Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Each semester, students in COMM 495: Capstone, present the results of a semester-long research project. Check them out below the jump, or see them as a slideshow!
Monday, February 16, 2015
In advance of the publication of Dr. Aaron Duncan's new book, Gambling with the Myth of the American Dream (Routledge, 2015), Pokernews just published an op-ed written by Duncan.
A brief excerpt:
The ability of professional poker players to understand, tolerate, and manage risk makes them role models for entrepreneurs in a system where those skills are vital to economic success and survival. Poker is, after all, the most capitalistic of card games. I contend that poker is therefore the best metaphor for our modern economy.
Survival in the modern economy relies on one's ability to tolerate and manage. The new "American Dream" is less concerned about hard work and social virtue and more concerned with the acquisition of wealth. Poker is a fascinating game, but it has never been concerned with the promotion of social welfare. Poker did not cause these changes to the American Dream. Indeed, its popularity reflects larger changes in American culture and the growth of the risk society. From worries about the stock market, mortgages and job layoffs to foreign wars, global warming and terrorism, contemporary American culture is dominated by the discussion of risk.
Myths are the stories a culture uses to establish group identity and purpose. They help us make sense of the world and teach us values and morals. The traditional myth of the American Dream featured as its main character the "self-made man." The self-made man — the concept that any person can be successful through hard work, virtue and talent — is rooted in America's Puritan heritage and continues to shape American thought. However, the character of the self-made man has changed. I believe that the popularity of poker signals a changing American culture that is increasingly accepting of risk and focused on acquiring wealth. At the center of this latest version of the American Dream is a new kind of hero, a poker player.
No player's journey from rags, or rather middle class, to riches better represents this new telling of the story than Chris Moneymaker. In the telling of his story, the Protestant work ethic with a desire for quick gains, social, and individual virtue are replaced by a warlike mentality that encourages deception and misinformation. Success depends more on luck and less on hard work. When the self-made man becomes the self-made poker player the fundamental values at the center of the myth of the American Dream are changed.As they say, read the whole thing!
Friday, January 30, 2015
Dr. Jody Koenig Kellas, Associate Professor of is one of five of five UNL faculty members in the Committee on Institutional Cooperation’s Academic Leadership Program this year and an Administrative Fellow in the UNL Office of the Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.
Dr. Damien Pfister is one of three UNL faculty who received the grant, “Study of the U.S. Institute on Civic Engagement,” from the U.S. Department of State. The SUSI grant brought 20 undergraduate leaders from Africa to UNL in January 2015. Damien is a co-PI with Patrice McMahon of Political Science and Linda Major from the Center for Civic Engagement at UNL.
Amy Arellano, doctoral candidate, has won several awards, recognizing her as an inspiring teacher and mentor. She is receiving the American Forensics Association’s Young Coach Award based on both her coaching pedagogy and her commitment to the community. The association placed a special focus on her work of using ballots as rhetorical teaching moments. As a coach, Amy teaches students to frame their topics as cultural critiques as a method to increase social advocacy. She also won of two Department of Communication Studies Graduate Student Teaching Awards this year.
Dr. Aaron Duncan received the Omicron Delta Kappa honorary Professor of the Month Award. Founded in 1914, OΔK was the first college honor society of a national scope to give recognition and honor for meritorious leadership and service in extracurricular activities and to encourage development of general campus citizenship and has had 300,000 members nationally.
Dawn O. Braithwaite, Willa Cather Professor and Department Chair, has been named a Master Teacher in the Western States Communication Association. Her contributions as teacher were recognized at the association’s annual meeting in Spokane Washington in February 2015.
Friday, October 31, 2014
Friday, August 29, 2014
Dr. Charles Braithwaite (Communication Studies & Center for Great Plains Study) is traveling to Siberia to as part of the Fulbright Program:
For nine years, Charles Braithwaite and his UNL students have been interacting with counterparts in Russia — but only through audio and video beamed over the Internet. In September, he’ll turn the tables as he teaches his popular Global Classroom curriculum from Tyumen State University in western Siberia.
Teaching the class from a new perspective is just one facet of Braithwaite’s four-week endeavor to Russia as a Fulbright Specialist. He’ll also be working with faculty and administrators at Tyumen State on further adapting the Global Classroom, which is a Communication Studies class that connects UNL students to countries around the world. Through the class, students interact face-to-face with their peers in countries such as Pakistan and Turkey.
The Fulbright Specialist Program awards grants to faculty approved to join the Specialist Roster in their selected discipline. Once selected, these professionals can participate in short-term collaborative projects with institutions in more than 140 countries. They remain on the roster for five years.
