Skip to main content
Expand AU Menu

Media Relations

AU in the Media: 3/19/10

Top story

AU Launches Center for Latin American and Latino Studies

American University unveiled its new Center for Latin American and Latino Studies this week, the first in the D.C. area to focus on Latino culture and provide research on issues affecting Latino communities in the United States and throughout Latin America. “The Center for Latin American and Latino Studies at American University is a rare example of a regionally-based institute organized on a campus wide basis, rather than under the auspices of a single faculty,” said director Eric Hershberg. Hispanic Outlook in Higher Ed featured the new center as its news item of the day for March 17. (3/16/10)

Other Features

Students Gain a Global Experience through Alternative Spring Break

American University was featured in a Washington Post story about alternative break program offerings at colleges and universities. “It's a visceral experience,” said Shoshanna Sumka, coordinator for global and community-based learning, adding that many students have taken their experiences and turned them into careers. “We call it post-trip activism,” she said. “That's really the way that things get changed.” (3/18/10)

Academy-Award-winning Professor Discusses Sound Mixing

Russell Williams, School of Communication artist in residence, discussed the art of sound mixing for motion pictures during an eight-minute interview with National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, and critiqued the sound mixing for this year’s Academy-Award-nominated films. Williams, himself a two-time Academy-Award winner for sound mixing, said, “I'm a person that believes in camera perspective. So if something is closer to the camera, it should sound closer, and as it gets further away, it should get further away. But some movies don't do that.” (3/5/10)

Professors Offer Lectures Online, Face Fair Use Issues

In a story about fair use issues surrounding professors posting video/audio of their lectures online,The Chronicle of Higher Education referred to the “Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for OpenCourseWare”—a report published by AU’s Center for Social Media. The code simplifies the legalities of using copyrighted materials in lectures and other course materials made widely available online..(3/7/10)

Jobs Are Scarce but Companies Are Hiring

Economics professor Robert Lerman was a guest on NPR and WAMU’s Diane Rehm Show to discuss the ongoing struggle of job-seekers in a poor employment market. “One thing that’s often ignored is that there’s also a lot of hiring. The labor market churns a lot, so you see a lot of hiring taking place along with a lot of separations,” he said during the hour-long segment. (3/18/10)

History Professor Talks Film Project, Secret History in America

History professor Peter Kuznick talked with the History News Network about how he became a historian, founding AU’s Nuclear Studies Institute in 1995, his teaching career and current film project, Secret History of America with director Oliver Stone. Kuznick, who became friends with Stone after the creation of Kuznick’s course, Oliver Stone’s America, said he was motivated to do the television film series after Stone suggested collaborating on a documentary. “The combination of a good historian, talented screenwriter, brilliant director, and a couple dedicated researchers, one an AU history PhD and the other who is writing his dissertation under my direction, will make this series unlike anything that has been seen before,” Kuznick said. (3/8/10)

OpEds and Editorials

Scientists, Skeptics Face Off in the Climate Debate

According to Matthew Nisbet’s opinion piece for, the climate control debate has created an angrier divide between scientists and skeptics in the midst of new congressional energy legislation. “Urgent calls to escalate the war against climate skeptics may lead scientists and their organizations into a dangerous trap, fueling further political disagreement while risking public trust in science,” wrote Nisbet, a professor in the School of Communication. “A major transformation is needed in how scientists and their organizations engage the public and policymakers.” (3/18/10)

Expert Quotes

Lack of Connection among North American Institutions

During a national conference for college presidents, international relations professor Robert Pastor discussed the lack of collaboration among North American colleges and universities in a speech covered by Inside Higher Ed. According to Pastor, the North American Free Trade Agreement should have resulted in more cooperation as is seen in Europe, but has become “a veritable piñata for pundits and politician” following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. (3/10/10)

Code of Silence among Prison Inmates, Female Workers

Washington College of Law professor Brenda Smith weighed in on a recent report that found female prison guards are implicated more often in prison sexual misconduct cases than their male counterparts are, despite reported incidents of male prisoners blackmailing the female staff. “Even if the staff did small favors, they should have felt free enough to communicate with their superiors about the fact that they were being blackmailed by the inmate,” Smith told the Associated Press. This story was re-published by more than 200 news outlets, including the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and the Los Angeles Times. (3/14/10)

Are the Baby Boomers the “Greater Generation?”

Leonard Steinhorn, professor of public communication, discussed the differences between the Baby Boom generation and the previous generation on issues of social inequality. “When two generations faced the same conditions in America, one generation stood by the status quo and another generation said that status quo is unacceptable and we have to change it,’’ he told the Boston Globe. “We are a far better America than we were when the baby boomers first entered the stage. It’s a greater generation for making this a greater country.’’ (3/14/10)

Women Candidates Aplenty in Senate, Nonexistent in House

Jennifer Lawless, director of the Women & Politics Institute and a former congressional candidate, talked to Roll Call about the small number of women running for competitive House positions in Congress as opposed to the larger numbers in the Senate. “If women aren’t populating the red-to-blue or the blue-to-red districts, where the Democrats and Republicans are focusing their efforts, then they’re not running in the races where the resources to help ensure victory are directed,” she said. This story was republished by Yahoo! News and CQ Politics. (3/11/10)

Are Wives in Activism a Conflict for Federal Judges?

Washington College of Law professor Stephen Wermiel was a guest on NBC Nightly News to discuss spouses of federal judges participating in activism. “They don't think the justice will have to avoid sitting on specific cases unless she's directly involved in those issues in some way,” He said in reference to the possibility of direct conflict of interest in court cases.

Alumni Spotlight

AU Alumna Takes Risks, and Loves It

On Oscar Sunday, AU alumna Giuliana Rancic (MA in broadcast journalism) was featured on the front page of Washington Post’s Arts & Style section about her career as an entertainment television reporter for E! and her trademark persona when doing live broadcast interviews. During her time at AU, Rancic said the School of Communication dean suggested she try entertainment journalism. “What you should do is let everyone else deal with Capitol Hill and the White House and the Supreme Court,'" she recalls being told. "'Let these other students cover that stuff. Why don't you move out to Hollywood?' That's exactly what he said to me.” (3/7/10)