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Academics - Rhetoric Faculty & Staff

Academics - Rhetoric Faculty & Staff

Sara A. Mehltretter Drury

Associate Professor of Rhetoric


Fine Arts Center S208
Curriculum vitae

Picture of Drury, Sara A. Mehltretter

Sara A. Mehltretter Drury is Associate Professor of Rhetoric. Her research analyzes the quality and character of public discourse in the United States. Her specific interests include the theories and practices of democratic deliberation, presidential rhetoric, the rhetoric of national security, political communication, and the rhetoric of religion. She was the Founding Director of the Wabash Democracy and Public Discourse initiative, and served in that role from 2014-2022.
Dr. Drury has offered workshops on facilitation, problem-solving, conflict resolution, dialogue, deliberation, and civic engagement to a variety of groups, including the Council on Independent Colleges, Indiana Humanities Speakers Bureau, the Indiana Association of College Registrars and Admissions Officers (with Michelle Janssen), NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education Lead Initiative, the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion, Campus Compact, and the Wabash Pastoral Leadership Program.
Dr. Drury earned her B.A. degree summa cum laude in Communication and Political Science at Boston College, and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. She did her graduate work at the Pennsylvania State University, earning her M.A. and Ph.D. in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts. In 2010-2011, she worked as a Research Associate at the Kettering Foundation in Dayton, Ohio, where she took part in Kettering’s research on democratic principles and practices.
Outside of the classroom, Professor Drury enjoys cooking, outdoor activities, and travel. A native of Buffalo, New York, she is a loyal Bills and Sabres fan, and has a discerning palate for the delicacy known to Buffalonians simply as “wings.”
Drury talks rhetoric, its importance on campus, politics and the Democracy and Public Discourse initiative.




Ph.D. in Communication Arts and Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University
M.A. in Communication Arts and Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University
B.A. summa cum laude in Communication and Political Science, Boston College



RHE 101 Public Speaking
RHE 270 Political Campaign Rhetoric
RHE 270 Rhetoric and Deliberative Innovations
RHE 270 Rhetoric, Science, and Public Policy
RHE 280 Deliberation and Democracy
RHE 320 Classical Rhetoric


Drury, Sara A. Mehltretter. “Can Deliberation Make a Difference? Lessons from Wabash Democracy & Public Discourse.” Invited Lecture, Davidson College, September 23, 2019.
Drury, Sara A. Mehltretter. “Rhetorics of Expertise and Local Knowledge in Citizens’ Juries on Wind Farm Development.” Invited Colloquium Lecture, University of Canberra, Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance, Australia. May 7, 2019.
Drury, Sara A. Mehltretter. "Rhetoric and Argumentation in the Deliberation Process." Politics Department Symposium, the University of Edinburgh. October 11, 2017.
Drury, Sara A. Mehltretter and Dale A. Herbeck. “Style Trumps Substance: The Enduring Legacy of the Great Debate of September 26, 1960.” Presented at the AFA/NCA Argumentation Conference, Alta, Utah, July 2017.
Drury, Sara A. Mehltretter. “‘We Have Defaulted on a Promissory Note’: Pope Francis I’s Concatenate Circulation during His 2015 Visit to the United States.” Presented at the National Communication Association Convention, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, November 2016.


Select Scholarly Publications (see also Google Scholar profile)

Drury, Sara A. Mehltretter, and John Rountree. "The Genre of Deliberative Guidance: Rhetoric and Deliberation in the Citizens' Initiative Review Statements." Western Journal of Communication 88 (2024): 125-146.

Rountree, John, Windy Y. Lawrence, and Sara A. Mehltretter Drury. "Rhetorical Alignment between Political Campaign Discourse and Democratic Deliberation." Journal of Deliberative Democracy 19(1) (2023).

Herbeck, Dale A., and Sara A. Mehltretter Drury. "The First Kennedy-Nixon Debate: The McKeesport Junto of 1947." Argumentation and Advocacy 58 (2022): 163-180.
Winner of the 2023 Daniel Rohrer American Forensic Association Award for Outstanding Research.

Drury, Sara A. Mehltretter. "The Concatenate Circulation of Pope Francis's Civic Rhetoric during the 2015 Papal Visit to the United States." In Understanding Pope Francis: Message, Media, and Audience, edited by Joseph R. Blaney, 23-38. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2021.

Drury, Jeffrey P. Mehltretter, and Sara A. Mehltretter Drury, editors. Rhetoric, Politics, and Hamilton: An American Musical. New York: Peter Lang, 2021.

  • Drury, Sara A. Mehltretter, Jeffrey P. Mehltretter Drury, and Henry Egan, "Introduction: Hamilton as Cultural and Rhetorical Phenomenon." pp 1-10.
  • Drury, Sara A. Mehltretter, and James Anthony Williams III. "Exhibiting Hamilton: History, Memory, and Musical Theater." pp. 47-65.

Drury, Sara A. Mehltretter. “The Traditions and Expectations of Presidential Debates.” In Televised Presidential Debates in a Changing Media Environment, edited by Edward A. Hinck, Chapter 1. ABC-CLIO, 2019.

Drury, Sara A. Mehltretter, and Rebecca A. Kuehl (Editors). Communication Quarterly special issue on "The Rhetoric of the 2016 Election." Volume 66, issue 2.


Daniel Rohrer Memorial Outstanding Research Award, American Forensic Association. 2023.
Outstanding New Teacher Award, Central States Communication Association. 2016.
[CSCA Newsletter]
Top Competitive Paper Award in Argumentation and Forensics Division, “Spheres of Argument in Climate Change Deliberations in an Undergraduate Biology Classroom,” co-authored with **Adam Burtner and **Terry Majors. Central States Communication Association Convention, April 2015. 
40 Under 40: Professors Who Inspire. Nerdscholar. 2014.
Phi Beta Kappa, Boston College.


“Examining the Effects of Training Undergraduate Chemistry Students How to Deliberate.” $599,297. National Science Foundation, Award ID: 2012931. October 1, 2020-September 30, 2023. Co-Project Investigators: Laura M. Wysocki and Sara A. Mehltretter Drury.

Indiana Humanities Action Fellow, Inaugural Class. Indiana Humanities. Selected for the first cohort of 8 humanities scholars in Indiana devoted to public work. 2019-2021.

Indiana Humanities Speakers Bureau, 2019-2020.

Visiting Research Fellow, Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh, 2017-2018.

"Encouraging Science Communication in the Wabash College Chemistry Department." National Science Foundation: Division of Undergraduate Education. Award #1503919. October 1, 2015-September 30, 2017. Co-Project Investigators: Laura M. Wysocki and Sara A. Mehltretter Drury.