Vanessa Beasley, Dean of The Ingram Commons
“Here we will help you find, ask and work on the questions that matter to you. We will help you view these questions in new and different ways. We know that the questions that matter to our students are the questions we all need answered. Along with the exceptionally talented faculty and staff throughout the university, it is my privilege to welcome, challenge and equip the next generation of Vanderbilt students.” - Vanessa Beasley
Vanessa Beasley, a Vanderbilt University alumna and expert on race, gender and diversity in U.S. political rhetoric, is dean of The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons and an associate professor of communications studies.
Beasley attended Vanderbilt as an undergraduate and earned a bachelor of arts in speech communication and theatre arts. She also holds a Ph.D. in speech communication from the University of Texas at Austin.
Following stints on the faculty of Texas A&M University, Southern Methodist University and the University of Georgia, she returned to Vanderbilt in 2007 as a faculty member in the Department of Communication Studies. Active in the Vanderbilt community, she has served as chair of the Provost’s Task Force on Sexual Assault, director of the Program for Career Development for faculty in the College of Arts and Science, and as a Jacque Voegeli Fellow of the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities.
In May 2015, she led a new Maymester course she created in partnership with Queen’s University, Belfast that explored the comparative, transnational understanding of the civil rights movements in the southern United States and in Belfast in the 1950s and 1960s.
Beasley’s areas of academic expertise include the rhetoric of American presidents, political rhetoric on immigration, and media and politics. She is the author of numerous scholarly articles, book chapters and other publications, and is the author of two books, Who Belongs in America? Presidents, Rhetoric, and Immigration and You, the People: American National Identity in Presidential Rhetoric, 1885-2000.
Beasley is joined in the Dean's Residence by her husband Trey, assistant vice chancellor for treasury and university treasurer at Vanderbilt, and their son, Charlie. Their older son, Adam, is a student at a university elsewhere.