Advisory Board

The Department of Communication & Rhetorical Studies offers the only Ph.D. in Rhetoric program from a Catholic university. The Catholic Intellectual Tradition and Communication Ethics are the coordinates that shape our program's understanding of the Philosophy of Communication.

An advisory board of scholars who are committed to the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, listed below, contribute to the success of the conference.

Advisory Board

Ronald C. Arnett, Ph.D.

Ronald C. Arnett (Ph.D., Ohio University, 1978) is chair and professor of the Department of Communication & Rhetorical Studies, The Patricia Doherty Yoder and Ronald Wolfe Endowed Chair in Communication Ethics at Duquesne University, and the Henry Koren, C.S.Sp., Endowed Chair for Scholarly Excellence (2010-2015). He is the author/coauthor of ten books and co-editor of four books. His most recent book is Levinas's Rhetorical Demand: The Unending Obligation of Communication Ethics (in press, Southern Illinois University Press). He is the recipient of six book awards, including the 2013 Top Book Award for Communication Ethics in Dark Times: Hannah Arendt's Rhetoric of Warning and Hope from the Communication Ethics Division of the National Communication Association and the 2013 Everett Lee Hunt Award for Outstanding Scholarship and 2013 Top Book Award from the Philosophy of Communication Division of the National Communication Association for An Overture to Philosophy of Communication: The Carrier of Meaning (with Annette Holba). He is the recipient of the 2013 Presidential Award for Excellence in Scholarship from Duquesne University and is the recipient of the 2005 Scholar of the Year Award from the Religious Communication Association. Dr. Arnett was named both Centennial Scholar of Communication and Centennial Scholar of Philosophy of Communication by the Eastern Communication Association in 2009. Dr. Arnett is currently serving his third editorship for the Journal of Communication and Religion and is the former editor of the Review of Communication. He is the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Communication Association and of the Eastern Communication Association.

Janie Harden Fritz, Ph.D.

Janie M. Harden Fritz is director of the B. A. and M.A. programs for the Department of Communication & Rhetorical Studies at Duquesne University. Her research focuses on communicative practices that constitute, sever, and restore the ties that bind individuals to the institutions of which they are a part. She is the author of Professional Civility: Communicative Virtue at Work (Peter Lang, 2013) and co-author (with Ronald C. Arnett and Leeanne Bell) of Communication Ethics Literacy: Dialogue and Difference (Sage, 2009). She is also a co-editor of three books dealing with communication ethics and problematic relationships in the workplace. Fritz also publishes in journals such as Management Communication Quarterly, Communication Research Reports, Communication Monographs, and the Atlantic Journal of Communication. She is a past president of the Eastern Communication Association, executive director of the Religious Communication Association, editor-in-chief of Listening/Journal of Communication Ethics, Religion, and Culture and Journal of the Association for Communication Administration, and former editor of Qualitative Research Reports in Communication. Fritz was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Georgia with a B. A. in Speech Communication. After earning her M.A. in Speech Communication at the University of Georgia, she completed the Ph.D. in Communication Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1993, with emphases in communication theory, interpersonal communication, organizational communication, and quantitative research methods. She received numerous awards for her scholarship, teaching, service, and leadership for Duquesne University and state, regional, and national communication associations.

Rev. James P. McCloskey, C.S.Sp., Ph.D.

The Rev. James P. McCloskey, C.S.Sp., Ph. D., who has had a close association with Duquesne University for many years, is senior advisor to the president for strategic initiatives. In this role, McCloskey works closely with the president on a wide range of projects and interacts with University leaders, faculty, and staff, as well as community leaders, to identify new opportunities for alignment with Duquesne's institutional priorities.

In 2009, McCloskey was named the inaugural vice president for mission and identity at Duquesne, during which he developed the Center for the Catholic Intellectual Tradition and played a significant role in the University's strategic emphasis upon Africa and the African Diaspora. He previously served as vice president for university relations from 2002-2003, overseeing all aspects of university advancement including fundraising, marketing, alumni affairs, and public relations.

McCloskey has been a member of the Duquesne University Corporation since 2013, and served on Duquesne's board of directors from 2009-2013 and from 1994-2004.

As a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit, McCloskey has held various positions, including assistant superior general in Rome from 2004-2009, where he was responsible for worldwide educational institutions of the Congregation.

In addition to earning a bachelor's degree in philosophy from the McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts at Duquesne in 1974, McCloskey earned an M.Div. in mission specialization from the Catholic Theological Union, Chicago; a Th.M. in theology from Weston School of Theology; an M.Ed. in educational administration from Boston College; and a Ph.D. in education from Fordham University.

