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Stories this week at Wake Forest University

September 3, 2008

PROFESSOR RATES CONVENTION SPEECHES When soon-to-be vice-presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin gives her speech tonight at the Republican National Convention, Associate Professor of Communication Allan Louden will be watching. An expert on political communication, Louden has provided commentary on campaign speeches for national and regional media outlets. He is available to comment on Palin’s remarks and John McCain’s upcoming speech. He can also compare this week’s Republican speeches to last week’s Democratic Convention speeches.

Contact: Cheryl Walker, or (336) 758-6073.

NEW CENTER HELPS BUSINESS MAJORS SHARPEN IMAGE — The Ernst & Young Professional Development Center has opened in Kirby Hall to help all business majors in the Calloway School of Business and Accountancy sharpen job-readiness skills in such areas as business etiquette, professional presence, time management, team-building and networking.  The center was established this summer through the generosity of the Ernst & Young Foundation, as well as that of the partners and employees of Ernst & Young.  Sam Leonard Beck, who received her undergraduate and master’s degrees from Wake Forest, has been appointed as the first director of the new center and brings to the task more than 20 years of experience in career development in higher education.

Contact: Eric Frazier, or (336) 758-5237.

NEW WEBSITE TO PROMOTE RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE “Fighting Religious Intolerance: Portraits of Hate, Lessons of Hope” ( will be formally launched during a reception at 4 p.m. Sept. 9 in Benson University Center, Room 401. The aim of the Web site is to promote religious tolerance by raising awareness of intolerance in the United States, not just in the past but as it exists today. The site uses visual media such as cartoons, photographs and leaflets to illustrate the vilification and persecution of religious groups in America. The site is the result of a challenge posed by Lynn Neal, assistant professor of religion at Wake Forest University, to the students in her spring course, “Religious Intolerance in the United States,” to create a Web site incorporating what they learned in the class. The Web site includes links to resources for promoting religious tolerance and for understanding a variety of religious traditions, as well as a moderated discussion area. “I think this will be a great tool for high school and college classes exploring this issue,” says Neal.

Contact: Audrey Fannin, or (336) 758-5237.

MAKING SENSE OF POLITICAL CHANGES IN PAKISTAN Charles Kennedy, professor of political science at Wake Forest University, can put Pakistan’s ongoing political upheaval into perspective.  He can explain the events leading up to former President Pervez Musharraf’s recent resignation and what this will mean for Pakistan’s relationship with the United States and the ongoing war on terror. Kennedy is a former director of the American Institute of Pakistan Studies, and remains on the board of directors of that organization as well as the Kashmir Study Group. He is author of several books and articles on Pakistan including his most recent book, “Government and Politics in South Asia,” published last month. Other books include “Pakistan: 2005,” “Pakistan at the Millennium,” “The Kashmir Dispute at Fifty: Charting Paths to Peace,” and “Islamization of Laws and Economy: Case Studies on Pakistan” among many others. He published a chapter titled “Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Regime” in “New Perspectives on Pakistan: Contexts, Realities and Visions for the Future.” Kennedy travels frequently to the region and is available to discuss the current state of affairs in Pakistan.

Contact: Audrey Fannin, or (336) 758-5237.

OUTSIDE THE BOX: WHY SOME LIVE WITHOUT TV— Shielding children from sex and violence, avoiding commercials and finding extra time for other activities are among the key reasons some Americans live without television, according to a new book by Marina Krcmar, associate professor of communication at Wake Forest University. “Living without the Screen” is an in-depth study of American families and individuals who choose not to watch television. Krcmar (pronounced “Krutch-mar”) wanted to find out why some people permanently turn off the TV, while the average American watches three hours of television each day. “Non-viewers perceive television to have power,” Krcmar said. “They believe it can steal time, can affect consumer behavior and can influence how autonomous children are.” She interviewed 120 adults and children from 62 different households who do not watch television.

Contact: Cheryl Walker, or (336) 758-5237.

FATHERS AND DAUGHTERS:  STRENGTHENING THE BONDS — Fathers and daughters often do not have the close ties mothers and daughters have, says Linda Nielsen, professor of education at Wake Forest.  In her new book, “Between Fathers & Daughters:  Enriching and Rebuilding your Adult Relationship” (Cumberland House Publishing, September 2008), Nielsen offers practical advice for strengthening the father-daughter bond.  “Sadly, too many of us continue to downplay the importance of the father-daughter relationship in comparison to the mother-daughter relationship,” Nielsen said.  “We still too often treat dads, especially divorced dads, like the mom’s ‘sidekick’ or her ‘apprentice’ in parenting.  The research is so overwhelming and so consistent in regard to the lifelong impact that a dad has on his daughter, and also the tremendous impact that daughters have on their fathers.”  In the book, Nielsen explores the family dynamics that prevent fathers and daughters of all ages from having a more relaxed, more meaningful relationship.  She looks at some of the barriers to good relationships including issues related to money and work, negative beliefs about fathers, communication, divorce and remarriage.

