News & Events
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.
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.
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.