Faculty Members Named Sustainability Fellows

Posted on: August 3, 2015

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Two College of Communication Arts and Sciences faculty members have been named 2015 MSU Sustainability Fellows for their environmental sustainability-themed online survey of MSU undergraduate students.

John Besley, Associate Professor and Ellis N. Brandt Chair in Public Relations in the Department of Advertising + Public Relations, and Bruno Takahashi, Assistant Professor with a joint appointment in the School of Journalism and Department of Communication and Research Director of the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism, worked on the initial sustainability survey along with Adam Zwickle, Assistant Professor in the Environmental Science and Policy Program and the School of Criminal Justice in the College of Social Science.

The survey includes questions gauging environmental sustainability and scientific knowledge, norms and practices surrounding sustainability related behaviors, and attitudes toward environmental responsibility. The plan is to make the survey an annual project.

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Bruno Takahashi

“The Sustainability Office, specially Ann Erhardt (Director of MSU Sustainability), has recognized the importance of evidence-based communication. In that sense, we are hoping the results of the survey will help inform the communication initiatives at MSU,” Takahashi said. “From a research perspective, there are very few empirical studies examining educational settings that attempt to understand the factors that explain the engagement in sustainability behaviors by students. We are trying to push the envelope in the study of environmentalism, behaviors, and well being among students.”

Data from the initial survey was collected at the end of the spring 2015 semester. Students were randomly selected to participate with more than 2,800 completed surveys received.

The research team plans to produce a report for the Sustainability Office with some recommendations and are working on two academic studies, one on the relationship between values and environmental behaviors, and another one examining differences in environmental behaviors based on cohorts (freshman, sophomore, etc.).

“The assumption for the second one is that students' attitudes, knowledge about science and the environment, perception of social norms, among other factors change as they move forward with their degrees, and that this affects behaviors,” Takahashi said.

Plans are already underway for a 2016 survey as well as identifying areas for targeted campaigns.

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John Besley

“We want to make the survey an annual thing so that we can use it to track the impact of the college experience on students’ views and behavior,” Besley said.

MSU Sustainability’s fellowship program uses the MSU campus as a laboratory to address issues related to greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy, waste reduction, water conservation, sustainable transportation, education, engagement, social responsibility and more.

The program funds research projects that focus on aspects of environmental responsibility and sustainability specific to MSU.

"The work is driven by real challenges faced by the university," Erhardt said. “The fellowship program connects researchers with campus decision-makers in order to effectively plan for the future sustainability of MSU's campus."

For more information on these and other sustainability efforts, see the MSU Sustainability website.

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‘Hillary Doctrine’ examines treatment of women as national-security issue

Posted on: June 26, 2015

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Is the violence against women a threat to the security of the United States? According to a new book co-authored by faculty members from MSU's College of Communication Arts and Sciences and Texas A&M University, it is.

“The Hillary Doctrine: Sex and American Foreign Policy” argues that far from being a “soft” foreign policy issue, the subjugation of women worldwide undermines global prospects for peace and is therefore a direct threat to U.S. national security.

This was a position first articulated by presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

“In societies that permit and encourage violence against women, men develop a willingness to harm, kill and enslave others,” said Patricia Leidl, an international communications adviser and instructor in MSU’s Department of Advertising and Public Relations and School of Journalism. “When male bonding intensifies as competing groups vie for power, men see women’s rights and freedoms as threats to their own legitimacy.”

Co-authoring the book was Valerie Hudson, a professor in the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University.

“Nationalism is strongly gendered,” Hudson said. “Men typically build a violent nationalism on a foundation of misogyny, and women’s rights become a battleground in resulting conflicts.

“That’s why women’s rights come under attack immediately after regime overthrow and why women are often explicit targets of war.”

Earlier this year, “The Hillary Doctrine” was nominated by the Kirkus Reviews as one of its top nonfiction picks of 2015. It said the book offers “a compelling argument for women’s rights” and is a “sound study that carries an urgent message.” It has also been nominated for a National Book Award.

Before coming to MSU, Leidl was a Canadian journalist with the Vancouver Sun and the Vancouver Province newspapers, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. and CTV. During the past 16 years, she has worked with various United Nations agencies and, more recently, advising various USAID-funded projects in Afghanistan and Yemen. She formerly headed the communications department at the Geneva-based HIV/AIDS Department of the World Health Organization, and was senior editor/media adviser with the New York-based United Nations Population Fund.

