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Latest News from Communication Arts & Sciences

Smith, MacGeorge and colleagues awarded PSU Pathway to Partnerships funding for novel research!

Communication Arts and Sciences’ Rachel Smith and Erina MacGeorge, along with colleagues at Hershey Medical School and PA's Department of Health were awarded first stage funding through the PSU Pathway to Partnerships (P3) program. This funding will support their new research in the pediatric care context, focused on parent acceptance of “watchful waiting” (versus immediate antibiotic use) for children's ear infections, and childcare staffs' vaccination behavior. P3 funding runs in three stages: $5000 to develop a collaborative team, $75,000 to generate preliminary data, and then $300,000 for large proposal planning. The P3 funds will support and strengthen this innovative work on antibiotic stewardship and vaccine preventable childhood illness, helping to improve health in Pennsylvania and preparing the team to apply for R01 grants through the NICHD.

PSU Speech and Debate Society defeats Pitt, shines in tournaments

The Penn State Speech and Debate Society has enjoyed great success of late, defeating the University of Pittsburgh in the Centennial Debate—an event marking the 100th anniversary of the first debate between the two universities.

They also recently competed in the Lafayette Debates tournament in Washington D.C., and the Madison Cup in Harrisonburg, VA. They made it all the way to the Sweet 16 of the Lafayette Debates tournament before losing to the top seed, and took ninth place at the Madison Cup.

We applaud the Speech and Debate Society for continuing the tradition of debate competition at Penn State!

You can read more about their victory in the Centennial Debate over Pitt here:

You can read more about their efforts at the Lafayette Debates tournament and the Madison Cup here:

CAS Coauthors Kennerly and Geraths publish article for National Communication Assoc.

Our very own Michele Kennerly and Cory Geraths have just published an article "Pinvention: Updating the Commonplace Book for the Digital Age" in Communication Teacher, a quarterly publication from the National Communication Association. We congratulate them on this achievement and their fine work!

You can read more from Michele and Cory's article here on the National Communication Association's website!


Historically, commonplace books served as tools for rhetorical inspiration, invention, and collaboration. Full of assorted notes, scrapbooked images, and countless other artifacts, such volumes allowed rhetors to assimilate social knowledge, assemble arguments, and achieve copiousness in the service of their own rhetorical situations. We advocate a return to and re-vision of the commonplace book. The social networking platform Pinterest can function as a digital space for displaying the results of invention, and we detail how—by creating various boards and “pinning” different newspaper articles, images, videos, and other artifacts—students can construct digital commonplace books that are collaborative and generative.

CAS major Briana Adams strives to bring awareness to injustice

CAS major and Schreyer Scholar Briana Adams is lauded in a Penn State News article today for her passion and activism. We are proud to call her one of our own! You can read the full article here:

New staff member Jason Traverse has long CAS history

Jason Traverse joined the staff supporting CAS, along with Philosophy, Applied Linguistics, and related centers/institutes.

What some may not have known was Jason's history as both a CAS major and a winner of the CAS/NYT public speaking contest. Thanks to the archives, we have unearthed that winning speech, and if you want to curse the high cost of bad drivers to society, or if you just want to see Jason shine, watch the full video here:

Mark Kohler unearthed this and shared it with Jason, who says that this contest "was the event that actually made me switch majors and become a CAS major instead. So, this is the very thing that began my CAS journey almost a decade ago, which has lead me to where I am now."

Dr. Mike Hogan to become Sparks Professor in Fall 2015

Starting in Fall 2015, Dr. Mike Hogan will be an Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Rhetoric in the College of the Liberal Arts. The Sparks and other named professorships in the College recognize full professors who are leaders in their fields and have an exceptional record of publication, grants, awards, and citations. Among Dr. Hogan's many achievements are securing a National Endowment for Humanities Challenge Grant for the Center for Democratic Deliberation. That grant alone helped establish an endowment for that center that will sustain it into the future.

For more on named professorships in the College, see

CAS Prof. Kirt Wilson anchors centennial issue of Quarterly Journal of Speech

Kirt Wilson reflects on the origins of the communication discipline in a new article released online yesterday. Here is the full article abstract: "Using the first five years of the Quarterly Journal of Speech as a record of Communication Studies' founding, I contend that the discipline began with a tension between contrasting sets of affect and reasoning. In the initial volumes of QJS , one reads many recommendations designed to establish the discipline's academic sovereignty and self-determination, but, at the same time, other essays suggest a commitment to cross-disciplinary inquiry and citizenship. I interpret this tension through contemporary theories of nationalism and cosmopolitanism. These concepts highlight the implications of competing visions for the discipline's future, but they also reveal how cosmopolitan and nationalist processes complemented one another in the early years of “Speech.” I argue, finally, that this tension provides opportunities for Communication Studies in the twenty-first century."

