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University of Iowa News Release


July 20, 2007

UI Communication Studies Faculty Receive Honors

Three communication studies faculty members in the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences have received honors for their scholarship from the National Communication Association.

Professor John Peters has received the Franklyn S. Haiman Award for distinguished scholarship in freedom of expression for his book "Courting the Abyss: Free Speech and the Liberal Tradition."

Selection committee member David Park, of Lake Forest College, said Peters has broken new ground in the subject.

"It provides an approach to freedom of expression that gets us beyond the now quite tired question of, 'Should some shocking form of communication be legally allowed?'" Park said. "Peters shows us how the classical liberal dictate that we simply must tolerate that which we find repugnant has its own limits. This is a gutsy argument, executed with precision."

Peters was named F. Wendell Miller Distinguished Professor in 2002. His first book in 1999 was the award-winning "Speaking Into the Air: A History of the Idea of Communication."

Associate Professor Barbara Biesecker has received the Douglas W. Ehninger Award, named in honor of the former UI professor. The award recognizes scholars who demonstrate intellectual creativity, perseverance and impact on academic communities through multiple publications and presentations around a rhetorical topic or theme.

Biesecker's receiving the award is noteworthy because the honor is often given to scholars approaching retirement as a tribute to a career's work. She is currently completing a book-length manuscript on the rhetoric and politics of remembrances of World War II at the end of the 20th century.

Professor Leslie Baxter has received the Bernard J. Brommel Award for Outstanding Scholarship or Distinguished Service, which recognizes significant achievement in family communication over a period of years through leadership, teaching, or promotion of the field and the combination of scholarly contributions and instructional leadership.

Baxter was named F. Wendell Miller Distinguished Professor in 2000. Her research focuses on communication in friendship and romantic, marital and kin relationships. She also holds a secondary appointment as a professor in the Community and Behavioral Health Department in the UI College of Public Health.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

CONTACTS: Media: Nicole Riehl, 319-384-0070,; Writer: Joe Nugent