Hudson is an expert on international security and foreign policy analysis. In 2009, “Foreign Policy” named her one of the Top 100 Most Influential Global Thinkers, and the International Studies Association named her a Distinguished Scholar of Foreign Policy Analysis. Most recently, she received an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship. As part of her efforts to shine a light on the treatment of women worldwide, Hudson developed a nation-by-nation database, http://womanstats.org, which has been used by a variety of agencies, including the United Nations and the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

For more information on “The Hillary Doctrine,” visit http://cup.columbia.edu/book/the-hillary-doctrine/9780231164924.

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Poulson Recognized for Decades of Great Lakes Environmental Journalism

Posted on: June 10, 2015

 

David Poulson with droneThe International Association for Great Lakes Research (IAGLR) has recognized David Poulson, Senior Associate Director of MSU’s Knight Center for Environmental Journalism, for a career-long dedication to inform and educate the public and policymakers on Great Lakes issues.

The IAGLR board of directors recognized him with the John R. (Jack) Vallentyne award given for contributing substantially to education and outreach in the Great Lakes community for at least 20 years and with an impact beyond the awardee’s local community. The award recognizes people who bridge the gap between the science community and the public. Recipients can be engaged with any great lake in the world, including the North American Great Lakes and the African Great Lakes.

“I always figured that environmental science is far too important, far too interesting and way too much fun to leave only to scientists, researchers and policymakers,” Poulson said. “I’m honored to receive this award and also pleased that the association recognizes journalism as critical to engaging the public with the environmental challenges of the world.”

Poulson, a 1982 graduate of MSU’s School of Journalism, also is editor of Great Lakes Echo, the Knight Center’s award-winning regional online environmental news service. In the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, Poulson teaches environmental journalism, using tools as diverse as drones, satellite imagery, geographic information systems, experiential learning and nontraditional reporting techniques. He currently serves on the board of directors of the Society of Environmental Journalists.

Poulson received the award at the IAGLR’s recent 58th Annual Conference on Great Lakes Research at the University of Vermont. Christine Manninen, Communications Director for the Great Lakes Commission and a graduate of the Knight Center’s master’s program, presented it.

“Dave is well respected by his colleagues and his contributions are highly valued by those in the Great Lakes science and policy communities,” Manninen said.

John Gannon, a retired research scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey, nominated Poulson for the award.

“IAGLR members and Great Lakes researchers at large benefit from Dave’s contributions and leadership in promoting the highest values of fairness and accuracy in reporting on Great Lakes research, outreach and education,” Gannon said in his nomination. “His contributions illustrate the true spirit and intent of the IAGLR Vallentyne Award.”

Poulson has created three online Great Lakes environmental news services. The first one, the Great Lakes Environmental Wire, was launched in 1995. The second, Great Lakes Wiki, received national recognition in 2007 with a Knight-Batten Journalism Award for innovations in journalism. The current one, Great Lakes Echo, was recognized in 2011 with a Great Laker Award for excellence in environmental reporting from the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. Great Lakes Echo is a resource and research site for nontraditional environmental reporting, a teaching tool and a significant contributor of original Great Lakes reporting online and in publications throughout the basin.

“I’m a great admirer of Dave Poulson, his work with students and professionals, and his forward-thinking approach to environmental journalism,” Lester Graham, formerly the senior editor of The Environment Report/Great Lakes Radio Consortium and now an investigative reporter with Michigan Radio, wrote in supporting the nomination. “He has taught and trained students to become the new journalistic voice for science and the environment, which will benefit the public for decades to come.”

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Instructor’s Book Among Top Nonfiction Picks for 2015

Posted on: April 22, 2015

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A book co-authored by a College of Communication Arts and Sciences faculty member that examines what is known as the “Hillary Doctrine” has been nominated by Kirkus Reviews as one of its top nonfiction picks for 2015.

Co-authored by Patricia Leidl, Instructor in the Department of Advertising + Public Relations and the School of Journalism, “The Hillary Doctrine: Sex and American Foreign Policy” delves into decades of research that shows that the subjugation of women poses a direct threat to U.S. national security.

