Thomas Salek received his Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Public Culture from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

His research interests cross the boundaries of presidential rhetoric, political campaigns, public relations, rhetorical and critical theory, and strategic communication responses to public controversies. Before pursing a Ph.D. in Communication, Salek worked as a Strategic Communication Consultant for Allstate Insurance.


  • PHD, Communication - University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • MA, Cinema Studies - New York University; New York City, New York
  • BA, Communication and Journalism - Dominican University; River Forest, IL

Academic and Professional Highlights

Prior Positions

  • Assistant Professor of Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point


  • Rhetoric
  • Presidential Communication
  • Crisis Communication
  • Public Relations


  • Salek, Thomas A. and Andrew W. Cole. Donald Trump Tweets the 2014 Ebola Outbreak: The Infectious Nature of Apocalyptic Counterpublic Rhetoric and Constitution of an Exaggerated Health Crisis. Communication Quarterly, 67, no. 1 (2019): 21-40.

  • Salek, Thomas A. Reframing the Rhetorical Meme-ing: The Enthymematic Form of Binders Full of Women Internet Memes from the October 16, 2012 Presidential Debate. In Presidential Debates in a Changing Media Environment Volume 2: The Citizens Talk Back, edited by Edward Hinck. (Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2019): 221-242.

  • Salek, Thomas A. Money Doesn't Talk, It Swears: The Wolf of Wall Street as a Homology for America's Ambivalent Attitude on Financial Excess. Communication Quarterly 66, no. 1 (2018): 1-19. Lead Article.

  • Salek, Thomas A. Controversy Trending: The Rhetorical Form of Mia and Ronan Farrow's 2014 Online Firestorm Against WoodyAllen. Communication, Culture & Critique 9, no. 3 (2016) : 477-494.

  • Salek, Thomas A. Faith Turns Political on the 2012 Campaign Trail: Mitt Romney, Franklin Graham and the Stigma of Nontraditional Religions in American Politics. Communication Studies 65, no. 2 (2014): 174-188.


  • Salek, Thomas A. Coaching the Need for More Public Dialogue: President Barack Obama's Decentralized Presidential Leadership and Approach to American Citizenship. Paper presented at Central States Communication Association Conference, Omaha, NE, April 2019.

  • Salek, Thomas A. Redefining Crisis to Make a Difference: President Obama and Governor Haley's Transformational Rhetorical Leadership following the June 17, 2015 Charleston Shooting. Paper presented at Central States Communication Association Conference, Milwaukee, WI, April 2018.

  • Salek, Thomas A. Using Rhetorical Theory to Craft Your Client's PR Narrative. Panel: Creating PR Opportunities to Make a Difference. Presented at Central States Communication Association Conference, Milwaukee, WI, April 2018.

  • Salek, Thomas A. The General's Last Stand: Dwight D. Eisenhower's Battle Against Political Extremism at the 1964 RNC. Paper presented at Central States Communication Association Conference, Minneapolis, MN, April 2017. *Top Paper Panel in the Political Communication Division*