Rita Kirk

SMU students blog from Obama inauguration

SMU students cover Presidential Inauguration

A group of 21 SMU communications and journalism students are in Washington, D.C., where they have an up-close view of the Presidential Inauguration.

Led by Professor Rita Kirk and Assistant Professor Dan Schill in the Division of Corporate Communication and Public Affairs in the Meadows School of the Arts, the students are spending 5 days in Washington beginning January 17, 2009, as part of the CCPA course Presidential Rhetoric. In addition to witnessing President Barack Obama’s swearing-in ceremony, the students’ trip will include:

  • Volunteering at the Texas State Society’s Black Tie & Boots Inaugural Ball
  • Viewing a debate on energy and climate change between debate team powerhouses Michigan State and Wake Forest
  • A visit to the Newseum, where they will hear “Inside Media:  Presidential To Do’s,” a speech from former presidential adviser Stephen Hess
  • Visits to the nation’s museums and monuments, including the Lincoln Memorial, where a concert will feature notables including Martin Luther King III and Beyoncé

Kirk has been attending the Inauguration with students since 1992. Since 2000, students have also worked as volunteers at the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. She says the experiences give students an appreciation of the U.S. system of government. “After a sometimes bitterly fought campaign, people join together to inaugurate the president,” she says. “This peaceful transition of power is a hallmark of democracy.”

Students also become aware of rhetorical power, she says.”They learn how the carefully planned, symbolic ceremonies – as well as the power of words – mold and shape our experiences,” she says.”They examine the implications of the classical term ‘memoria’ – that is, what we are called to remember.”

Watch a Channel 33 report on the students video
Read the students’ blogs from Washington, D.C.

By | 2009-01-20T13:53:23+00:00 January 20, 2009|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

Communications students to attend Obama inauguration

Twenty-one SMU students will witness history in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 20, when Barack Obama becomes the 44th president of the United States. The inauguration trip is a regular event for communications and journalism students in the University’s Meadows School of the Arts.

Rita Kirk, professor of corporate communications and public affairs, has led three other inaugural trips, but this one is different, she told The Dallas Morning News in a Dec. 8 story.

“Not only is this the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth and the first African-American president, it’s a unique rhetorical moment,” she said. “You have a president that has all these unique characteristics and can contextualize to the world what it means.”

Read the full story from The Dallas Morning News

By | 2008-12-18T14:00:57+00:00 December 18, 2008|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Faculty in the News: Nov. 7, 2008

Matt Wilson, Political Science, discussed Sarah Palin’s political future with Reuters Oct. 31, 2008.

Brian Stump, Earth Sciences, provided expertise on the Oct. 30-31 earthquakes that shook Irving and Grand Prairie for The Dallas Morning News in an article published Nov. 1, 2008.

Rita Kirk, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs, provided expertise on the use of direct mail in political campaigns – and whether or not it has any effect on potential voters – for The Fort Worth Star-Telegram Nov. 2, 2008.

Tom Fomby, Economics, wrote an op-ed, “Financial Crisis: How Did We Get Here?” published in the Dallas Business Journal Oct. 10, 2008. He was also interviewed for a DBJ article, “Dallas Economist Reacts to Fed’s Bailout Plan,” published Sept. 19, 2008. His recent lecture at Texarkana College on the economic recession was covered in the Texarkana Gazette Nov. 2, 2008.

Cal Jillson, Political Science, provided expertise on how Texas politicians are beginning to position themselves for the 2010 election in The Fort Worth Star-Telegram Nov. 5, 2008. He discussed whether a Barack Obama presidency would be able to deliver on expectations with The Canadian Press Nov. 3, 2008. He also talked about how the 2008 election opened a new front in the “culture wars” with Reuters Nov. 2, 2008.

Faculty in the News: Oct. 17, 2008

William Lawrence, Theology Dean, and Matthew Wilson, Political Science, contributed to “When Moral Principles Clash With Economic Needs” for The Dallas Morning News‘ “Texas Faith” blog Oct. 6, 2008.

