UW-Madison: Associate professor recognized for research in public-policy debate

CONTACT: Robert Asen, 608-263-4518, rbasen@wisc.edu

MADISON – The National Communication Association (NCA) has named University of Wisconsin-Madison associate professor Robert Asen as the 2010 recipient of the Winans-Wichelns Memorial Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Rhetoric and Public Address.

Asen, who teaches rhetoric, received the award based on the research he compiled for his book “Invoking the Invisible Hand: Social Security and the Privatization Debates,” a study of how debates have changed surrounding the topic of Social Security.

The book explores the idea that public policy and discourse cannot exist without one another.

“The primary way of policy is communication. Members of Congress use communication as a fundamental base to look at policy itself, especially at the federal level when men and women are not doing administrative work that implements this policy,” says Asen.

Asen was selected by his peers within the NCA to receive the award, highlighting his commitment to exploring the ways that language is used to recognize and find solutions to public-policy problems and give policy an appeal to the general public.

“It is a tremendous honor to have recognition by my colleagues,” says Asen. “The composition of the award committee was made up of people I admire and respect; to have that admiration of that group and have them judge my work is a tremendous honor.”

The NCA is one of the largest professional organizations for professional communications, and has a larger mission of trying to enhance research of communication scholarship in terms of membership and audiences outside of its organization.