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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."

CDD Hosts Conference on Speech & Debate as Civic Education

CDD Hosts Conference on Speech & Debate as Civic Education

Professor Craig Smith delivers the keynote address. Photo Credit: Ben Firgens

Last weekend, the Center for Democratic Deliberation along with the Department of Communication Arts & Sciences hosted the Speech and Debate as Civic Education conference at the Nittany Lion Inn on March 5-7, 2015. The conference featured a keynote address by former debater and presidential speechwriter, Craig R. Smith, along with a luncheon address by another former debater, David Zarefsky, dean emeritus of the School of Communication at Northwestern University. Over 70 published scholars and leaders in the debate community attended the conference, representing 43 institutions ranging from major research universities (e.g. Northwestern, USC, Kansas) to small liberal arts colleges (e.g. Wabash, Mary Washington, Davis & Elkins) and even high school debate programs. Participants also came from a HBCU (Howard), charter schools that emphasize debate education, and one international debate organization (the National High School Debate League of China). Featuring a mix of invited plenary panels and competitively selected papers, the conference explored a variety of topics, including the history of debate education, debate across the curriculum, connections between competitive debate and civic culture, and international and intercultural debate.  The conference was supported by an Advancing the Discipline grant, courtesy of the National Communication Association.

David Zarefsky Delivers 23rd Annual Kenneth Burke Lecture in Rhetoric

On Tuesday, April 14, Dr. David Zarefsky, Owen L. Coon Professor Emeritus of Argumentation and Debate and Professor Emeritus of Communication Studies at Northwestern University, delivered the 23rd Annual Kenneth Burke Lecture in Rhetoric, entitled “Somehow, May, and If: Key Terms in Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address.” His research and teaching are in the areas of rhetorical history and criticism, argumentation and debate, and forensics. He is the author of over 100 articles in professional journals and the author, co-author, or editor of nine books, two of which won the Winans-Wichelns Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Rhetoric and Public Address, an award of the National Communication Association. He is one of only four individuals to have won this award twice. In 1994 he was named to the ranks of NCA Distinguished Scholars. He has served as president of both the National Communication Association and the Rhetoric Society of America.

Cox Wins 2015 Kenneth Burke Prize in Rhetoric

Cox Wins 2015 Kenneth Burke Prize in Rhetoric

2015 Kenneth Burke Prize in Rhetoric winner Jeremy Cox accepts his award presented by CDD Affiliate John J. Jasso (Photo credit: Jarid Waniger)

The Center for Democratic Deliberation offers an annual Kenneth Burke Prize in Rhetoric, awarded to the best essay written by a graduate student in one of Penn State’s liberal arts disciplines on the subject of rhetoric in its many forms—as historical, critical, or theoretical discourse.

The CDD is pleased to announce the 2015 winner of the Kenneth Burke Prize in Rhetoric, Jeremy Cox.  He is a doctoral student in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences and won the prize with his essay entitled “'They Died the Spartan’s Death': Historical Allusion, The Alamo, and Tropes of Public Memory."

CDD Announces 2015 Birkle Student Engagement Award Winners

CDD Announces 2015 Birkle Student Engagement Award Winners

2015 Birkle Award Winners: Kaitlyn Patia (left) Lauren Lewis (center), and Abigail Kennedy (right) (Photo credit: Jarid Waniger)

Through the generosity of Gretchen A Birkle ('86), each year the Nancy and Joseph Birkle Student Engagement Award recognizes undergraduate and graduate students in the College of Liberal Arts who have made significant contributions to public deliberation and debate by “speaking out” about important political or social issues, or by promoting more informed or productive public deliberation on the Penn State campus, in the State College community, or in the nation and world beyond.

