News & Events
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.
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.
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.