduate students at UCSB.

  • Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication

Dr. Dunbar is a Professor of Communication at UCSB. She teaches courses in nonverbal and interpersonal communication, communication theory, and deception detection.  She is also Affiliate Faculty in the Center for Information, Technology & Society; the Center for Digital Games Research; and the Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences program.  She has received over $13 Million in research funding from agencies such as the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, and the Center for Identification Technology Research. She has published over 65 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters and has presented over 100 papers at National and International conferences. Her research has appeared in top journals in her discipline including Communication Research, Communication Monographs, and Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication as well as interdisciplinary journals such as Journal of Management Information Systems and Computers in Human Behavior. She has served on the editorial board of over a dozen disciplinary journals and as the Chair of the Nonverbal Division of the National Communication Association in 2014-2016.  She is the current Chair of the Communication Department at UCSB.

  • Distinguished Professor of French and Theater and Director of the PSI

For Jody Enders, it’s all about the rhetoric of practice and the practice of rhetoric.  She is the author of four books on the rhetoric of the medieval theater: Rhetoric and the Origins of Medieval Drama (1992), winner of the inaugural Scaglione Prize from the Modern Language Association for the best book in French and Francophone Studies; The Medieval Theatre of Cruelty (1999); Death by Drama and Other Medieval Urban Legends (2002), winner of the Barnard Hewitt Prize from the American Society of Theatre Research; and Murder by Accident (2010). More recently, she has turned to the great fifteenth-century French farces, translating two dozen of the best in two books of performance-friendly literary translations destined for medievalists, historians, theater practitioners, and classic comedy lovers: The Farce of the Fart and Other Ribaldries: Twelve Medieval French Plays in Modern English (2011), which was praised by none other than Terry Jones of Monty Python; and Holy Deadlock and Further Ribaldries: A Second Dozen Medieval French Plays in Modern English (2017). A past editor of Theatre Survey and Guggenheim fellow, she has published numerous essays on the interplay of rhetoric, medieval literature, performance theory, and the law.


Patricia Fancher
  • Lecturer in the Writing Program and Director of LACP

Patricia Fancher is a lecturer at the University of California, Santa Barbara where she teaches and researches digital media, technical rhetoric, and feminist rhetorics. Fancher serves as the Director of UCSB's Leadership and Advocacy Certificate Program (LACP), which equips student leaders with strategies and skills for writing, public speaking, and career. Her research has been published in Rhetoric Review, Present Tense, and Enculturation. In addition to her research on digital media, she also designs and produces feminist digital media, which can be found in the Fall 2015 and 2016 issues of Peitho journal. She is the Director of Outreach for the Coalition of Feminist Scholars in the History of Rhetoric and Composition.

  • Continuing Lecturer in the Writing Program
  • Continuing Lecturer in the Writing Program
  • Lecturer in the Writing Program
Renan Larue
  • Assistant Professor of French

"For centuries," says Renan Larue, "generations of French writers, politicians, clergymen, and intellectuals were shaped by rhetoricians who took their own savoir-faire from the great orators of Antiquity. It was not a matter of teaching students how to manipulate their audiences or readers but, rather, how to express their ideas simply elegantly, and accurately, to reject informal speech and jargon, and to prize clarity above all else. Indeed, in the French Department, rhetoric enables students to better organize and express their thoughts and ideas, to be more efficient and clear when speaking and, most importantly, to attract and retain the attention of their interlocutors: friends, colleagues, clients, or the general public. Today, the French passion for debate and verbal sparring—especially in politics—continues to inspire cultural fascination with the art of speaking; and its role in society has never been more important.  As much as gastronomy and fashion, the rhetoric of public speaking plays an integral part in the art of French living."

  • Professor of Communication
  • Senior Lecturer and Director of Museum Studies
  • History of Art and Architecture

Carole Paul, Senior Lecturer and Director of Museum Studies, History of Art and Architecture.  Paul is a scholar of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century art and architecture in Italy and the history of museums and collections.  The Museum Studies program that she directs examines the history, functions, and ideologies of museums and collections of different kinds and offers practical training for a variety of museum and related careers.  Public speaking skills are essential to such careers, which require the ability to effectively engage diverse audiences, from the general public to a board of trustees.

  • Director of the Writing Program
  • Assistant Professor of Teaching in the Department of Theater
  • UC Riverside

Annika Speer is an Assistant Professor of Teaching in the Department of Theater, Film, and Digital Production at the University of California, Riverside where she runs the undergraduate public speaking program. She received her PhD in Theatre Studies with a doctoral emphasis in Feminist Studies at University of California, Santa Barbara and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Communication at University of Connecticut. 

  • Associate Professor of Feminist Studies and Director of the LGBTQ Minor

Jennifer Tyburczy is Associate Professor of Feminist Studies and the Director of the LGBTQ Studies Minor. Trained in performance studies, Tyburczy is a critical pedagogue who incorporates movement, performance, and verbal and non-verbal forms of communication into learning environments. She believes that public speaking and effective communication are indispensable skills for critical citizenship and public scholarship.