Contact:  Cheryl Walker, or (336) 758-5237.

CAN A WOMAN BE ELECTED VICE PRESIDENT? – Peter Siavelis, associate professor of political science at Wake Forest and expert on South American politics, returned recently from a think tank meeting in Chile. Siavelis can compare the presidential electoral success in 2006 of Chile’s MichelleBachelet to the steep political challenges faced by seasoned female politicians in the United States.  Bachelet took office despite being a single mother, an avowed agnostic and a relative outsider to Chile’s machismo political process. Siavelis co-edited a new book, “Pathways to Power: Political Recruitment and Candidate Selection in Latin America,” published this month by the Pennsylvania State University Press.

Contact: Audrey Fannin, or (336) 758-5237

DOES EVERY VOTE COUNT? — Voting and its quagmires have heavily influenced politics in the 21st century.  In his timely fall course for freshmen, “The Mathematics of Voting,” Jason Parsley, assistant professor of mathematics, introduces students to such mathematical principles as “Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem,” which indicates that if three or more candidates are running, there is no “fair” system for deciding a winner.  The course will examine the strengths and weaknesses of various voting systems in use, including plurality rule, instant runoff voting, approval voting and the Electoral College.  Students will also discuss current election topics such as the debates over electronic voting machines and felon disenfranchisement.

Contact: Audrey Fannin, or (336) 758-5237.

FRESHMEN SEEK SUSTAINABLE ENERGY — As high gas prices and national energy policies continue to dominate the news and the presidential campaigns, a first-year seminar called “Seeking Sustainable Energy” encourages freshmen to decide for themselves which energy options the nation should pursue.  “History has many examples of civilizations that rose and thrived using unsustainable resources and then collapsed when the resources were exhausted,” says Dilip Kondepudi, Thurman D. Kitchin Professor of Chemistry, who is teaching the course for the first time.  “When resources become insufficient, political conflicts and wars ensue.  Therefore, it is imperative that we base our global economy on resources that are sustainable.”  Students will review the historical relationship between economic growth and energy consumption and consider current energy resources, environmental impacts, and the role of technology, innovation and public policy in forming their conclusions.

Contact: Eric Frazier, or (336) 758-5237.

“WHAT WE SEE: THE TEXTURE OF CONSCIOUS EXPERIENCE”— Fred Dretske, senior research scholar at Duke University, is challenging the claim that we are unable to truly experience the overwhelming details of the world—for example, all the leaves on a tree or all the people in a crowded room. Theclaim asserts that our ability to see by moving our eyes creates an illusion that we consciously experience, at one given moment, all this detail, but in fact we only experience as much of this detail as we choose to look at. Dretske disagrees that there is very little of the detail in the world that makes its way into our conscious experience. “I will argue that our experience is, indeed, much richer and more textured than this view recognizes,” Dretske says. He will make those arguments at 4:30 p.m. Sept. 11 in the Wake Forest Philosophy Library, Tribble Hall, Room B316.  The event is free and open to the public.

Contact: Audrey Fannin, or (336) 758-5237.

HEINZ CEO TO KICK OFF BABCOCK LEADERSHIP SERIES — David Moran, executive vice president, president and chief executive officer of Heinz North America, will kick off the 2008-09 Babcock Leadership Series at Wake Forest University’s Babcock Graduate School of Management.  Moran is scheduled to speak at 5 p.m., Sept. 24, in the Worrell Professional Center.  Moran will address his career path at Heinz and how the business has evolved and grown under a new leadership model.  The event is free and open to the public.

Contact: Lisa Snedeker, or (336) 441-0027.

OPENING CONVOCATION HIGHLIGHTS THE ARTS AT WFU —David Lubin, Charlotte C. Weber Professor of Art at Wake Forest University, will deliver Wake Forest’s Opening Convocation address at 4 p.m. Sept. 18 in Wait Chapel. Lubin will explore how the arts spark our curiosity and engage our imagination in a talk titled “Disturbing the Peace: Wake Forest and the Arts.” Lubin teaches the history of art, cinema and popular culture. He is the author of four books, the most recent, “Shooting Kennedy,” examines the photographic portrayal of John and Jackie Kennedy from 1953 to 1963. Another of his books, “Titanic,” is an in-depth critical analysis of the blockbuster movie. During the convocation, the award-winning Wake Forest Debate Team will be recognized and the Waddill Excellence in Teaching Award, the Reinhardt Award for Distinguished Teaching, the Schoonmaker Faculty Award for Community Service and the Award for Administrative Excellence will be conferred.  The event is free and open to the public.

 Contact: Audrey Fannin, or (336) 758-5237.

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