The other author of the book is Valerie Hudson, Professor and George H.A. Bush Chair at Texas A&M University.

“The nomination is the result of 30 months of hard work and the marriage of years of high-quality research on the part of my writing partner, with the narrative power of on-the-ground journalism and great timing,” Leidl said. “We’re actually pretty amazed. It isn’t often that an academic imprint attracts this kind of attention.”

The book argues that far from being ‘soft’ foreign policy issue, the poor treatment of women worldwide poses a threat to global prospects for peace and therefore a direct threat to U.S. national security – a position first articulated by former Secretary of State and current presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton.

According to Kirkus, “The Hillary Doctrine,” which will be released by Columbia University Press on Tuesday, June 30, offers “a compelling argument for women’s rights” and is a “sound study that carries an urgent message.”

It notes that the authors “argue persuasively that in societies that permit and encourage violence against women, men develop a willingness to harm, kill and enslave others.”

The book has drawn praise from New York Times Columnist Nicolas Kristof, activist and author Robin Morgan, and former Ambassador to Afghanistan and Iraq Ryan Crocker.

Before coming to MSU, Leidl was a journalist who spent 16 years working with various United Nations agencies and, more recently, advising various USAID-funded projects in Afghanistan and Yemen.

She formerly headed the Communications Department at the Geneva-based HIV/AIDS Department of the World Health Organization and was Senior Editor/Media Advisor with the New York-based United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), where she also was Managing Editor of the UNFPA State of World Populations Report and Editorial Director of the Vancouver-based Human Security Report.

Kirkus Reviews, published twice a month, gives previews of books prior to their publication. Kirkus reviews more than 7,000 titles each year.

A digital preview of “The Hillary Doctrine: Sex and American Foreign Policy” can be found on Amazon.

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Poor Decision Making Can Lead to Cybersecurity Breaches

Posted on: February 15, 2015

Rick Wash mainRecent high-profile security breaches, such as those at Target, Anthem Inc. and Sony Pictures, have attracted scrutiny to how the seemingly minor decisions of individuals can have major cybersecurity consequences.

In a presentation at this year's meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), one of the largest science gatherings in the world, Assistant Professor Rick Wash discussed how social interactions affect the processes behind personal cybersecurity decision making.

"We all have small supercomputers in our pockets now," said Wash, who has a joint appointment in the School of Journalism and the Department of Media and Information. "Regular people like you and I make a lot of important security decisions on a daily basis."

He said the Sony hack is a great example of smart people making poor choices.

"A lot of people were making bad decisions, sharing passwords, etc., that led to this event," Wash said. "But what's the reasoning process behind these decisions?"

Wash's research shows that how people visualize and conceptualize hackers and other cyber criminals affects their cybersecurity decision making. As people make personal assessments about the risks of their behaviors, these impressions – formed from the influence of media, interpersonal interactions and storytelling – have a great impact.

"People tend to focus on a picture they have in their head when conceptualizing hackers and virus makers," Wash said. "I have found two of these pictured individuals to be the most common and easily recognizable: The teenager on a computer in their parents' basement or the professional criminal in a foreign country. Those who picture the teenager tend to make better decisions in cybersecurity."

He said people's familiarity with the concept of a teenage mischief-maker allows them to readily visualize that person as a legitimate threat, and act accordingly. Those who visualize a foreign hacker believe they are professionals and are more likely to focus on more lucrative targets.

By identifying the social behaviors and rationales behind the decision-making process, this research can in turn help to influence effectiveness in the development of the science of cybersecurity.

Wash's presentation was part of a panel of six researchers exploring the social aspects of cybersecurity. The panel, organized by Indiana University, was titled "Holistic Computing Risk Assessment: Privacy, Security and Trust."

"We're all looking beyond the technological issues," Wash said. "It's about people and society and how it all comes together."

AAAS is the world's largest general science society. Its annual meeting brings together thousands of scientists, engineers, policymakers, educators and journalists to present new research and developments in science and technology. This year's conference was Feb. 12-16 in San Jose, Calif.

