School of Communication & Journalism

Robert Agne

Robert Agne Associate Professor, Communication
112 Tichenor Hall
(334) 844-7237

Office Hours

  • Tuesday 10a.m.-3 p.m. zoom only
  • Thursday 10a.m.-3 p.m. zoom only


Oddly, I received my undergraduate degree in electrical engineering. I worked for the Department of Defense for 8 years before I decided to go back to school to study Communication. The main reason I wanted to study Communication is that I appreciate little else in life than the art of conversation.  As a student and professor of communication, I have sought to learn as much as I can about that art – its brush strokes, its color, and its shape. Communication to me is the study of language use in social interaction, and find myself exploring that from all angles of my life – in my teaching, my research, and my relationships.


In my research, I gravitate to communication (particularly conversational) challenges people face in ordinary (and no-so-ordinary) situations. I examine talk in ways that shape who we are and how we regard others. I have examined the talk in various situations such as crisis negotiation, 911 emergency telephone calls, psychic readings, doctor/patient relationships, and friends talking about their daily problems. For years, I have focused on the telephone negotiations between the FBI and a religious group known as the Branch Davidians that took place outside of Waco, TX in the Spring of 1993. My fascination with this data set is that the unstoppable force of religion butts its head against the immovable object of the law – and it is all found in the interactions between people.


I have learned to understand football (and love Auburn football) since I first arrived here in 2004, but while everyone is tailgating, I am on the golf course. I’ve recently taken up tennis and thoroughly enjoy it. I like to hike in the woods and mountains, and on walks I enjoy listening to audiobooks – mostly fantasy and anything with magic and wizardry. I am a tutor for the Lee County Literacy Coalition and especially enjoy tutoring in Math.


  • Ph.D., Communication Studies, University of Colorado, Boulder, 2003
  • M.A., Communication Studies, University of Dayton, 1994
  • Undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering, University of Dayton, 1986.

Research and Teaching Interests

My scholarly interests are in ways people talk in everyday situations that shape who they are and how they regard others. I am particularly interested in situations when such talk is challenging for the interactants. My research has examined topics of religious talk in crisis negotiation, 911 emergency telephone calls, social interaction in psychic readings, patient/provider relationships, and social support among friends.

Representative Publications

  • Agne, R. R. (2018). “You’re not listening”: Negotiating and problematizing ideal interaction through metatalk about listening in the Waco Standoff. Western Journal of Communication, 82, 1-20.
  • Agne, R. R. (2015).  Framing.  In K. Tracy, C. Ilie, & T. Sandel (Eds.). The International encyclopedia of language and social interaction, First Edition (pp. 200-205). Boston, MA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
  • Agne, R. R. (2011). Waco siege (Branch Davidians). In J. G. Thomas (Ed.), The new encyclopedia of Southern culture, v. 22, violence (pp. 273-274). Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press.
  • Agne, R. R. (2010). Self-assessment as a dilemmatic communicative practice: Talk among psychics in training. Southern Communication Journal, 75, 306-327.
  • Agne, R. R. (2008). Action-implicative discourse analysis. In W. Donsbach (Ed.), International encyclopedia of communication (pp. 29-31). Blackwell Publishing.
  • Agne, R. R. (2007).  Reframing practices in moral conflict: Interaction problems in the negotiation standoff at Waco. Discourse and Society, 18, 549-578.
  • Agne, R. R., & White, C. H. (2004). The nature of facework in discussion of everyday problems between friends. Southern Communication Journal, 70, 1-14.

Classes Taught

  • Comm 2010  Communication in Society
  • Comm 3300  Communication and Conflict
  • Comm 3500  Foundations of Human Communication
  • Comm 3510  Research Methods in Human Communication
  • Comm 4800  Interpersonal Communication
  • Comm 4850  Discourse in Society
  • Comm 7000  Communication Theory
  • Comm 7010  Qualitative Methods
  • Comm 7300  Language and Social Interaction

Last Updated: August 13, 2021