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Mark and Heather Rosenker Center for Political Communication and Civic Leadership Research Projects

Research projects for the Mark and Heather Rosenker Center for Political Communication and Civic Leadership at the University of Maryland. 

Committed to the advancement of a diverse and productive democracy through the study of human communication, the Rosenker Center develops projects and sponsors events designed to explore the nexus between communication behavior and political life.

Research Projects

Recovering Democracy Archives


The Recovering Democracy Archives’ mission is to create a digital archive of lesser-known but important public speeches that remain hidden within the vaults of archival depositories or in obscure anthologies and historical publications. RDA is particularly focused on recovering speeches delivered by those challenging barriers that restrict equitable participation in civic life or promote the expansion of civic deliberation.

As a speech recovery project, RDA is committed to collecting and digitizing seldom remembered speeches from U.S. citizens as well as international orators speaking in the United States. These speeches can derive from anti-war movements, civil rights movements, educational movements, environmental movements, GLBTQ movements, labor movements, religious movements, women’s movements and other social change and social resistance movements. The project will also feature oratory from political and community leaders whose speeches are seldom remembered in U.S. history, as well as lesser-known speeches of celebrated orators. RDA recovers and authenticates these speeches to make them widely accessible through this open sourced website. RDA also provides important contextual information about each speech. When paired with the project’s teaching-learning materials, RDA offers a unique resource for high school and university educators to incorporate speeches into the classroom in meaningful and innovative ways.

Voices of Democracy: The U.S. Oratory Project



Voices of Democracy promotes the study of great speeches and public debates in the humanities undergraduate classroom. The project is designed to provide reliable, authenticated primary texts and contextual and interpretive materials under seven deliberative topics: citizenship, civil rights, freedom of speech, religion and public life, social and economic justice, U.S. internationalism and war and peace. Voices of Democracy represents a collaborative and interdisciplinary project involving scholars from Baylor University, Penn State University and the University of Maryland, College Park.

Political Advertising Resource Center (PARC)

PARC is a nonpartisan informational website that analyses the television advertisements used in local, state, and national political campaigns. PARC is targeted to high school and university educators and students as well as civic and political organizations, voter education organizations, the news media, and political watch-dog groups.


Terrapin Town Hall

Town Hall

Terrapin Town Hall brings together students to discuss and deliberate about important issues of the day. Often featuring experts and scholars, the town halls are a means to disseminate information and encourage discussion about critical questions.

  • Terrapin Town Hall: Public Issues Forum on the USA Patriot Act
  • Terrapin Town Hall: The 2004 Election and the Youth Vote
  • Terrapin Town Hall: U.S. Health Care
  • 2002 Maryland Gubernatorial Recovering Democracy Forum
  • White Paper on Televised Political Campaign Debate: the Racine Group
  • Mr. Curtis Gans, Committee for the Study of the American Electorate
  • Public Forum on the Moderation of U.S. Electoral Politics
  • Evening of Dialogue: Civil Liberties and Security in the Wake of September 11
  • John Powers, National Archives, "War & Vietnam: Secretly Recorded Conversations from the Oval Office"
  • John B. Anderson, "Political Communication in Election Campaigns"
  • John Powers, "Nixon Revisited: The New Tapes and Other Documents Available for the Public"