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Grimm Receives Fairness in Media Award

Posted on: November 14, 2014

Joe-GrimmSchool of Journalism Editor in Residence Joe Grimm is the 2014 recipient of the Fairness In Media Award presented by the Michigan Muslim Community Council. He received the award Nov. 2 at the 28th Annual Unity Banquet, which helps bring Michigan Muslim communities together.

"It is humbling to be recognized just for doing what you should do," Grimm said. "American Muslims are under intense pressure these days. Every time someone acts with violence in the name of Islam but in contradiction to its teachings, Muslims are victimized twice. First, the attacks are usually directed against other Muslims and second, they find themselves under suspicion. It is not fair to them or to us, their neighbors and fellow citizens. Good journalism has to be part of the answer."

Grimm has helped to educate the public on issues surrounding Arab Americans. In 2000, he created "100 Questions and Answers About Arab Americans" and posted it the day after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. It became a timely, well-read publication. The guide was one of the inspirations for the School of Journalism's "Bias Busters" series, which Grimm launched in 2013 with the goal of using journalism to combat biases and stereotypes and to encourage conversation among people.

So far, six books in the series have been published. A seventh guide on Muslim Americans will be released this month. The series also includes questions and answers about Americans, Arab Americans, East Asian Cultures, Hispanics and Latinos, Indian Americans, and Native Americas. Next semester, a guide about Jewish Americans will be created.

Along with his commitment to teaching students in the classroom, Grimm is the faculty adviser for the student chapters of the Society for Professional Journalists and MSU Association of Black Journalists. He also is part of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences team that has worked with professionals at Saudi Aramco in Saudi Arabia.

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Journalism Faculty Receive Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Awards

Posted on: November 11, 2014

Darcy Greene Award mainTwo School of Journalism faculty members were honored for their outstanding work advancing community engaged learning at MSU and presented with MSU Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Awards at a ceremony Nov. 7 at the MSU Union Ballroom.

Associate Professor Darcy Greene and Specialist Jeremy Steele were among the 24 recipients of this year's award, which is presented each year to recognize innovative and/or sustained effort in the area of academic, curricular or co-curricular service-learning/civic engagement that is specifically linked with the mission and efforts of each college at MSU.

Jeremy Steele"We are pleased to recognize the efforts of faculty, staff and longstanding community partners for their collaborative efforts," said Renee Zientek, director of the Center for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement. "MSU's faculty continually demonstrates an innovative approach for connecting campus and community, and that plays a critical role in the development of students as engaged citizens. That commitment, combined with the support of community partners, ensures that lifelong engagement is a distinction of students and graduates of Michigan State University."

The MSU Center for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement, in partnership with the Office of the Associate Provost for University Outreach and Engagement, the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and Services, and with endorsement from the Office of the Provost, initiated the awards in 2008. Each college dean is asked to name a faculty member, academic staffer, or other individual for the award.

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Takahashi Elected Vice Chair of ICA's EC Division

Posted on: October 28, 2014

Bruno Takahashi mainBruno Takahashi, Assistant Professor in the School of Journalism and Department of Communication  and Research Director of the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism, has been elected to serve as Vice Chair of the Environmental Communication (EC) Division at the International Communication Association (ICA) beginning May 2015.

Takahashi, who says he is pleased to be recognized and appointed as EC Division Vice Chair, said, "It is one of the fastest growing divisions at ICA."

The ICA is an academic association for scholars interested in the aspects of human and mediated communication. The EC Division's goal is to expand research on human relationship with the environment through communication. Since its start in 2011, the division has expanded from 40 attendees to 230 members.

As Vice Chair, Takahashi will plan the submissions as well as the reviews of papers and presentations at the ICA annual conference.

He will serve two years as Vice Chair and then will move to the position of Chair for two more years. As Chair, he will head the ICA annual conference and represent the interest group on the ICA Board of Directors.

"I have been involved with the division since the beginning and know most of the people involved," said Takahashi, who also is involved with the International Environmental Communication Association, the National Communication Association's Environmental Communication Division and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication's ComSHER (Communicating Science, Health, Environment and Risk) Division. He said his appointment as EC Division Vice Chair will help him build relationships with these groups.

"It also means that I will be able to influence the field not only with my research but also with my leadership," he said.

Takahashi said he is most looking forward to helping environmental communication interest grow and working with leading scholars around the globe.

