March 2010 Archives


Danielle Catona earned First Place in the Social & Behavioral Sciences Division at the graduate exhibition last Sunday. Her poster was drawn from her thesis work, and it was entitled "Age-adapted Speech in an Assisted Living Facility." 

Four graduate students from Communication Arts & Sciences presented at the recent Research Exhibition of Penn State's Graduate School

Hillary Jones - In a State of Flux: The Dispossessed's Anarchist and Feminist Rhetorics

Danielle Catona - Age-Adapted Speech in an Assisted Living Facility

mehltretter.jpeg Sara Ann Mehltretter - The Long Twilight Struggle: Presidential Rhetoric, National Security, and the Cold War

Una Kimokeo-Goes - Building an Empire, Defining a Nation: The Rhetoric of U.S. Expansion at the Turn of the Twentieth Century

photo credit: Sara Mehltretter

Graduate student Young Ju Shin has received a competitive travel award from the National Institutes of Health to support her presentation of "The Mediation Effects of Parent-Child Communication about Alcohol between Parental Monitoring and Youth Alcohol Use" at the upcoming American Psychological Association convention.
The second lecture in the "Frontiers in Network Science" Lecture Series will be David Schaefer, "Do We Choose Our Friends?."  Attached is the flyer for the lecture on Thursday, December 10, 2009 from 4:00 p.m. - 5:15 p.m, in 108 Wartik. Dr. Schaefer will be on campus on December 10-11. 

Schaefer Flyer.pdf
Zizi Papacharissi, a leading scholar of online media, will present the spring 2010 Robert M. Pockrass Memorial Lecture at 7 p.m. Monday, April 12, in the HUB Auditorium at Penn State's University Park campus.

Her free public lecture, titled "Social Media, Social People?: Emerging Sociabilities and Social Network Sites," is sponsored by the Penn State College of Communications.

Dr. Papacharissi (PhD University of Texas at Austin, 2000) is Professor and Head of the Communication Department at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Her work focuses on the social and political consequences of online media. Her forthcoming book, "A Private Sphere: Democracy in a Digital Age" (Polity Press, 2010), discusses how online media redefine our understanding of public and private in late-modern democracies. She is also presently completing an edited volume on online social networks, titled "The Networked Self: Identity, Community, and Culture on Social Network Sites" (Routledge, 2010). She is author of three books, and over 30 journal articles, book chapters or reviews.
The Pockrass Lecture was named after the late Professor Robert M. Pockrass, a member of Penn State's journalism faculty from 1948 to 1977. Pockrass, who specialized in public opinion and popular culture, served as the graduate officer and taught radio news writing for the School of Journalism, which later became the College of Communications.

Pockrass Lecture Website:
  • The Center for Democratic Deliberation announces the Eighteenth Annual Kenneth Burke Lecture in Rhetoric, featuring Philippe-Joseph Salazar, Distinguished Professor of Rhetoric, University of Cape Town, South Africa. Professor Salazar's talk, "Managing the Public: Melancholy Remarks on Rhetorical Technologies" will be held in Alumni Lounge of the Nittany Lion Inn on Saturday, March 27th at 7:00 pm. The Kenneth Burke Prize in Rhetoric will also be awarded at this event.  A reception will follow the evening's lecture.
To learn more about these events and the Center for Democratic Deliberation, please visit us at:
  • A Symposium, "The Rhetorical Presidency of the Early Republic," co-hosted by the Institute for the Arts and Humanities and the Center for Democratic Deliberation,  will be held at the Palmer Lipcon Auditorium on Friday, March 26 from 9:00 am-4:30 pm. This full-day symposium will bring together a group of outstanding scholars; feel free to come to either the morning of afternoon session if you can't stay the entire time.
A detailed schedule of the day can be found at:

Featured speakers will include:

Stephen H. Browne (Penn State University)
Christopher Castiglia (Penn State University)
Stephen Hartnett (University of Colorado, Denver)
William Pencak (Penn State University)
Philippe-Joseph Salazar (University of Cape Town)
C. Jan Swearingen (Texas A&M University) 


Holly Gates and Mark Hlavacik announce the birth of their baby boy, born on March 20, 2010 --

"Brendon was born at 1:06am Eastern Standard Time.  He was 7lb 2oz and 20in long.  His hair appears reddish, like his mother's, and Grandma Kathleen reports that he has his father's ears.  Both Brendon and Holly are doing well."

Brendon's blog is here.

Holly and Mark are doctoral students in rhetoric.

Welcome to Communication Arts & Sciences, Brendon!

tracy.jpgKaren Tracy, Professor of Communication at the University of Colorado at Boulder, will be our colloquium speaker on Friday, March 19, 2010.

