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Erinn Whitaker, a former senior analyst for the US Intelligence Community, is a Professor of the Practice in the Curriculum of Peace, War and Defense (PWAD) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. With nearly 15 years of experience overseas and in Washington, she draws on active teaching methods to underscore themes such as the dynamic between senior policymakers and intelligence officers, how the intelligence community has evolved, and the importance of analytic tradecraft. Whitaker teaches courses such as “Writing and Briefing for Intelligence,” “Cases in Counterintelligence,” and “The Origins and Consequences of September 11th” to help students interested in careers ranging from intelligence to public policy to journalism strengthen their critical thinking, written and oral communication skills.


Before joining the PWAD faculty, Whitaker was a senior researcher at UNC’s Hussman School of Media and Journalism and taught courses on intelligence at UNC and Duke University. She focused on how US “news deserts” erode key democratic institutions, leading a team to produce a nationally-recognized report “The Expanding News Desert,” which identified communities down to the county level suffering from the loss of local news and assessed the implications for the news profession and the country.


Whitaker also served as a government-sponsored Fellow at the Center for Slavic, Eurasian and East European Studies at UNC Chapel Hill. In this position, Whitaker produced a book-length report for the US Government on how academic theories on negotiating style could be applied to world leaders, developing a quantitative tool and introducing it to the US Intelligence Community.

Whitaker earned a BA from Middlebury College, where she spent a year studying Russia in Siberia, and a MA from Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service. She speaks German and Russian. She serves as the faculty advisor to the student-run club Women in National Security and lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina with her husband and two daughters.


Erinn Whitaker can be reached at


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