Breaking Through

Thank you to all of our attendees for a wonderful conference! Click through for photos and videos...

Engaging News Project

Studies find people more willing to engage in political discussion when provided with pro-con arguments

Strauss Institute

Understanding and overcoming obstacles to civic engagement through research and educational outreach

Campaign Bootcamp 2015

Photos are now available and discover how to join us for Campaign Bootcamp 2016!


A comprehensive, first-time look at civic and political engagement in Texas

Creating More Voters and Better Citizens


Our Research

The Annette Strauss Institute seeks to improve scholarly and public understanding of media, politics, and civic participation. Our affiliated faculty conducts research on topics such as political language, consumer news choice, and media coverage of politics and policy.  In addition, the Institute houses the Engaging News Project, Project Vote Smart, the Texas Civic Health Index, and the Campaign Mapping Project, and annually gives the Patricia Witherspoon Award to support graduate student research on public service, civic life, and citizenship.


Engaging News Project

The Engaging News Project has a single aim:  to provide research-based techniques for engaging online audiences in commercially-viable and democratically-beneficial ways.

Texas Civic Health Index

A report on rates of political participation and civic involvement across Texas.  Based on US Census data, this report provides the first comprehensive, nonpartisan assessment of our state's civic life.

Patricia Witherspoon Award

Patricia Witherspoon Research Award offsets costs for students conducting original research in the areas of public service, government, community service, civic life, citizenship, or politics.


Campaign Mapping Project

A multi-year effort to assemble political campaign materials produced during presidential elections between 1948 and 2012, as a guide to understand the direction of American politics.

Project Vote Smart

A unique internship in the study of American and state politics in which student interns come together to produce Project Vote Smart’s Key Votes database to help citizens acquire accurate information about politics, candidates, and key legislation.


Dr. Roderick P. Hart
Dean, Moody College of Communication
Shivers Chair in Communication, Professor of Government
Founding Director, Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life
Bio (Link)
Resume (PDF)

Dr. Sharon A. Jarvis
Associate Director of Research, Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life
Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Moody College of Communication
Bio (Link)
Resume (PDF)

Dr. Talia Stroud
Assistant Director of Research, Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life
Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Moody College of Communication
Director, Engaging News Project
Bio (Link)
Resume (PDF)