John J. Rief

Degree: Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Department: Communication Studies

John J. Rief




  • Public Speaking
  • Rhetoric
  • Argumentation Theory and Practice
  • Deliberation
  • Competitive and Civic Debate in the U.S.
  • Best Practices of International and Intercultural Debate


John Rief, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Metropolitan State University of Denver. His areas of expertise include public speaking, rhetoric, argumentation theory and practice, deliberation, competitive and civic debate in the U.S. and best practices of international and intercultural debate.

Rief joined the Communication Studies Department in August 2019 and is currently teaching Rhetorical Foundations of Communication, Arguing Constructively and Freedom of Speech. He relaunched the MSU Denver Debate program and currently serves as the debate coach. Prior to MSU Denver, Rief was an assistant professor at Duquesne University and a graduate teaching fellow and graduate teaching assistant at Pittsburgh University.

His research areas of focus are on the history of rhetoric, the history of intercollegiate academic debate and the rhetoric of health and medicine. He has published research work in POROI: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Rhetorical Analysis and Invention, as well as other journals, including Argumentation and Advocacy and Health Communication.

Rief received his doctorate in communication and two master’s in bioethics and communication from University of Pittsburgh in 2012, 2013 and 2008 respectfully and a bachelor’s in communication and philosophy from Regis University in 2005. He also attended RAND, a post-doctoral program, at University of Pittsburgh.

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