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Rhetoric & Civic Life Hosts Deliberation Nation

Earlier this month, students from Rhetoric & Civic Life (RCL) courses held more than 50 public deliberations on topics ranging from diversity on campus to the funding of presidential campaigns. 

To read more about RCL and Deliberation Nation, check out Penn State News' feature here.

2016 Kenneth Burke Lecture: Mary E. Stuckey

When Mar 31, 2016
from 04:30 PM to 06:00 PM
Where 100 Life Sciences
Contact Name
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Mary E. Stuckey (Ph.D., University of Notre Dame) is the author of nine books focusing on presidential communication and rhetoric. Among her recent books are Jimmy Carter, Human Rights, and the National Agenda and Defining Americans: The Presidency and National Identity, both award-winning.  

Stuckey’s Kenneth Burke Lecture is entitled:  "The Art of Anger in US Presidential Elections."  She explains: “Anger is a useful tactic for political candidates. It helps convince voters that the candidate will fight for them and their causes. It can be equally useful in that it can drive voters away from another candidate. But anger doesn't attach voters to anything. What’s more, if anger is the only tune the candidate can play, emotions can spin out of control, damaging both the party and the political system.”

More information about this event…

CDD Board Member Rosa Eberly Discusses Political Speech and Violence on PRI’s "To The Point"

CDD Board Member Rosa Eberly Discusses Political Speech and Violence on PRI’s "To The Point"

Rosa Eberly is Associate Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences, Advisory Board Member of the CDD, and Liaison between the CDD and Penn State’s Student Farm Initiative

Rosa Eberly, CDD Advisory Board Member and Associate Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences and English, was a guest this week on KCRW and PRI’s To The Point. During the segment “Political Speech and Violent Action,” host Warren Olney and Eberly discussed how political speech can be a proximate cause to acts of public violence; how pinpointing whose interests are served by a certain political statement can help citizens evaluate that statement’s ethics; and about the responsibility of journalists, politicians, and citizens to speak out against deceit. Click here to listen to the full discussion.

Debra Hawhee named McCourtney Professor of Civic Deliberation

Debra Hawhee named McCourtney Professor of Civic Deliberation

Debra Hawhee is the Director of Penn State’s Center for Democratic Deliberation

Center for Democratic Deliberation Director Debra Hawhee was recently named McCourtney Professor of Civic Deliberation. The McCourtney Professorship is made possible by the philanthropy of Tracy and Ted McCourtney, two longstanding supporters of the liberal arts and Penn State. Click here to read more about the McCourtneys and Hawhee’s new professorship.

Former CDD Fellow & Research Assistant Wins NSF Grant

Former CDD Fellow & Research Assistant Wins NSF Grant

Sara Drury is Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Director of the Democracy and Public Discourse Initiative at Wabash University.

Sara A. Mehltretter Drury, 2009-2010 CDD Dissertation Fellow and 2008-2009 CDD Research Assistant, has won a $208,954 National Science Foundation grant. The grant was awarded to Sara, currently Assistant Professor of Rhetoric at Wabash University, and her co-investigator, Laura Wysocki, Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Wabash University, for their project “Encouraging Science Communication in the Wabash College Chemistry Department.”

The grant project will address the problem of chemistry majors who are very well trained in communicating with other chemists but who struggle to explain their work to scientists in other fields, other disciplinary communities, and the wider public. The project will incorporate new pedagogical activities across the Wabash chemistry curriculum to give chemistry majors at all stages in their education opportunities to practice effective science communication. One activity, for example, will ask students to translate their work from highly technical language into prose that members of the public can easily understand. In addition to improving the communication skills of chemistry majors, the grant project will weave science communication activities into introductory courses so that non-science majors will leave Wabash as scientifically literate citizens.

Sara cites the conversations and activities that the CDD sponsors as important models for her work. During her time as the CDD Research Assistant, Sara saw first-hand how important public engagement work is for the academy. The CDD, Sara explains, helped her learn how to “talk with” the public about her research as opposed to merely “talking at” people outside academia.

Former CDD Fellow Wins National Award

Former CDD Fellow Wins National Award

Jessica is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Rhetoric at Wabash College and has recently published in the Journal of Medical Humanities and the Southern Communication Journal.

Jessica Kuperavage, 2012-2013 Center for Democratic Deliberation Fellow, has won the 2015 Gerald R. Miller Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award. The National Communication Association awards this prize to the authors of the best dissertations in the field of Communication each year.

