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Vicki Gallagher

Professor of Communication

Department of Communication

View CV 


As a full professor in the Department of Communication, Dr. Gallagher teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in visual and material rhetoric, rhetorical theory and criticism, communication ethics and organizational communication. Dr. Gallagher’s primary area of publication and scholarship is rhetorical criticism, particularly of civil rights-related discourse, commemorative sites (museums and memorials), visual and material culture and public art. She is the principle investigator of the Virtual Martin Luther King project, funded and supported by the North Carolina Humanities Council, the college research office, and the NC State Libraries.  In addition, she has conducted research on gender and communication in engineering work teams (supported by an external grant from The Engineering Information Foundation), communication ethics, and communication education. Gallagher is the co-editor of Communicative Cities in the 21st Century and authored the introduction and an additional chapter in that collection.  She has published articles in the Quarterly Journal of SpeechDesign Issues, Rhetoric Society QuarterlyWestern Journal of CommunicationSouthern Communication JournalRhetoric and Public AffairsJournal of College Admission, and the Journal of Engineering Education, as well as in edited book collections. She has been invited to deliver public lectures at a number of universities including the Writing and Rhetoric Without Borders lecture and the President’s Free Speech lecture at DePaul University, the Hidden Humanities lecture at the University of Alabama, and the Rhetorical Leadership lecture at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.  Dr. Gallagher has also presented numerous conference papers and served as an invited respondent and discussant at regional, national and international conferences.  Her awards include the Harlan Joel Gradin Award for Excellence in Public Humanities, the NC State University Libraries Faculty Award and the Robert M. Entman award for Excellence in Communication Research.

During her tenure at NC State, Professor Gallagher has served in various administrative capacities, including 3 years as Associate Department Head in the Department of Communication.  At the college level, she served 2 years as Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and 5 years as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs (overseeing undergraduate, graduate and interdisciplinary studies) in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.  In April 2017, Gallagher began her one year term as President of the Southern States Communication Association, a professional academic organization that supports scholars and students of communication in the Southern and Southwestern regions of the U.S.  She is also active in the community, serving on the North Carolina Freedom Monument Advisory Board and Artist Liaison Committee, and consulting for a variety of organizations including the former Exploris Children’s Museum, Head Start of New Hanover County, the North Carolina League of Women Voters, and the Integral Mid-Range Users Group.


Current research projects include the Virtual Martin Luther King project , a project which integrates public address and digital humanities scholarship and pedagogy through the development of an immersive digital experience of the 1960 MLK speech, titled, “A Creative Protest,” better known as the “Fill Up the Jails Speech.”  Dr. Gallagher also has a book in progress titled, “A Necessary Space: The Rhetoric of Civil Rights-related Museums and Memorials,” and a collection of critical essays in the area of visual and material rhetoric, examining the rhetorical functions and potentialities of painting, photography, public sculpture and public space.

Graduate Advising

As an active member of the graduate faculty at NC State University, Professor Gallagher has served on 24 masters and masters thesis committees, performing the duties of Chair 12 times. She has served or is currently serving as chair on eight doctoral committees for Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media Program, as committee member for nine additional doctoral committees in the same program, and as a committee member for two doctoral students in the Graphic Design program. She has also served as an external reviewer for doctoral committees in the department of Organizational Psychology and the School of Education. She has received outstanding teaching awards from the Department of Communication graduating seniors and from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and is a member of the NC State Academy of Outstanding Teachers. She is also a recipient of the College of Humanities and social Sciences Outstanding Adviser Award.


Research Publications

Gallagher, Victoria J., Zagacki, K., and Swift, J. “From ‘Dead Wrong’ to Civil Rights History: The Durham ‘Royal Seven,’ Martin Luther King’s 1960 ‘Fill Up the Jails’ Speech, and the Rhetoric of Visibility,” in O’Rourke, S. and Pace, Lesli K. (Eds.) Like a Fire: The Rhetoric of the Civil Rights Sit­ Ins. University of South Carolina Press, 2018).

Gallagher, V. J. and Kalin, J. “Collected Debris of Public Memory: Commemorative Genres and the Mediation of the Past.”  In C. Miller and A. R. Kelly, (Eds.) Emerging Genres in New Media Environments. (Palgrave MacMillan), 2016.

Gallagher, V.J., Zagacki, K. &Martin, K.N.  “Communicative Spaces and Rhetorical Enactments: How and Why Urban Parks Enhance (or Fail to Enhance) Public Life.” In M.Matsaganis, V.J. Gallagher, & S. Drucker (Eds.) Communicative Cities in the 21st Century: Urban Communication Reader III, (London: Peter Lang)  June, 2013

Communicative Cities in the 21st Century: Urban Communication Reader III. Routledge, 2013.

You Make it Amazing: The Rhetoric of Art and Urban Regeneration in the Case of “The Public.” Journal of Visual Literacy. 2013

Funded Research

Dr. Gallagher has received over $220,000 in research funding and scholarly awards. Her research has been funded by external agencies including the North Carolina Humanities Council and the Engineering Information Foundation.


Ph.D. Communication Studies Northwestern University 1990