Reverend Joseph M. Mele

The Very Reverend Joseph M. Mele serves as Episcopal Vicar for the Secretariat for Leadership Development and Evangelization in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. Father Mele studied at Saint Francis College and Seminary in Loretto, Pennsylvania, where he graduated with a master of divinity degree. In 1973 he was ordained to the priesthood at Saint Paul Cathedral. He earned a MA in formative spirituality in 1980, a MA in communication and rhetoric in 1999, and a doctorate in communications and rhetoric in 2008, all from Duquesne University. Under the aegis of an Oxford Foundation Fellowship, at Oxford, England Father Mele was appointed in perpetuity an Oxford Foundation Fellow in 1998.

He served as a parish priest for over thirty-five years before being assigned to diocesan administration. From 2009 to 2011 he served as the vicar general for the Diocese of Pittsburgh and the vice rector of Saint Paul Seminary. From 2008 to 2011 he served as the director of spiritual formation and the director of the department for post-ordination formation at the seminary. In 2011, he was named rector at Saint Paul Seminary. During the years from 2003 through 2010, he also taught homiletics and pastoral communications at Saint Vincent Seminary.

In 2012, his book, The Sacred Conversation: The Art of Catholic Preaching and the New Evangelization, was published by Emmaus Road Publishing. The work focuses on the importance of "sacred conversation" as the heart of the Sunday homily.

Paul A. Soukup, S.J.

Paul A. Soukup, S.J., has explored the connections between communication and theology since 1982. His publications include Communication and Theology (1983); Christian Communication: A Bibliographical Survey (1989), Media, Culture, and Catholicism (1996), Mass Media and the Moral Imagination with Philip J. Rossi (1994), and Fidelity and Translation: Communicating the Bible in New Media with Robert Hodgson (1999). This latter publication grows out of his work on the American Bible Society's New Media Bible. In addition, he and Thomas J. Farrell have edited four volumes of the collected works of Walter J. Ong, S.J., Faith and Contexts (1992-1999). These volumes have led him to examine more closely how orality-literacy studies can contribute to an understanding of theological expression. Most recently, he has published a book of Biblical meditations on communication, Out of Eden: 7 Ways God Restores Blocked Communication (2006) and edited a collection of essays applying Ong's thought, Of Ong & Media Ecology: Essays in Communication, Composition, and Literary Studies (2012). A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin (Ph.D., 1985), Soukup teaches in the Communication Department at Santa Clara University. Fr. Soukup serves on the Board of Trustees of the American Bible Society and holds membership in the Religious Communication Association, the National Communication Association, and the Media Ecology Association.

Dean James Swindal

Dr. Swindal publishes in the areas of Frankfurt School Critical Theory, Catholic Philosophy, Action Theory, and Ethics. More specifically, his publications have concerned Karl Marx, Jürgen Habermas, Theodor Adorno, Bernard Lonergan, and Harry Frankfurt, and their topics have concerned existentialism, the theory of communicative action, and discourse ethics.

His latest research concerns the notion of existence and its relation to contemporary theory of action. As a Catholic philosopher, his future research will investigate the areas of faith and reason, natural law theory, and the relation between philosophy and sacramental theology.

Darlene Weaver, Ph.D.

Darlene Fozard Weaver, Ph.D. is a Professor of Theology at Duquesne University, where she is also the inaugural Director of the Center for the Catholic Intellectual Tradition and Director of the University Core Curriculum. Before joining Duquesne Weaver spent eleven years at Villanova University as Associate Professor of Theology and Director of the Theology Institute. She was previously a Visiting Assistant Professor at Georgetown University. Weaver is also an adjunct faculty member in the Duquesne University School of Law. Dr. Fozard Weaver is an ecumenically-trained moral theologian specializing in moral anthropology and ethical theory. She received her baccalaureate degree from Carnegie Mellon University, her master's degree from Yale University and her doctoral degree from the University of Chicago. Weaver teaches courses on ethical theory, social ethics, healthcare ethics, sexual ethics, and ethics and the family. She is the author of dozens of articles as well as The Acting Person and Christian Moral Life (Georgetown University Press, 2011), Self Love and Christian Ethics (Cambridge University Press, 2002) and co-editor and contributor to The Ethics Embryo Adoption and the Catholic Tradition: Moral Arguments, Economic Reality, and Social Analysis (2007). Her work has been supported by the Lilly Foundation, the Center of Theological Inquiry, the Louisville Institute, and the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion. Weaver is the Book Discussion Editor for the Journal of Religious Ethics and previously served as the Ethics Editor for Religious Studies Review. Weaver is currently working on a book on moral failure.