Patricia D. Witherspoon, Ph.D.
Dean Emerita and Professor Emerita of Communication
Dr. Witherspoon was Dean of the Graduate School at UTEP from 2008 to 2010, and Acting Dean and Dean of the College of Liberal Arts from 2010 to 2017. She is now Dean Emerita and Professor Emerita of Communication. In spring, 2018, Dr. Witherspoon founded, and co-directs, "Leaders Among Us," a non-profit leadership and communication program for high school and early college students. Dr. Witherspoon came to UTEP in 2000 as Chair of the Department of Communication and founding director of the Sam Donaldson Center for Communication Studies. She served in those capacities until August, 2008, and continues to oversee the Donaldson Center. In August, 2008, she was named Dean of the Graduate School at UTEP. Prior to coming to UTEP, she was Assistant to the Vice Chancellor/Executive Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs in the University of Texas System from 1978 to 1985; Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, College of Communication, University of Texas at Austin (1985-1996) and Chair of the Department of Communication Studies at UT Austin from 1996 to 2000. She is the author of two books: Within These Walls: A Study of Communication between Presidents and their Senior Staffs, and Communicating Leadership: An Organizational Perspective. She is second author of Time, Change, and the American Newspaper. Dr. Witherspoon also is the author of several book chapters and journal articles in the areas of organizational and political communication. She has been a lecturer in the Executive MBA programs at UTEP, The University of Texas at San Antonio, and Tecnologico de Monterrey, in Monterrey, Mexico, as well as in executive education programs at UT Austin. Dr. Witherspoon has chaired, or been a member of, a number of UT-Austin and UTEP committees that focus on campus leadership and administration. From 2003 to 2008 she was a co-principal investigator on an ADVANCE institutional transformation grant funded by the National Science Foundation on facilitating the recruitment, retention and promotion of women in the social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering. Dr. Witherspoon’s current teaching and research interests are in communication and the leadership of change, leadership communication and the creation of community in organizations, and situating the study of leadership within communication theories. In 2005, the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Participation at the University of Texas at Austin began awarding the Patricia Witherspoon Student Leadership Research Award to deserving graduate students at UT-Austin, in honor of Dr. Witherspoon.