By: Taylor Donatell, Senior Communication Studies major
The communication studies department has hired a new full-time rhetoric professor, Kristin Stimpson. Faculty and students warmly welcome Professor Stimpson to USF as a full-time faculty member after working as an adjunct professor for the last few years. Stimpson earned her MBA and Ph.D. in communication studies with an emphasis in rhetoric and language from the University of Texas at Austin and has been assistant and adjunct teaching in the Bay Area since 2013.
I interviewed Professor Stimpson to ask her about her education, career, classes at USF, and personal interests to give communication studies faculty and students a look into the life of our new full-time professor.
Tell me about your academic background and how you became interested in the communication and rhetoric fields of study.
Professor Stimpson: “I went to undergrad at Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles and was a communication studies major and English minor. After graduating, I worked in the marketing industry in marketing associate and manager roles for a number of companies.”
Professor Stimpson worked on marketing teams for companies like MTV and SmashBox and found many callings and interests in her time interning and working post-grad. She had a special interest in rhetoric and fashion and found ways to combine the two interests in her marketing roles.
Professor Stimpson: “I did trend forecasting and analyzed why people are going to be attracted to these colors two years from now and how that’s going influence people’s styles. I also named products [for SmashBox], and worked on marketing campaigns. There was so much rhetoric in my day-to-day, and I loved it.”
Professor Stimpson loved rhetoric so much that she started her own “rhetoric folder” of rhetorical resources she’d created or referenced in her work. This folder of resources reminded her everyday how interested she was in rhetoric, and it inspired her to go back to school and get her MBA and Ph.D.
Why should students take “Rhetoric and the Public Sphere”?
Professor Stimpson is teaching three communication studies courses this semester, “Rhetoric & the Public Sphere,” “Critical Rhetorical Methods” and “Green Speech.” Of all her current curriculum, I asked her why she thought communication studies students should take her “Rhetoric & the Public Sphere” course, which I took a year ago.
Professor Stimpson: [“Rhetoric & the Public Sphere’] is a great introduction to rhetorical theory. It helps round out a communication studies student’s fundamental understanding of rhetorical discourse and its application into everyday life, as well as a solid theoretical background. This class is a great intro to the major. It evokes critical thinking in and outside of the classroom. It gives communications students some tools, knowledge and confidence.”
Be sure to check out Professor Stimpson’s brand new and original course being offered soon, too: “Rhetoric of San Francisco.”
Do you have a favorite reading, article, short story or lesson that you teach?
Professor Stimpson: “I really like teaching Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave.” It creates really good discussion, and it’s so applicable today. It’s cool that I can talk about this ancient man’s insights into the way people think, and it creates a contemporary discussion, and students always have good rhetorical criticism of it. And I love that the theories are applicable to pop culture and things we do every day.”
What are some of your personal interests or hobbies?
Professor Stimpson: “I’m originally from Southern California, Chino Hills. I moved to San Francisco a few years ago, and I just love to tour around the city and explore. I love the natural beauty of the city and am really looking forward to teaching my “Rhetoric of San Francisco” class. It’s my dream class! I also like to surf, play the ukulele and hang out with my dog.”
Please join me in welcoming Professor Stimpson to our department and be sure to check out her upcoming offered courses. For more information please visit Professor Stimpson’s list of offered classes at USF and linkedin Profile.