Braithwaite will arrive in Russia on Aug. 29. During his stay, he plans a complete evaluation of the Global Classroom with Russian colleagues to ensure it is up to date in technology and curricula. He said he also hopes to branch the Global Classroom into other disciplines.
“I’ll be meeting with faculty and administrators and students in other programs besides communication to do a needs assessment to see if this could help them as well,” he said. “I’m always looking for opportunities to connect UNL to other parts of the world.”
Monday, September 23, 2013
Since 1922, the National Communication Association has sponsored international student exchange tours for the purpose of promoting debate, discussion, and intercultural communication. Renowned for their wit, humor, and eloquence, members of the British National Debate Team tour the United States each year, debating the best and the brightest at our institutions of higher learning.
The Communication Studies Department is pleased to announce that this year, the British debaters will be making a stop at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. We invite you to join us for a debate on the topic of government surveillance, to be heldin the auditorium of the Nebraska Union, City Campus.
The event will be free and open to the public. It promises to be educational and entertaining for students, faculty, staff, and community members interested in communication, civic engagement, international relations, and global politics. When Cambridge University debaters visited Lincoln in October 1927, over 700 spectators reportedly attended the event. We hope to draw a large crowd this year as well, and hope you will join us.
Communication Studies Department
Speech & Debate Program
Center for Civic Engagement
Friday, August 16, 2013
Dr. Dawn O. Braithwaite, Willa Cather Professor of Communication and Chair, appeared on the nationally syndicated National Public Radio program On Point, produced by WBUR in Boston. In the July 30th 2013 show Braithwaite discussed communication during family rituals and family reunions. NPR’s On Point is carried by 260 stations nationwide, with a weekly audience of 1.2 million. The show is available here, and Dr. Braithwaite appears at the 36:40 mark.
Monday, April 8, 2013
Dr. Bill Seiler, Professor of Communication Studies was selected for induction into the Central States Communication Association Hall of Fame. The honor was given at the association’s awards luncheon in Kansas City on April 5, 2013. The award honored Bill’s leadership in the association and discipline, especially his groundbreaking work in Instructional Communication at the University of Nebraska. Bill Seiler came to the UNL in 1972, marking his 41st year on the faculty. He was Chair of the Communication Studies Department for 21 years before returning to the faculty in 2011.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Recently, Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio) publicly came out in favor of gay-marriage—a reversal of his previously long-held position on this issue. Portman explained that it was in talks with his gay son and thinking about his happiness and rights that led to this change. Prior to discussions with his son and reflections on his belief, we can safely assume that Sen. Portman knew that a significant portion of Americans were denied what Portman described as the opportunity “to get married, and to have the joy and stability of marriage that I've had for over 26 years.” Yet, knowing this was not enough to change his mind on the issue. Rather, it was not until he was able to see the effects of this position on someone he knew intimately that Portman came to the conclusion that forced the change in his stance on marriage equality. In one sense, this is nothing new. Scholars across many disciplines have devoted significant research on how intergroup contact (i.e., interactions with individuals of different social groups) can change and, often, improve attitudes toward that group. This line of research has included research on intergroup contact and attitudes toward gay men and lesbians (see here, for example). Whereas much of this research focuses on contact between strangers or non-intimate others, the circumstances surrounding Portman’s change in attitudes represents a unique context for attitude change and contact with people representing different social groups--the context of family.
Families have and continue to be far more diverse than typically thought of in terms of diversity in ethnic, religious, political, and sexual identity (as well as many other identities) within the family. Yet, we still continue to view families as groups of individuals with the same values, attitudes, beliefs, and identities. Unfortunately, little research and practice has focused on families as a site of contact with individuals form different groups. Yet, there are great possibilities in viewing the family in this manner. Can interactions with family member with different religious beliefs influence interfaith attitudes? How are attitudes toward aging shaped or changed by relationships with grandparents? Can views on issues related to ethnicity shift because of interethnic family relationships? In short, what are the potential benefits (and consequences) when “them” is actually one of “us?” As demonstrated in the case of Sen. Portman, attitudes can change not just toward the individual but also toward the group as a whole. However, this is not always the case. Perhaps family members accept each other simply because they are family. But, still see no dramatic change in more general attitudes toward the group. Or, unfortunately but by no means uncommon, family relationships may be detrimentally changed due to the recognition of different ethnic, religious, sexual, and many other identities that individuals simply cannot overcome. We know, for instance, that the Portman case is not representative of all families and parent-child relationships. In short, we should view families as both a “significant site for development and transformation of intergroup attitudes.” Under the right circumstances and through more personalized interactions, families hold great promise for improving intergroup relationships as they are a "more intimate group where discourse and dialogue can exist perhaps more easily than other contexts” (Rittenour & Soliz, 2012 in the Handbook of Intergroup Communication).