Center for C-SPAN Scholarship and Engagement


History and Goal

The relationship between C-SPAN, a public affairs television network founded by the cable industry, and Purdue University is historically strong. The C-SPAN-Purdue relationship is based on four linkages: the C-SPAN founder’s Purdue alumnus status, the renaming of the Department of Communication to the Brian Lamb School of Communication (Lamb School), the location of the C-SPAN Archives in the Purdue Research Park, and the C-SPAN Archives Director, Dr. Robert X. Browning’s, faculty appointment in the College of Liberal Arts (CLA). C-SPAN’s founder and current Executive Chairman, Brian Lamb, is an alumnus of the Communication (originally Speech) program at Purdue and has been an active Purdue and College of Liberal Arts alum through the years. He has been honored as a distinguished alumnus of CLA and was awarded an honorary degree in 1986. In 2011, Communication faculty endorsed and the university approved a departmental name change to the Brian Lamb School of Communication

The goal of the Center for C-SPAN Scholarship and Engagement is to create an unrivaled niche for Purdue, the College of Liberal Arts, and the Brian Lamb School of Communication by establishing a national research center focused on discovery and engagement using the C-SPAN Archives.

Initiatives:

  • Research Initiative—The research initiatives in the Center for C-SPAN Scholarship and Engagement will explore the theoretical and practical issues associated with 21st century democratic and civic life domestically and internationally. Scholarship will be dedicated to the spirit of the C-SPAN mission including access and transparency of governance structures in emerging and established democracies; public policy understanding and analysis; elite political communication from elected and appointed officials; the contours and expression of citizen public opinion in civil society; and the influence and evolution of journalistic norms and practices.

  • Education Initiative—The education initiatives in the Center for C-SPAN Scholarship and Engagement will explore the theoretical and practical issues associated with 21st century democratic and civic life domestically and internationally. Instructors are encouraged to develop assignments using the C-SPAN Video Library and to locate a repertoire of video clips that can be used to illustrate concepts and processes in their course. The goal is to introduce students to the resources of the C-SPAN Video Library and to innovate in the delivery of ideas using video and especially C-SPAN unedited, primary source video.

  • Maymester Initiative—The Maymester in Washington initiative of the Center for C-SPAN Scholarship and Engagement will engage students with national leaders in Washington, DC. The purpose is to expose students to leaders, develop communication skills, and open other opportunities in Washington, DC.

  • National Meeting Initiative—The national meeting initiative of the Center for C-SPAN Scholarship and Engagement will continue to encourage research using the C-SPAN Video Library by faculty at Purdue and around the country . The goal is to foster published research using the C-SPAN Video Library. This research is presented at an annual conference and has been published in an edited book series.

  • Speaker InitiativeThe speaker initiative of the Center for C-SPAN Scholarship and Engagement invites speakers to the Purdue University campus. The purpose is to expose faculty and students to ideas in applied research and engagement in political communication by renowned scholars and practitioners from around the country.

  • Experiential Learning Initiative—The experiential learning Initiative of the Center for C-SPAN Scholarship and Engagement will provide students with hands-on research experiences to study political communication and public affairs. The purpose is to expose students to social science research methods that will help them better understand political institutions, citizenship, democracy, civic participation, a free press, etc. Example experiential learning experiences include the Iowa Caucuses and the Presidential Inauguration.

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