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Marlin C Bates, IV

Associate Professor of Communication


Phone: 209.946.3049


PhD, Rhetoric and Public Address / Mass Communication, The Pennsylvania State University, 2005

MA, Communication, University of the Pacific, 1999

BA, Communication, University of the Pacific, 1996

BA, History, University of the Pacific, 1996

Curriculum Vitae 

Teaching Philosophy

What is it to be a teacher?  For me, it means being able to focus on three key areas: scholarship, citizenship, and partnership.  As a forensics coach and a teacher, I have the unique opportunity to help students reach their goals in these three areas in two arenas of knowledge.  As will be seen, I focus on those aspects while in the classroom.  Additionally, coaching forensics allows me to reach the student on an even deeper level.  In terms of scholarship, I can help the student speaker see the value of well-supported thoughts and clear expression of ideas.  This enables me to help the student become a more active participant in the world around them and, therefore, become a scholar-citizen.  Finally, the combination of these two items with the camaraderie that arises from a well-coached forensics squad enables to student to see the value of teamwork as never before.

In academia today, we are granted the ability to give our students some sort of knowledge.  With that ability comes the responsibility to also give them a way to use and express that knowledge.  In the classroom, I work to align the material in terms of how it will impact their lives immediately.  I see my teaching as a partnership with the students so that they are able to learn in the method they do best.  Some students learn better by hearing the information directly.  For these students, I present the information in a lecture form.  Some students learn best by doing.  For these students, I try to arrange episodes where the information can be acquired through a hands-on activity.  In forensics, Parliamentary debate and individual events speaking allows a student to move beyond the knowledge acquisition mode and into knowledge understanding.  The student does this by taking complex subjects such as current events, science and technology, and politics and transforming those subjects into a format that is easily understood by an audience.  In other words, my job as coach is to assist them in understanding how to use the information they have learned in their classes.  Also, they learn to use it in a manner that is not esoteric or academically sterile, but in a method which engenders understanding across all levels.

It is this ability to spread understanding in themselves and to others that leads to the next area of teaching and coaching, citizenship.  Too often, we send our students out into the world to do specific tasks, but not to engage themselves in the world beyond career or family.  By enabling understanding through teaching and by coaching debate, I am helping them acquire the keys to the world around them.  They are able to be true members of their communities, if not leaders.  Parliamentary debate teaches the students how to see both sides of an issue and either a) present their side in a way to persuade the other side or b) maintain their stance in a logical and reasoned manner.  Through individual events they are clear in how to explain a myriad of subjects to a variety of audiences.  My job is to help them learn how to do so.

Finally, my job as a teacher and coach is to allow the students to experience the benefits of being part of a team.  It is more than teamwork, however.  Forensics offers a unique opportunity that other facets of academics does not: being a close part of a group.  Forensics offers the student a way to see the inside of a group.  As I stated before, my teaching involves group learning so that student peers can assist in each other’s learning.  Additionally, forensics teaches students how to work together when there is no alternative.  They can not ignore that member that annoys them, they can not ask to join another group.  Moreover, the individual’s success depends on the team’s success.  Like a sports team, the coach of a forensics team is sometimes parent, sometimes overlord, and sometimes teacher.  However, unlike a sports team, the coach of a forensics team is focused on how each individual can succeed and, if successful in that, the team will be rewarded in kind.

The past few paragraphs have outlined what I see a college teacher and forensics coach doing.  In addition to that, however, there is a little part of me that does this because it is fun.  Teaching allows me to make one small part of my student’s lives more interesting.  I can make learning seem like work to my students or I can do my job as it should be done and allow them to want to learn about speaking and communication.  Also, forensics is work and it is educational, but it is one of the few academic pursuits which students recall above all else.  A student may remember a sports coach or a professor; they may even recall a favorite sport, but above all else a student will recall when they were able to win a tournament or just when they went to a particular round of competition.  They will tell the story of that win, or experience, to friends and to parents and to co-workers and to colleagues for years to come.  My job is to give them the opportunity to experience that story first hand.

Scholarly Interests

I focus on the rhetoric found in what I term the "ur-real" world of online identity.  Specifically, I look at how people interact and create identities with the world of the MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games) such as World of Warcraft, Ultima Online, EverQuest and many others.


Comm 25, Introduction to Communication
Comm 27, Public Speaking (summer only)
Comm 89, Speech and Debate Practicum
Comm 114, Argumentation & Advocacy
Comm 116, Rhetorical Theory & Practice
Comm 271, Graduate Seminar: Rhetorical Thought


Distinguished Leader Award, National Parliamentary Debate Association, 2014

Quintillian Award, Pt. Loma Nazarene University, 2014

Distinguished Service Award, Northern California Forensics Association, 2012

Faculty Mentor Award, Pacific Alumni Association, University of the Pacific, 2010

Director of the Year, Northern California Forensics Association, 2007