hero image
Tomeka Robinson - Hofstra University. Hempstead, NY, US

Tomeka Robinson

Senior Associate Dean, Professor of Writing Studies and Rhetoric | Hofstra University


Dr. Robinson is an expert on effective public debate as well as health communication. She directs Hofstra's award-winning forensics team.






Rhetoric and Debate 2016: HU Office Hours with Tomeka Robinson Speech & Debate




Dr. Tomeka Robinson is the Senior Associate Dean of the Rabinowitz Honors College & Professor of Rhetoric and Public Advocacy. When not hard at work in the Honors College Dean’s Office, she teaches courses in honors college and public speaking for Hofstra’s NOAH Program. Dr. Robinson has taken an active role in professional and civic organizations throughout her career. She served on the National Council of Pi Kappa Delta National Forensics Honorary Association (speech and debate) for 12 years, including leading the organization as President for a term. She is the first person of color to hold the position of President in any national collegiate speech and debate organization.

During her tenure as the Director of Forensics at Hofstra, she served on a number of speech & debate executive boards: International Forensics Association, Interstate Oratorical Association, and the Southern & Northern Atlantic Forensics Unions, and national committees: Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion committee of the National Forensics Association and part of the National Developmental Conference on Individual Events Planning Committee. For her service to the speech and debate community, she was inducted in the National Forensics Association Hall of Fame in 2021 and received the E.R. Nicholas Excellence in Teaching from Pi Kappa Delta National Forensics Honorary Association in 2022. Additionally, she is currently one of the founding members of the Long Island Community and Academic Research Partnership, which focuses on bridging the gap between the community and academics on issues of health disparities.

In all of her copious amounts of free time, she is also still very actively involved in several research projects with colleagues across the globe on projects focused on global health risk and the impact of race on health. Additionally, she has been invited to give several lectures and media interviews throughout the US and Brazil on health, culture, and race within the last few years.

Industry Expertise (5)

Public Relations and Communications

Media - Broadcast


Writing and Editing

Health and Wellness

Areas of Expertise (6)

Public/Social Advocacy


Health Communications

Argumentation and Debate

Intercultural Communication

Public Speaking & Debate

Accomplishments (4)

President, Pi Kappa Delta (professional)

First woman of color to be elected president of a national speech and debate organization.

Faculty of the Year (professional)

Marietta College, Marietta, Ohio, 2011

New Forensics Educator Award (professional)

Awarded by Pi Kappa Delta, 2010

Dedicated Service Award (professional)

American Forensics Association, 2009

Education (3)

Texas A&M University: Ph.D., Public Health Education and Promotion 2009

Texas A&M University: M.A., Health Communication 2007

McNeese State University: B.S., Biology & Communication 2005

Affiliations (7)

  • National Communication Association
  • Eastern Communication Association
  • Central States Communication Association
  • Pi Kappa Delta Honorary National Forensics Association
  • National Association of Professional Women
  • American Bioethics and Humanities Association
  • American Public Health Association

Media Appearances (14)

Long Islanders frustrated by constant COVID-19 changes to CDC guidelines

Newsday  print


Newsday interviewed Tomeka Robinson, Professor of Writing Studies and Rhetoric and Associate Dean of Hofstra University Honors College, for the article: Long Islanders frustrated by constant COVID-19 changes to CDC guidelines. The piece discusses how the public has been confused and frustrated by the changing guidelines on how to protect oneself and loved ones during this latest wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. “People are losing trust in the guidelines since there doesn’t seem to be consistent messaging,” said Dr. Robinson, who specializes in health communication. “If they lose trust, they are less likely to view the guidelines as being necessary to follow.”

view more

Juneteenth: What You Need to Know About America's Newest Federal Holiday | The Debrief

NBC News 4 NY  tv


Tomeka Robinson, PhD, professor of rhetoric and public advocacy, spoke with NBC 4 NY about the history of Juneteenth, and why the day has gained recognition in recent years.

view more

Juneteenth declared a national holiday

Newsday  online


Tomeka Robinson, PhD, professor of rhetoric and public advocacy, spoke with Newsday about Juneteenth, which has grown in importance particularly as current events have led to a national reckoning on racial discrimination and justice.

view more

Shelving Dr. Seuss

ABC 7 NY  tv


Tomeka Robinson, PhD, professor of rhetoric and social advocacy and an expert on intercultural communication, spoke with ABC 7 about a decision by Dr. Seuss Enterprises to cease publication of six titles that contain racist imagery.

