Jennifer E. Potter, Ph.D.


Chair and Professor


Ph.D., Howard University, 2008
M.A., University of Northern Iowa, 2005
B.S.S., Cornell College, 2001

Areas of Expertise

Intercultural Communication
Public Memory
Social Protest Rhetoric
Motherhood Studies


Dr. Jennifer Potter joined the faculty at Towson University in 2008 as an assistant professor after earning her Ph.D. from Howard University. She is an established scholar in intercultural communication, publishing in nationally recognized journals including Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, Women & Language and Communication, Culture, & Critique. Her work examines public discourse and public memory of culturally significant events in the United States.

Dr. Potter’s scholarship and teaching has strong connections to social justice, and she has participated in the Dialogue@TU program as a facilitator and is a trained Inside-Out Prison Exchange instructor. She is a member of the TU Fair Chance Committee and the Fair Chance Community of Practice lead, where she organizes and leads monthly professional development opportunities for faculty, staff, and students, who want to learn more about prison education and supporting formerly incarcerated students. She has taught numerous courses that focus the course material through the lens of mass incarceration, the prison industrial complex, and prison abolition. She loves working with students in the classroom with a discussion-based approach to teaching and learning, is passionate about undergraduate research, and enjoys helping students individually during advising.

Dr. Potter has spent much of her academic life involved with speech and debate. She was a policy debater in high school, competed in parliamentary debate and competitive speech in college, and coached and directed speech and debate programs at four different institutions, including Towson University. She remains committed to forensics and actively supports Pi Kappa Delta, the national forensics honorary society.

She led a curriculum redesign for the communication studies major and minor, established the major at the TU in Northeastern Maryland (TUNE) campus and spearheaded the establishment of the Department of Communication Studies. In 2018, Dr. Potter was named the inaugural department chair of the Department of Communication Studies. As chair, Dr. Potter is committed to three primary priorities: diversity, inclusion, and equity in the department; mentorship opportunities for students, faculty, and staff; and advancing student-centered and innovative curricula, programming, and community-building activities in the department. Her passion for mentorship has led her to publish in the area of faculty mentorship, in addition to her scholarly agenda in intercultural communication.

In 2024, Dr. Potter was recognized by the University System of Maryland Board of Regents with a Faculty Award for Mentorship.

Selected Publications

Potter, J.E., & Aseltine, E. (forthcoming). Failing toward abolition: Embracing abolitionist principles in the college classroom. In D. Rowe and J. Kratzer (Eds.), The cruel and reparative possibilities of failure. Lexington, KY: Lexington Books.

Potter, J.E., Collins, S.G., & Westerman, P.L. (2022). Re-inventing the wheel: Basing a mentoring framework on pieces of the past and hopes for the future. Academic Leader, November 1, 2022.

Potter, J.E., & Berry-McCrea, E. (2020). Intergroup dialogue as praxis for engaging the intercultural world. Discourse: The Journal of the SCASD, 6, 36-41.

Ohl, J.J., & Potter, J.E. (2019). Traumatic encounters with Frank Mechau's Dangers of the MailCommunication and Critical/Cultural Studies, 16.

Potter, J.E. (2018). Needy mothers, coddled children: A qualitative content analysis of public comments about extended breastfeeding. Women & Language, 41.

Potter, J.E. (2015). The whiteness of silence: A critical autoethnographic tale of a strategic rhetoric. The Qualitative Report, 20(9), 1434-1447.

Potter, J.E. (2014). Brown-skinned outlaws: An ideographic analysis of illegal(s). Communication, Culture, & Critique, 7(2), 1-18. doi: 10.1111/cccr.12045

Ohl, J.J., & Potter, J.E. (2013). United we lynch: Post-racism and the (re)membering of racial violence in Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America. Southern Communication Journal, 78(3), 185-201. doi: 10.1080/1041794X.2012.749297

Potter, J.E. (2013). Adopting Commodities: A Burkean cluster analysis of adoption rhetoric. Adoption Quarterly, 16(2), 108-127.