Since Fall 2019, Deion S. Hawkins, Ph.D., has served as an Assistant Professor of Argumentation & Advocacy and the Director of Debate at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Hawkins is a leading diversity, equity, & inclusion consultant (DEI) and an expert in social marketing campaigns and Critical Race Theory (CRT); his research is situated at the intersection of race, communication, culture, and health. Deion is a critical health communication scholar who typically employs equity-framed and trauma-informed qualitative techniques to unpack health disparities disproportionately impacting BIPOC communities. More specifically, Deion is researching two health issues that continue to impact Black Americans disproportionately- (1) HIV, especially in Black queer men & (2) the mental health impacts of police brutality in the Black community. Examples of his peer-reviewed research can be found in Frontiers in Health Communication, Health CommunicationAmerican Behavioral Scientist. Additional competitively selected book chapters can be found in A Pill For Promiscuity and Queer Intercultural Communication.

As a first-generation college graduate and now professor, Dr. Hawkins is incredibly passionate about using the classroom as a tool of empowerment and wants to equip each student with the means of advocacy, empathy, reflective accountability, and debate. In Spring 2022, Deion won Emerson’s college-wide Outstanding Teaching award. Outside of his classroom commitments, with ample experience in all formats, Dr. Hawkins is a nationally recognized speech & debate (forensics) coach. He is one of the few coaches in the country with multiple debate (IPDA 2013, IPDA 2019) and speech (Duo-AFA 2017, Duo-PKD 2019) national championships within his first ten years of coaching. In 2019, these accomplishments and many more coaching accolades allowed him to be awarded Pi Kappa Delta’s, the nation’s oldest speech & debate organization, outstanding new forensics educator award. Lastly, Dr. Hawkins is always proud to humbly serve his community. Thus, he currently serves as board Co-Chair for the Emerging Leaders Board at Boston Health Care For the Homeless Program and is the Coalition Manager for HIV Racial Justice Now!, a national coalition of activists and scholars of color who are advancing a racial justice framework in the domestic HIV response.

Selected Campus Involvement Highlights:
Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning Ambassador
New Major: Health & Social Change founding committee member
Former Learning, Equity, and Assessment Program (LEAP) faculty fellow

Emerson Today Feature: No Debating It: Exhibit Explores Emerson’s History of Prison Education
Emerson Today Feature:  Emerson Community Equity Statement
Emerson Today Feature: Hawkins, Lasker, Lemack Honored for Teaching Excellence

Courses Taught:
CC100: Fundamentals of Speech Communication 
CC211: Introduction to Health Communication
CC263: Argumentation and Advocacy
CC344: Rhetoric of Social Movements
HE201: Health and Advocacy *in preparation for new major*



B.A., Ohio State University
M.A., Marshall University
Ph.D., George Mason University

Areas of Expertise

  • African Studies
  • Communication Studies
  • Health Communications
  • LGBTQIA+ Studies
  • Political Candidate Debates