John Gastil

John Gastil
Professor and Head of the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University


John Gastil is Professor of Communication and Head of the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences at the Pennsylvania State University. He specializes in political deliberation and group decision making and his main research projects show the range—and intersections—of those interests. His work on the Citizens’ Initiative Review has helped evaluate an exciting new form of public deliberation that should improve initiative elections. The Jury and Democracy Project has investigated, and hopefully helped vindicate, the jury system as a valuable civic educational institution. He has assisted with the Cultural Cognition Project in demonstrating the ways in which our deeper values bias how we learn about issues and form opinions. His ideas have been shared in two books: Political Communication and Deliberation uses the idea of public deliberation as a way to organize the wider study of political communication, and The Group in Society presents an Embedded System Framework for integrating research on group communication and behavior.



B.A. (1989), Swarthmore College. M.A., (1991) University of Wisconsin, Madison. Ph.D., (1994) University of Wisconsin, Madison.


Areas of expertise: 

Relevant citations: 

Gastil, J. (2016). Building a Democracy Machine: Toward an Integrated and Empowered Form of Civic Engagement

Gastil, J. (2014). Democracy in Small Groups: Participation, Decision Making, and Communication.