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Media Relations

AU in the Media: 12/11/09

Top story

Early Decision Heats Up

American University was featured in a Washington Post college admissions trend story on the front page of the Metro section about the increase in early decision applications. “You have a core of students who are very, very enthusiastic about the college, and who are more engaged in the college, for whom that institution is the first choice,” director for enrollment management Sharon Alston said about early decision being a popular choice with today’s prospective students. In addition, the Post mentioned that early decision was a more popular choice at AU this fall due to a pilot program, in which applicants were not required to submit SAT or ACT scores. AU saw a 46 percent increase in applications by the early decision deadline of November 15. (12/5/09)

Other Features

An Upgrade in Down Times

American University got top billing in an feature story as one of a small group of private universities across the country that has experienced bond-rating upgrades in spite of the economic slump. “These agencies tend to follow you for a very long period of time,” said Don Myers, AU’s vice president of finance. “They are very much into trend lines. And we have been operating with a financial management strategy for some time that has taken a very conservative approach that I believe is helping us.” The story also appeared on higher education association Web sites, including the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU). (12/10/09)

Professors Pontificate Peace Project

International relations professor Akbar Ahmed reflected on his 2004 project with UCLA professor Judea Pearl—also father of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl—with the Washington Post Magazine. Ahmed and Pearl traveled across the country to promote mutual understanding between Muslims and Jews, which later inspired the former’s 2008 Journey into America project. “We assumed here in America that as long as we reach out to the Muslim world ... all will be well,” Ahmed said, adding that their efforts created more dialogue. (12/6/09)


Bridging the Climate Change Gap

Matthew Nisbet—an expert on the intersection between media, politics, and science and environmental issues—was an in-studio guest on WAMU’s Kojo Nnamdi Show to discuss the global environmental policy debate as world leaders descended on Copenhagen, Denmark, for the United Nations climate change convention. Nisbet and two other guests discussed the “Creation Care” movement—the push to bridge climate change’s political divide with religious appeal. “We need to figure out ways to communicate about the complexity of this issue in ways that transcend those easy partisan interpretations,” Nisbet explained. (12/9/09)

Opinions and Editorials

How to Successfully Reach the Audience

Bob Lehrman, School of Communication professor and former speechwriter for Vice President Al Gore, outlined four steps President Obama should take for his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in an opinion piece for Politico. Lehrman, the author of the new book The Political Speechwriter’s Companion, advised that Obama should be brief, discuss world problems and highlight solutions, use inspiring anecdotes, and offer listeners a short, clear road map for what he’d like to achieve. “The most powerful winner in the 109-year history of the Nobel Peace Prize, Obama clearly won not just for what he’s done but also for what he could do. He can create a lot of consequences in the three or seven years he has left — and take a modest step forward Thursday, using just 15 minutes,” concluded Lehrman. (12/10/09)

Expert Quotes

Kindle for Christmas?

Linguistics professor Naomi Baron talked to The Observer (United Kingdom) about modern technology’s effect on reading options, as many books are now available electronically. Baron said there has been some backlash from the publishing industry against online conversation, where the digital universe is a threat to “real world” thinking. (12/6/09)

Fighting the Health Care reform bill

Curtis Gans, director of the Center for the Study of the American Electorate, discussed Republican strategies to slow health care reform with McClatchy Newspapers, resulting in a story that was republished in more than 30 news outlets. “I don't see the public responding to that (offering numerous amendments). You would have to have very good amendments,” said Gans. “There will be a health care bill, and I don't think [Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell] is going to be able to block it.”(12/5/09)

Medical Disclaimer Bill in Maryland

Law professor Jamin Raskin talked about the validity of a proposed bill intended to caution women that the information they receive at so-called “limited service pregnancy centers” (centers that do not perform abortions or offer abortion referrals) might not be accurate. The bill would require such centers in Montgomery County, MD, to issue disclaimers that they are not giving medical advice. “The state will regulate and criminalize people who pretend to be practicing law without a license,” Raskin told the Maryland Gazette. “Arguably, this is an attempt to regulate the unauthorized practice of medicine.”(12/9/09)