view more

Kamala Harris’ Rise to the White House

ABC-7  tv


Tomeka Robinson, PhD, professor of rhetoric and public advocacy and director of forensics, was featured in a WABC-7 NY report about Kamala Harris’ rise as the first woman and first woman of color to be elected vice president of the United States.

view more

Protesters, Experts Say Counter-Demonstrations To ‘Black Lives Matter’ Movement Miss Important Message

CBS 2 NY  tv


Hofstra University professor of rhetoric Tomeka Robinson says the “All Lives Matter” response tries to remove race from what needs to be a race discussion. “It is tone deaf, and they don’t get that what they’re saying is de-racializing a movement, but there are certainly some bad actors that absolutely are using it as a way to silence and a tool of further oppression to say, like, ‘We shouldn’t deal with this, this is not a real issue, this is not an American issue,'” Robinson said.

view more

Black Lives Matter movement

ABC News Radio  radio


Dr. Robinson discusses the Black Lives Matter movement with ABC News Radio.

view more

Takeaways from the Biden-Sanders March 15 Democratic debate

Newsday  online


Tomeka Robinson, a professor of rhetoric at Hofstra University, said that in a debate in which both candidates laid out their “support for science-based approaches and economic recovery for struggling families dealing with the fallout of the crisis,” neither candidate likely moved the needle much in terms of their current support. “I don’t think there will be strong shifts based on this debate for any candidate,” she said.

view more

Takeaways from the Democrats' Las Vegas debate

Newsday  print


Tomeka M. Robinson, a professor of rhetoric and public advocacy at Hofstra University, said Warren “showed her debate training … She was prepared to take on all of the other candidates and remind everyone why her candidacy should be taken seriously.” Warren “had the best night,” said Robinson, who serves as coach of Hofstra’s debate team. “She showed her debate prowess, and she was prepared to take on every candidate and defend her policy ideas.”

view more

Painful History of Blackface

WRHU 88.7 FM  radio


As both the governor and attorney general of Virginia face outcry over the use of blackface in their younger days, Dr. Tomeka Robinson spoke with WRHU 88.7 FM Radio Hofstra University about the practice’s role in American culture and its history of dehumanization.

view more

Presidential Debate, Sept. 26, 2016

National and international media including ABC, NBC, CBS, USA Today, Canadian Broadcasting System, et al  tv


Dr. Robinson made more than a dozen appearances on TV, radio, and print media to discuss aspects of the 2016 presidential debate between candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Media companies that interviewed her ranged from ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX news affiliates in New York and Chicago to national and international outlets including USA Today, Huffington Post, the Xinhua News Agency (China), Walla Israel, and the Canadian Broadcasting Agency.

Hofstra Prepares On Eve Of First Debate Between Trump, Clinton

CBS New York  


The eyes of the nation and much of the world will focus on the debate stage at Hofstra University in Hempstead, Long Island Monday night. Hofstra professor Dr. Tomeka Robinson said two qualities will identify the debate winner. “A, they’re able to very clear about their policy and B, that they’re likable and approachable to the audience,” Robinson said.

view more

Not Just Hillary: Young Women In Debate Face Sexism, Double Standards

The Huffington Post  


For women on the debate team at Hofstra University, where Clinton and Donald Trump will take the stage Monday night for the first presidential debate, these are complaints they’re all too familiar with. I’ve been called every nice word and every word in the book,” said Dr. Tomeka Robinson, who directs Hofstra’s Speech and Debate team and has been in the debate world for 16 years. “Male competitors can be a little bit more aggressive and it’s just seen as being as assertive, whereas with women, we sometimes get the ‘B’ term used with us.”

view more

Ebola Outbreak

NBC News 4 New York  tv


Dr. Robinson appeared on NBC News 4 to answer viewers' questions and discuss how city officials can better communicate information about the spread of the Ebola virus in New York.

Research Focus (3)

Topics of Interest:

Dr. Robinson's scholarly interests lie at the intersections of health, culture, and policy.

Research collaboration with the Universidade Metodista de Piracicaba, Brazil


Dr. Robinson and colleagues are working on an ongoing set of projects ranging from looking at how mega events like the Olympics affect developing countries to more general understandings of health, health behavior, and culture. Over the last four years, they have developed and collaborated on new projects annually involving their undergraduate and graduate students. Research publications listed below.

Research collaboration with University of Montana & the University of Southern Mississippi


Research projects are focused on how health crises and risk affects organization and organizational behavior. A book chapter on Ebola is in press, and the team will soon be shifting attention to other global health crises.

