Faculty in the News: Nov. 2, 2010

Rita Kirk's debate-meter for monitoring real-time reactions to political debatesRita Kirk and Dan Schill, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs, Meadows School of the Arts, provided expertise in measuring real-time reactions to political debate for NBC 10 News in Providence, Rhode Island. A story on their work aired Oct. 28, 2010. Watch the NBC 10 video. video

Cal Jillson, Political Science, Dedman College, talked about the effect Tea Party candidates will have on Washington and the Republican Party with Postmedia News Oct. 30, 2010. The article appeared in outlets including The Ottawa Citizen. He also discussed the importance of a no-tax-increases promise to Rick Perry’s race for Texas governor in The Wall Street Journal Oct. 27, 2010.

Matt Wilson, Political Science, Dedman College, discussed the possibility of former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. running for president with The Deseret News of Salt Lake City Oct. 28, 2010.

Rick Worland, Cinema-Television, Meadows School of the Arts, talked about vampires in pop culture with host Krys Boyd on KERA Radio’s “Think” Oct. 28, 2010. Download or listen to a podcast. audio

Al Niemi, Dean, Cox School of Business, talked about the state of the American economy with The New York Times Oct. 28, 2010.

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.

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.)

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.