About the WFI Director

Bryan Crable, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Communication
Founding Director, Waterhouse Family Institute for the Study of Communication and Society

Bryan Crable, Ph.D., Professor in the Department of Communication, is the founding director of the Waterhouse Family Institute for the Study of Communication and Society (WFI).

Dr. Crable joined the Villanova faculty in 1998 and served as the department’s chairperson from 2004-2011. Under his direction, the Department of Communication (the largest undergraduate major at Villanova University) created an entirely new undergraduate curriculum, expanded its full-time faculty, added a Master of Arts degree, and launched the Waterhouse Family Institute.

The vision for WFI was developed from Dr. Crable’s own scholarly work in communication and rhetorical theory. Finding inspiration in the writings of American critic and philosopher Kenneth Burke, Dr. Crable’s research focuses on the contention that language, and communication more generally, lies at the heart of the human condition, and must be accounted for in any attempt to create social change. In addition to his work theorizing these issues, Dr. Crable has engaged the link between communication and social change through studies of American racial discourse in the twentieth and twenty-first century.

Dr. Crable is the author of Ralph Ellison and Kenneth Burke: At the Roots of the Racial Divide (University of Virginia Press, 2012), a book included in the Mellon Foundation’s American Literatures Initiative. He is also editor of the forthcoming collection Transcendence by Perspective: Kenneth Burke, Social Conflict, Social Change (Parlor Press). Dr. Crable is the only two-time winner of the Charles Kneupper Award for best article of the year from the Rhetoric Society of America (2003, 2009), and, for his scholarly and professional contributions to the discipline, was awarded the Kenneth Burke Society’s prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011. In addition to scholarly chapters and reviews, his essays have appeared in leading rhetoric and communication journals, including The Quarterly Journal of Speech, Rhetoric Society Quarterly, Rhetoric Review and Argumentation and Advocacy.

Born in Columbus, Ohio, and raised in central Indiana, Dr. Crable was the first student in the liberal arts to be selected for Purdue University’s prestigious Steven C. Beering Presidential Scholarship and Fellowship, which funds studies through the doctoral level. Dr. Crable received all of his degrees at Purdue. In addition to completing a B.A. in communication and an M.A. in rhetorical studies, he completed Purdue’s interdisciplinary dual-doctoral degree in communication and philosophy. He has been a member of several editorial boards, and has served in a series of executive positions in national and regional scholarly associations, including the Kenneth Burke Society, the National Communication Association and the Eastern Communication Association.

Dr. Bryan Crable

Bryan Crable, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Chairperson, Department of Communication
Founding Director, Waterhouse Family Institute for the Study of Communication and Society