Jacob Thompson

Director and Head Coach, UNLV Debate Team & Professor-in-Residence, Communication Studies
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 the head coach and director of UNLV's nationally recognized, award-winning debate team and a professor in residence in the department of communication studies. Under his leadership, UNLV's debate team has risen rapidly since its rebirth in 2007 and has been ranked among the best teams in the nation for several years. In 2018, Thompson received the George Ziegelmueller "coach of the year" award at 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. Thompson's research and teaching focuses on presidential and political campaign debates, persuasion, argumentation theory and practice, and the rhetoric of American foreign policy.


  • 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

Nigerian Eye
October 23, 2020
Several opinion polls and ratings by the American media networks reported that Joe Biden, the presidential candidate of the Democrats easily thrashed incumbent Donald Trump in their final verbal showdown.
NBC News
October 23, 2020
President Donald Trump was rated the most improved performer at Thursday's debate, but a panel of debate experts said Joe Biden was more effective with his arguments.
KCBS Radio
October 8, 2020
In the only time California Senator Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence would meet on the debate stage this election cycle, both scored wins and took losses in a conversation featuring many heated exchanges, several dodged questions and an Internet-famous house fly.
October 8, 2020
The first and only 2020 vice presidential debate took place Wednesday night.

Articles Featuring Jacob Thompson

student wearing face covering sits on ground, using laptop
Campus NewsOctober 9, 2020
Diversity, safety, and success become the foundation for UNLV.
Arts and CultureSeptember 28, 2020
UNLV debate expert Jacob Thompson examines the impact a Trump-Biden matchup will have on the final election result.
Representatives from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians wrap UNLV Marta Meana in a blanket as part of the tribe's gift announcement to the university.
Campus NewsMarch 5, 2020
A collection of news stories from February highlighting the people and research of UNLV.
UNLV debate team members
Campus NewsMarch 6, 2018
UNLV’s young debate team is ranked fifth in the nation and poised to make a deep run in March’s National Debate Tournament.