Calum Matheson

Co-Director of Research and Consulting Principal

Ph.D., Communication, UNC-Chapel Hill

Communication Professor and Director, William Pitt Debate Union, University of Pittsburgh Calum Matheson is an author, professor and communication coach with more than a decade of experience in communication training. He holds a professorship in public deliberation at the University of Pittsburgh. He is also the director of the William Pitt Debate Union.  Prior to his time in Pittsburgh, Calum coached debate at a number of selective universities, including six years at Harvard, and has assisted several national championship winning teams. He also studied military history, including strategy and leadership. His academic work focuses on the uses and limits of persuasive language in public life. He is an active researcher in speech communication, and has published in a number of leading journals in the field of communication such as Rhetoric Society Quarterly, Argumentation and Advocacy, and Quarterly Journal of Speech. He has also written a forthcoming book on rhetoric from the University of Alabama Press. Calum has done communication consulting work for government officials, corporations, and a number of international non-governmental organizations focused on solving intractable problems by improving communication practices. Calum specializes in coaching effective public speaking, speechwriting, strategic messaging, and framing.

Publications and Media


We No Longer Know the Difference Between Debating and Arguing (Penn Live)

Dr. Calum Matheson on Persuasion and Decisionmaking for Business and Beyond (Pitchwerks Podcast)

Learning the Art of Civil Argument (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Experts Offer Debate Dos, Don’ts for Clinton, Trump (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

Students and Presidential Debates (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Sample Academic Journals

Procedural Rhetoric Beyond Persuasion: First Strike and the Compulsion to Repeat (Games and Culture)

Psychotic Discourse: The Rhetoric of the Sovereign Citizen Movement (Rhetoric Society Quarterly)

The Sublime Rhetoric of Pascal’s Wager (Argumentation and Advocacy)

To Make a Desert and call it Peace: Stasis and Judgment in the MX Missile Debate (Argumentation and Advocacy)