The 2015 Birkle Award Winners were announced at the 23rd Annual Kenneth Burke Lecture in Rhetoric.  The Center for Democratic Deliberation congratulates the recipients:

Abigail Kennedy
Abigail Kennedy is a sophomore majoring in English. She is being honored with this year’s Nancy and Joseph Birkle Student Engagement Award for co-authoring Madam President: Five Women Who Paved the Way with Dr. Nichola Gutgold and using that book as platform to raise awareness about gender equality. Abigail says discussing the book at public events allows her to “expand the realms of possibilities in the minds of girls and boys by informing them of incredible women who’ve run for the presidency.” Dr. Gutgold, who nominated her for the award, noted Abigail’s drive to find platforms to engage other individuals about the nature of women in politics, where Abigail uses an illustrative analogy to describe their message. “If striving for gender equality is like opening a series of difficult pickle jars, then opening the lid of the presidency is the stickiest for women,” Abigail explains, “However, Just knowing women have loosened the lid already by running changes public opinion, making the jar easier for future women to open.” The Center for Democratic Deliberation is proud to honor Abigail with the Birkle Award for raising awareness about gender inequality in politics and for loosening the jar for future activists.

Lauren Lewis
Lauren Lewis is a senior majoring in Print Journalism and minoring in International Studies, French and Francophone Studies, and Communication Arts & Sciences. She is being honored with this year’s Nancy and Joseph Birkle Student Engagement Award for her leadership in “We Are … Taking a Stand,” a group formed in aftermath of the Kappa Delta Rho scandal, and for raising awareness about sexual assault and violence at Penn State. Beginning with a peaceful rally outside Old Main, Lauren’s efforts have continued to influence not only the State College community but also the state as well. Lisa Hogan, who Lauren assisted teaching in a Women’s Studies class, Lauren embodied “the spirit of the great female activist [she] had studied in class” by arranging the protest and subsequent rallies and her “efforts reflect the values and traditions associated with democratic deliberation and serve as a model for other students.” The Center for Democratic Deliberation is proud to honor Lauren with the Birkle Award for speaking out about such a pervasive issue. She has pledged to continue “to work with leaders and representatives from the campus and local community to ensure that we can STAND as a united front.”

Kaitlyn Patia
Kaitlyn Patia is a doctoral student in the Department of Communication Arts & Sciences and a student affiliate with the CDD. She is being honored with this year’s Nancy and Joseph Birkle Student Engagement Award for organizing Deliberation Nation, a series of fifty student‐led public deliberations held throughout State College over a two‐week period. According to Jessica O’Hara, the Acting Director of Rhetoric and Civic Life, who nominated Kaitlyn for the Birkle award, “She has been an enthusiastic supporter of our outreach and instructional efforts to foster deliberative dialogue.” Kaitlyn also had students participate in the Centre County Public Issues Forum, as well as helping one of her students publish an op-ed in the Centre Daily Times. The Center for Democratic Deliberation is proud to honor Kaitlyn with the Birkle Award for encouraging her students to tackle tough issues, as she wrote, “it was heartening to hear one of them say, to a chorus of agreement, that without the space of this class to discuss issues such as racism or rape culture, they likely wouldn’t even notice such happenings in the world.”

CDD Fellow Craig Rood Wins Graduate Exhibition Award

CDD Fellow Craig Rood Wins Graduate Exhibition Award

Craig Rood, 2014-2015 CDD dissertation fellow

Craig Rood, a 2014-2015 CDD dissertation fellow, won an award at the 2015 Penn State Graduate Exhibition. His video, "Deliberating in the Aftermath of Mass Shootings," won first place in the new "video option." Contestants were asked to describe their research to a general audience in two minutes or less. Submissions were judged on how students captured the importance and value of their scholarly work. His video is available her:

Craig Rood is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences, where he specializes in communication ethics, public memory, and public deliberation. His dissertation examines ascriptions of blame in the aftermath of mass shootings and how those ascriptions call for, or imply, changes in values, practices, and policies. The four case studies analyze the blame not only of shooters, but also of guns, mental health, citizenship, and the “culture of violence.” Rood’s prior research on deliberation has been published in Voices of Democracy, Pedagogy, and Rhetoric Review.