Robert C. Richards, Jr. is an assistant professor of communication at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, where he teaches courses in communication and public engagement and legal and ethical dimensions of public service. He is also an interdisciplinary affiliate at the Center for Communication Research at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, and a co-investigator on the Participedia Project, which studies citizen participation in governance around the world.
Richards’ research focuses on democratic deliberation, participatory democracy, and online dialogue and discussion. He works with colleagues at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute of the University of Arkansas and the Central Arkansas Library System in the Partnership for Democratic Practices in Arkansas, under the auspices of the Kettering Foundation and in collaboration with the National Issues Forums Institute, to conduct public deliberations about issues of importance to Arkansas residents. His forthcoming article, with Michael Neblo, in the Journal of Deliberative Democracy, explains how deliberative practices and norms emerge from citizens’ everyday political conversations. With Michael Morrell, Justin Reedy, and David Brinker, he is co-editor of a forthcoming special issue of the Journal of Deliberative Democracy on psychological aspects of democratic deliberation. His other sole- or co-authored work has been published in Policy & Politics, International Journal of Communication, PS: Political Science & Politics, Politics & Society, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Journal of Public Deliberation, and Policy & Internet. His research has been funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Democracy Fund, and the Waterhouse Family Institute for the Study of Communication and Society.
Richards holds a PhD in communication arts and sciences from Penn State University, a JD from the University of Virginia School of Law, an MS in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, an MA in communication studies from the University of Iowa, and a BA in English from Yale University.