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Release: Immediate

UI Communication Studies faculty members achieve national, international distinction

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Steve Duck, chairman of the communication studies department at the University of Iowa, notes with pride that a recent publishers' catalog featuring seven "Outstanding New Titles in Communication" included three titles for which UI communication studies faculty were the writer, editor, or topic of the book. "I bet not many other departments of communication studies can see three out of seven like that," Duck said.

In fact, that recognition is icing on the cake for the department which has garnered numerous national and international awards in the last 15 months. That this small, but growing, department has achieved such distinction and maintained high standards while at the same time coping with a large and growing student demand for courses makes the outcome even more gratifying, Duck said.

Kristine Fitch was recently awarded a prestigious Leverhulme Fellowship to visit Loughborough University in the United Kingdom (UK). The fellowships are awarded annually the London-based Leverhulme Trust and are available to scholars who are or have been prevented by routine duties from completing a particularly promising program of original research. Fitch serves as chair of the Language and Social Interaction Division of the National Communication Association.

Leslie Baxter won the G. R. Miller Book Award in the Interpersonal and Small Group Division, an honor given by the National Communication Association. She also was selected for the Elizabeth Andersch Award for Excellence in Teaching and Scholarship from Ohio University. Baxter is also serving as immediate-past president of the Western Speech Communication Association.

Duck was selected by his peers worldwide as the winner of the Berscheid-Hatfield Award for Distinguished Mid career Achievement, which is given by the International Network on Personal Relationships, a large and fast-growing group of researchers, practitioners, teachers, and students interested in understanding social and personal relationships. Duck was also asked to serve as honorary visiting professor at the University of Bristol, UK, and won a 1996 book award. In addition to these awards, Duck is completing 15 years as editor of the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, now ranked in top three journals for Communication by Social Sciences Citation Index.

Bruce Gronbeck was named Doctor Honoris Causa at Uppsala University, Sweden in a ceremony that included a laurel wreath and a 21-gun salute.

David Hingstman, faculty adviser to the A. Craig Baird Debate Team at the UI, coached the winner of the Top Speaker Award at the 1997 National Collegiate Debate Tournament as well as the national runners-up at the tournament in 1996.

Michael McGee was awarded the National Speakers Association Outstanding Professor Award, and Robert Newman won the National Communication Association's Diamond Jubilee Book Award.

Leighton Pierce's film "50 Feet of String" was named Best of the Fest at the Ann Arbor Film Festival. Two other faculty members, Dudley Andrew and Rick Altman, have received French Knighthoods within the last two years for their work in film.

"Given the small size of our faculty, to have so many of them recognized by their national and international peers for work in different emphases within communication studies is a tribute to the comprehensive program we have developed at Iowa, and a strong testament to the tremendous contribution that we have been able to make to the university community," Duck said. "People sometimes underestimate the importance -- for teaching -- of strong scholarship, but these awards and recognition by our peers are one important measure of the skills and strength of education that the department of communication studies can pass along every day to our students."