Nichelle McNabb

Nichelle Mcnabb



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Department of Communication

Dr. Nichelle McNabb is interested in political communication, communication in education and the perception of educators, and academic debates. She is a professor of communication; teaching Persuasion, Communicating with Audiences, Intercultural Communication, Rhetorical Theory, Fake News and Political Conspiracy Theories, and a Freshman Year Seminar on the presidential election once every four years. Dr. McNabb contributes to Otterbein outside the classroom as well. She serves on the General Education committee and the Common Book committee. She is also an equity advisor for departments that are conducting employee searches, and in 2022 she worked with the RISE program.

Dr. McNabb has extensive experience coaching debate. Before coming to Otterbein, she was a coach at Central Michigan University, Wayne State University, and The University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In 2001 at the University of Nebraska, Dr. McNabb coached a National Forensic Association semi-finalist. In her 12 years of coaching debate at Otterbein (2003-2015), fourteen students qualified for competition at the National Forensic Association’s National Tournament (some of them qualified multiple years) and five students debated in the elimination rounds of that tournament. One of her students, Margaret Parson, was a semi-finalist at the 2014 Forensic Association’s National Tournament and she won the 2015 Pi Kappa Delta National Championship.


  • Ph.D., University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2004
  • M.A., Central Michigan University, 1993
  • B.A.A Central Michigan University, 1991
  • Research, Creative, & Professional Work

  • Communication and Teaching
  • Presidential Debates
  • Political Communication
  • Argumentation
  • Publications

  • Scholten, K., & McNabb, N.D (2019) Don't Misunderestimate the power of debates: How the 2004 presidential debates reinforced George W Bush as the moral choice. In. E.A. Hinck (Ed.) Televised presidential debates in changing media environment: The candidates make their case (pp. 97-118) Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger.
  • Friedman, R.B., McNabb, N.D., & McCauliff, K.L. (2017). Listening to women on the right: Communication strategies of today’s female Republican politicians. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc. 
  • McNabb, N. D. (2015, August 6). A GOP candidate’s guide to debating Donald Trump: Don’t debate him. Quartz.,
  • R.B., & McNabb, N.D. (2014, Spring). The lifestyle of the “urban tribe”: A critical analysis of masternarratives, counterstories, and resistance on Will & Grace and Friends. Florida Communication Journal.
  • McNabb, N.D., & Friedman, R. (2013). Meghan Mccain is GOP Proud: A Rhetorical analysis of the political discourse surrounding feminist leadership in the Republican Party. Pgs 105-122. In Michele Lockhart and Kathleen Mollick (Eds). Political women: Language and Leadership. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books.
  • Friedman, R. & McNabb, N.D. (2012). Beyond the lyrics: An examination of race and culture. InTeaching Communication Creatively. Faith Mullen and William Mullen. Liberty University Press.
  • Scholten, K.G., & McNabb, N.D. (2010, April). Does it Matter Where you Come from…. Competitive Paper presented at the Central States Communication Association, Cincinnati. Top paper panel.
  • McNabb, N.D. (2009, February). Re-Learning American History Shapes Americans’ Cultural Exchanges, Communication Currents, online publication.
  • McNabb, N.D., & Friedman, R. B. (2009). Re-Learning American History: Understanding the Assumptions Underlying Intercultural Communication. Communication Teacher, 23,1, 33-36.
  • McNabb, N.D., & Scholten, K.L. (2007). Location, Location, Location: Exploring the Educational Benefits of Local, Regional, and National Tournaments. National Forensic Journal.
  • McNabb, N.D. (2007, March). Public schools as bureaucracies: Why home school advocates reject public schools, Competitive Paper presented at the Central States Communication Association, Minneapolis. One of top Four papers.
  • McNabb, N.D., & Cabrera, P. (2006, Spring). Bowel Quaking Pessimism: An Ethnographic Examination of Competence and Complaining in the Forensics Community, the National Forensic Journal.
  • Affiliations & Awards

  • 2016 Top Panel, Communication Theory Division, Central States Communication Association
  • 2015 Service Award, Central States Communication Association
  • 2014 Top Panel, Communication Education Division, Central States Communication Association
  • 2013 Advisor of the Year, Debate, Otterbein University
  • 2010 & 2007 Top Papers Panel at Central States Communication Association
  • 2002 Top Paper, Student Division, National Communication Association