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Don Waisanen

Lecturer; Associate Professor, Baruch College, CUNY Marxe School of Public and International Affairs

In the Baruch College, CUNY Marxe School of Public and International Affairs, Don Waisanen teaches courses and workshops in public communication, including executive speech training, communication strategy, and seminars on storytelling, leadership/management, and improvisation.

All of Waisanen’s research seeks to understand how communication works to promote or hinder the force of citizens’ voices. Since “every human advancement or reversal can be understood through communication” (Walter Annenberg), he has written over 40 scholarly publications on the subject, covering topics from strategies in public speaking to the ways that organizations and governments can better communicate with different stakeholders. He is the author of forthcoming books on transnational marketing and storytelling, and the emerging connections between leadership, communication, and improvisation for professionals at all levels.

Previously, Waisanen worked in broadcast journalism and as a speechwriter and he continues to develop and run communication campaigns for organizations across the private and public sectors. He is the founder of Communication Upward and an adjunct lecturer at Columbia University and New York University. For the last two decades, he's also been a comedy writer and improvisational comedian at theaters in Los Angeles and New York.


  • Ph.D., University of Southern California
  • B.A., Westmont College


  • Political Conversion: Personal Transformation as Strategic Public Communication (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018)