William BenoitProfessor
Heritage Hall 331
(205) 975-7805

Research and Teaching Interests: Image Repair, Political Election Campaigns

Office Hours: By appointment only


  • B.S., Ball State University
  • M.A., Central Michigan University
  • Ph.D., Wayne State University, Communication

William L. Benoit is a professor of Communication Studies. Bill was born in Indiana and has taught at Miami University (Ohio), Bowling Green State University), University of Missouri, Ohio University, and is now at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. He was a University Fellow at Hong Kong Baptist University for a semester. In 2012, before coming to UAB, he was invited to give the Jemison Lecture at UAB in 2012.

Bill created Image Repair Theory — what can you say when accused or suspected of wrong-doing — and applied it to case studies in a variety of contexts (e.g., political, corporate, entertainment, sports, governmental). He also developed the Functional Theory of Political Campaign Discourse. This has been applied to a variety of message forms (including TV spots, debates, candidate Facebook pages, candidate webpages, candidacy announcement speeches, nomination acceptance addresses), for a variety of offices (president/prime minister/chancellor, senator, member of congress, governor, mayor), across time (e.g., presidential messages from 1948-2016), and in several countries (including the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Australia, Israel, the Ukraine, Spain). He also advanced the Theory of Persuasive Attack, which can include mud-slinging or exposing wrong-doing (e.g., child labor practices or sexual abuse).

Download Curriculum Vitae

  • Introduction to Political Campaigns (Ohio University)
  • Benoit, W. L., & Glantz, M. (2017). Persuasive attack on Donald Trump in the 2016 Republican primaries. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.
  • Benoit, W. L. (2016a). (Ed.). Praeger handbook of political campaigning in America (volume 1). Westport, CT: Praeger.
  • Benoit, W. L. (2016b). (Ed.). Praeger handbook of political campaigning in America (volume 2). Westport, CT: Praeger.
  • Benoit, W. L. (2015). Accounts, excuses, apologies: Image repair theory and research (2nd ed.). Albany: State University of New York Press.
  • Benoit, W. L. (2014a). A functional analysis of presidential television advertisements (2nd ed.). Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.
  • Benoit, W. L. (2014b). Political election debates: Informing voters about policy and character. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.
  • Benoit, W. L. (2007). Communication in political campaigns. New York: Peter Lang.
  • Benoit, W. L., Stein, K. A., McHale, J. P., Chattopadhyay, S., Verser, R., Price, S. (2007). Bush versus Kerry: A functional analysis of campaign 2004. New York: Peter Lang.
  • Benoit, P. J., Benoit, W. L., Milyo, J., & Hansen, G. J. (2006). The effects of traditional versus web-assisted instruction on learning and student satisfaction. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri.

He has published well over 250 journal articles and book chapters in such outlets as Quarterly Journal of Speech, Communication Education, Communication Monographs, Human Communication Research, Journal of Applied Communication Research, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, Political Communication, Critical Studies in Media Communication, Asian Journal of Communication, Argumentation and Advocacy, and the four regional communication journals.

  • National Communication Association
  • International Communication Association
  • Central States Communication Association
  • Milton Dickens Award for Exemplary Empirical Research, 2011
  • John E. Hunter Meta-Analysis Award, 2008
  • University of Missouri Alumni Faculty Award, 2004
  • Wayne State University Arts Achievement Award, 2004