Technology, Social Media Focus of Duquesne University Civil Discourse Series

The impact of new technology on society has been significant in both positive and negative ways, dramatically affecting the ability to engage in civil discourse. With so many social media platforms and so many voices, how can society-and particularly Catholic institutions of higher education like Duquesne University-encourage respectful debate that educates and enlightens in this new era?

Technology, Social Media and Civil Discourse will be held tomorrow, Tuesday, March 20, at 3 p.m. in the University's Power Center Ballroom. The event is the second major program in Duquesne University President Ken Gormley's civil discourse series.

"Our country has become polarized on many issues. How we communicate with each other significantly impacts our ability to address those issues," Gormley said. "Through this ongoing civil discourse series, I hope that we can provide a foundation for students and other members of the Duquesne family to feel comfortable sharing their views on complex, challenging issues in a respectful manner."

The event will include two panel sessions. The first panel, moderated by Gormley, will feature prominent young scholars from across the United States, who have studied how smartphones, technology and social media impact relationships, empathy and civility.

Panelists will include:

  • Dr. Reynol Junco, fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University (an expert on the impact of cyberspace and social media on development, engagement and learning among young people).
  • Dr. Sara Konrath, assistant professor of Philanthropic Studies at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (an expert on the impact of technology on the brain and the science of empathy, compassion and kindness).
  • Dr. Jeffrey Hall, associate professor of Communication Studies at the University of Kansas (an expert on the impact of social and mobile media on interpersonal communication).

The second panel will be moderated by Betsy Benson, publisher and vice president of Pittsburgh Magazine.  It will focus on life in the trenches working in modern media today, and how journalists and publishers cope with the challenges posed by new technology in seeking to maintain an atmosphere of civil exchange of information.

Panelists will include:

  • Julie Grant, reporter, anchor and legal editor at KDKA-TV
  • Julian Routh, reporter, digital news at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Attendance is limited to the Duquesne University community.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The University's academic programs, community service, and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim. 

It's time for bigger goals
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