Kirt Wilson receives outstanding teaching award

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Kirt Wilson, associate professor of communication arts and sciences, combines a talent for teaching with a passion to enrich students’ experiences at Penn State, leading to his selection as the 2017 recipient of The Malvin and Lea Bank Outstanding Teaching Award for the College of the Liberal Arts.

The $5,000 annual award was established with a generous gift by Mal and the late Lea Bank, alumni and longtime benefactors of the College of the Liberal Arts and Penn State. Mal Bank is a 1952 Penn State graduate with a degree in arts and letters and an accomplished tax law attorney with Thompson Hine LLP, headquartered in Cleveland. He served as general counsel for the Cleveland Foundation, one of the nation’s largest community foundations, from 1965 to 2003. He also has been a trustee for more than 30 charitable and educational institutions, and a director for more than 50 for-profit businesses.

As a recipient of the award, Wilson will give a public lecture on undergraduate teaching at 3 p.m. on Friday, April 7, in Grucci Room, 102 Burrowes Building. In his lecture, he will explore how the art and science of communication provide important lessons for our classrooms and polities. He contends that in an era of alternative facts, a "communicative approach" to teaching can advance knowledge, rebuild the capacity to participate in an inclusive civil society, and inspire students to pursue a future that is better than the past.

Wilson is a scholar of political communication, rhetorical criticism, and contemporary theories of race and society. His research moves from African-American public discourse to presidential rhetoric and from the political history of the Civil War era to the symbolic construction of memory in the late 20th-century.

Wilson is also the president-elect of the Rhetoric Society of America and the 2016 Carroll C. Arnold Distinguished Lecturer for the National Communication Association. His research and teaching focus on 19th- and 20th-century public discourse, theories of dissent, and the black freedom struggle. He teaches CAS 101 Introduction to Communication, CAS 475 Political and Cultural Rhetoric of the 1960s, CAS 411 Rhetorical Criticism, CAS 422 Contemporary African-American Communication, and graduate seminars in textual analysis, critical race theory, and social movements.

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Last Updated April 03, 2017