Well, this is awkward.
It’s been a while since we’ve posted any program updates (since May, actually) so we have a lot to report. Normally, each of these notes of interest would get their own dedicated posts, but with the heat wave this summer affecting Raleigh harder than most, our keyboards all melted together and we were helpless to prevent the build-up of program news.
To the sub-headings!
Exams and ABD’s
Another CRDMer from the class of 2008 passed his exams earlier this summer, rounding out the total number to 7/8.
Jacob Dickerson tackled his orals at the end of the spring semester under the direction of his co-chairs, Carolyn Miller and Steve Wiley. Ken Zagacki and Carole Blair (UNC) filled out the rest of his committee, which questioned him on his three exam areas: Contemporary and Critical Rhetoric, Media Studies, and Collective Memory. He’s currently working on his dissertation, “Framing Infamy: Media Representations and Collective Memory of the Attack on Pearl Harbor,” and on his impression of FDR’s radio voice (I hear it’s quite good).
Dissertations and PhD’s
Nick Temple joined his class of 2007 colleagues in their League of Extraordinary Graduates in late May, having successfully defended his dissertation, “Re-conceptualizing Fantasy Theme Analysis in a Digital Online Context.” Nick’s committee included some familiar CRDM committee faces in Vicki Gallagher, Carolyn Miller, and Bill Kinsella, and his chair, Ken Zagacki, offered the following description of Nick’s dissertation work:
“Nick demonstrated how Fantasy Theme Analysis, an approach to doing rhetorical criticism that arose in the early 1980s, is particularly well suited to the new digital environment because the digital text is less fixed, more ephemeral, and less attributed to a specific author. Nick used Fantasy Theme Analysis to analyze three interesting case studies – digital news stories about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, online discussion boards about global warming, and Al Gore’s controversial film, “An Inconvenient Truth.” He showed how Fantasy Theme Analysis enables rhetorical critics to trace the emergence of “fantasy themes” through digital texts and the ways in which these themes create social dramas that challenge, reaffirm, and reconstitute both international and local communities.”
Congrats, Nick, and good luck!
The CRDM program has a fair amount of administrative shuffling as we head into the fall semester, starting with a changing of the guard at the Program Director position.
CRDM Program Directors typically serve for three years alongside an Associate Director, with one representing English and one representing Comm. Recently, Steve Wiley has served as our Director after taking over duties from Jeremy Packer, while Jason Swarts filled the role of Associate. Steve’s term has come to a close, and Jason will be taking over his responsibilities as Program Director. As Steve writes:
I have worked very closely with Jason during the last two years, and I can tell you that he will provide excellent leadership to guide CRDM through the next three years. Having served as a CRDM faculty member from the program’s inception, as Associate Director for three years, and as the chair of several doctoral advisory committees, Jason is thoroughly familiar with the CRDM program and its history as well as the intricacies of the program’s relationships to both departments, to the College, and to the wider University. As I relinquish the vast power I have been wielding as Program Director during the last two years, I know that you could not be in better hands.
We appreciate the work Steve has put in over his tenure and we’re sincerely thankful for his leadership, just as we look forward to Jason’s ascension to
the Iron Throne Director.
The Associate Director position got hit with a slight timing issue: Melissa Johnson, who has served as the Director of Graduate Studies for the Comm Department, was asked to serve as Jason’s replacement and accepted the role before learning that she’d be on an off-campus research assignment for the fall semester. As such, the replacement’s replacement was appointed by Comm Department head Ken Zagacki–we’re pleased to have Adriana de Souza e Silva as the Interim Associate Director for the fall, fresh off of her visiting professorship at the University of Copenhagen.
We have another personnel change as well, as we are losing our long-time program assistant, Jan Raymondi, to CHASS budget cuts and staff reorganization. She’ll be missed; I’m sure none of us envied the amount of bureaucratic procedures she had to learn or discover, and at times she probably felt like liaison taffy, getting pulled in so many directions at once. We want to thank her for helping keep this program running and we wish her good luck in the future. We’d also like to wish good luck to Joan Alford, the current full-time program assistant for the Communication M.A., who will be taking over Jan’s responsibilities.
Phew. Lots of updates, and more to come, but that should slake your thirst for all things CRDM that surely built up over the hot summer. I’ll be passing off the reins to a new blog admin when the fall semester starts (more on that later) but in the meantime, thanks for reading and please enjoy this bear playing a loosely strung bass guitar, which I find delightfully entertaining and mostly irrelevant. Hey, after a long blog post, who couldn’t use more musically demanding cartoon bears?