News @ the Beach

Former Presidential Speechwriter and Prolific Author Receiving National Awards

Craig Smith, a former presidential speechwriter and prolific author is the recipient of two prestigious national awards. The director of CSULB’s Center for First Amendment Studies will be presented the pair of awards at the National Communication Association’s (NCA) 100th annual convention in Chicago, Nov. 20-23.

Craig Smith

Craig Smith

Smith, who is a professor of Communication Studies and founder of the Center for First Amendment Studies at CSULB, will receive the Bruce Gronbeck Award, given to those whose work has interpreted or addressed theoretical-conceptual, historical and critical-culture issues of political communication. And, for the third time, he will receive the Robert O’Neil Award, given for outstanding scholarship on First Amendment issues.

“I knew Bruce for a long time since both of us were in political communication,” said Smith, noting that Gronbeck’s last Facebook posting before his passing on Sept. 10 was congratulating him on the award. “There was a call for nominations and I was nominated by several professors. It’s a nice award. Bruce has published a lot of articles and books on political communication and I think that’s why the National Communication Association decided to honor him by naming this particular award after him.”

The O’Neil award comes from the Freedom of Expression Division of the NCA.

“I wrote the award-winning paper with my center’s research director Professor Kevin Johnson, who was once a student of mine here,” said Smith. “So I am doubly proud of that award.”

Smith has been honored a number of times throughout his career, including being named the Outstanding Professor on the campus in 2000 and earned a similar title from the National Speakers Association in 1997. He has also received campus awards for Distinguished Teaching in 1997 and Distinguished Scholarship in 1994.

Also, Smith has served as a consultant to CBS News for convention, election night and inaugural coverage. He was a full-time speechwriter for President Gerald Ford and Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca and served as a consultant to President George H.W. Bush and Gov. Pete Wilson, among others.

A prolific writer, Smith has authored 18 books and more than 60 scholarly articles and book chapters. A couple of his most recent works include Confessions of a Presidential Speechwriter and Herod from Hell: Confessions and Reminiscences. Currently, he is working on a scholarly article on romantic rhetoric.

“The Romantic poets, in reaction to the Enlightenment, which they thought depended too much on reason and science, then also revolting against the Industrial Revolution, return to nature and there’s a whole set of tenets of that movement I want to bring to rhetorical theory,” he said. “The emphasis is on narrative storytelling and folklore and emphasis on nature and the beauty of nature and an emphasis on nationalism and indigenous nationalism in particular. So I want to revive that whole theory from the Romantic poets and apply it to persuasion.”

Some of Smith’s studies on the First Amendment include A First Amendment Profile of the Supreme Court (John Cabot University Press, 2011), Freedom of Expression and Partisan Politics (University of South Carolina Press), Silencing the Opposition: Government Strategies of Suppression (State University of New York Press, 2nd ed. 2011) and The Four Freedoms of the First Amendment (Waveland, 2004). He regularly publishes editorials in such prestigious newspaper as the Miami Herald, Los Angeles Times and Washington Post.

“You begin your career by writing a lot of articles and books and you end your career, if you’re lucky like me, getting a lot of awards,” said Smith. “I’m not one to just sit around, I’ve never been able to do that. I have to be learning, reading or writing.”

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Asking “Why” Earns Highest American Speech and Hearing Association Honor

Betty McMicken is a curious sort. That’s probably the reason she always asks “why?”

It’s a combination of that endless curiosity, her hard work and dedication as the main reasons she will receive the Honors of the American Speech and Hearing Association at the organization’s annual convention in Orlando, Fla., Nov. 20-22.

Betty McMicken

Betty McMicken

“This is as good as it gets,” said McMicken, an associate professor in the Department of Communicative Disorders. “It is for excellence in lifetime achievement, specifically in the areas of teaching, research, community service and professional expertise. You need to excel in all these areas and to have presented papers nationally and internationally, which I have done. There’s very few people that make it up to Honors.”

Some of her most recent and rewarding work has come about as the result of research involving congenital aglossia, a term applied to individuals born without a tongue. Up until approximately two years ago, there were only two known living individuals with the condition in the world. Today, because of McMicken, her assistant Kelly Rogers (who has congenital aglossia) and doctors in Brazil, there are now eight known cases.

Among the great many nominations letters supporting McMicken for this award, a common thread ran throughout.

“She lives to serve others. Her energy to advance the profession knows no bounds,” wrote Sharlene Goodman, the executive director at Newport Language and Speech Center. “She has changed the trajectory of the field in unique ways and has had an impact upon everyone who knows her and who has had the privilege of being in her care. She has changed the lives of students, clients and colleagues and continues to do so without losing a step.”