Bruce Bullock, Maguire Energy Institute, talked about the possibility of OPEC reducing oil production to offset recent price declines with USA Today Oct. 10, 2008. He also discussed the drop in gas prices and whether it will last with the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal Oct. 11, 2008.

Robin Lovin, Maguire University Professor of Ethics, discussed the ethical and practical issues involved with charging admission to large traveling worship services such as those of Joel Osteen with The Dallas Morning News Oct. 11, 2008.

Al Armendariz, Environmental and Civil Engineering, discussed recent scrutiny of the amount of air pollution produced by natural gas extraction in the Barnett Shale field with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram Oct. 12, 2008.

Kumar Venkataraman, Finance, spoke on the link between financial markets and “the real economy” – consumer and business spending – with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Oct. 14, 2008.

Cal Jillson, Political Science, discussed the possibility of Democrats retaking a majority in the Texas House with The Houston Chronicle Oct. 15, 2008.

Rita Kirk and Dan Schill, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs, discussed their viewer response research – conducted live for CNN throughout the four 2008 presidential and vice-presidential debates – with The Dallas Morning News Oct. 15, 2008. A replay of the final debate, with a full transcript and moment-to-moment results, is available online at CNN.com.

Faculty in the News: Oct. 10, 2008

Cal Jillson, Political Science, talked about the unusually high stakes in the Oct. 2 vice presidential debate with The Christian Science Monitor Oct. 2, 2008. He also discussed the significance of this year’s increased voter registration in North Texas with The Dallas Morning News Oct. 6, 2008.

In addition, Jillson discussed how Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is galvanizing base voters from both major political parties with Reuters Oct. 8, 2008.

Bruce Bullock, Maguire Energy Institute, discussed why a recent drop in fuel prices may not mean that consumers will return to their old driving habits with The Los Angeles Times Oct. 7, 2008.

Scott MacDonald, Southwest Graduate School of Banking, discussed why the banking industry continues to build branch banks, even as more customers do their banking online, with WFAA News Oct. 9, 2008.

Bonnie Wheeler, English, spoke with The Chronicle of Higher Education for its Oct. 10, 2008 edition about the controversy over a large-scale, multinational attempt in Europe to rank humanities journals. She is director of SMU’s Medieval Studies Program, editor of the journal Arthuriana and president of the Council of Editors of Learned Journals.

Rita Kirk and Dan Schill, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs, talked about the potential for “bandwagon effect” resulting from political polls and live audience feedback with The Wall Street Journal Oct. 10, 2008. Kirk and Schill are conducting CNN’s live focus groups for all four 2008 presidential and vice-presidential debates.

Research Spotlight: Taking the political pulse

Debate focus groupReal-time response is a second-by-second measurement of individuals’ reactions to the presidential candidates debates while they are happening. But it is not just another method of opinion polling: It actually gives the public more clout in shaping election coverage.

“Voters are tired of being managed by the media,” says Rita Kirk, professor of corporate communications and public affairs (CCPA) in Meadows School of the Arts. While studying how the public uses blogs, social networking sites and other online tools, Kirk and Assistant Professor Dan Schill developed the idea of giving voters a voice in network coverage through real-time response focus groups.

Using palm-sized electronic dial meters, members of focus groups signal their reactions to the issues raised, the arguments and the bluster. On a scale of 1 to 100, they “dial up” when they like what they hear and “dial down” when they don’t. The professors’ real-time response groups now play a prominent role in CNN’s online coverage, beginning with the first New Hampshire debate in June 2007, and probably will continue through the final head-to-head debate in October, Schill says.

Read more at SMU Magazine online. (Right, undecided Democrats participated in a real-time response focus group for CNN on the SMU campus Feb. 21.)

By | 2008-09-05T13:28:52+00:00 September 5, 2008|Categories: Research|Tags: , , |

Faculty in the News: Feb. 29, 2008

Rita Kirk and Dan Schill, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs, conducted real-time research with undecided Democratic voters on the SMU campus during the Feb. 21 Democratic debate from Austin. In addition, footage from their research was recorded for possible later use by CNN. Read more and see a slide show. slide show

By | 2008-02-29T09:35:49+00:00 February 29, 2008|Categories: Faculty in the News|Tags: , , |

Faculty in the News: Jan. 18, 2008

SMU faculty stayed busy over the holidays as they shared their expertise with the press and the public. Here’s a short summary of faculty media appearances during Winter Break:

Caroling on the SMU quadPeter Raad, Hart eCenter, was named one of the gaming industry’s “Top 25 People of 2007” by Next Generation Dec. 19, 2007.

