Dr. Billy Earnest is currently working on the 4th edition of "Save Our Slides: PowerPoint Design That Works," which has been used at more than 50 universities nationwide. In 2015, he and three colleagues co-authored the second edition of Lying and Deception in Human Interaction, a book for which Billy also created the Instructor Resources. Ongoing research projects include "The Reluctant Agnostic" and "Rhetorics of Entropy."

Prior to embarking on his graduate career, he worked as a business analyst, technical writer, and account trainer for Electronic Data Systems (EDS) in Atlanta, from 1990 to 1995. While completing graduate studies at the University of Texas at Austin, he lectured in Business Communication at UT's McCombs School, from 2003 to 2005. He joined the St. Edward's faculty in 2005 and regularly teaches a diverse set of classes, including Media & Professional Presentations, Rhetoric & Religion, Lying & Deception, and Intercultural Communication. In 2007 Kendall Hunt published his guide to presentation design, "Save Our Slides: PowerPoint Design That Works," a fourth edition of which is now under contract. In 2015 he co-authored the second edition of Lying and Deception in Human Interaction and created the Instructor Resources for the book (also with Kendall Hunt). 

At its heart, teaching is about finding new ways to connect ideas — ways that students perhaps hadn't considered before. Sometimes that means doing it in ways that even I as a teacher hadn't thought about, which is why I have always remembered the Latin proverb: "One learns by teaching."

Academic Appointments

Assistant Professor of Communication

Year Started


  • Ph.D. in Communication Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, 2003
  • M.A. in Communication at the University of Texas at Austin, 1998
  • B.B.A. in Marketing at Midwestern State University, 1989

Achievement & Involvement

Honors and Awards

St. Edward's Residence Life Partner Award (2012)


Community Service

  • Board President, Brooksive Villas HOA, 2013 - Present
  • Volunteer, Austin German Shepherd Dog Rescue

Organizations, Boards and Memberships

Faculty Co-Chair, TLTR (St. Edward's), 2014-15


Central States Communication Association, Madison, WI, April 2015



Primarily interested in understanding how traditional communication works in the modern age. For example, slide-based presentations are nearly ubiquitous, yet little research has been done to understand how this massive shift has affected the act of communication. As a praxis-oriented discipline, Comm Studies needs to help establish what counts -- and what doesn't -- as good communication in the 21st century. 

Publications & Articles


Knapp, M., McGlone, M., Griffin, D. & Earnest, W. (2015). Lying and Deception in Human Interaction, 2nd Ed. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt.

Earnest, W. (2013). Save Our Slides: PowerPoint Design That Works, 3rd Ed. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt.

Earnest, W. (2009). Make slides that sizzle. In N. Baum and G. Henkel, Marketing Your Clinical Practices: Ethically, Effectively, Economically (4th ed.), (pp. 277-288). Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett.

Earnest, W. (2008). Making gay sense of the X-Men. In B. Brummett (Ed.), Uncovering hidden rhetorics: Social issues in disguise (pp. 215-232). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Earnest, W. (2008). The press conference assignment: Getting started. In St. Edward’s University, COMM 1317 Workbook. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt.

Sawyer, J. K. & Earnest, W. (2008). Demographics transcended: How diverse GOTV campaigns employ similar rhetorical strategies. Pennsylvania Communication Annual, 1. 49-75.



  • "Teaching an Undergraduate Course in Lying & Deception." Short course presented at National Communication Association convention, Las Vegas, Nevada, November 19, 2015. With Matt McGlone and Darrin Griffin.
  • "Ex-Girls: Rhetorics of Entropy and Misogyny in X-Men: The Last Stand." Presented at Central States Communication Association convention, Madison, Wisconsin, April 16, 2015

Department Group

School Group

School of Arts and Humanities