The full article is available online at .

Citation: Kirt H. Wilson, “The National and Cosmopolitan Dimensions of Disciplinarity: Reconsidering the Origins of Communication Studies,” Quarterly Journal of Speech Vol. 101:1 (2015), pp. 244-257.

CAS PhD student Craig Rood receives PSU Alumni Association Dissertation Award

CAS PhD student Craig Rood has received a prestigious university-wide award for his doctoral dissertation research. Rood's doctoral thesis, Deliberating in the Aftermath of Mass Shootings, examines ascriptions of blame in the aftermath of mass shootings—blame of U.S. culture, of mental illness, and of guns—to understand why some disagreements persist across time. He is writing this dissertation under the direction of CAS associate professor Rosa Eberly, who has done extensive work on public memory.

The PSU Alumni Assn. award is among the most prestigious available to Penn State graduate students and recognizes outstanding achievement in scholarship and professional accomplishment. There are typically two per broad research area, and Craig's came in the Fine Arts and Humanities division. For more information, visit

Summer program in Morocco offers lessons on Islamic culture

Penn State students of all majors interested in learning about Islamic culture in Morocco can apply for a two-week program offered in summer 2015 by the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences in the College of the Liberal Arts. While immersed in Moroccan culture, participants will study Penn State curriculum and earn three Penn State credits. The application deadline for CAS 199/CAS 499 - Foreign Studies: Morocco, Islam and Intercultural Dialogue is Feb. 1.

A country of dramatically contrasting cultures and landscapes, in the Middle East and North Africa region, Morocco is ethnically diverse and offers Roman ruins, ancient cities, elegant Islamic monuments, white sand beaches, the Sahara and the High Atlas mountains.

In collaboration with University Hassan II Casablanca, this three-credit summer program will offer 10 to 12 participants opportunities for formal university lectures, supervised intercultural discussions with Moroccans and structured field trips to the cities of Casablanca, Marrakech and Tangier, from July 15 through 31.

Soumia Bardhan, academic director and a member of the communication arts and sciences faculty, said, “In our post-9/11 world, Islamophobia, or prejudice against Muslims or ethnic groups perceived to be Muslim, poses a dire threat to intercultural understanding between Islamic cultures and Western societies. One of the ways to combat Islamophobia is through academic and cultural immersion programs in Islamic countries where U.S. students can experience local cultures first-hand and partake in intercultural dialogues.”

The program will provide an authentic, first-hand understanding of Islam and Islamic culture in contemporary Morocco (art, architecture, dress, etiquette, cuisine, language, values/worldviews, etc.) as influenced and shaped by the country’s Berber, Jewish and Arabic cultural heritage; French and Spanish traditions; and contemporary Anglo-American lifestyles. Participants will become acquainted with the historical, socio-religious and socio-political issues that have shaped the Islamic world and Morocco.

Students also work with a framework for understanding the complex relationship between Islam and western societies, and numerous formal and informal opportunities to actively engage in intercultural discussions with Moroccans, to promote understanding of and effective communication with Islam and Islamic cultures. Hands-on fun activities (camel rides, henna sessions, etc.) are included too.

The Kingdom of Morocco has been a sought-after destination for U.S. citizens, maintains positive relations with the U.S. and has been an exception to the current political unrest in the Middle East and North Africa region, thus making it the perfect location for U.S. college students to interact with an Islamic culture.

The estimated program fee is $6,500, including Penn State tuition, international airfare, local ground transport, field trips, hotel, meals, gratuity and all local activities. But interested students can explore several financial aid options in consultation with their academic advisers, including the Global Programs scholarships-Africa and Latin America Grant-in-Aid, Diversity Grant-in-Aid, Grant-in-Aid, Whole World Scholarship and alumni-supported funds. Various deadlines may apply to each program.

For more information about this program and the application process, visit Penn State Study Abroad 2015, Morocco, or contact Bardhan at or 814-863-0100.

Two new CAS grads land tenure-track jobs

Two CAS PhDs recently accepted tenure-track jobs. Sarah Kornfield will leave her visiting position at Wheaton College to become an assistant professor at Hope College.

Lindsey Aloia will be joining the faculty at the University of Arkansas Department of Communication Studies as an assistant professor. She'll be leaving her visiting position at Rollins College and heading there this fall.

CAS grad student Craig Rood publishes new article on understanding and listening

Craig's new article appears in Rhetoric Society Quarterly.

