Mary Dixson, Ph.D.

Professor of Instruction, Communication

Mary Dixson, Ph.D.


Dr. Dixson has over 25 years of higher education teaching experience. and fifteen years of administrative experience including directing the operations of the Faculty Center, overseeing UTSA libraries, faculty development, distance learning, applied research, SACS accreditation, service learning, and dual credit programs.

She has been the author and Principal Investigator of Innovista, a $2 million, Department of Education Hispanic Serving Institution grant to increase institutional capacity for the purpose of increasing student retention and success.

Research Areas include political rhetoric, citizen participation, and civic education. She has published in the Journal of Communication, Presidential Studies Quarterly, and Political Communication. She has presented at numerous conferences and been an invited keynote speaker on topics around faculty development and teaching excellence.

In addition to her academic experience, Dr. Dixson has been employed by both private and non-profit sectors. She was the founding executive director of the Bexar County Performing Arts Center Foundation and consults with businesses and organizations on all areas of communication and training.

Research Interests

  • Political Communication
  • ADHD and College Student Success
  • Teaching and Learning


  • Ph.D. in Communication Studies, University of Texas, Austin (2002)
  • M.A. in Speech Communication, Texas A&M University, College Station (1995)
  • B.A. in Speech and Philosophy, Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois (1993)


“The Mulligan Effect: The Role of Positive Communication & Opportunities for Improvement in Promoting Resilience & Growth Mindset” Keynote presentation to the Lilly Conference on Engaged Teaching, January 7, 2024. San Diego, California

“Teaching Gen Z in a Pandemic: University of New Mexico February 2020

“Assigning Group Work that Works.” Plenary Presentation to the Lilly Conference on Engaged Teaching. October 19, 2019. Traverse City, Michigan


Grants, Patents and Clinical Trials

Department of Education, Title V HSI Program, “Innovista” (October 2010 – October 2015) Grant to develop faculty advising, learning communities, and faculty development programming at Northwester Vista College Minnie Stevens Piper Grant.

“Investigation of Financial Literacy in a First Year Experience.” Grant to develop and evaluate financial literacy programming during the first-year experience courses.


“Imagining the American People: Strategies for Building Political Community,” with W. Jennings and R. Hart. Journal of Communication, 53 (2002), 1-17.

“Constructing the Electorate During Presidential Campaigns,” with R. Hart, Presidential Studies Quarterly, 29 (1999), 830-849.

From College to Career: Making the Leap to a New Life Second Edition. KDP Publisher. (2024).