Lambda Pi Eta Making Strides to Become More Active

The Lambda Pi Eta Chapter at the University of Kansas is making strides to become a more active chapter, both in membership and also involvement at the university and in the local community. Lambda Pi Eta is a nationally recognized honor society that recognizes, fosters, and rewards outstanding scholastic achievement while stimulating interest in the communication discipline. LPH represents what Aristotle described in The Rhetoric as three ingredients of persuasion: logos (Lambda), meaning logic; pathos (Pi), relating to emotion; and ethos (Eta), defined as character credibility and ethics.

The chapter has long been established at the University, but involvement and activity was revived in the spring of 2014 when Dr. Jay Childers became the faculty advisor. In the spring of 2015 Dr. Angela Gist volunteered to be the new faculty advisor for Lambda Pi Eta. At that point, Cassandra Bird, a doctoral student and Assistant Basic Course Director, was also appointed as the graduate advisor. Dr. Gist’s experience in working with the University of Missouri Lambda Pi Eta Chapter has proven to be beneficial in rebooting and energizing forward movement of the organization. As a result, membership has grown exponentially, from five students last spring to twenty-two students this fall. Ally Northrup, President of Lambda Pi Eta’s Alpha Mu chapter and Jacob Elberg, serving as Vice President, are the current initiated members. The following new members will be initiated on November 30th, 2015:

Gabriel Alaniz
Natalie Baldinger
Abigail Cauble
Chelsea Cullen
Patricia Donahue
Bailey Fee
Matthew Frederick
Alexandria Hernandez
Mary Holden
Daniel Jenab
Roon Johnson
Miriam Levine
Erin Martin
Ian Mirsch
Thomas Murphy
Jonathan Shafer
Sydney Studer
Taylor Tobin

Currently, the organization is identifying ways in which they can become more involved on campus and in the local Lawrence community. Members participated in the Student Involvement & Leadership Center’s (SILC) Information Fair on Daisy Hill for the recruitment of new members and to inform freshman of the exciting opportunities available in the Communication Studies department. Additionally, members are volunteering at the Linkugel Speech Competition, a bi-annual speech competition that students from the Speaker Audience Communication course (the introduction to public speaking course) participate in to promote public speaking and civic engagement. Lambda Pi Eta is also identifying a local Lawrence non-profit organization to support by hosting a  philanthropic event to either raise money and/or supplies as a way to connect and give back to the local community.​

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Colloquium Series speaker Dr. Angela Gist

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Dr. Angela Gist, an Assistant Professor in Communication Studies, was recently featured as a guest speaker in the departmental colloquium series. Dr. Gist received her Bachelors from Ohio University in Journalism and Advertising, her Masters from University of Georgia in Mass Communication and Advertising, and her Doctorate from the University of Missouri in Organizational Communication. Dr. Gist is in her second year of teaching and research at the University of Kansas and has quickly become very involved in the local campus community. Her research interests broadly focus on organizational communication, with a more specific focus on social mobility, social class, and power.

Dr. Gist’s presentation, entitled “Qualitative and Theoretical Inquiry of Working-Class Dignity Violations in Organizations”, focused on the experiences of the working-class. Themes of her research included the linguistic infantilization of the working-class unemployed, classed disproportionate (dis)respectful social interaction, and the inherent inequality that is embedded into the institution of work.

The first of the two studies that she presented took a critical ethnographic approach to further explore a blue-collar unemployment support organization. “The findings of this study critique the organizational culture revealing that the organization operates on an implicit assumption that infantilizes the working-class unemployed and produces tension-filled, productive-destructive results in the experiences of the working-class job seekers”, says Dr. Gist.

Additionally, Dr. Gist discussed a research project that she co-authored with Dr. Kristen Lucas from the University of Louisville, that focused on a duel-path model by which managerial practices negatively impact dignity.

“I am joining an interdisciplinary scholarly conversation that seeks to empower marginalized voices.  As a critical interpretive scholar, the work I do ultimately seeks to ethically foreground the stories and experiences of individuals with lower social class status, so that we can all have a better understanding of their standpoint.  I hope to impact organizational communication by nuancing the knowledge we have regarding identity differences and by illustrating the way engaged scholarship can positively construct and improve local communities”, says Dr. Gist on the impact of her scholarly work in the organization communication field.

Communication Studies has hosted the colloquium series since the fall semester of 2008. Speakers are selected by the Colloquium Committee and come from a wide range of research backgrounds and interests. The goal of hosting the Colloquium Series is to learn from fellow scholars, enrich interdisciplinary relationships, and celebrate research that continues to impact our discipline and others.

We would like to thank Dr. Gist for sharing her research. Additionally, many thanks to those that have presented in the past and those that we look forward to hosting in the future!

If you would like to find more information on the Colloquium Series, please visit this link.

(Pro)Social event speaker Dr. Angela Gist

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On October 23rd, 2015, Dr. Angela Gist, an Assistant Professor in Communication Studies, was the guest speaker for a (Pro)Social event. (Pro)Social is an organization that works to promote social support among graduate students in Communication Studies during their time at the University of Kansas.

As an organizational communication scholar, Dr. Gist has researched the power of networking communication in both online and interpersonal contexts. She presented several networking tools and practices that will aid individuals as they seek to build their social networks and make connections that will prove beneficial once graduate students are on the job market. She covered online tools, such as LinkedIn, building a personal website, and how to brand yourself online. Additionally, she shared personal practices of connecting with others and maintaining professional relationships. “Networking has the power to transform your career by leveraging professional relationships as opportunistic resources”, Dr. Gist said.