Abstract: Under headings that include rhetoric of assent, critical understanding, pluralism, rhetorology, and listening-rhetoric, Wayne Booth’s scholarly work for over thirty-five years hinged on a simple question: “How can I get each side to understand the other?” Booth’s imbroglio with Kenneth Burke demonstrates that “understanding”—Booth’s key concept—is not confined, as Booth had suggested, to respecting opposing views, searching for common ground, and finding reasons that warrant shared assent. Understanding is also enabled and obstructed by a number of factors, including six I examine: form, process, emotion, differences, power, and additional rhetorical/material constraints. Analyzing Booth and Burke’s published exchange in Critical Inquiry (1974), along with their correspondence from 1972 to 1983, reveals how their disagreement evolved; how their prolonged dispute highlights limitations in Booth’s theory; and how Booth’s engagement with Burke, along with Booth’s subsequent reflections on their exchange, extends Booth’s project to offer a more rhetorically robust theory of understanding.

The journal issue can be found at:

A PDF of the article is available at:

Dr. Lijiang ("LJ") Shen to join the CAS Faculty in 2015!

The Department is delighted to announce that Dr. Lijiang (“LJ”) Shen will be joining the faculty as Associate Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences in the fall of 2015.  Dr. Shen is currently on the faculty at the University of Georgia, where he also serves as Graduate Coordinator and Associate Head. Dr. Shen has amassed an impressive record of peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, he is co-editor of the Handbook of Persuasion, and his research has been supported by federal grants and recognized by awards conferred by the National and International Communication Associations. Through his ground-breaking research on the psychological and emotional mechanisms underlying responses to persuasive messages, his examination of health topics such as anti-smoking campaigns, and his expertise in advanced quantitative research methods and statistics, Dr. Shen contributes to the department’s strengths in the study of social influence, health, and quantitative methods. Welcome LJ!

CDD Receives NCA Advancing the Disciplines Grant

The Center for Democratic Deliberation (CDD) at Penn State has been awarded a $5,000 Advancing the Discipline Grant from the National Communication Association (NCA). The grant will be used to fund travel scholarships for students attending the CDD’s Speech & Debate as Civic Education Conference, scheduled for March 5-7, 2015 on Penn State’s University Park campus. For more information about the conference, visit our website at For more information or to support the CDD, visit

About the National Communication Association

The National Communication Association (NCA) advances communication as the discipline that studies all forms, modes, media and consequences of communication through humanistic, social scientific and aesthetic inquiry.  The NCA serves approximately 8,000 scholars, teachers, and practitioners who are its members by enabling and supporting their professional interests in research and teaching. Dedicated to fostering and promoting free and ethical communication, the NCA promotes the widespread appreciation of the importance of communication in public and private life, the application of competent communication to improve the quality of human life and relationships, and the use of knowledge about communication to solve human problems.

For more information, visit Follow them on Twitter at and on Facebook at

Penn State offers new four-week study abroad program in 2015

Penn State offers new four-week study abroad program in 2015

Courtesy of Ines Myer-Hoess

By Nathan Larkin | For the Collegian

A four-week summer study abroad program in Austria is being offered for the first time by Penn State’s Department of Communication Arts and Sciences in 2015.  The program, “Austria in Action,” will take between 10 and 15 students to the University of Vienna from July 15 through Aug. 15. Students will earn six Penn State credits through CAS 271: Intercultural Communication and CAS 199/499: Foreign Studies: Communication in the Europe Union; Politics, Policies, and Practices.

Ines Meyer-Hoess, the lead faculty member of the program a lecturer in Communication Arts and Sciences, said “Austria in Action” is innovative and unique compared to other study abroad programs, because it allows students to become immersed in Austrian culture while studying Penn State curriculum.

Read the Full Story Here

Penn State In India: Exciting and Affordable Summer Embedded Program

CAS 297 INDIA: PEOPLE AND CULTURE (June 17-30, 2015)

Master cross-cultural communication skills and globalize your worldview, while earning additional credits.

Visit: 3 cities--Taj Mahal, Agra; New Delhi, political capital and Kolkata, intellectual and cultural hub

Students must enroll in CAS 271 INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION (Sec 001; Spring 2015) or CAS 471 INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION THEORY AND RESEARCH (Spring 2015) to register for this optional, embedded 2-week, 3-credit travel program in India, CAS 297 INDIA: PEOPLE AND CULTURE (June 17-30, 2015).

Program Fee: $390 for first 10 registrants. Enroll by Dec. 10, 2014.

