Latest News from Communication Arts & Sciences
CAS doctoral student Bryan Blankfield received a $750 grant from the Roosevelt Institute to continue research at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library in Hyde Park, New York. The grant will allow Bryan to complete his dissertation, which examines FDR's rhetorical use of his Scottish terrier, Fala, and the American public's response. It's yet more proof that Nixon wasn't the first President to use a dog for rhetorical purposes.
For more information on the FDR library, visit it online.
CAS professor Parrott finds that math anxiety shapes how we process messages about genetically modified foods
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- People who feel intimidated by math may be less able to understand messages about genetically modified foods and other health-related information, according to researchers.
"Math anxiety, which happens when people are worried or are concerned about using math or statistics, leads to less effort and decreases the ability to do math," said Roxanne Parrott, Distinguished Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences and Health Policy and Administration. "Math anxiety also has been found to impair working memory."
The researchers found that math anxiety led to a decrease in comprehension for people who read statistics in a message about genetically modified foods, while an increase in skills in math and a confidence in those skills led to better comprehension.
For the full PSU News Article Click Here
For the full Scholarly Article Click Here
The Center for Democratic Deliberation fellows will present their research at the Communication Arts and Sciences Colloquium on Friday, February 28 at 3:35 p.m. in 158 Willard, University Park Campus. This event is free and open to the public.
The colloquium will feature the following presentations:
“RE: Invention--Transforming the First Canon for the Age of Peer Production"
Kristopher M. Lotier, CDD Fellow
“Rhetoric & Nomisa”
Billy Saas, CDD Fellow
“‘To Willie with Compliments’: Disclosing and Concealing World War I in Battle of the Somme”
John Minbiole, Rock Ethics Fellow
“‘I Welcome This Debate’: Secrecy, Disclosure, and Metadeliberation in the Edward Snowden Saga”
Mike Bergmaier, CDD Fellow
The Democracy Institute works in partnership with the Center for Democratic Deliberation and the Center for American Political Responsiveness to advance our understanding of democracy in the U.S. and abroad.
For the full details, see the story on Penn State Live:
Full-time lecturers will teach undergraduate courses in Communication Arts & Sciences. A MA degree in a related field is required. Candidates with Ph.D. degrees in the discipline may also be assigned to teach upper level undergraduate courses, but our principal need is for teaching public speaking. The start date for these positions is August 2014. These are one year, non-tenure track appointments with the possibility of reappointment. Full-time lecturers normally teach three courses per semester, but those capable of teaching four sections per semester may be invited to do so at a proportionately higher salary. Applications received by March 1 will be assured of consideration; however, all applications will be considered until the position is filled. To be considered for this position, applications must be submitted electronically at www.la.psu.edu/facultysearch (job # 41858). Include (1) a formal letter of application detailing relevant qualifications for this job, (2) a curriculum vitae with three references listed, (3) and evidence of teaching effectiveness. We encourage applications from individuals of diverse backgrounds. Employment will require successful completion of background check(s) in accordance with University policies.
Gene White taught in our department for decades, and he retired in 1986. Several of his colleagues and former students contributed chapters to a volume in his honor, American Rhetoric: Context and Criticism. More details are provided in the obituary that appeared in the February 13, 2014 edition of the Centre Daily Times.
Read more here: CDT Obituary
Eugene Edmond White Eugene Edmond White, Ph.D., 94, passed away on February 6, 2014, in Ocala, Fla. Author of more than 40 professional articles and books on Puritan rhetoric and the history and criticism of American public address.
Merrill's complete CV is available online at her UCSB webpage. <http://www.comm.ucsb.edu/sites/www.comm.ucsb.edu/files/sitefiles/documents/gradCVs/CV_Merrill.pdf>
An example of a recent article of hers is this 2012 study of topic avoidance:
Merrill, A. F. & Afifi, T. D. (2012) Examining the Bi-Directional Nature of Topic Avoidance and Relationship Dissatisfaction: The Moderating Role of Communication Skills. Communication Monographs, 79 , 499-521.
Professor Hawhee's most recent book, about Kenneth Burke's interwoven theories of bodies and language, won the Diamond Anniversary Book Award from the National Communication Association in 2010. She was an IAH Resident Scholar during 2011-12. For full details on this and other new NEH fellowships won by Penn State faculty, see http://news.psu.edu/story/299485/2014/01/07/research/liberal-arts-faculty-awarded-neh-fellowships.
Click here to read the full obituary in the Centre Daily Times.
Rosa Eberly is co-author of the first review essay on Sound Studies in
interdisciplinary rhetorical studies, "Auscultating Again: Rhetoric and Sound
Studies," in the current Rhetoric Society Quarterly. Along with Joshua Gunn,
Greg Goodale, and Mirko M. Hall, Eberly collaboratively composed the article
based on work by her co-authors and discussions at a 2013 workshop at The
Rhetoric Society of America Institute. The institute was organized and hosted
by PSU Alumnus David Tell, Associate Professor of Communication at The
University of Kansas and Eberly's doctoral advisee.
Rosa Eberly, Associate Professor, and Brad Serber, PhD Candidate, published an
article titled "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of..." in the most recent issue
of the Journal of General Education. The article focuses on rhetoric courses
about school shootings taught at Penn State by Eberly and Serber and at The
University of Texas at Austin by Eberly. Both courses investigate causal
connections rhetoric and violence and encourage students to deliberate together
connections between the quality of our rhetorics and the quality of our shared
Alt had worked with multiple faculty to develop a paper titled, "Examining Kairos: The Significance of Relativism in Democratic Deliberation." She is now a graduate student in communication at the University of Maryland.
