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Dr. Windy Lawrence

Dr. Windy Lawrence

Dr. Windy Lawrence

Professor of Communication StudiesArts and Communication


Dr. Lawrence serves as both Professor and as the founding director at the University of Houston-Downtown Center for Public Deliberation, where she has worked since 2002. As Professor, she teaches a number of communication courses, including Facilitating Public Deliberation and Political Communication. In her role as Professor, she also serves on the editorial board for the Southern Communication Journal and researches the intersection between communication and deliberation. In 2020, she was recognized by her colleagues and was awarded the UHD University Faculty Award for her outstanding leadership in service. As CPD Director, since founding it in 2008, she leads and designs annual events and initiatives for the purposes of improving our civic capacity to deliberate across differences about critical issues, build stronger relationships, and bolster collaborative action. Sustaining a valued, 12-year partnership with the Kettering Foundation and the National Issues Forums Institute, where she was recently nominated to serve as a member of their board, these organizations have been critical relationships in the success of many of the CPD's initiatives and learnings surrounding deliberative democracy. In the past 5 years, she has organized or supported others in organizing 130 days of CPD interactive forums. Additionally, in her role as CPD director, she builds relationships with internal and external community leaders and organizations in order to foster more impact. In the last five years, she has developed partnerships with approximately 50 external community members and/or organizations, 80 staff and administrators, and 65 faculty across UHD. Also, in this role, she provides 'high impact" experiences for students to help students hone their civic agency knowledge and skills. Her work benefits not only students enrolled in her courses, but throughout the entire university, reaching 2,800 students in the last five years. Dr. Lawrence is nationally recognized as a thought leader in deliberation and higher education and actively contributes to the wider, academic fields of deliberation, such as contribution as first author to her 2019 chapter entitled, "The Cultivation of Practical Wisdom: A Collaborative Perspective on Civic Learning in Higher Education." In 2018, the Chronicle of Higher Education published an article, which recognized the UHD Center for Public Deliberation, under her directorship, as one of the pioneering centers in the U.S. that is a critical contributing leader to discussions around democratic learning. And, in 2019, the American Association of Colleges & Universities featured UHD CPD's work as their "spotlight grantee."

Degrees Earned

Doctorate degree: Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Speech Communication (University of Georgia)

Courses Taught

COMM 3318: Facilitating Publ Deliberation (3) (U)
COMM 3319: Communication in Conflict (3) (U)
COMM 3399: Directed Study-Communication (3) (U)

Experience Qualifications

Dr. Lawrence is a tenured Professor of Communication Studies at UHD. She holds a Ph.D. from University of Georgia in Speech Communication with a specialization in Rhetoric and Public Affairs. Her graduate coursework included classes on rhetoric, deliberation, and public communication. Her research focuses on complex policy formation, often in deliberative contexts. In graduate school, she was awarded the top graduate paper award in the Rhetoric division of the National Communication Association for a piece she wrote focused on rhetoric and deliberation. She has more than 20 years of experience teaching numerous classes within communication studies (Freshman, Sophomore, Junior and Senior-level courses), including but not limited to Public Speaking, Advanced Public Speaking, Interpersonal Communication, Conflict Communication, Rhetoric of Civil Rights, Rhetorical Criticism, and Public Deliberation. As the director and founder for the UHD Center for Public Deliberation, Dr. Lawrence is responsible for engaging students in real-world communication scenarios that include skills in deliberation, public speaking, conflict, and more. In this position, she also engages students in communication research as well as acting as a liaison with community partners who agree to participate in community forums.