“Few among us do so much for so long driven solely by the need to understand and be of service,” wrote John C. Rosenbek, a professor in the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences at the University of Florida. “Those few have received the Association’s Honors. The award’s exalted status will only be further elevated by Dr. McMicken’s joining them. Best of all, Honors or not, she will continue to do what she has always done because it is not about her—it is about her students, patients, peers and profession.”

McMicken also admits to being a bit overwhelmed at the thought of receiving such an honor, simply because previous recipients were her mentors, the biggest and brightest names in the field.

“There are people who have taken me under their wing and so to join my mentors at this level is an overwhelming honor,” she said. “If I can make a difference like my mentors have for me, that would be a wonderful reward.”

McMicken noted that over the past 50 years the field of communicative disorders has expanded enormously into areas she could never have dreamed.

“We were always a neurologically-based profession and we always dealt with people with neurological injuries,” she said. “Now we have a better evidence base and understand far more than before so we can treat in a more efficacious manner. Part of that is research, part of that is clinical practice. Our field has expanded and of course grown, not only in medical necessity and credibility but in the services that we are able to offer.”

McMicken’s nearly five-decade-long career has included a speech and audiology internship at the West L.A. Veterans Administration Hospital in the 1960s, co-founding (with mentor Elizabeth Wallace) and directing the Orange County-based Newport Language and Speech Center in 1970, directing a speech and hearing program at Western Medical Center in Orange County for 20 years, and serving as the chair and full professor in the Department of Communicative Disorders at Cal State Los Angeles for seven years in the 1990s. In 1998, she became a part-time lecturer at CSULB, within a year was full-time, became an assistant professor in 2006 and is now an associate professor.

In addition she has worked tirelessly and included CSULB students in her efforts at the Los Angeles Mission/Anne Douglas Center and has been legendary actor Kirk Douglas’ personal speech therapist since 2007.

And while McMicken admits to at one time being a technology junkie, she said she gotten away from that, noting that some things in the therapeutic process will never change.

“Nothing can take the place of sitting across the desk from someone in need of help, watching them, listening to them, taking a thorough history and finding out who that person is,” she said. “Being a good clinician means being a good observer, seeing how a person functions, listening to the family, and finding out how the communication or swallowing disorder is affecting the family, in addition to the patient. These skills are the basis of a committed, exceptional clinician who can excel in the rehabilitation process.” Another thing that has never changed is her curious nature.

“One of the things that has always been one of my hallmarks, and annoyingly so to friends, is that I always want to know ‘why’?” she added. “I always want to know why something is happening, so I take that into my work and I try to get my students to always ask ‘why’?”

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Will 13 Be Lucky Number For Moot Court Team?

Cal State Long Beach (CSULB) 13 will be their lucky number when it hosts the 13th Annual American Collegiate Moot Court Association (ACMA) Western Regional competition on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 21-22, marking the 13th consecutive year the event has been held on campus.

This year’s hypothetical case asks whether a fictional law requiring that women seeking an abortion undergo a transvaginal ultra-sound procedure and limiting what physicians can tell their patients about the risks of abortion is constitutional?


United States Supreme Court

Moot Court, also known as mock Supreme Court and Supreme Court Simulation, is a simulation of an appellate court proceeding. It involves teams of student contestants, clients burdened by a legal problem, briefs and oratory detailing of the dimensions of the legal problem before an appellate court, and the judging of performances by panels of law students, attorneys, professors, law faculty, or, on occasion, members of the judicial branch of government. Teams from colleges and universities throughout the nation will be arguing the same case.

The Western Regional has produced five national champions, more than any other regional.  That includes a team from CSULB that captured the title in 2002-03. The regional has produced 12 national semifinalists, including six in the last three years.

This year, 38 two-person teams, including six from CSULB, are expected to compete at the regional. Other institutions include Carroll College, Fresno State, Cal State Fullerton, Mount St. Mary’s College, Patrick Henry College, Weber State University, University of Texas-Arlington, Whitman College, the University of Southern California and Westwood College.

Moot court teams’ combined oral argument must be 20 minutes with each member of the team presenting a minimum of seven minutes. Not knowing which viewpoint it will be presenting, each team should have the ability to support both arguments. Moot court judges ask students questions and grade them on the basis of their knowledge of the case, their response to questioning, their forensic skills and their demeanor.

CSULB students competing in the 2014 regional are Dillon Westfall, a senior Roman classics major from Atascadero;  Ashley Hall, a senior political science major from Long Beach; Krist Biakanja, a senior political science major from Huntington Beach; Will Torres, a senior political science major from Glendale;  Julieta Hernandez, a senior Chicano/Latino Studies and political science major from Long Beach; Michelle Manos, a senior political science major from Hackettstown, N.J.; Chris Nielson, a senior philosophy and political science major from Santa Ana;  Kevin Romero, political science major from Norwalk; Dominique Noble, a senior political science major from Santa Clara;  Amethyst Jefferson-Roberts, a senior Africana Studies and political science major from Compton; Min Kim, a political science major from Seoul, South Korea; and Ciarra Lofstrom, a junior economics major from Huntington Beach.