Kirt Wilson joined several scholars of history and constitutional law to discuss the Gettysburg Address at Vanderbilt University's First Amendment Center on Nov. 19th. Video of the talk can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-MG5h9HNDg
CAS professor and Center for Democratic Deliberation (CDD) director J. Michael Hogan is the lead author of this year’s winner of the Textbook of Distinction Award from the National Communication Association. The award-winning book, Public Speaking and Civic Engagement (3rd ed.) is co-authored by Patricia Hayes Andrews and James R. Andrews of Indiana University and Glen Williams of Southeast Missouri State University. The book reflects the ethical and deliberative emphases of the CDD’s civic education programs, treating effective public speaking as an integral part of engaged citizenship in a democracy.
PSU professor Zoltan Jerry Zolten shows how Paramount label gave African American performers a national reach
Read the full article online at PSU News.
Symposium on deliberative innovation edited by CAS professor John Gastil and doctoral student Robert Richards
The symposiums essays include an introduction written by Gastil and Richards, then a series of five essays by graduate students who participated in a summer honors seminar Gastil taught at Wayne State University in 2012. The symposium essays are listed and linked below:
New Ideas on Public Deliberation from Young Scholars. Introduction: Innovations in Deliberative Electoral Designs John Gastil and Robert C. Richards Jr
Teaching, Practicing, and Performing Deliberative Democracy in the Classroom Hayley J. Cole
Plebiscite Deliberations: Self-Determination & Deliberative Democracy in Guam Tiara R. Na'puti and Allison H. Hahn
Deliberative Television: Encouraging Substantive, Citizen-Driven News Ashley Muddiman and Matthew R. Meier
The People’s Lobby: A Model for Online Activist Deliberation Jeffrey C. Swift
Local Art, Local Action: A Proposal for Deliberating on and about Main Street Anna M. Wiederhold
The first paper is an experimental test of Smith's model of stigma communication (MSC). The MSC explains why presenting particular combinations of content in health alerts creates stigmas, encourages people to spread stigmas to others, and induces support for regulating infected peoples' lives, including removing and isolating infected persons, forcing treatment, and generating a publicly accessible map of infected persons. In this experiment, Dr. Smith brings an interpersonal perspective to what is often cast as an intergroup phenomenon. The results show support for the MSC. Predicted content, message reactions (emotional and cognitive), and disgust sensitivity accounted for participants' intentions to regulate the infected acquaintance's interactions and lifestyle ( R 2 = .79) and their likelihood of telling others about the acquaintance's infection ( R 2 = .35). This study shows MSC's theoretical potential and practical utility for interpersonal aspects of stigmatization.
The second paper is co-authored with David Hughes, assistant professor of entomology and biology. The essay addresses the question: are there good stigmas? Put differently, is there some useful function stigmas serve in the context of our evolutionary history; is stigma adaptive? The authors discuss stigma as a group-selection strategy and the human context in which stigmas likely appeared. They also explore how human patterns have changed in modern society and the consequences for infectious disease (ID) stigmas in the modern age. Finally they argue that while social-living species may be particularly apt to create and communicate ID stigmas and enact ID-related stigmatization, such stigma-related processes no longer function to protect human communities. Stigmas do not increase the ability of modern societies to survive infectious diseases, but in fact may be important drivers of problematic disease dynamics and act as catalysts for failures in protecting public health.
Drs. Smith and Hughes are members of the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics, and faculty in the Coursera course, Epidemics – the Dynamics of Infectious Diseases . The course opens October 15.
Associate Professor Erina MacGeorge will join the CAS faculty in the fall of 2014. MacGeorge earned her Ph.D. in 1999 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research focuses on communication and coping, including published studies on advice, comforting, and prayer, and current work examining supportive communication in the context of several health issues (miscarriage, breast cancer, and bipolar disorder).
The department is continuing to review applications to consider an additional hire in interpersonal and family communication. For the full job posting, click here.
One of the readers offered this comment about an upper-division course Dr. Eberly teaches:
“Lots of professors encourage discussion in their classes, but Dr. Eberly went a step further. She, like many great scholars, believes truth comes from debate and discussion. Her classes taught me how to form an argument in a way I never thought possible. She taught me how to think outside the box and read the subtext in everything to find its true meaning. Taking courses with her was difficult, and I don’t think I ever got anything higher than a B, but I still enjoyed coming every day to class and discussing with my classmates the material at hand and what its larger meaning was.”
The full story is available online at Onward State.
The full text of the article is available at the PSU news site. Click here to read it. Here's a choice quote from Lynn Mack-Costello:
“As a graduate of and a current instructor in the department, I recognize the outstanding value of its degree and the very practical application and benefits the departmental courses offer for all Penn State students. I am passionate about informed civic engagement, and we feel our gift will enhance the department’s abilities to respond to ongoing and changing needs of faculty and students and to sustain innovative initiatives such as the Penn State Democracy Institute and the Center for Democratic Deliberation. After informative discussions with the Office of Gift Planning, Joe and I believe that life insurance offers an effective vehicle to significantly leverage our gift into a much larger commitment for the future."