  • Director of Research Development in the Social Sciences

Dr. Barbara Endemaño Walker is Director of Research Development, Social Sciences, and Special Assistant to the Executive Vice Chancellor for Diversity Initiatives. As the co-author of Funding Your Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences: A Practical Guide to Grant and Fellowship Proposals, she brings a unique perspective to our campus commitment to effective public speaking. In addition to nurturing professional development and campus initiatives for diversity and inclusion, she is responsible for catalyzing research innovation and excellence through institutional strategic planning and professional development activities with social science faculty members. UC-trained in Geography (Ph.D., UCB) and Anthropology and African Studies (B.A., UCLA), she also serves as the PI of an NSF ADVANCE award “Center for Research, Excellence, and Diversity in Team Science” (CREDITS).

Our UC Partners

  • Associate Director
  • UCLA Writing Programs

After completing her MA in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) at UCLA, Janet spent two years in Italy as a Fulbright Lecturer, giving workshops on language teaching methodology to Italian teachers of English. In 1986, Janet joined the ESL/TESL faculty in UCLA’s Department of Applied Linguistics and received the Luckman Distinguished Teaching Award in 1992. In 2010, the ESL faculty moved to Writing Programs, where Janet now coordinates the courses designed for multilingual writers and speakers. Specializing in the teaching of speaking and pronunciation, she works primarily with international graduate students who serve as TAs.

Janet’s philosophy of teaching and her use of technology are profiled in an interview conducted by UCLA’s Center for World Languages. She has published widely on the teaching of pronunciation. Her recent publications include:

  • Professor of English at UC Irvine

Daniel M. Gross is Professor of English and Director of Composition at the University of California, Irvine. Previously he was a professor in the Rhetoric Department at the University of Iowa, where the first-year rhetoric course required 3 speeches coordinated with 3 essays. His books include The Secret History of Emotion: From Aristotle's Rhetoric to Modern Brain Science (Chicago, 2006), Uncomfortable Situations: Emotion between Science and the Humanities (Chicago, 2017), and Heidegger and Rhetoric (SUNY, 2005) coedited with Ansgar Kemmann. He has served on the Editorial Boards of Rhetorica, The Quarterly Journal of Speech, and Philosophy and Rhetoric, where he is currently essay and forum editor.

  • Director of UCLA Writing Programs

Leigh Harris, Director of UCLA Writing Programs, received her Ph.D. from Yale University. She joined the Writing Programs faculty in 2000 and received a Distinguished Lecturer award for teaching excellence in 2008. Her undergraduate courses explore design thinking, multimedia writing, and community problem-solving; her students experiment with innovative forms of academic and civic discourse. Her graduate seminars focus on transformational pedagogy. Harris has worked extensively in writing-across-the-curriculum at UCLA to improve student-learning outcomes in writing and rhetorical skills. She collaborates with units across the divisions on pedagogical initiatives including digital instructional modules, curriculum and assessment design, faculty development, peer-to-peer learning, and graduate student professionalization. She further contributes to the university on endeavors that support higher education access, student success and inclusive excellence.

Harris brings to UCLA three years of international experience working as Assistant Dean for the Center for Academic Enrichment and Director of the Writing Program at the American College of Greece in Athens, Greece. She is an alumna of the HERS Women’s Leadership Institute 2015 and serves on the Yale University Graduate School Alumni Association Board.

  • Professor and Chair of the Department of Theatre
  • UC Riverside

As the Chair of the Department of Theatre, Film and Digital Production at the University of California at Riverside, Erith Jaffe-Berg initiated the expansion of public speaking at UCR by piloting a successful large-format program taught during the summer and throughout the year. Erith has published books on performance and multilingualism, and she has put her studies to practice as a member of the Son of Semele Theatre Ensemble (SOSE), an Ovation award winning, LA-based theatre company.

  • Assistant Professor of Teaching in the Department of Physics
  • UCLA

Josh is responsible for using research-based methods in teaching to develop innovative courses and curricula for the Department of Physics and Astronomy.  As the 2017 recipient of UCLA's “My Last Lecture Award,” he has been recognized as one of UCLA's most engaging, inspiring lecturers.  Josh believes that practitioners of science have an obligation to communicate their understanding of the natural world effectively to society at large and that oral communication remains central to fulfilling that responsibility. He is a strong advocate for initiatives that help undergraduates to develop the skills they need to speak effectively and persuasively about science.

  • Assistant Professor of Teaching in the Department of Theater
  • UC Riverside

Annika Speer is an Assistant Professor of Teaching in the Department of Theater, Film, and Digital Production at the University of California, Riverside where she runs the undergraduate public speaking program. She received her PhD in Theatre Studies with a doctoral emphasis in Feminist Studies at University of California, Santa Barbara and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Communication at University of Connecticut.