"As someone from Latin America, I expect that my contacts and knowledge of the region will help grow the membership to incorporate people from other regions outside the United States and Europe," Takahashi said.

Takahashi will begin his role as Vice Chair on May 26, 2015, following the ICA annual conference in Puerto Rico.

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Sue Carter Begins New Role as MSU Faculty Athletic Representative

Posted on: August 1, 2014

SueCarter2Professor of Journalism Sue Carter is doing anything but slowing down this summer. From her travels with the Mass Media study abroad program to her engagement with MSU students in the classroom, Carter is beginning yet another chapter as MSU's Faculty Athletic Representative.

Appointed by the university president, the representative is a tenured faculty member who represents the university and its faculty in MSU's relationships with the NCAA and the Big Ten. In this role, Carter also will chair the Athletic Council, which functions as the faculty voice in intercollegiate athletics on issues of academic policy related to student-athletes.

"It is a great honor, and a wonderful opportunity to serve the Michigan State University community, its faculty, and student athletes in particular," Carter said. "I hope that my sports background - as a broadcaster, professor and weekend athlete - will be of value."

Carter joined the School of Journalism in 1991 after a 17-year career as a news broadcaster and talk show host at radio and television stations in Michigan, Connecticut and Ontario, Canada. Before coming to MSU, she taught journalism at Wayne State University in Detroit. She also served as Secretary of the MSU Board of Trustees and Executive Assistant to Presidents Peter McPherson and Lou Anna K. Simon.

In addition to helping lead the Mass Media study abroad program in the United Kingdom this summer, Carter currently is learning her new position while preparing for the coming fall. With her diverse and experienced background as a national broadcaster and three-time Emmy awardee, this Michigan Journalism Hall of Famer will not fail to bring new and innovative ideas to carry on the Spartan pride.

A graduate of MSU with a B.A. in humanities, Carter earned a master's degree and law degree from Wayne State University; a Master of Divinity from the General Theological Seminary; and a Doctorate of Ministry from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary.

Carter succeeds Michael Kasavana, Professor in the School of Hospitality Business, who served as MSU's Faculty Athletic Representative since 1988.

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Poulson Speaker at Center for Science and Media Colloquium

Posted on: May 2, 2014

D_Poulson_mainEagles and beer were among the diverse topics recently discussed by Knight Center Associate Director David Poulson at a San Diego State University Center for Science and Media colloquium.

Poulson was invited to be part of the Center for Science and Media's 2014 Colloquium Speaker Series. His lecture, "Eagles and Beer: Explaining the Environment in a New Media Landscape," was April 17 and focused on news coverage of the environment and how new media technologies have affected this coverage.

During his presentation, he examined the opportunities and challenges of reporting on the environment with emerging new media tools. He discussed how those tools are redefining news communities, news stories and who gets to be a journalist.

"There is an exciting confluence of art, data, science, technology and journalism that is producing exceptional environmental reporting," Poulson said.

He cited examples as diverse as animated wind current maps displayed in near real-time, wave heights shifting across the Great Lakes during a three-day storm 100 years ago and videos of drought and of fire shot by a drone.

Finding common ground on the environment with diverse readers is a challenge, Poulson said. But he pointed to examples such as news stories about water-intensive craft beer brewing as a way of teaching readers useful concepts of perceiving the environment and of defining a news community.

Dave-Poulson-speech3New and emerging tools for explaining the world means that it is even more important to teach traditional values of fairness and accuracy to the increasing number of non-journalists who may use them, he said.

Poulson explained how such tools are used in the Knight Center's environmental reporting efforts at the center's 5-year-old news service, Great Lakes Echo. He also met with students and faculty studying media entrepreneurship at San Diego State University.

Founded in 1994, MSU's Knight Center for Environmental Journalism teaches students and professional journalists how to better report on the environment.

Poulson teaches environmental, investigative, computer-assisted and public affairs reporting to graduate and undergraduate students at the Knight Center. His research interests include non-traditional methods of gathering and delivering news, reader engagement, climate change communications, and nonprofit journalism.

Poulson also is the founder and editor of Great Lakes Echo, a nonprofit environmental news service that serves the Great Lakes region. Prior to arriving at MSU in 2003, he was a reporter and editor for 22 years, covering the environment for several news organizations.

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