Info Sessions in November 2014:

Nov. 6 (Thursday), Nov. 12 (Wednesday), Nov.13 (Thursday), Nov. 17 (Monday)

6:00-8:00 PM


This course provides numerous formal and informal opportunities for participants to engage in dialogue with Indians from a variety of backgrounds.

Course objectives:

To develop intercultural sensitivity and understanding To expand cross-cultural communication and problem-solving skills To broaden academic horizons and globalize worldview To successfully navigate interpersonal relationships in an increasingly diverse world To benefit from better communication in an increasingly diverse and international workplace

Questions? Contact academic director Dr. Soumia Bardhan,; 814-863-0100

CAS professor wins award for article on health messages

CAS professor Jim Dillard won an award for Most Distinguished Article in the Health Communication Division of the National Communication Association. The award recognizes the long-term impact of Dillard's 2005 article, “On the Nature of Reactance and its Role in Persuasive Health Communication.” That article is the fourth most-cited article in the history of the journal Communication Monographs, in which it appeared.

The full citation is: Dillard, J.P., & Shen, L. (2005). On the nature of reactance and its’ role in persuasion. Communication Monographs, 72, 144-168.

It can be found online at

CAS student Craig Rood publishes new article on rhetorical civility

CAS doctoral candidate Craig Rood authored the lead article in the latest issue of Pedagogy. Craig writes in the abstract that he theorizes "four civility moves—opening up, searching for sameness, examining differences, and listening deeply. Although I ultimately offer these as rhetorical strategies to be taught and practiced explicitly, I use them here as a framework for interpreting student writing that emerged from an assignment to produce a collaborative anthology of arguments."

The journal issue can be found at

A PDF of the article is available at

The full citation is Craig Rood, “‘Moves’ Toward Rhetorical Civility.” Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition, and Culture 14.3 (2014): 393-413.

Brown Medal Honoree to Share Innovative Way to Engage Citizens in Government Budgeting

Josh Lerner, Co-founder and Executive Director of the Participatory Budgeting Project, will accept the inaugural Brown Democracy Medal on behalf of the Project at a public ceremony starting at 4:00 p.m., Friday, Oct. 24, 2014 at the Nittany Lion Inn, Ballroom A. Following the presentation, he will discuss how the Participatory Budgeting Project “offers a fundamentally different way to engage with government, and meaningfully engages people in the budget decisions that affect them.”

“Political and economic inequality is part of the American national discussion, and participatory budgeting helps empower marginalized groups that don’t normally take part in a process that is so critical for democratic life,” John Gastil, director of the McCourtney Institute for Democracy, noted. “The Participatory Budgeting Project exemplifies the essential features the award committee was looking for in its inaugural recipient.”

Please visit the Penn State News page for the complete story.

Center for Democratic Deliberation Continues Leadership in Teaching, Scholarship

As the fall midterm elections approach our nation, Penn State’s Center for Democratic Deliberation (CDD) continues to develop new knowledge and training in rhetoric, debate and deliberation for students, educators and citizens through its initiatives in research, teaching and outreach.

Since its founding in 2006, the CDD has had a significant impact on undergraduate and graduate education at Penn State, launching innovative changes in the University’s speaking and writing courses. For example, Rhetoric and Civic Life, a course for honors students and aspiring Paterno Fellows, offers comprehensive training in speaking, writing, visual and digital communications skills.

“As Penn State undergoes a revision of its General Education curriculum, the CDD serves as an important resource for developing new approaches to courses that teach citizenship skills,” said J. Michael Hogan, CDD director and Liberal Arts Research Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences...

Please visit the Penn State News page for the complete story.

CAS colleague Nicola Gutgold to speak at PSU alumni huddle on the prospect of the first female president

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Huddle with the Faculty every home football Saturday morning and get food for thought before heading off to the game. Admission is free and open to the public. Free parking is available in the Nittany Parking Deck. Free breakfast refreshments begin at 8:30 a.m.; the presentation begins at 9 a.m. in The Nittany Lion Inn.

On Saturday, Sept. 20, Nichola D. Gutgold, ’99g, associate dean for academics at Schreyer Honors College, and professor of communications arts and sciences, will present “Madam President: When Will America Be Ready?”

As speculation about the prospects for a woman president increase, it’s critical to know the stories of those who have ventured on that journey. From Margaret Chase Smith to Hillary Clinton and beyond, the question is asked: When will America elect a woman president?

For more information, visit or call 800-548-LION (5466) and press 0. Huddle with the Faculty is presented by the Penn State Alumni Association and sponsored by The Village at Penn State with support from The Nittany Lion Inn and Penn State Press.

(Text of story taken directly from Penn State News)

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