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CDD Issues Call for 2013-2014 Nancy and Joseph Birkle Student Engagement Award Nominations

Each year, the Center for Democratic Deliberation offers an award for students who help to advance the Center's mission of promoting engaged citizenship and public deliberation. Through the generosity of Gretchen A. Birkle ('86), the Nancy and Joseph Birkle Student Engagement Award recognizes at least two students in the College of Liberal Arts--either graduate or undergraduate students--who have made significant contributions to public deliberation and debate on the Penn State Campus, in the State College community, or in the nation or world beyond.

Nominees may be recognized for working to enhance public awareness of important issues, for contributing new or uniquely important information or perspectives to ongoing public discussions, or for upholding high standards of public deliberation in their own speaking or writing or in critiques of deceptive or manipulative communication. Students may be recognized for a specific speech, publication, or other contribution to public deliberations, or they may be honored for ongoing participation in some program or organization that promotes public deliberation. Nominees’ contributions may originate as classroom exercises, service-learning assignments, or academic research or internship projects, but they must culminate in engagement of audiences outside of the classroom and make genuine contributions to the larger “public good.”  In addition to a cash prize, honorees will receive a plaque commemorating their achievements.

Nominations are due Friday, March 21. To learn more about the Birkle Student Engagement Award, and to download the 2013-2014 application, click here.

Democracy Institute Announces Spring 2014 Roundtable Series

This semester the Penn State Democracy Institute will hold a series of Democracy Roundtables.  These roundtables will bring together students, scholars, and members of the public to discuss current ideas and developments in democracy, within the United States or anywhere around the globe.

Each event lasts 60-90 minutes, with only the first 20-30 minutes reserved for presentations. The rest consists of lively question-and-answer and discussion among attendees. The Roundtables also build into their schedule the brownbags, hosted by the Center for American Political Responsiveness with a variable format. The Roundtables are held at various days/times to accommodate the schedules of the featured guests and to permit interested Penn State students and faculty to find at least some sessions that fit their busy schedules.

To view a schedule of the Spring 2014 Roundtables, click here.

For more information on the Penn State Democracy Institute, visit their Website.

Textbook Co-authored by J. Michael Hogan Wins National Communication Association Award

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.

Democracy Institute Seeks Nominations for the Penn State Democracy Medal

Each year, the Penn State Democracy Institute will give a medal and $5,000 award for exceptional innovations that advance the design and practice of democracy. The medal celebrates and helps to publicize the best work being done to advance democracy in the United States or around the globe. The Institute gives medals in even-numbered years to recognize practical innovations, such as new institutions, laws, technologies, or movements that advance democracy. In odd-numbered years, the award will celebrate advances in democratic theory that provide richer philosophical or empirical conceptions of democracy.

The first medal will be given in 2014 for the best innovation in the practice of democracy. Nominations will be accepted through December 10, 2013, and the awardee will be announced in the spring of 2014.  Full details on the award criteria and review process are available here.

Questions or requests for more information should be sent to democracyinst@psu.edu.

Former White House Adviser to Deliver Talk on Budget Crisis

Jared Bernstein, Senior Fellow at the Center on Budget and Policies Priorities and former Chief Economist and Economic Adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, will speak as part of the Penn State Democracy Institute’s lecture series. The talk, entitled “Making Sense of the Budget Crisis,Former White House Adviser to  Deliver Talk on Budget Crisis” will take place on Tuesday, Dec. 3, at 4:00 p.m. in Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library, on Penn State’s University Park campus. The University Libraries will co-sponsor the event.

Bernstein will speak on the 2013 budget and deficit ceiling crises, as well as those that loom on the horizon for 2014. Bernstein will offer an analysis that draws on his experience as economic adviser and policy analyst in the Obama administration. An extended question-and-answer session will follow the talk.

Bernstein served as Chief Economist and Economic Adviser to Vice President Biden, executive director of the White House Task Force on the Middle Class, and a member of President Obama’s economic team from 2009-2011. Prior to joining the Obama administration, Bernstein was a senior economist and the director of the Living Standards Program at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, DC.

Bernstein’s areas of expertise include federal and state economic and fiscal policies, income inequality and mobility, trends in employment and earnings, international comparisons, and the analysis of financial and housing markets.

Based in the College of the Liberal Arts, the Penn State Democracy Institute brings together the top faculty and graduate students in several disciplines to develop knowledge and training that will provide legislators, policymakers, voters, and the public with better ways to improve debate, discussions, and governing in our country. Through teaching, creative research projects, and public programs, the Democracy Institute will explore better routes to deciding controversial issues, like healthcare and environmental regulation, and address how government can become more responsive to the people.

For more information on the Democracy Institute, click here.