Michael Hawn, Sacred Music, spoke on the declining tradition of Christmas caroling in USA Today Dec. 17, 2007.

Mark Chancey, Religious Studies, discussed interfaith understanding and his role as featured speaker in Temple Emanu-El’s annual adult education course with The Dallas Morning News Jan. 5, 2008.

Daniel Howard, Marketing, talked about how 2007 recalls have boosted demand for U.S.-made toys in The Oregonian Dec. 25, 2007.

Mike Davis, Finance, discussed Texas’ pursuit of energy diversity in The Killeen Daily Herald Dec. 31, 2007. He also spoke about the impact of the housing slump on real estate agents with the Dallas Business Journal Oct. 16, 2007

Debate tracking on CNNRita Kirk and Dan Schill, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs, tracked Iowa debate viewers’ real-time responses during a Democratic presidential debate in a project undertaken with CNN. Kirk and Schill tracked viewer responses during a debate that took place Dec. 13, 2007.

Matthew Wilson and Cal Jillson, Political Science, talked about differences in state and national political polling with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Dec. 29, 2007. Jillson also discussed New Jersey’s vote to abolish the death penalty with Reuters Dec. 14, 2007.

Al Armendariz, Environmental and Civil Engineering, discussed what the U.S. Congress’ energy bill compromise means for North Texas pollution control with The Dallas Morning News Dec. 14, 2007.

Rick Halperin, History, discussed the phenomenon of European women befriending Texas death-row inmates with The Seattle Times Oct. 16, 2007. In addition, he coauthored an op-ed urging repeal of the death penalty that appeared in The Houston Chronicle Dec. 22, 2007.

Tune In: The Guildhall records one for the vaults

Chris Adams of The Guildhall at SMUThe Guildhall at SMU is part of an interactive exhibit on the history of video games being hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Economic Adventure Gallery. “Video Games Evolve: A Brief History from Spacewar! to MMORPGs” examines the video-game industry’s roots, which are firmly planted in New England. Watch Guildhall Art Creation Instructor Chris Adams (right) explain motion capture in this video. video

Rita Kirk, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs, discussed the points the Dallas Cowboys score when they make a difference in their community with WFAA-TV (ABC Channel 8) Nov. 25, 2007. Watch the news video. video

Junior President’s Scholar Timothy Roy has made a big impression at one of Dallas’ biggest institutions. For Neiman Marcus’ 100th anniversary, the music composition major wrote three different pieces that were played in the flagship store in downtown Dallas in October and November. Read more and listen to Roy’s compositions. audio

By | 2007-11-29T12:57:01+00:00 November 29, 2007|Categories: Tune In|Tags: , , , , |

For the Record: Sept. 27, 2007

William May, Ethics (emeritus), has been named Cary and Ann Maguire Chair in American History and Ethics at the John W. Kluge Center, Library of Congress. Librarian of Congress James H. Billington appointed May for a three-month tenure from September to December 2007.

Rita Kirk, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs, discussed the media campaigns that will determine the fate of a planned toll road inside the Trinity River Corridor’s levee walls in The Dallas Morning News Sept. 18, 2007.

Matthew Wilson, Political Science, discussed the politics behind Texas State Rep. Kirk England’s switch to the Democratic Party in The Dallas Morning News Sept. 20, 2007.

William J. Bryan III, Theology, talked about the “Sunday-night slump” in church attendance that has led to growing cancellations of evening services in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Sept. 21, 2007.

Rick Worland, Cinema-TV, talked about the history and legacy of the film Easy Rider in The Dallas Morning News Sept. 12, 2007.

The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams volunteered Sept. 22 at the 2007 Tour des Fleurs, a 10K/20K run benefiting the Dallas Arboretum. Nearly 50 student-athletes manned 6 water stations along the race route.

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