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Letter From the Director

"We've embraced the aspirations of the University of Minnesota to emerge over the coming decade as one of the top three public research universities in the world by providing world class support for faculty and graduate student research."

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Photo by Tom Foley

This issue of the Murphy Reporter provides an overview of the broad range of research and scholarship defining the vibrant intellectual climate in Murphy Hall today. We've embraced the aspirations of the University of Minnesota to emerge over the coming decade as one of the top three public research universities in the world by providing world class support for faculty and graduate student research. Minnesota is not just a great place for undergraduates to study; we have a long and distinguished history as an elite training ground for leading academics and professional research scientists.

Over the past several months, SJMC faculty have received more than $2.1 million in major new research grants, written numerous books and presented their research at dozens of international and national conferences. Many of the faculty projects focus on individual basic research, while others involve collaboration with industry professionals to address pressing and complex problems.

As you may know, intellectual and academic leadership have a long and storied history in Murphy Hall. A 1958 compilation of the work done by our research division (the first unit of its kind to be established in any school or department of journalism in the country) summarized more than 175 studies, many supported by grants from such diverse entities as news organizations, the Office of Naval Research, the International Press Institute, the Associated Press, the Educational Radio and Television Research Center, General Mills and the Minneapolis Hospital Council. Today, a half-century later, our faculty and graduate students are similarly engaged with a variety of funding agencies in pursuit of new and deeper understanding of fundamental communications issues.

The cover of this issue showcases the scholarly collaboration between professor Hazel Dicken-Garcia, and her former Ph.D. student Giovanna Dell'Orto. Their new book, "Hated Ideas and the American Civil War Press," is an excellent example of the scholarly research partnerships that often develop between faculty members and graduate students. The book examines the treatment of unpopular and controversial ideas by journalists during this tumultuous period in American history.

Because of the faculty's strong encouragement of leading-edge scholarship, our graduate students frequently win national recognition for their research at major academic conferences and publish work in top scholarly journals. Our commitment to encourage such scholarly investigation continues. I'm pleased to report that we've recently increased our endowment support for graduate fellowships by more than $2.5 million. This issue of the Murphy Reporter is intended not only to celebrate the many ways our faculty and students are making distinguished contributions but also to convey the exciting intellectual climate in Murphy Hall.

Best,
Albert R. Tims, director