With her success last year, Hall became the all-time winningest mooter in CSULB history with an overall record of 31-8, a mark she should add to. Kyle Maury, Hall’s teammate last year who has since graduated, finished with an overall lifetime mark of 29-7.  Biakanja, the only CSULB mooter to win three tournaments last year, has a lifetime record of 26-5-2, which ties for third most wins in the program’s history.

Hall and Maury finished as the national oral advocacy runner-up last year in a split decision and for CSULB it was the first time it captured multiple orator awards at nationals, becoming just one of four schools to advance to the finals more than once.

For the 2014 regional event, CSULB judges scheduled are federal judge John Tobin, California Court of Appeal Justice Fred Wood, California Superior Court judges Jim Otto, Laura Walton, Kelvin Filer and Glen Mondo; California Administrative Law judges Norman Delaterre and Angela Villegas: and California Superior Court Commissioner Michael Pearce.  Also scheduled are Long Beach City Prosecutor Doug Haubert, several past and present Long Beach bar presidents, members of the Hunt/Ball Long Beach Inn of Court and Nancy McGinnis, a former dean of Pepperdine University’s School of Law.

Political Science faculty member and team coach Lewis Ringel, now in his 9th year heading the program, also gives great credit to his coaching staff which includes attorneys Patrick Dyson, Judy Hails and Kelsey Morris; Yasmin Manners, Sabrina van der Linden-Gonzales and Peter Vasilion.

“We lost three quality, high-end mooters from last year’s team and they made everybody else better,” said Ringel. “Two-thirds of the team is new, so there is some rebuilding.  I expect to win, but I don’t think it’s going to be easy. This is a tough regional and we’ll go on to nationals and face tough teams, but we’re a dedicated group and I expect them to work hard, learn, have a lot of fun and succeed.”

The competition takes place on Nov. 21, in the University Student Union and in Health and Human Services 1 Building, and on Nov. 22, inPeterson Hall 1 in the morning and the Hall of Science in the afternoon. The event is free and open to the public. On Friday, the event will run from 5 to 9 p.m. and on Saturday competition will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

This season the national championship of intercollegiate moot court will take place Jan. 16-17 in Miami at the Florida International University College of Law. For more information, Ringel can be reached at 562/985-4708. Those interested can visit the moot court website.

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University Again Nationally Recognized for Diversity

Cal State Long Beach has again received national recognition for its commitment to diversity. In the most recent listing of the “Top 100 Degree Producers” by Diverse Issues in Higher Education CSULB, is ranked 12th in the nation in conferring baccalaureate degrees to minority students, up one spot from last year.


The “Top 100” is a list of the best minority degree-awarding institutions of higher education in the nation. It is the only national report that showcases the success of U.S. colleges and universities in awarding degrees to African American, Asian American, Latino and Native American students and is the only national analysis to use the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Education. Using these statistics, rankings are created in the total number of baccalaureate degrees awarded at every university and college in the nation by ethnicity as well as specific figures in major fields of study or disciplines.

“Cal State Long Beach is especially chartered by the state of California to educate its citizens.  I am proud that our student body looks just like California’s population,” said CSULB President Jane Close Conoley. “This means we are fulfilling the hopes of Californians to have affordable and excellent educational opportunities no matter their ethnicity or income level.  We’re a university that delivers on transformative, high impact educational experiences.  Our faculty and staff are fully committed to this singular mission of student success.”

Among individual ethnicities, CSULB ranked ninth nationally in awarding bachelor’s degrees to Hispanics, 13th to Asian Americans and 16th to Native Americans.

By discipline, CSULB ranked No. 1 in awarding undergraduate degrees to minority students in three different major areas—family and consumer sciences, English language and literature and visual and performing arts. Additionally, the campus ranked first in awarding English degrees to Hispanic, Asian American and Native American students, and family and consumer science degrees to Hispanics.

The campus ranked among the top 10 in five other individual disciplines: fourth in health and medical administrative services, sixth in liberal arts, eighth in health professions, eighth in parks, recreation and leisure studies and ninth in area, ethnic, cultural, gender and group studies.

The campus also ranked first in awarding bachelor’s degrees in foreign languages, literature and linguistics to Native American students and visual and performing arts degrees to Asian American and Hispanic students.

For a complete list of CSULB’s national rankings in awarding baccalaureate degrees to minority students, visit the Diverse Issues in Higher Education “Top 100″ webpage.

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