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December 2013

Inspecting Carol brings holiday laughs  

Inspecting Carol

Get your holiday cheer on with Inspecting Carol, a hilarious spoof on the traditional season favorite, A Christmas Carol. PLU Theatre will usher in the season with performances on December 11-14 at 7:30 pm and December 14-15 at 2pm in Eastvold Auditorium of the new Karen Hille Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

The comedy is set behind the scenes of a struggling theatre’s annual production of A Christmas Carol, and rehearsals are at a standstill. Tim is no longer Tiny, Scrooge wants to do the play in Spanish and their funding is on hold. An inspector for the National Endowment for the Arts will arrive to decide whether they will receive their much-needed financial assistance. Everything that could possibly go wrong, goes horribly (but hilariously) wrong. 

"The only way that a farce like this works, is if all of the actors build solid relationships with one another, to know they can trust and rely on each other on stage,” Lori Lee Wallace, director or Inspecting Carol, says. “This is an ensemble piece, it only works if all of the actors are connected, and these twelve really are - in a way that I have rarely seen.”

Inspecting Carol was written by Daniel Sullivan and produced by the Seattle Repertory Theatre in 1992. 

“We never tried to be The Seattle Repertory Theatre, the creators of this play. We [the students and faculty of Pacific Lutheran University] breathe our own air into the piece,” Wallace says. 

“We all (the cast and crew) just fall out of our seats laughing as the company tries their hardest to make the play happen, and nothing ever goes right for them,” Wallace says.

Tickets are available at the door or at PLU Campus Concierge at 253-535-7411. Tickets are $8 general admission, $5 senior citizens (55+) and $3 for PLU community and students everywhere. Students get in Free on December 11 with ID! This comedy makes for a night at the theatre that is anything but show business as usual.

Hallelujah! We're streaming live!

PLU Christmas

Friday, December 13 at 8pm | TACOMA   LIVESTREAMING

The hottest ticket in town is yours - tune in live for a Hallelujah! A PLU Christmas Friday at 8pm from the comfort of your own home. Featuring the Choir of the West, University Chorale, and University Symphony Orchestra. This year’s performance will include an excerpt from George Frideric Handel’s Messiah. Please note, the December 13 performance is the only Christmas Concert that will be streamed live.

PLU professor pens definitive book on college debate 

Forensics in AmericaForensics in higher-education phrasing means competitive debate, a spirited intellectual aerobics. PLU Professor and Communication and Theatre Department Chair, Michael Bartanen and Professor Robert Littlefield from North Dakota State University, have published the first comprehensive text on this educational sport titled “Forensics in America: A History”.

The authors’ findings closely link the changes in forensics to the changes that influenced all of secondary and higher education during the century. For seven years the team traced the intellectual and social factors that affected the craft, rather than simply listing relevant dates and events. 

"The authors are the experts in the field. This is the first comprehensive history of American forensics and I predict that it will stand as the history of forensics for the next one hundred years," Professor of Rhetoric at the University of Oregon, David A. Frank said.

The text shows the major themes related to the education and practice of competitive forensics. The academic sport flourished in the twentieth century. Famous college debaters include: John F. Kennedy, Antonin Scalia and Jane Pauley. 

The book was released on the centennial celebrations of the National Communication Association and Pi Kappa Delta (PKD), the largest collegiate speech and debate honorary society of which Bartanen is a hall of famer

Bartanen has been a member of PKD since his college years and has been active in PKD on virtually every level for 40 years, from debate coach and Archivist/Historian to his current role as National Secretary Treasurer. A national council established the Pi Kappa Delta Hall of Fame in 1987, Bartanen happened to be one of those council members.

Interactive debate on drone policy shifts audience opinions

PLU Debate

“Is U.S. drone program fatally flawed?” This was the question debaters from Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) and University of Puget Sound (UPS) focused on during the first annual Ruth Anderson public debate on Wednesday, December 4. More than 100 people attended the debate on the PLU campus with more than 80 scoring the debate electronically. 

Debate participants included Pauline Kaurin, Associate Professor of Philosophy at PLU, and Pam Barker PLU senior communication studies and political science major speaking for the affirmative; and Seth Weinberger, Associate Professor of Politics and Government at the UPS and David Mooney, PLU senior and political science major, arguing for the negative.

Much of the debate focused on the differing opinions regarding the human cost of drone attacks. The debate came down to the question of “What do you prefer fairness or efficiency?” The audience ultimately chose efficiency.

“I’m not surprised the debate turned out the way it did. In a lot of ways it mirrors the national discussion,” Justin Eckstein, Director of Forensics and Clinical Assistant Professor at PLU, said.

The debate was streamed via Lutecast, PLU’s streaming media service. Audience members both on campus and online were asked to weigh in electronically via text message and Twitter on the primary question both before and after the debate. 

The results of the voting showed a shift in audience opinion about U.S. drone policy following the debate. Before the debate 33 audience members voted that the drone policy was fatally flawed, while 22 indicated that it wasn’t, and 27 remained undecided. 

Following the debate the audience opinion shifted with 28 votes that the policy was fatally flawed, and 33 votes that it was not. In the end only five audience members remained undecided. 

Amy Young, Associate Professor of Communication, tweeted, “If we will risk human lives when it matters, like Bin Laden, what does it say about counterterrorism that we are sending drones?” while Christian Dilworth asked via twitter, “How can you avoid civilian casualties if the targets are surrounded by civilians?”

“We had a wonderful turnout at the event,” Justin Eckstein, Director of Forensics and Clinical Assistant Professor at PLU, said. “I’m looking forward to hosting another debate in the future and continuing to generate participants from across campus and beyond.”

To watch the debate click here, and to see comments and questions raised during the event see twitter hashtag #dronedebate. This new public debate series was named for Ruth Anderson, a famous, former PLU debater. The next Ruth Anderson Public Debate will be in December 2014.

Two PLU communication professors win top awards

Two PLU communication professors, Dr. Justin Eckstein and Dr. Amy Young, received top paper awards at the recent National Communication Association Conference in Washington, D.C.

Justin award Director of Forensics Dr. Justin Eckstein’s paper, “Yellow Rain: Radiolab and the Acoustics of Strategic Maneuvering" highlighted what Eckstein calls “the acoustics of strategic maneuvering which describes the way sound itself acts as a presentational force in the service of standpoint.” It was presented in the Argumentation and Forensics Division.

Dr. Amy Young, Associate Professor of Communication, received the award for her paper "Beyond Supreme: Retired Supreme Court Justices as Public Intellectuals", which deals with the increasingly vocal, political and mediated role we've seen Stevens, Souter and O'Connor play since their respective retirements.  It was presented in the Communication & the Law Division.

Young’s paper specifically critiqued the elitism of the judiciary, the role of the court, certain decisions (e.g. Citizens United), and the more partisan nature of the Court. Case examples included John Paul Stevens' appearances on The Daily Show, The Colbert Report and in a speech to the Clinton School at the University of Arkansas. The paper’s co-author, Jeremiah Hickey, is from St. John's University in Queens, NY.

The National Communication Association is nearly a century old and the most prestigious organization in the discipline of communication. NCA “promotes the widespread appreciation of the importance of communication in public and private life, the application of competent communication to improve the quality of human life and relationships, and the use of knowledge about communication to solve human problems.”

2013 Year in Photos 

Take a look back at 2013 with a year of photos. Thanks to John Froschauer for being there to capture these moments.