Jessica’s dissertation, “From Private Tragedy to Public Health: Public Health and the Rhetorics of Responsibility,” considers how matters of health, which were once seen as private concerns, became public issues during the Progressive Era. Through analysis of archival documents and engagement with biopolitical theory, Jessica argues that the development of public health rhetoric hinged on appeals to responsibility—citizens, for example, became responsible for public health as they were instructed that one’s personal health had a direct connection to the health of the nation.

Jessica credits her time as a CDD Fellow with helping her to refine the key arguments of her dissertation. In particular, Jessica cites the 2012-2013 CDD Fellow writing group, led by Cheryl Glenn and made up of her co-fellows Jason Maxwell and Sarah RudeWalker, as key to the development of her project. Jessica will be presented with her award at the National Communication Association’s Annual Convention in Las Vegas this November.

CDD Deliberates About the Basic Course at ECA

CDD Deliberates About the Basic Course at ECA

CDD Director J. Michael Hogan leads the ECA forum on the basic course

The CDD was invited to organize and staff a special spotlight session at the 106th Annual Eastern Communication Association Convention in Philadelphia on April 24. Entitled “The Future of the Basic Course: A Deliberative Forum,” this special session attracted a large and diverse group of participants who engaged both in small group deliberations and, subsequently, a town hall debate over a series of questions about the purposes and character of introductory courses in communication studies.  The CDD designed the event, framed the questions to be discussed, and supplied a half dozen trained facilitators and recorders (CDD-affiliated faculty and grad students) for the small group discussions. The project will culminate in a “White Paper” that will be distributed via the websites of both the ECA and the CDD, as well as other venues.

CDD and Ripon College Create Emerging Scholar Apprenticeship Program

The Center for Democratic Deliberation and the Department of Communication Arts & Sciences at Penn State have partnered with the Department of Communication at Ripon College to form the Emerging Scholar Apprenticeship Program. Ripon’s Communication Department recently won the 2014 NCA Rex Mix Program of Excellence Award for undergraduate education, and a number of Ripon alumni have studied at Penn State in recent years. The Emerging Scholar Apprenticeship Program was created to give graduate students at Penn State the opportunity to visit Ripon College for two days, participating in the academic life of the department and getting a feel for what it might be like to work and teach at a small private liberal arts program.

On March 24-26, Brad Serber, a Ph.D. candidate in Communication Arts & Sciences, traveled to Ripon College in Wisconsin as the first representative of the program. He met with faculty and administrators to discuss teaching in a liberal arts environment, delivered a guest lecture for an undergraduate class, and presented at the department's colloquium. Mr. Serber’s colloquium lecture, titled “Between Safety and Insecurity: The Preventative Paradox of School Shootings,” examined the ironic divisions between national eulogies and government agency documents on school shootings. Mr. Serber describes the program as a win-win situation for everyone involved: the undergraduates received an insider’s perspective on graduate school, the faculty were able to share their experiences and advice and to showcase the strengths of their program, and he saw this visit as a great opportunity to prepare for the job market and beyond.

Debate Society Celebrates Centennial Debate with Pitt

Debate Society Celebrates Centennial Debate with Pitt

Louie Levin (PSU), Joshua Nelson (Pitt), Jordan Todd (PSU), and Olivia Cypher (Pitt)

On April 16, the Penn State Speech and Debate Society hosted the University of Pittsburgh for the 100th anniversary of the first debate between the two schools. Students from the two schools debated whether colleges should pay student athletes. The debate was part of a recently renewed rivalry between the two schools. “The debates between Pitt and Penn State have chronicled important points in history, and we need to continue this legacy, especially in this public forum,” said Jordan Todd, the society's president.

Two guest judges adjudicated the debate. Stephen F. Ross, professor of law, and R. Scott Kretchmar, professor of exercise and sport science, provided commentary about the debate and the broader issue surrounding student-athletes following the debate. They highlighted larger implications on Title IX, health concerns and competitive equity among schools. With the audience also voting, Penn State was successful and defeated Pitt on a 2-1 decision.

Keystone Crossroads Forum Held in Altoona

Keystone Crossroads logo

On October 7, the Center for Democratic Deliberation collaborated with the University of Pennsylvania’s Project on Civic Engagement to help stage a Keystone Radio Forum in Altoona. The theme, "Rust or Revival," focused on the tension in Pennsylvania cities that are "full of promise, but plagued with problems." Working with WPSU, the CDD provided moderators, consisting of affiliated faculty and graduate students, to guide deliberations with community members in a town-hall style forum. Kyle King, a former CDD research assistant and Ph.D. candidate in English, the the forum did a "great job of letting Altoona community members offer contextualized perceptions of themselves and their communities in the broader context of the state" and assisted "local media outlets toward the types of stories that are under-covered in their communities."