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Elvera B. Berry, Ph.D.

Professor of Communication, Chair


Dr. Elvera B. Berry, Ph.D., (aka Dr. Mrs.) specializes in communication studies, rhetorical theory, oral  interpretation, organizational communication & leadership, and—especially—application of theory to daily and professional practice. Understanding education as professor and student “on a voyage of discovery together,” Dr. Berry encourages active classroom discussion in a context of challenge and support as she assists students in making life-long connections between whatever they are studying and everyday life.


Ph.D. (Higher Education [Philosophy/Rhetoric]), SUNY Buffalo
M.A. (Rhetoric), SUNY Brockport
M.A. (Linguistics & German), University of Rochester
B.A. (German) Roberts Wesleyan College


Specialty Areas:

Communication Studies; Rhetorical Theory & Criticism; Teaching & Learning; Oral Interpretation; Organizational Communication & Leadership; work of literary/rhetorical/social critic, Kenneth Burke.

Current Research Interests: 

Rhetoric of M.L. King, C.S. Lewis, B.T. Roberts, Andrew Young, Kenneth Burke; Educational Philosophy and Pedagogy; Rhetoric in race, religion, gender, literature, and politics.

Sample Courses:

Intro to Communication Arts, Communication & Education, Persuasion & Criticism; Communication & Gender; Classical & Modern Rhetoric; Oral Interpretation & Delivery; Seminars in Kenneth Burke and The Rhetoric of Literature.

Sample Publications:

  • Burke for Undergraduates: Equipment for Thinking, Working, and Living,” in In the Classroom with Kenneth Burke (in press)
  • Ordaining Women: Discourse of Dissent at the Intersection of Text and Context,” in Earnest: Interdisciplinary Work Inspired by the Life and Teachings of B.T. Roberts (2017)
  • The Both-And of Undergraduate Education: Burke’s ‘Linguistic’ Approach,” in Humanistic Critique of Education: Teaching and Learning as Symbolic Action (2010).
  • Definiendum: He is Yet to be Defined,” Kenneth Burke Society Publication (2000)
  • Invitation to Relationship: The Teacher as Role Model, ” in Faculty Dialogue (1989)

Sample Convention Presentations:

Eastern Communication Association (ECA), office holder

  • Creating Their Future: Burke for the Undergraduate (2019)
  • Dissenting Communities: Confronting “trained incapacities” in race, religion, and gender (2014)
  • The Power of the Word and a Philosophy of Non-Violence: Discernment during the Civil Rights Movement (2011)
  • Instruments of our Own Making: Where Burke’s technology and Postman’s
    technopoly meet (2010)

National Communication Association (NCA)

  • Transcending Both Permanence & Change: Wherein lies civic hope? (2016)
  • The Drama of the Narrative: In the Presence of our Past (2014)
  • The Classroom: In Search of Community (2012)
  • Piety and Social Action in the Rhetoric of John Wesley (2002)

Sample Honors:

  • 2016     Once Upon a Time . . . , Commencement Address, Roberts Wesleyan College
  • 2014     Distinguished Service Award, Kenneth Burke Society, in recognition of outstanding service
  • 2010     Spiritan Award for Teaching, Duquesne University, in recognition of influence on undergraduate students