Karen, a graduate of Penn State University, will discuss her forthcoming book, Challenges of Ordinary Democracy, which will soon be published by the Penn State University Press. The talk is co-sponsored by the Center for Democratic Deliberation, directed by Mike Hogan and Cheryl Glenn.

Deanna Behring, Director of International Programs in the College of Agricultural Sciences and a graduate student in Communication Arts and Sciences was recognized recently as a winner of the Penn State Spirit of Internationalization Award at a celebration of International Women's Day sponsored by the Office of Global Programs.

Brian L. Ott, Professor of Communication at Colorado State University (Penn State PhD 1997), is the author of "The Visceral Politics of V for Vendetta: On Political Affect in Cinema," Critical Studies in Media Communication 27 (2010), 39-54.

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From Jodi Cohen, Professor of Speech Communication at Ithaca College (Penn State Ph.D 1984) --

 I am writing about an opportunity at Ithaca College for a "predoctoral diversity fellowship" in Communication. We are seeking applicants in the final stages of dissertation preparation who are devoted to studying and teaching about diversity issues.

We hope one such "predoc" will join us next year, benefit from a stipend, as well as moving, living, and research allowances.  In exchange, we will ask the individual to teach one undergraduate course each semester related to his or her dissertation research.

The link for the position appears below.  Would you be kind enough to share it with doctoral students who might be interested?   If the applicants have questions or wish to talk with someone in our department they can email me at OR our Chair, Laurie Arliss at

Jodi Cohen, Professor
Speech Communication

Sara Ann Mehltretter has been appointed as a Presidential Management Fellow. "The purpose of the Program is to attract to the Federal service outstanding men and women from a variety of academic disciplines and career paths who have a clear interest in, and commitment to, excellence in the leadership and management of public policies and programs." This extremely competitive program provides an incentive program to recruit outstanding graduate students from many disciplines to participate in the work of federal agencies.

Sara is a doctoral student in our rhetoric program, advised by Professor Michael Hogan. Congratulations, SAM! 
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LASER Award Winners, left to right
Robin Orndorff, Melody Lane, Dean Welch, Abby Smith, and Karen Sones.

Robin Orndorff was among this year's winners at the awards ceremony on February 24, 2010, at the Nittany Lion Inn.

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10-Year Award Winners Deb Auman, Staci Kelly, Sherri Bumbarger, Michael Riden, and Mona Muzzio. Congratulations to Staci Kelly, among this year's honorees as a Ten-Year Award Winner of the College of the Liberal Arts.

Graphic novelist Alison Bechdel will speak at 6 p.m. on March 4, in 129ABC HUB-Robeson Center, as part of the ongoing University Libraries' Graphic Novels Series and in cooperation with the Department of Women's Studies and other departments in the College of the Liberal Arts.

Bechdel is author of the critically acclaimed "Fun Home," which was called "one of the very best graphic novels ever" in Booklist, a publication of the American Library Association. Her syndicated comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For (DTWOF) is a cultural institution for many, as Bechdel redefines race and gender roles while taking aim at some of the most controversial topics of the day.

The event is cosponsored by Penn State's English department; Graduate Student Association; LGBTA Student Resource Center; Library Learning Services; University Archives; Pennsylvania Center for the Book; University Libraries' Charles W. Mann Jr. Lecture in the Book Arts; UPAC; Women's Studies; and Women's Studies Graduate Student Association.

Monday, March 15, 2010

7:00-8:30 p.m.

Alumni Lounge, Nittany Lion Inn

Penn State, University Park, PA


Salon Evenings


Public Spaces, Private Lives:

Social and Intellectual Life at the End of the Eighteenth Century


The end of the eighteenth century marked a turning point in the social and intellectual life of the great cities of Europe and America.  From caf├ęs to public houses, from drawing rooms to the great public parks, men and women enjoyed greater freedoms to socialize and debate the issues of the day.  Enjoy food, drink, music, readings, and lively conversation in the spirit of these great salons as Penn State faculty offer informal presentations on a variety of topics focusing on art and culture in the late eighteenth century.


*  *  *  *  *  *  *


"Cosmopolitanism in the Coffee House of the Quirinal Hill in Rome"


Martina Kolb

Assistant Professor of German and

Comparative Literature

Penn State University


Robin Thomas

Assistant Professor of Art History

Penn State University


Congratulisteningtothelogos.jpglations to Chris Johnstone on the publication of his new book, Listening to the Logos: Speech and the Coming of Wisdom in Ancient Greece (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 2009).

The Center for Democratic Deliberation announces the Eighteenth Annual Kenneth Burke Lecture in Rhetoric with featured speaker, Philippe-Joseph Salazar, Distinguished Professor of Rhetoric, University of Cape Town. Professor Salazar's talk, "Managing the Public: Melancholy Remarks on Rhetorical Technologies" will be held in Alumni Lounge of the Nittany Lion Inn on Saturday, March 27th at 7:00 pm.