Penn State Debate Society to Host British National Debate Team

The Penn State Debate Society will host the British National Debate Team on Saturday, November 9 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. in 121 Sparks Building, University Park Campus.  The two teams will debate the question: “Should hip hop clean up its act?”  This event is free and open to the public.

The Penn State Debate Society is a student organization co-sponsored by the Center for Democratic Deliberation and the Department of Communication Arts & Sciences. The Debate Society aims to provide a platform for structured, intelligent, and open debate in an environment where Penn State students can improve their skills as advocates and citizens. In pursuit of this goal, the Debate Society facilitates debates between Penn State students and organizations, organizes public debates that help to start or improve the public conversation over topics important to the campus community at University Park, and provides a platform for competitive debate against other universities.  Reinstated as a campus organization in October 2009, the Debate Society carries on the rich and prestigious tradition of debate at Penn State, dating back to the 1890s.

For more information on the Penn State Debate Society, click here.

Prominent Author Anne Norton to Deliver Talk on Democracy in Islam and the West

Anne Norton, professor of political science and comparative literature at the University of Pennsylvania, will speak “On the Muslim Question” as part of the Penn State Democracy Institute’s lecture series. The talk will be held Wednesday, Oct. 23, from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. in 111 Wartik Building, on Penn State’s University Park campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Norton will discuss the compatibility between democracy, the West, and Islam, as well as challenge Islamophobia by focusing on the values of Western civilization, similar to the topic of her latest book On the Muslim Question. Her other books include Leo Strauss and the Politics of American Empire; 95 Theses on Politics, Culture, and Method; and Republic of Signs.

Based in the College of the Liberal Arts, the Penn State Democracy Institute brings together the top faculty and graduate students in several disciplines to develop knowledge and training that will provide legislators, policymakers, voters, and the public with better ways to improve debate, discussions, and governing in our country. Through teaching, creative research projects, and public programs, the Democracy Institute will explore better routes to deciding controversial issues, like healthcare and environmental regulation, and address how government can become more responsive to the people.

For more information on the Democracy Institute, click here.

Whalen-Bridge and Hsu to Speak at Colloquium on Kenneth Burke and Social Movements

The Center for Democratic Deliberation, Department of Communication Arts and Sciences, and Department of English are co-sponsoring a Colloquium on Kenneth Burke and Social Movements this Friday, October 18 at 3:35-5:00 p.m. in 158 Willard Building, on Penn State’s University Park campus.  The colloquium will feature the following two speakers:

John Whalen Bridge, Associate Professor of English Literature and Language at the National University of Singapore will deliver a talk entitled, “Running on Fire: Burke’s Dramatism and Self-Immolation in Tibet.” Whalen-Bridge is the author of Political Fiction and the American Self.  He has also (co-)edited eight volumes on transpacific cultural exchange and interrelations of politics, literature, and religion.

Jo Hsu, a Ph.D. Candidate in the Penn State Department of English, will also deliver a talk entitled “Motivating the Movement: Occupy Wall Street and Kenneth Burke’s Occupation.”

This event is free and open to the public.

Gastil Offers Advanced Undergraduate Course on Deliberation

This Spring 2014, Professor John Gastil, Director of Penn State’s Democracy Institute and a faculty affiliate of the Center for Democratic Deliberation (CDD), will offer an advanced course on democratic deliberation for Penn State undergraduate students.  Gastil has studied deliberative democracy for more than twenty years and conducted research in the U.S., Australia, and Canada.

His course, CAS/PLSC 409 (Democratic Deliberation), will explore the significance of deliberation in a democratic society, with an emphasis on practical political reforms in the United States and other countries. It will introduce students to a wide range of perspectives on deliberation and will sharpen student skills at everything from informal political conversation to legislative debate. Students will participate directly in forums discussing current issues, and they will critique real political reforms that aim to transform the way we do politics. In the final project, students will make an original contribution to the public website, participedia.net, which archives democratic innovations across the globe.

Penn State undergraduates interested in enrolling in CAS/PLSC 409 (Democratic Deliberation) can learn more here.

To learn more about John Gastil, click here.

Gastil Featured in NCDD Video Interview on Democratic Deliberation

John Gastil, Director of Penn State’s Democracy Institute and a faculty affiliate of the Center for Democratic Deliberation (CDD), is featured in a new video interview about deliberation produced by filmmaker Jeffrey Abelson.  Gastil was interviewed while attending the 2012 National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation Conference in Seattle, Washington.  In the video, he discusses a variety of topics pertinent to the work of the CDD: democratic deliberation, deliberative processes, and how deliberation has made a difference in local communities.

To view the video interview, click here.

To learn more about Dr. John Gastil, click here.