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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.