Featured speakers will include:

Stephen H. Browne (Penn State University)
Christopher Castiglia (Penn State University)
Stephen Hartnett (University of Colorado, Denver)
William Pencak (Penn State University)
Philippe-Joseph Salazar (University of Cape Town)
C. Jan Swearingen (Texas A&M University)

Thanks to Paul Karoff for sending the following:

Paul Karoff
Academy of Arts and Sciences
136 Irving Street
, MA 02138

Humanities Enjoy Strong Student Demand but Declining Conditions for Faculty

New Data Available on College and University Humanities Departments

CAMBRIDGE, MA - The humanities continue to play a core role in higher education and student interest is strong, but to meet the demand, four-year colleges and universities are increasingly relying on a part-time, untenured workforce.

Those are among the findings from the Humanities Departmental Survey, conducted by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a consortium of disciplinary associations. The survey includes data collected from English, foreign language, history, history of science, art history, linguistics, and religion departments at approximately 1,400 colleges and universities. It is the first comprehensive survey to provide general cross-disciplinary data on humanities departments.

The results are available on the Academy's Humanities Resource Center Online at

According to the Humanities Departmental Survey:

  • Across the humanities, but especially in English and combined English/foreign language departments, the professoriate at four-year colleges and universities is evolving into a part-time workforce. During the 2006-2007 academic year, only 38 percent of faculty members in these departments were tenured. English departments had the greatest proportion of non-tenure-track faculty (49 percent).
  • When minors are included, undergraduate participation in humanities programs is about 82 percent greater than counting majors alone would suggest. For the 2006-2007 academic year, 122,100 students completed bachelor's degrees and 100,310 completed minor degrees in the three largest humanities disciplines--English, foreign languages, and history.
  • Reflecting the demands of a global economy, student interest in foreign language is strong - during the 2006-2007 academic year, foreign language departments awarded 28,710 baccalaureate degrees and had the largest number of students completing minors (51,670). Yet investment in a stable professoriate to teach and study foreign languages and literatures appears to be declining, with a significant reduction in recruitment of full-time faculty members (39 percent fewer recruitments for full-time positions in 2008-2009 than hires for 2007-2008) and fewer total graduate students than faculty members, the only surveyed discipline for which this was the case.
  • Turnover rates among humanities faculty were low (only 2.5 percent of humanities faculty left the profession through departure, retirement, or death during the two academic years preceding the survey). Combined with recently instituted hiring freezes on many campuses, career opportunities for the next generation of scholars (there were approximately 84,000 graduate students in the surveyed fields during the 2006-2007 academic year) are limited.
  • Approximately 87 percent of humanities departments reported that their subject was part of the core distribution requirements at their institution.

The survey results provide a snapshot of U.S. humanities departments at the end of the first decade of the 21st century. The survey covers a broad range of topics, including numbers of departments and faculty members, faculty distributions by discipline, courses taught, tenure activity, undergraduate majors and minors, and graduate students. The data provide new information about each of the disciplines; they also allow comparisons across disciplines. These data are especially important because the U.S. Department of Education has indefinitely suspended the only nationally representative survey providing information about humanities faculty (the National Study of Postsecondary Faculty).

Several national disciplinary societies collaborated with the Academy to develop, field, and interpret data gathered by the Humanities Departmental Survey: the American Academy of Religion; American Historical Association; College Art Association; History of Science Society; Linguistic Society of America; and the Modern Language Association. The American Council of Learned Societies and the American Political Science Association also provided important assistance. The survey was administered by the Statistical Research Center of the American Institute of Physics, which also performed the basic data analysis.

Even though the humanities disciplines represent an essential core of the liberal arts curriculum, they have long been data deprived. The empirical data now available in the survey, along with the rich collection of information already found in the Humanities Indicators, begin to fill that gap and to establish baselines that will allow stakeholders to track trends in the future. The Academy hopes that the Humanities Departmental Survey can be expanded to include additional disciplines and updated regularly, producing trend data that could be incorporated into the Humanities Indicators.

The Humanities Indicators include data covering humanities education from primary school through the graduate level; the humanities workforce; humanities funding and research; and the humanities in civic life. Modeled after the National Science Board's Science and Engineering Indicators, the Humanities Indicators serve as a resource to help scholars, policymakers, and the public assess the current state of the humanities. Launched in January 2009, the Academy continues to update and expand the Humanities Indicators.

Those who wish to receive announcements of new data and research on the humanities can subscribe to an email alert system at

NOTE: Please use the following citation for data contained in the Humanities Indicators: "American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Humanities Indicators,"

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