Catching Up with Michael Hogan

How did you first become interested in your specialty?

Like most people, I think, I was influenced by a couple of professors I met while an undergraduate. I liked their classes and found what they did interesting, so I followed suit.

What is the most exciting or fascinating part of your job?

I do workshops for K-12 teachers, and I moderate discussions of controversial issues for high school students at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. I like teaching, not only at the college level, but especially younger students who are just learning what it means to be a citizen in a democracy.

What is your favorite aspect of working at Penn State?

Teaching, particularly some of the honors courses I teach. The students in our honors program are really exceptional.

Where do you see your field 10 years from now?

I think there is a trend away from highly specialized, highly theoretical, and highly esoteric research and back toward more basic questions about the character and quality of public communication in our democracy. We are returning to basic questions about the limits and responsibilities of free speech, the importance of historical and civic literacy to citizen engagement, and the importance of basic skills in public speaking and critical thinking to a healthy democracy. At the same time, we are thinking a lot about the impact of new technologies and the growing diversity of our culture on our public discourse.

When you're not working, how do you spend your free time?

I like to fish and play golf.


head shot of man with mustache

J. Michael Hogan

Title: Professor of Rhetoric and Co-Director of the Center for Democratic Deliberation

Other roles: Scholarly advisor to the National Constitution Center and co-director of Voices of Democracy, an NEH-funded online educational initiative.

He is the author, coauthor, or editor of six books and nearly fifty articles, book chapters, and reviews.

Awards include: Distinguished Scholar Award and the Douglas W. Ehninger Distinguished Rhetorical Scholar Award from the National Communication Association

You can contact Michael Hogan here:E-mail:

Last Updated November 03, 2009