Tom Heeney

Associate Professor

Address: 9 College, Room 207
Phone: 843.953.3859

Tom Heeney joined the College of Charleston in 1991, after teaching in Massachusetts at Bentley and Stonehill Colleges. Active in teaching and promoting Communication Studies for decades, he co-founded the major and department here, and has taught a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses. 

Dr. Heeney received his Ph.D. at University of Southern California (1986) along with an M.A., and his undergraduate degree in communication studies is from California State University, Long Beach. He has won four postgraduate National Endowment for the Humanities summer fellowships to conduct research and attend seminars, include work at University of New England on law and the humanities (2009), at U.C. Berkeley on ancient law and history (2000), at Emory to study Giambattista Vico (1993), and at U. Illinois (1991) to continue work on his dissertation topic of Friedrich Nietzsche. 

Teaching interests currently include rhetorical theory and social movements, public speaking, law and the humanities. In past years he has taught at our “European campus” in Annot, France during fall 2001, and aboard the S.S. Universe Explorer with Semester at Sea during fall 1998. Domestic travel summer courses have included corporate communication classes in New York City and Washington D.C., and several summer trips with students to Federal Prisons interviewing white collar inmates on ethics and crime. 

Current research interests are in nineteenth century American law, humanities, rhetoric and the birth of cultural criticism, focused on the hermeneutic and historical work of the German-American scholar Francis Lieber, and the cultural activity of James Gibbons Huneker. He has published articles or reviews in Philosophy and Rhetoric, QJS, and elsewhere. He is a member and participates in the conference activities of the Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities, the American Studies Association, the International Communication Association, the International Society for the History of Rhetoric, the International Society for the Study of Argument and other organizations. 

Past and current college committee activity includes serving on Faculty Senate, the Senate Budget Committee, and currently as an officer in the campus chapter of the American Association of University Professors. 


MA and Ph.D., University of Southern California
B.A., California State University, Long Beach

Research Interests

  • Rhetoric
  • Debate
  • Law and Humanities

Courses Taught

Spring 2011:
Comm 104
Comm 681
Amst 200

Honors and Awards

  • Four postgraduate National Endowment for the Humanities summer fellowships to conduct research and attend seminars