Jacob Thompson

Debate Expert
Affiliate Professor, Department of Communication Studies
Associate Vice Provost for Undergraduate and High-Impact Education
Expertise: Competitive Debate (NDT/CEDA policy debate), Argumentation and persuasion, Presidential and other political campaign debates, Domestic political campaigns and persuasion, American foreign policy


Jacob Thompson is an affiliate professor in the department of communication studies and an expert on presidential and political campaign debates, persuasion, argumentation theory and practice, and the rhetoric of American foreign policy. He played an essential role in the third presidential debate at UNLV in 2016, serving on multiple university committees that organized debate-related activities and participating in more than 100 interviews as a university media expert.

Previously, Thompson was the head coach and director of UNLV’s nationally recognized and award-winning debate team, ranked among the best in
the nation for several years. He received the George Ziegelmueller Coach of the Year award in 2018 and was recognized as the Ross K. Smith National Coach of the Year by the National Debate Tournament in 2020.

He currently serves as UNLV's Associate Vice Provost for Undergraduate and High-Impact Education.


  • Ph.D., Communication Studies, University of Kansas
  • M.A., Communication Studies, University of Kansas
  • B.A., Political Science, Wayne State University

Search For Other Experts On

communication, politics (national)

Jacob Thompson In The News

Reform Austin
Each day, more incumbent politicians and front-runners in Texas are skipping debates during the primary elections. Why is this happening?
San Antonio Express-News
Election experts say in today’s political climate, debates can sometimes hurt candidates more than they help. There’s an argument for good government and an informed electorate, but many debates — especially during primaries, when there are few policy differences between platforms — have devolved into contests for sound bites and mudslinging, experts say.
The Independent UK
Will Haley take centre stage again? Will Christie continue to go after Trump? And with the former president’s massive lead, do the debates matter at all?
Voice of America
Jacob Thompson, a communication studies professor, notes that Scott faces unique challenges due to his position in the Republican Party and his race. While he excels in projecting positivity and optimism, the Republican Party tends to adopt a more critical and pessimistic tone as the opposition party.

Articles Featuring Jacob Thompson

The Sphere on the Las Vegas Strip.
Campus News | October 2, 2023

A collection of news stories highlighting expert insights, research, and academic achievement.

Students at Pida Plaza on the first day of classes (Josh Hawkins, UNLV).
Campus News | September 1, 2023

A roundup of prominent news stories highlighting university pride, research, and community collaboration.

Dancers with the U.N.L.V. Ewalu Club
Campus News | October 4, 2022

A collection of news stories highlighting research wins, expert insights, and academic achievement.