Natalie Hoskins, a doctoral student and president of (Pro)Social said, “As someone who is currently on the job market, I enjoyed Dr. Gist’s presentation and found it to be very useful. Her LinkedIn advice helped me fine tune my self-presentation online. However, the biggest takeaway for me, was learning that the seeds of social networking need to be planted far in advance of when you actually wish to reap what you sow. You can’t expect to make meaningful connections overnight.”

Dr. Gist’s genuine enthusiasm and passion for helping those around her succeed in developing and implementing valuable networking skill sets truly helped those in attendance reflect on the importance of networking and gain new knowledge on effective ways to do so. Thank you, Dr. Gist!

Langston Hughes Visiting Professor Dr. Alcides Velasquez

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This semester, Communication Studies welcomes Langston Hughes Visiting Professor Dr. Alcides Velasquez. Dr. Velasquez holds a Ph.D. in Media and Information Studies from Michigan State University and is currently an Assistant Professor at Universidad Javeriana in Bogota, Colombia. His research concentrates on how social media affordances and social and cognitive factors influence social media activism.

During his visit, he is teaching COMS 320, Communication on the Internet, as well as a COMS 560 seminar Minority Representation in the Media.

He finds great interest from KU Faculty in engaging in cross and inter disciplinary research, especially in topics related with digital media. He values the efforts the University is making to create appropriate spaces to facilitate these new projects and ideas related with digital media, and he is looking forward to making connections campus-wide with departments and professors already engaged in research projects relating to his research.

This has already yielded results. He is collaborating on a project with two faculty members,  Dr. Joseph Erba and Dr. Hyunin Seo, from Journalism and Mass Communication about the portrayal of immigrants by users of online news websites. The goal of this research project is better understand how users of news websites are discussing the issue of immigration, given the importance it has acquired for the primary elections.

For Communication Studies collaborations, he is working with two members of faculty, Dr. Andrew Quenette and Dr. Ashley Muddiman, on a project about social media and political participation. This research project is aimed at examining whether social media acts as a gateway for traditional forms of political participation among Latino youth and will compare Latino youth with non-Latinos.  Secondly, he is collecting data with a Communication Studies Ph.D. student, Jennifer Schon that looks at mediated communication patterns between parents and their teenage children. More specifically, the study examines factors that play a role in whether and how parents utilize information communication technologies, such as learning source, learning efficacy, and mobile communication competence.

He finds the pace of life in Lawrence much different than that of Bogota, Colombia—a city of 8 million people. His wife Diana and his two sons Tomas (3 years old) and Benjamin (4 months old) have joined him, and he enjoys the family-oriented atmosphere of the University and the town.

“Lawrence has many places to take small kids to play and have fun. For someone with small children, that is very valuable. Besides, the weather has been great for outdoors activities, which is great for kids.  Life in general seems easy in Lawrence.”

When he isn’t teaching or working with other faculty and students, he enjoys watching films and listening to music, and loves playing and watching soccer.

New COMS Faculty: Dr. Ashley Muddiman

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Dr. Ashley Muddiman is the most recent addition to our Communication Studies faculty. She earned her M.A. in communication from Wake Forest University, and Ph.D. in communication studies from the University of Texas at Austin. After spending two years as an Assistant Professor at the University of Wyoming, she was offered an Assistant Professorship with the Communication Studies department at the University of Kansas, and we are glad to welcome her for the 2015 Fall semester!

Dr. Muddiman’s research centers on political communication and media effects, specifically political incivility and digital news. She uses social scientific methods in her research, but she also enjoys working in departments with faculty and students who use a variety of methodological approaches to communication studies.

She is teaching two undergraduate courses for her first semester with the department. The first, COMS 335: Rhetoric, Politics, and Mass Media, focuses on the content and effects of political media. The second, COMS 560: Politics, Technology, and New Media, covers digital technology and how it influences citizens, campaigns, governance, and news.

For the upcoming spring 2016 semester, she will teach COMS 607: Political Communication, which gives students the opportunity to conduct a mock political campaign through the semester. She is especially excited about her upcoming COMS 930: New Media and Politics, which is an advanced version of her current undergraduate course for COMS 560.

For this year’s NCA, she is presenting two papers. The first, titled “What’s in a Frame? Using Political Incivility to Model News Frame Validation,” is on Thursday, Nov. 19 at 2pm. The second, scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 21 at 9:30am, is part of a paper panel titled “Embracing the Dark Side of Politics: Distrust, Avoidance, Incivility, and Difference in Contemporary Political Discourse.” During this presentation, she will discuss research about how people interact with politically uncivil news online.

When she isn’t teaching, she enjoys her two favorite hobbies: Traveling and art. In her recent travels to San Francisco, Chicago, Puerto Rico, and London to present her research, she tries to find time for sightseeing. When she can find the time, She enjoys painting, and she is looking forward to visiting the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City.

She had trouble deciding what her favorite thing about Lawrence and KU has been so far.

“At KU, everyone has been so welcoming and the job fits so well. It is great to be in a place where many people, faculty and students alike, are interested in politics, digital technology, or both.”

She is enjoying Lawrence very much, and finds the variety of downtown shops and restaurants in Lawrence to be great. She adds, “I am a huge fan of the television show Parks and Recreation, so I love that the Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department is fabulous and has so many free fitness centers!​”