Tony Nominee and Seasoned Professors to Speak at Baylor School of Education ‘Multiple Literacies’ Symposium

  • SOE speakers
    Symposium speakers
  • Rob Askins
    Rob Askins courtesy photo.
April 13, 2016

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Media contact: Tonya Lewis, (254) 710-4656

WACO, Texas (April 13, 2016) – Tony-nominated playwright Rob Askins, B.A. (Professional Writing, Theatre Arts) ’04, will be the keynote speaker for the “Multiple Literacies: Reading and Writing Diverse Texts in a Digital Age” symposium, hosted by Baylor University’s School of Education on April 14 and 15.

Askins’ keynote lecture will be at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 14, in Packard Hall of Marrs McLean Science Building. His topic is “Getting it Out: Ego, Inspiration and the Changing Audience.” Askins is the author of the Broadway play “Hand to God.” The play was a nominee for Best Play at the 2015 Tony Awards. It received an Olivier Award nomination for Best New Comedy and was the New York Times Critics’ Pick, called “the most entertaining show of 2014.”

“‘Multiple literacies’ refers to the fact that communications in the digital age are no longer limited to the printed word. Today we learn through words, images, music, animation and links as we Facebook, Twitter and browse,” said Gretchen Schwarz, Ph.D., professor of curriculum and instruction. “Humanity has always had multiple ways of communicating, and drama is one of the oldest. A play communicates through the written and the spoken word, often through music, through costumes, settings and human action. Mr. Askins will tell us about play writing in the digital age.”

Askins’ most recent play, “Permission,” made its world premiere off-Broadway in spring 2015 at the MCC Theater. He is currently at work on two feature film projects and an original comedy series for HBO. Askins’ aunt, Sally Askins, teaches in Baylor’s theatre department.

The Friday symposium will include presentations from Baylor faculty on a variety of literacy topics and will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the garden level of Marrs McLean Science, Room GL15. The presentations are as follows:

”Music and Civil Rights”, Robert Darden, professor of journalism, public relations and new media

”Rhetorical Strategies for Now”, Sam Perry, Ph.D., professor for Baylor Interdisciplinary Core

”Understanding Russian Icons”, Michael Long, Ph.D., professor of Russian and division director for Asian and African languages

”Rap Music and Its Critique”, Lakia Scott, Ph.D., assistant professor of curriculum and instruction, and Mia Moody-Ramirez, Ph.D., associate professor of journalism, public relations and new media

”Popular Culture”, Jim Kendrick, Ph.D., associate professor of film and digital media

”Remediation and Writing”, Michael-John DePalma, Ph.D., assistant professor of English, and Kara Poe Alexander, Ph.D., assistant professor of English

”Infusing Media Literacy into Teacher Ed”, Brandi Ray, Ph.D., curriculum and instruction, and Sunny Wells, Ph.D., curriculum and instruction

A lunch will be served at 12:30 p.m., and reservations are required. To reserve a lunch or for more information, contact Gretchen Schwarz.

Askins’ keynote lecture is free and open to the public. Friday’s faculty presentations are open to faculty and graduate students. Marrs McLean Science is located at 1214 S. Fourth St.

by Bethany Harper, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.


The Baylor School of Education is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and consists of four departments: Curriculum and Instruction (preparation for classroom teachers and specialists); Educational Administration (post-graduate preparation for school leadership); Educational Psychology (undergraduate and graduate programs for those who are interested in learning, development, measurement, and exceptionalities); and Health, Human Performance and Recreation (preparing for sport- and health-related careers, athletic training and careers in recreational professions, including churches).The School of Education enrolls more than 1,000 undergraduate students and 300 graduate students, employs 70 faculty, and is one of the few school s in the State of Texas that offers a yearlong teaching internship.

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