Dr. Nichola Gutgold

Professor, Communication Arts and Sciences
Lehigh Valley, 217-J

Women in politics have made huge gains in recent years – and Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences Nichola Gutgold, Ph.D., has been there to put all that progress into perspective.

A specialist on the rhetoric of women in traditionally male-dominated fields, the longtime PSU-LV faculty member is internationally recognized for the expertise she brings to her research, which has been featured in publications like The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, NPR, U.S. News and World Report and the Los Angeles Times.

Dr. Gutgold is the author of numerous books, including: “Still Paving the Way for Madam President (2017);  “Women in the Academy: Learning From Diverse Career Pathways” (2016); “The Rhetoric of Supreme Court Women: From Obstacles to Options” (2012); “Almost Madam President: Why Hillary Clinton ‘Won’ in 2008” (2009); “Seen and Heard: The Women of Television News” (2008); and “Paving the Way for Madam President” (2006). With Molly Wertheimer, she co-wrote “Elizabeth Hanford Dole: Speaking from the Heart” (2004), and with Ted Sheckels and Diana Carlin she co-authored “Gender and the American Presidency: Nine Presidential Women and the Barriers They Faced” (2012). She’s even written several children’s books.

At the moment, Dr. Gutgold is working on a book about First Lady Jill Biden’s use of rhetoric.

“I’m very passionate about this research, which I started more than 20 years ago,” Dr. Gutgold said. “As a first-generation college graduate, I always tried to identify role models, and in these trailblazing women I find role models and ways of expression that are brave and an inspiration. It’s a challenge to be the ‘first’ of anything, and many of my subjects are the ‘first’ to run for office or lead in a particular way.”


Dr. Gutgold formerly served as the associate dean of academic affairs for Penn State’s Schreyer Honors College at University Park, where she oversaw a complete assessment of the academic department, began a new university-wide digital contest for undergraduate research, co-founded an online journal for honors education, and improved support for thesis preparation.

During her tenure, Dr. Gutgold has had the opportunity to teach at universities in China and Germany, and has served as a visiting professor at California State University, Chico, and University of Zagreb, Croatia, where she interviewed President Kolinda Grabar- Kitarovic. In 2013, she gave a TEDxPSU talk on women and the American presidency, and she’s currently a Fulbright specialist.

Dr. Gutgold has received numerous awards for her teaching and research, including the 2018 Penn State Alumni Fellow Teaching Award, Lehigh Valley "Woman of Influence" award, 2016 Teaching Fellow Award from Penn State's University College, and an alumni achievement award for professional excellence from King's College. A few years back, she established PSU-LV’s “Heart of the Lion” Award after being inspired by a former student who showed great perseverance after suffering a stroke.

Awards are nice, but the relationships Dr. Gutgold cultivates with her students remain the best part of her job.

“Teaching is the most energizing, optimistic activity I could think of, and my students inspire me in every way,” she said. “Many of them pay their own way through college, hold jobs and have families.  I truly learn more from them than they learn from me. They are my heroes. And they are such nice people. I am in touch with students I taught more than 20 years ago. I’ve been to their weddings. I’ve seen them start families and become leaders in our community. It is awe-inspiring and a privilege.”

Out in the community, Dr. Gutgold serves as vice president of the board of directors of the Literacy Center and is the proud steward of a Little Free Library. She and her husband, Geoff, have two grown children, Ian and Emily Ann. In her spare time, she loves to travel, read, swim and spend time in her garden “growing and smelling the roses.”


Gutgold, Nichola D.  Electing Madam Vice President: When Women Run, Women Win, Lexington Books, 202, 200 pages.

Gutgold, Nichola D. Still Paving the Way for Madam President, Lexington Books, 2017, 220 pages.

Gutgold, Nichola D. and Angela Linse, editors. Women in the Academy: Learning From Our Diverse Career Pathways, Lexington Books, 2016, 175 pages.

Gutgold, Nichola D. The Rhetoric of Supreme Court Women: From Obstacles to Options, Lexington Books, 2012, 141 pages.  

Sheckels, Theodore F., Gutgold, Nichola D. and Diana B. Carlin. Gender and the U.S. Presidency:  Nine Presidential Women and the Barriers They Faced, Lexington Books, 2012, 210 pages.

Gutgold, Nichola D. Almost Madam President:  Why Hillary Clinton ‘Won’ in 2008. Lexington Books, 2009, 119 pages.

Gutgold, Nichola D. Seen and Heard: The Women of Television News. Lexington Books, 2008, 220 pages.

Gutgold, Nichola D.  Paving the Way for Madam President. Lexington Books, 2006, 187 pages.

Wertheimer, M. M. and Gutgold, N.D.  Elizabeth Hanford Dole: Speaking from the Heart.  Praeger Press, 2004, 286 pages.

Ph.D., speech communication, Penn State University

M.A., speech communication, Bloomsburg University

B.A., Communications, and B.A., English (double major), King’s College

Selected Invited Research and Speaking Presentations:

Hofstra University, Presidential Leadership Institute Keynote Speaker, Getting Closer to Electing Madam President, October 11, 2021

Edward Bernays PR University, Zagreb, Croatia, Master Class in Public Speaking, October 2019

WLVT-TV, Election Night, 2018 communication commentator

 Penn State City Lights, Faculty speaker, Decatur House, Washington, D.C., April 21, 2016

Women in the Academy, Keynote speaker, Baylor University, April 9, 2016

Women, Gender and Politics, Panel, Queens College, March 21, 2016