Articles (4)

Book Articles & Chapters

The Forensic, Encyclopedia of Health and Risk Message Design and Processing, et al.

2010-2016 Dr. Robinson has contributed about a dozen articles or book chapters: Articles: 1. Robinson, T.M., Clemens, C., Garnett, R., & Johnson, B. (in press). The political climate as a barrier to civic engagement: Are students ready to engage? The Forensic. 2. Robinson, T.M., Silva, C. L. da, Patreze, N. S., & Garnett, R. (in press). Rio 2016 Olympic Games and the social impacts of megaevents: A qualitative study. Revista Licere. 3. Clemens, C., Robinson, T.M., & Valdez, D. (2016). The influence of poverty on health: Promoting conversations in the communication classroom. Carolinas Communication Annual. XXXII, 81-84. 4. Robinson, T.M., Clemens, C., & Ortega, S. (2016) The evolution of extemporaneous speaking: A structuration approach. The Forensic. 101 (1), 21-29. 5. Silva, C. L. da, Robinson, T.M., Origuela, M.A., & Souza, M. F. (2015). The evaluation of human movement sciences for coordination for the improvement of higher education personnel. Revista CPAQV, 7 (3). 1-9. 6. Pasin, L., Silva, C. L. da, Robinson, T.M., Valdez, D., Clemens, C., Hendershot, V., Origuela, M.A., Ray, M., & Hamilton, K. (2015). Leisure and health: Undergraduate and graduate students expectations from Brazil and the United States of action in the health field. Revista CPAQV, 7 (3), 1-14. 7. Robinson, T.M. & Clemens, C. (2014). Service learning and forensics: A systematic literature review. The Forensic, 99 (2), 35-49. 8. Robinson, T.M. & Reese, W.B. (2012). Digitizing Forensics: Coaching the net generation. The Forensic, 97 (2), 3-13. 9. Robinson, T.M. & Goodson, P. (2010). Religious and Genomics/Genetics Beliefs: An exploratory study. American Journal of Bioethics Primary Research, 1 (2), 35-42. Book Chapters 1. Robinson, T.M. & Allen, S. (in press). Substantive discourse & pedagogy: Fostering conversations about race/ethnicity, sex/gender, and social class within forensics. Competition, Community, and Educational Growth: Contemporary Perspectives on Competitive Speech and Debate. 2. Iverson, J. Robinson, T.M., & Vennette, S. (in press). Constituting Ebola and healthcare organizations: Exploring risk communication from a structuration theory approach. Encyclopedia of Health and Risk Message Design and Processing. 3. Robinson, T.M., Clemens, C., Valdez, D., & Hendershot, V. (2015). Health communication. In D. West (Ed), Fundamentals of human communication (pp. 267-281). Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt Publishing.

Service-Learning and Forensics: A Systematic Literature Review

The Forensic of Pi Kappa Delta

Tomeka Robinson & Cody Clemens

Summer 2014 As an activity, we are seeing programs diminishing, budget cuts, and a host of other threats to our sustainability. These threats necessitate the need to legitimate forensic education to outside audiences. One of the ways that we can make better connections is through service-learning. Service-learning is a form of experiential education that offers students a structured and academically rigorous way to engage in community betterment. Numerous articles have assessed the role of service-learning within forensics. To date, however, there has not been an attempt to systematically review the state of current research concerning this relationship. Additionally, the quality of literature on this topic has not been evaluated. The purpose of this study is to fill this gap by systematically reviewing research concerning this relationship by examining and organizing findings from available studies. The specific research question guiding this review is: what are the benefits of service-learning identified within forensic scholarship?

view more

Digitizing Forensics: Coaching the Net Generation


Tomeka Robinson & Ben Rees

Summer 2012 The advent of social media has had a major impact on the way that individuals and particularly young people communicate. As the demographics of forensic teams have changed, the students bring their unique experience of having grown up with computers to a speech and debate circuit that has not yet fully adapted to the transition. Very little research has been done on how the power of social media can be channeled to improve the power and impact of forensic education. This paper seeks to make some recommendations on ways to incorporate new technology into forensic education.

view more

Religious and Genomics/Genetics Beliefs: An Exploratory Study

AJOB Primary Research

Tomeka Robinson & Patricia Goodson

June 2010 The purpose of this study is to provide structure and evidence-based insight into the impact of religious beliefs on public perceptions and U.S. government policies regarding embryonic stem cell research (ESCR).

view more