Richard Vatz


Richard Vatz

Contact Info

Hawkins Halls, Room 405J


B.A. University of Pittsburgh, Sociology; Minor: Philosophy, 1969
M.S. University of Pittsburgh Rhetoric and Communication, 1971
Ph.D. University of Pittsburgh, Rhetoric and Communication, 1976

Areas of Expertise

Political Persuasion; rhetoric; Psychiatric persuasion


Dr. Richard E. Vatz is a tenured full professor of Rhetoric and Communication at Towson University wherein he is serving in his 41st year. He won Towson University’s "President’s Award for Distinguished Service," the university’s highest honor, in 2004. In the 2009-2010 school year he won the Towson Student Government Association Faculty Member of the Year and was the first Towson professor to win that award. He won the 2002 "Teacher of the Year Award" from the Student Government of Towson, and he has won an additional 4 Outstanding Teaching Awards, the most of any faculty member at the University. He has been a teaching fellow at Eastern Communication Association for over a decade, and his teaching was honored at the National Communication Association “Teachers on Teaching” session in the fall of 2012.

Vatz was the 1994 winner of the Thomas Szasz Award for dedication to civil liberties and has written a book on Dr. Szasz’s work. He also published a book on Persuasion entitled “The Only Authentic Book of Persuasion” (Kendall-Hunt, 2013) on which he gave the keynote address at the 2013 Southern States Communication Association Convention, was chosen to give seminars on the book at the 2014 Eastern Communication Convention and the National Communication Association Convention of that same year and has lectured on the work within the past two years at the University of Richmond and gave the University Lecture at Hillsdale College in Michigan as well. In September of 2014 the new revision came out, subtitled The Agenda-Spin Model.

Vatz has published articles and/or reviews on persuasion, political persuasion and psychiatry-and-rhetoric in /The Wall Street Journal/, /The Washington Post/, /The Baltimore Sun/, /The Los Angeles Times/, /Western Speech Communication/, /Philosophy And Rhetoric/, /The New England Journal of Medicine/, /Journal of The American Medical Association/, /Law And Society Review/, /Psychotherapy/ and other journals and newspapers as well. He has published hundreds of academic articles, reviews and blogs. 

Vatz has presented over 150 Convention papers and panels, and in April, 2015, he was a participant on the Convention’s marquee panel presented for National Public Radio’s WHYY, “IS MEDIA COVERAGE OF POLITICS HELPING OR HURTING OUR DEMOCRACY?”

Over his career Vatz has discussed issues on political persuasion and psychiatry on CNN (including "Crossfire"), "The Phil Donahue Show" and "Larry King Live" and William Buckley's "Firing Line." He has provided political commentary for local and national television and radio through 2015, including Fox television nationally, CBS Radio nationally, ABC Radio nationally, local Fox News, the local Baltimore television news stations, WBAL Radio and Maryland Public Television, for over 30 years. Since August 2005 he has regularly been employed as a commentator on 50,000 watt WBAL Radio. He is the longest-serving member of Towson University’s Academic Senate, having served 35 consecutive years thus far.


Vatz, R. (2017). Thomas S. Szasz: The man and his ideas. New York, NY: Transaction.