Jacob Thompson

Debate Expert
Affiliate Professor, Department of Communication Studies
Director of General Education and Undergraduate Curriculum
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 — affiliate professor in the department of communication studies — is an expert on presidential and political campaign debates, persuasion, argumentation theory and practice, and the rhetoric of American foreign policy. Thompson is also the former head coach of UNLV's nationally recognized, award-winning debate team. Under his leadership, UNLV's debate team was consistently ranked among the best teams in the nation. In 2018, Thompson received the George Ziegelmueller "coach of the year" award and in 2020 he was recognized as the Ross K. Smith "national coach of the year" by the National Debate Tournament.

Thompson also played an important role in the third presidential debate in 2016 that took place at UNLV, serving on multiple university committees that organized debate-related activities, and participating in over 100 interviews as a university media expert on presidential debates. He currently serves as UNLV's director of general education and undergraduate curriculum. 


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

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communication, politics (national)

Jacob Thompson In The News

Why are so many candidates deciding they’re better off not debating? Meanwhile, GOP candidates struggle to raise funds, Republicans boost legislative candidates and Texas AG Paxton won’t be served.
Las Vegas Sun
As two debates between Nevada’s top-of-the-ticket candidates were shelved this week, the trend of contenders ducking such forums across the country may be eroding one of America’s longest-lasting political traditions, experts say.
The Nevada Independent
Gov. Steve Sisolak on Wednesday challenged his Republican opponent, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, to two televised debates ahead of the November general election.
A.B.C. News
Jacob Thompson from the University of Nevada says it looks like Joe Biden has a 20 000 vote lead, which is continuing to grow.

Articles Featuring Jacob Thompson

Dancers with the UNLV Ewalu Club
Campus News | October 4, 2022

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