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The University of Texas at Austin Dedicates the Moody College of Communication

On Nov. 7, 2013, The University of Texas at Austin officially dedicated the Moody College of Communication at a celebration at Walter Cronkite Plaza on campus. The event honored the $50 million gift from the Moody Foundation of Galveston that will result in the largest endowment for the study of communication of any public university in the nation.

The event featured speakers including Moody Foundation Trustee Ross Moody, University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers and Moody College of Communication Dean Roderick P. Hart.

Ross Moody explains why the Moody Foundation of Galveston invested $50 million in the UT Austin College of Communication

"By making this gift, the Moody Foundation seeks to increase the presence of the university on a national and international basis and improve the quality of its education by recruiting the best professors, the best administration and in turn having the best students coming out of the Moody College of Communication," said Moody. "It's a huge honor to have the Moody name attached to a college that is so well known around the state and nation."

The broad-based gift will fund new curricula, research and student activities, provide endowments for the college's five departments and research and outreach centers, and help graduate student fellowships for recruitment.

"The Moody Foundation has made a transformative gift to The University of Texas at Austin," Powers said. "As the Moody College of Communication, this venerable and accomplished college is poised to become the nation's leading institution for communication scholarship and education. It is an honor to welcome this great Texas family into the pantheon of the university's most historically important donors."

A portion of the gift will be used to refurbish the Jesse H. Jones Communication Complex and create a new pedestrian bridge between the Belo Center for New Media and the Jesse H. Jones Complex.

"The College is tremendously grateful for this investment from the Moody Foundation," Hart said. "The Moody name gives instant credibility to the college by providing a brand that's powerful and sustaining. This is truly a legacy gift that will transform all areas of the Moody College and continue to serve the people of Texas."

Read more about the Moody Gift


School of Journalism Celebrates 100 Years

From humble beginnings in 1914 in a dilapidated set of offices heated by coal burning stoves, the School of Journalism at The University of Texas at Austin has risen to become one of the nation's foremost journalism schools. In 2014, the school celebrates its 100th birthday at a time of transformation, challenge and innovation.

The School of Journalism will celebrate its centennial all year long by bringing to campus major figures from the world of journalism and by holding events for students and alumni to reconnect with the school and one another.

The School of Journalism has launched a new website where alumni can learn more about the history, impact and programs within the School of Journalism, find each other and share experiences, and learn about upcoming events.

On Jan. 13, the Moody College held its first event featuring University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers, Moody College of Communication Dean Roderick P. Hart, and journalism alumna and State Senator Judith Zaffirini (Ph.D., '78) a celebration in Cronkite Plaza.


Watch the Centennial Video

Other events will include visits by CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley and renowned sports photographer Neil Leifer. The culminating event will be the Friends of the Moody College Dinner on Thursday, Sep. 25. Bob Woodward will speak at a reception honoring the school's Pulitzer Prize-winning alumni. (Seating is limited, and alumni interested in attending can contact Wade Lee at wade.lee@austin.utexas.edu.)

Since beginning in 1914, the School of Journalism has trained more than 12,000 journalists in top-ranked undergraduate and graduate programs, and was selected as one of 12 journalism schools to participate in the Carnegie-Knight Initiative on the Future of Journalism Education. Alumni include Walter Cronkite, Lady Bird Johnson, Liz Carpenter, Bill Moyers and more than two dozen Pulitzer Prize winners.

In 2012, the school introduced a new digital-based undergraduate curriculum and moved into the state-of-the-art, 120,000-square-foot Belo Center for New Media .

Visit the  Journalism Centennial Website

Moody College Alumnus Matthew McConaughey Wins Golden Globe

Radio-Television-Film graduate Matthew McConaughey (B.S., '93), won the 2014 Golden Globe for best actor in a motion picture, drama on Jan. 12 for his portrayal of AIDS activist Ron Woodroof in "Dallas Buyers Club."

Matthew McConaughey
(Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

The native of Uvalde, Texas was originally discovered in an Austin bar by producer Don Phillips following his graduation from the Department of Radio-Television-Film in 1993. Phillips cast McConaughey in his breakout role in Richard Linklater's film "Dazed in Confused," launching a career that now includes more than 50 acting credits.

To prepare for "Dallas Buyers Club," the actor lost more than 40 pounds to play Woodroof, a real-life Texas electrician who contracted AIDS in 1986 and sought out alternative treatments for himself and others despite rebukes from the government and medical establishment.

In a category stacked with talent, McConaughey beat out Tom Hanks, Robert Redford, Chiwetel Ejofor and Idris Elba.

The award highlights a resurgent career for McConaughey that includes recent critically acclaimed roles in "The Wolf of Wall Street," "Mud," "Magic Mike," "Killer Joe," "Bernie" and "The Lincoln Lawyer."

On Jan. 16, McConaughey was nominated for the "Best Actor" Academy Award for his performance in "Dallas Buyers Club." He'll face competition from Leonardo DiCaprio, Christian Bale, Chiwetel Ejofor and Bruce Dern. The 86th Academy Awards ceremony will take place on Sunday, March 2.

