Cindy Koenig Richards

Associate Professor, Ringe Media Lab Director

Cindy Koenig Richards is a scholar of communication, media, and American politics. 

Dr. Richards is an associate professor at Willamette University, where she served as the founding chair of the Civic Communication and Media department. She holds affiliate appointments in the American Ethnic Studies program, the Women’s and Gender Studies program, and the Arts, Technology and Multimedia program. 

In 2016 she received the United Methodist Award, Willamette University's highest honor for teaching and service. This award "celebrates the extraordinary impact a professor can make both inside the classroom and within the community."  

Professor Richards's scholarship is published in journals including Quarterly Journal of Speech, Rhetoric and Public Affairs, Western Journal of Communication, and Southern Communication Journal. Currently she is a member of the editorial boards for Southern Communication Journal and Voices of Democracy Journal, as well as a reviewer for journals including Presidential Studies Quarterly. In support of her research and curricular initiatives, Professor Richards received numerous grants including funding from the Mellon Foundation Liberal Arts Research Collaborative and the Mellon Foundation Learning by Creating program. 

Her areas of research and teaching include political communication, persuasive technology, social change, and women in leadership. Many of her courses emphasize experiential learning and collaborative research. Professor Richards's former students, advisees and collaborators are active in communication and media firms, public servicenon-profit organizations, and education. 

Professor Richards directs Ringe Media Lab. Her other service roles include the Board of Trustees Committee on Technology and Facilities and the Willamette University Budget Advisory Committee. 

She earned her Ph.D. and M.A. at Northwestern University, where she was an Ecroyd Fellow and Alumnae Fellow. Prior to her graduate work at Northwestern, Richards worked as a STEM teacher and department chair in Bronx NY and Washington DC public schools. 

Learn more about one of Professor Richards's recent experiential learning programs, Willamette Debate Watch:


  • Ph.D., Northwestern University
  • M.A., Northwestern University
  • B.S., Willamette University