Students Intern at the 2014 Sochi Olympics

Sochi Olympics

The leopard, polar bear and hare may be the official 2014 Sochi Olympics mascots, but the Longhorns also have a presence in Russia this February.

When celebrities and business leaders flocked to Sochi, graduate advertising student Aleksandra Utterback greeted them on behalf of NBC Sports and ushered them to events throughout the Olympic Park. At one of the Olympics' media centers, sophomore radio-television-film major Kadriya Gizatullina prepared offices for executive producers, ran errands for editors and videographers and translated information from-and-to her native Russian language.

The students are serving as NBC Sports interns – highly competitive posts they landed after an intense application and interview process. Department of Advertising and Public Relations lecturer Joel Lulla helped facilitate the interview process for the internships, which fulfill the Moody College Sports Media Certificate's internship requirement. Developed by the Department of Advertising and Public Relations, the Sports Media Certificate consists of a sports media-focused internship and 18 hours of coursework.

The internship also complements Moody College's Texas Program in Sports and Media, which supports sports-related curriculum development and hosts discussions related to the intersection of sports, media and society.

Read a Q&A with Gizatullina and Utterback

Advertising Professors Critique Super Bowl Ads

On Super Bowl Sunday, professors from the Department of Advertising and Public Relations live tweeted critiques of Super Bowl ads.

Using the hashtag #SBAjugde, the group assessed ads on qualities such as the presence of a strong emotional hook, relevance to the brand's position, the likelihood that a viewer would ask friends to view the ad and the likelihood that a viewer would want to see the ad again.

Assistant Professor Angeline Close (@angelineclose)
Assistant Professor Carlos Hernandez (@chm_austin)
Associate Professor Michael Mackert (@mackert)
Assistant Professor Kevin Thomas (@kevin_d_thomas)
Professor Gary Wilcox (@garybwilcox)
shared their thoughts under #SBAdJudge

The faculty members met virtually through 3D ICC's Immersive Terf platform to watch the Super Bowl.

In addition to the faculty panel, students from two advertising courses tweeted their thoughts about Super Bowl-related social media and ads. Students from Wilcox’s Social Media course posted under #AdGradBowl, and students from lecturer Steve Wille's Sports and Social Media course posted under #ADV378S.

The faculty members all have deep experience in advertising, marketing, traditional media, social media, online media and messaging.


Read their reviews of select Super Bowl ads

New Assessment Could Reduce Learning Disorder Misdiagnoses Among Bilingual Children

Bilingual children account for an increasing percentage of the population in schools. However, few tools exist for speech-language pathologists in schools and clinics to evaluate learning disorders among these children.

The result is that many bilingual children are misdiagnosed with learning disorders.

"Most standardized language assessments are developed for English speakers, and the assessments that are developed for Spanish speakers are focused on students who are monolingual or who mostly speak Spanish," said Elizabeth Peña, professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. "But if students have a fairly balanced understanding of each language, which assessment do you give?”

BESA - Bilingual English-Spanish Assessment


However, researchers have developed a new tool to reduce learning disorder misdiagnoses among English-Spanish bilingual children.

Peña and others have introduced the Bilingual English-Spanish Assessment (BESA), which will help speech-language pathologists differentiate limited exposure to English from underlying language impairments among children ages 4 to 6 years, 11 months.

Conducted through the Moody College's Human Abilities in Bilingual Language Acquisition Lab, research was funded by the National Institute for Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Other researchers included Moody College Professor Lisa Bedore, San Diego State University Professor Vera Gutiérrez-Clellen, Temple University Professor Aquiles Iglesias, and La Salle University School of Nursing and Health Sciences Dean Brian Goldstein.

BESA—Spanish for "kiss "—was published in January 2014 for use by speech-language pathologists in private practice, schools and clinical settings across the U.S.

BESA is designed specifically for bilingual speakers and focuses on the features of Spanish and English that are most associated with language impairment. In Spanish, for example, children with language impairments tend to make more mistakes with articles that mark number and gender. In English, children with language impairments tend to have difficulties learning past tenses. Unlike other assessments, the BESA also provides guidance for combining test scores from English and Spanish versions to reach a diagnostic decision.

The result is that research has shown BESA to be the most highly discriminating of five standardized tests for predicting language impairment among bilingual children.

Read on about BESA

New Issue of Ideas@Work Magazine

Ideas @ Work

The new issue of Ideas@Work is now available online! Ideas@Work is the magazine that highlights the applied work of faculty members in the Moody College of Communication.

This issue features articles on faculty members Warren Spector, Dennis Darling, Courtney Byrd, Elizabeth Peña and Angeline Close.

Discover the Moody College's new video game academy taught by industry professionals, how communication scholars contribute to breakthroughs in healthcare, the crisis of civic engagement in Texas, how advertising sponsorships are decided and impact the economy, the research and treatment of patients who stutter and how memories from the Holocaust are being preserved through photographs.

View the Ideas@Work Magazine